The weirdest thought came to me when I was in the midst of my hair-grooming ritual for a Sunday brunch this week. At the bottom of it all, there are only two types of men in this world. There are the shampoos and there are the conditioners.
The shampoo man pokes your existential dilemmas and all the scabs you are dying to hide, digs out your rough bits, makes you cry, gets all the muck out of you, cleanses you of ‘issues’ and extraneous stuff, and eventually leaves you to be your free, uncluttered self. The conditioner man smoothes your rough edges, soothes, tames the frizz, nurtures and nourishes you, and stays on to help you... well, sort of, bounce and shine.
Every man wants to be a conditioner, but whether they like it or not, quite a few men have to do the dirty work of being the shampoo. Ideally, what is recommended by experts is a combination of shampoo and conditioner, the sequence in which they appear being of prime importance. Women usually graduate from shampoos to conditioners in men, but sometimes they could end up with a shampoo man, and never know what a conditioner man could have done for them.
The jury is still out on whether one man can be both. For the moment, at least trichologists or hair-care experts will tell you, “Shampoos are supposed to leave and conditioners are supposed to stay. How can they be together?”
By that logic, the shampoo-cum-conditioner concept, in men or hair-care products, is at best, an oxymoron.
Most women have been through more shampoos than conditioners in men and it takes quite a few rinses to know if either of them is doing a good job. But then they say, it’s never too late to discover a good hair product. In my experience, the twenties are about shampoos and the thirties are about conditioners. If you are well into your thirties and still haven’t graduated from shampoos, you need to take note and figure out why.
On the face of it, they could look the same, so there’s no telling the difference really. The difference is in texture, in how your hair (metaphorically, you) feels after they’ve left.
It’s easy to forget the shampoos once we reach our good hair days, and are basking in conditioners, but we must all remember that it’s they who made us what we are. So here’s a quick thank you to all the shampoos of my life.
Now, why didn’t I talk to L’oreal or Garnier before I wrote this? Beats me.