I hate buying shampoo.
I mean, it’s nice to have clean hair and all, and I am grateful for the existence of shampoo. But if you ever actually take a moment to look at the huge number of varieties of shampoo available at your local retailer, you might see what I mean when I say I hate shampoo shopping.
It really is overwhelming. Which brand to choose? Which variety of said brand? Do I want volume, or smoothness, or moisturization, or frizz control, or what? And once I find some shampoo and conditioner that I like, chances are awfully good that exact kind won’t even be available in a few months. The haircare market changes at lightning-quick speed.
I’d say it makes me want to tear my hair out, but frustrating though shampoo shopping may be, I prefer to keep and deal with my hair, thank you very much.
So the last time I made my foray down the shampoo aisle, it was at K-Mart. No offense to K-Mart, but K-Mart is weird. You can find some oddball stuff at K-Mart. I like K-Mart. I just don’t get there too often because there isn’t one on my end of town. When we lived in Indiana and in North Carolina, though, I shopped at K-Mart a lot; I always found some great bargains there.
Anyway, so there I was at K-Mart, thinking I would just buzz down the shampoo aisle and pick up some something—you know, whatever sounded good. Right—as if past record shows this is how it happens.
I’m sure I stood there for a good 15 minutes trying to figure out what to buy.
Over the past few years, I’ve used several different brands of shampoo—Pantene, Garnier Fructis, Dove, Suave, Aussie, Sunsilk, Herbal Essences, Loreal Vive, Pert Plus. They’re all pretty much the same. Remember when they used to say not to use the same shampoo all the time because it would build up on your hair and eventually not be as effective? Remember how they’d recommend using “clarifying” shampoos every so often? (“They” being the beauty editors of magazines, who are paid to endorse various products.) Well, that kind of stuck in my head, and so I always try to switch around. I also alternate between shampoos and conditioners geared towards curly hair and those geared towards dry/damaged hair. Mine is curly and dry, so you see the dilemma.
I noticed at K-Mart that they still sell Prell. Remember Prell? That translucent bright green shampoo that smells like green apples? My grandparents always used that. It used to come in a glass bottle and would get very slippery in the tub; it was sometimes difficult to get the cap off. (This was in the days prior to flip-top caps.) I recall reading—and I believe this, absolutely, as my own experience at Grandma’s bears it out—that Prell is nearly as harsh on hair as dish detergent; it strips all the natural oils. Christie Brinkley used to be in all the Prell ads. Maybe her hair was oily enough to warrant a good sudsing with Prell, but mine isn’t. Stripping of natural oils is not something a person with very dry hair needs. So I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, but I did not buy the Prell.
Guess what I did find, though? Finesse! “Sometimes you need a little Finesse; sometimes you need a lot!” That was the little jingle from the commercials, and it actually says that on the bottle. This is a two-in-one version, which is described as “self-adjusting.” I guess this means that the shampoo has some kind of intelligence that enables it to figure out which parts of your hair are driest and need most conditioning and which parts are oily and need less.
Whatever. I was keen on the 2-in-1 thing that day, because I was having trouble locating matching pairs of shampoo and conditioner in some of the other brands. They’d have the curly hair (or dry hair) conditioner but not the shampoo, or vice versa. Finesse seemed to solve all my problems. And it smells good. I remember a girl I knew at the apartment complex in Indiana; she had this really nice-but-hyper dog named Korby, and Korby always had really soft, smell-good fur. When I asked her what she used to wash the dog, she told me, “Finesse!”
So the other day I was in the shower, washing my hair with Finesse, and I got to reminiscing about some of the shampoos that used to be big in the “old days” (i.e., the 80s and 90s). Do you remember any of these?
- White Rain I was using this shampoo (and the White Rain hair spray) in 8th grade, when I had one of my first really super huge crushes. They still make White Rain, but not like they used to; but every time I smell something that has that same fragrance, I remember how I used to feel when I was near that boy—how aware of myself (and him!) I was.
- Hälsa Remember those commercials, will all the sunshine, and those women with the long, flowing, wavy blonde hair? “Hälsa hair – uncover your highlights! Hälsa hair – discover your glow! Hälsa hair!” They had formulations for blonde, red, and brown hair. I seem to recall the “blonde” version smelled like chamomile. I wonder what ever happened to that brand? Do they still sell it in Scandinavia?
- Agree I think we maybe had this around a time or two. They sure had a lot of advertising on TV and in magazines.
- Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific! Remember those ridiculous commercials? Not sure I ever used that shampoo. If it really smelled so good, I wonder how it managed to go out of style? (Maybe the ridiculous commercials had something to do with it; or maybe it’s still selling…..somewhere.)
- Flex, by Revlon They might still make this. They used to have one that was “balsam” scented, which I really liked; it made my hair very soft.
- Fabrégé Organics (not sure if I spelled that right) My uncle John used to sell this brand, and he once gave us a whole bunch of little samples of shampoo and conditioner. This was when I was still in elementary school and we were in our old house. I had my own bathroom (wasn’t I lucky?), and in my closet there was a whole huge Schwann’s ice cream bucket filled with samples of Fabrégé Organics shampoos and conditioners. They were nice, I guess, but I have to confess I got really, really sick of them…….hmmmm…..maybe here is where we have the true origins of my unwillingness to buy the same brand of shampoo twice in a row?!
- Breck I think the “Breck girl” thing was before my time. I used this shampoo once, a long time ago. I seem to recall it was a bit like the Prell—left my hair a bit too squeaky. I do believe you can still get Breck, though—at Dollar Tree.
- Salon Selectives Now we’re really moving into the ’90s. I remember how popular this brand was, but Mom would never buy it because she said she didn’t want her head smelling like a fruit salad. I did end up purchasing it for myself in college. Eventually, I understood what she meant. I’m not big on fruit-salad-head, either. Maybe that’s why they don’t make Salon Selectives anymore? But it was such a hugely popular brand. What happened?
I can’t think of any more at the moment. Do you have any shampoo reminiscences to share? What brands do you remember? Do tell!
UPDATE: Not long after I wrote this post, I found an ad in my Sunday coupon flyer for Salon Selectives! Apparently, it’s back! I wonder if it will still smell like fruit salad???