Shampoo and Conditioner

I shampoo my hair every two to three days. I used to wash it daily but then someone convinced me that was too much. Apparently I was putting my hair at risk of becoming dry and brittle.

My hairstylist at the time and several other anti-‘poo proselytizers made the case for infrequent washing, but the person who finally persuaded me to break the daily habit was a former coworker. I recall a lunch where she delivered this long, enthusiastic monologue about how she hadn’t washed her hair in weeks and was very pleased with the results. Oh, sure, things were tough there at the start, but she stuck with it and eventually a natural balance prevailed.

And even though I remember thinking her hair looked oily and lank, I soon began shampooing my hair less frequently, too. She looked like a wet mop with googly eyes, but I took heed as if she had the luscious locks of Connie Britton. Such was the strength of her conviction and the weakness of my will.

Don’t get the wrong idea: I do have certain unshakable beliefs, most of which have to do with the vital importance of mercy, fairness, and good copyediting. But pretty much everything else is negotiable.

Whenever I use shampoo, I apply conditioner afterward. I’m not 100% clear on what exactly conditioner does, but I’ve always thought of the two as a package deal. If you want the good one, you have to put up with the one you’re not so sure about. I feel the same way about John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.

There was a time when I would buy the pricey shampoos and conditioners recommended by the staff at whatever salon I was frequenting, for, as I believe we have established, I am weak of will when it comes to hair care. But now that I’ve decided shampooing is less important than previously assumed, I figure, eh, any old goop will do.

I know that’s not sound logic. But that’s what you get when I think for myself: You get Pantene in my bathroom. And sometimes even Suave if you can believe it.

Another example of my tendency to generate impractical bathing ideas is the invention I came up with for a school project in second grade. Each student was supposed to devise a never-before-seen product and then bring in drawings and a model of the design. Now that I think of it, the whole thing sounds a little ambitious for a group of people who couldn’t wrap their brains around long division, but hey, I was willing to put my prepubescent engineering skills to the test.   

I proposed creating a robotic arm that would help with bath prep. Push a button and the arm would pop out of a cabinet and turn the water on and off, sprinkle some bubble bath into the tub, and so forth. It was all very Jetsonian.

I called my design the Bubble-ma-jig, as in thingamajig. My prototype was an old glove glued to one end of a long cardboard tube—the kind that wrapping paper encircles.

Upon encountering this innovation, my teacher did not rush me to the patent office. In fact, the only part of her critique I remember is when she told me I spelled “magic” wrong.

I only ask that when Amazon’s Alexa eventually gets to the point where the system somehow draws your bath and shampoos your scalp, you’ll remember I thought of that way back in 1987.  

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