It’s an impulse I’ve never been able to control. I can scoff at the lies politicians, diet plans, and car salesmen tell, but I’m an absolute sucker when it comes to the empty promises of coconut-scented shampoo peddlers. When I was younger, my allowance was saved up for Twinkies and Tootsie Rolls. By the time I was twelve, I was saving my babysitting money for bottles of Aussie Megashampoo with Papaya. When I was old enough to get a job after school at the local pharmacy, one of my managers recognized my addiction immediately. That clever bastard used to have me straighten and restock the shampoo aisle every payday—and every payday, I’d spend half of my earnings on that aisle.
I don’t know why this addiction continues to plague me. I’ve tried all sorts of products—from hot oil treatments to curl revitalizers, split end repair kits and volume boosters—and not one of them has ever given me the wavy, silky locks that bounce and shine merrily on the crowns of models in the Herbal Essences commercials. So why do I continue to waste money on these products? Can’t I just use the cheap V05 stuff and be done with it?
Perhaps I’d let it go if I hadn’t seen these beautiful waves, whispered of in the Pantene halls and magical Garnier springs, in person.
Unlike unicorns and werewolves, I’ve encountered these glossy locks promised by Paul Mitchell and Bed Head out in the wild. Maybe you could argue that Helen at American Ambulance was an anomaly of nature, a woman blessed with naturally luxurious hair through a rare mix of good genes and luck, a genetic jackpot never to be seen again. But then I met Catherine at MetLife, and she had the same silky, bouncy waves. This was no fairytale: both of these real-life women have hair fit for a superheroine. It was all the proof I needed: perfect hair does exist, and it is obtainable.
So I continue to seek magic in a bottle like a crazy woman on the hunt for a genie. I’ve managed to make my hair flat, sticky, frizzy, dry, and on a few occasions, straight. Full disclosure: there have been periods in my life when my naturally curly hair has lost its curl, and is more likely to be blamed on stress and the water on Block Island than on Avon’s Banana Hair Repair Deep Conditioning Treatment. But I still spent a fortune on shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and sprays that promised to restore those curls, to no avail. I have yet to find a hair treatment that doesn’t make me feel like a dowdy fuzzhead when I’m standing next to Helen or Catherine.
I learned about a decade ago that a good haircut makes all the difference when it comes to curls. One trip to my hairdresser is usually all it takes to bring the bounce back to my locks. But they’re never glossy or shiny. My curls don’t slide through my fingers like silk, like I imagine Helen’s hair does but she slapped my hand away the one time I tried to find out so I don’t know for sure.
Deep down, I know I should stop. There is no magical formula in a bottle that’ll give me the glossy waves I so desire. Logically, the Spock side of my brain whispers this whenever there’s a sale on Suave. Just buy the cheap stuff, Spock advises. It smells like coconut. Won’t that be fun?
Okay, Spock, I get it. I know. I’ll just buy the stupid, sensible Sua—but wait. Pantene’s on sale, and look! Now they make Pro-V Curl Perfection Dream Care Shampoo and Conditioner! This could be the answer I’ve been looking for all along!
That’s right, folks. Ten dollars later, and my hair looks like this:
I’d like to say this has convinced me. But CVS has their TRESemme Keratin Smooth collection on sale this week.
Let it not be said that I am a quitter.