Saturday, 17 September 2016
Things started to go pear-shaped when someone in Marketing decided that it wasn't enough to break hair types into Normal, Dry and Greasy, but dreamt up Flyaway, Flat, Frizzy, Dull and Lifeless, Sun-damaged, Heat-damaged, Delinquent (OK, maybe not Delinquent). Then came special shampoos for specific hair colour, be it natural or chemically induced.
We needed not just shampoo, but also conditioner: twice the product, twice the profit. But still that wasn't enough. Now we have pre-conditioners, leave in, wash out, deep treatments applied like a face pack for the head, hot oils and serums, clays, volumisers, tamers, lotions to prevent damage from hair-dryers, heated brushes, tongs and straighteners - and more lotions to fix the damage, should you be wayward enough to use a gadget without protection. There are also luxury options, which are more costly, of course and self-styled 'professional' ranges, because no one wants to use anything an amateur would settle for. That's before we get on to perfumes and menus of added essentials that would send any chef worth his salt reaching for the Le Creuset. I mean, who wouldn't want coconut curls with added vitamin B? And when did shea butter become a a grooming essential?
But if you think that once you've managed to negotiate the minefield of shampoos and conditioners, you'll be home free, think again. There's waxes, gels, foams, mousses, more oils and more serums to apply before you can leave the house. Don't think you can get away with a quick squirt of Harmony Hairspray: those days are long gone, my friend.
It isn't just the bewildering choice that gets my goat, it's also the ridiculous language: words that have no business being anyway near hair: words like botanical, rebalancing, purifying, restorative - and what the hell is fibrology?
Someone once poured a pint of beer over my head as the final act in a heated debate (don't ask!). For days afterwards I had the sleekest, shiniest hair ever. Now, I'm not suggesting making a drunken brawl part of your beauty regime, but it makes me wonder why we don't just go back to basics. What's the worst that could happen?