Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where Has All the Shampoo Gone?

If I pose the question asked in the title of this post, I'd have to answer that most of mine goes down the drain, and that is meant literally, for it takes place in the shower.

There are three ways to waste when it comes to shampoo. One is by buying expensive brands, which are no more effective at cleaning hair than the cheapo brands. The actual cleaning agents in both cases are the same or nearly so, as there are only a few chemicals that do the trick of rinsing the dirt from your locks, the other ingredients nearly useless additions that just cost you more without contributing any cleaning power. Conditioner is a bit different, and there may be advantages in some more costly brands, depending on your personal hair care needs.

So, what's the second way to waste money on shampoo? Well, first, once you're naked and in the shower with the curtain or door closed, grab the shampoo bottle and squeeze a big overflowing handful into your palm. You're going to plop that onto the top of your hair and once your head is under the shower's head, you're ready to begin flushing your money down the drain pipe.

Wasting shampoo in that manner is a habit I've been unable to break, except when forced to. Perhaps I'm just convinced, once I'm rendered relaxed and comfortable beneath the warm rush of pulsating hot water, that more equals better (and cleaner) and end up using too much, way too much. Like a drunk whose inhibitions have disappeared, in the shower my frugal instincts evaporate, leaving me in profligate mode.

But as I discovered (or rediscovered, as I've experienced it before, only to forget when the next full shampoo bottle was at my disposal), you only really need the tiniest amount of shampoo to clean a whole big head of hair. This revelation only occurs, however, when my current bottle of shampoo is almost empty and I've also failed to buy another to keep in reserve.

So, the other day, I desperately found myself with what certainly appeared to be an empty bottle of hair cleaning solution. I grabbed it and frantically shook it only to receive a few drops, which I looked at with complete contempt as they sat almost invisible in my hand. Resigning myself to a dirty head for the day, I nevertheless vigorously rubbed the inconsequential shampoo residue into my scalp. It worked! My head was soon covered in lather.

Now if only I could buy tiny little bottles of shampoo containing just a few drops each, I'd end the waste and save money. Or would I? Come to think of it, like every other product packaged in smaller units, I'd probably pay twice as much or more for the same amount of shampoo I'd get in a great big bottle.

Anyway, I've now got a fresh, recently purchased bottle sitting in the shower, so I won't have to make do with only a drop or two for at least a few days.

And that third way to waste shampoo? Ask the blonde who ran out. She kept following the instructions: lather, rinse, repeat.

While shopping in a food store, two nuns happened to pass by the beer cooler.

One nun said to the other, "Wouldn't a nice cool beer or two taste wonderful this evening?"

"Indeed, it would Sister," the second nun replied. "It would be very nice to have one, but I wouldn't feel comfortable buying beer as I am certain that it would cause a scene at the check-out counter."

"I can handle that without a problem," the first nun replied as she picked up a six-pack and headed for the check-out.

The cashier had a surprised look on his face when the two nuns arrived with the beer.

"We use beer for washing our hair" the nun said.

Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter and put a package of pretzel sticks in the bag with the beer.

"The curlers are on me," he said.

On saving shampoo, here's something my dad does that according to this may not be a good idea:

You step into the shower, only to discover that your shampoo bottle is practically empty. Argh! You fill the bottle partway with water, shake it up, and douse your wet hair with the diluted, sudsy shampoo. In seconds, you're lathered up, rinsing off, and ready to face your day.

As you turn off the water, you realize you've still got some shampoo solution left in your bottle. You're tempted to put the bottle back in your shower caddy and save the remainder for your next shampoo. After all, it seems a waste to just dump it, and you haven't got much time to go to the store to get a new bottle.

Resist temptation, brave shampooer. If you dilute your shampoo to eke another day's hair washing out of a bottle, throw the rest away immediately afterward.

Why? According to a chemist friend of mine, once you've diluted shampoo, you've rendered the preservatives in it too weak to do their job. Your watered-down shampoo is chock full of nitrogenous compounds and carbohydrates that bacteria and fungi will find oh so tasty. So if you let this solution sit for a day (or more) and then dump it on your hair, you'll also be dumping on a nice homemade culture of various nasties that may find your scalp to be equally delicious. You could find yourself getting a case of dermatitis or an infection.

The above advice on diluted shampoo is from here, where you'll also find some other interesting shampoo facts.

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