The Alchemy of Shampoo

“My bathroom looks like a Walgreen’s exploded.”

— My dear friend Eleanor

I once tried (valiantly) to explain to a man why women need so many different kinds of shampoos and conditioners. He didn’t get it.
Men have it easy. They just squirt some Prell on their heads and rinse. They shake themselves dry like dogs, and they’re ready to go.

They just don’t understand the nefarious forces of nature that send women lurching from product to product in an endless zen quest for hair balance.

Humidity and Hormones– Satan’s twin hair gremlins– constantly scheming, levels rising and falling daily in a hellish symphony of frizz and droop, sheen and dullness, dryness and oil.

Shampoos and conditioners are probably my frugality Kryptonite. I’m not even that much of a girly-girl, either.

I economize on hair products where I can, using coupons, store brands, free samples and travel-sizes. I also use shampoo and conditioner very sparingly. You don’t need to use a big dripping handful of shampoo for it to clean your hair.  This conserves on both shampoo and the amount of hot water it takes to rinse!

Still, I’m continually experimenting with different combinations of shampoo and conditioners; that elusive Hair Nirvana remains ever out of my grasp.

Shampoo and conditioner formulas always seem come in matching pairs, but I don’t think I’ve ever had any success using them together. I feel a little guilty splitting up siblings like that, but if I need the synergy of Dry to Normal shampoo with Colored/Damaged conditioner, then so be it in the name of Science.

Heaven forbid I should start mixing brands into some hellspawn hybrid cross-promotional chemistry experiment! Guilty.  These days, in fact, I’m using Equate Totally Clean shampoo with Loreal Vive Pro whatever-it-is conditioner. It’s working very well for me… but for how long?

Even when I find a shampoo/conditioner combination that’s perfect, it doesn’t work forever. My hair sooner or later develops an immunity to that perfectly balanced chemistry. Then I must analyze the problem (less conditioning? more body? less build-up? fewer split ends?) and go forth to seek a remedy.

Fortunately, I’ve gathered a huge stockpile of various hair care products from which I may perform alchemy and devise that remedy. Regretfully, a lot of money has been spent, but I try to see the shampoo bottle as half-full.



Filed under conditioner, excess, frugal, hair, haircare, health and beauty, money, money management, personal finance, saving, shampoo, shopping

3 responses to “The Alchemy of Shampoo

  1. I hear what you’re saying about the shampoo/conditioner badness occurring. I spend too much money on hair care products, I know. but also, as you know, I’m addicted to free samples.

    I actually survived for about six months washing my hair with free samples of shampoo and conditioner that I got off the internet. ‘

    Hey, I just read that vinegar makes hair not-frizzy, and it adds highlights to brunette hair!! I’mo have to try that.

  2. cclepew

    Vinegar? Interesting. I’m guessing it strips away “styling build-up”.

  3. HallieBFly

    Actually your hair doesn’t build up immunity – shampoos and conditioners, as well as all products used on hair, sometimes leave deposits on your hair that accumulate over time. Try a clarifying shampoo about once a month and then go back to using up your other shampoos!

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