Saturday, February 12, 2011

When your shampoo bottle annoys you

I went grocery shopping yesterday and picked up some toiletry-like things.  I decided I was all into Dove, since they say they make skin really soft and winter makes me practically flake away into oblivion, so I got some of that, and then noticed Dove shampoo and conditioner that was on clearance, as it was being discontinued.  Appealing to me was its claim to be a "heat defense," since I blow-dry my hair just about every day, and it's starting to look a little frizzy.  Some claims it finds room for on the bottle:

Fiber Actives sound important and
scientifical. I'd better buy this product.
helps protect up to 425*F
damage therapy
With patented micro moisture serum and FIBER ACTIVES
Protects hair from heat styling damage
Weightless formula
Advanced care and repair for beautiful hair

What are "fiber actives"?  There's a whole company called Fiberactive Organics, but they make quilts.  Someone who is clearly being paid to talk about how much she loves Dove products ("I literally put my hair to the test everyday") doesn't seem to know, either, since in 5 months, she hasn't been able to answer commenter corrina-corrina's question, "what are fiber actives?"

Anyway, I've been completely unsuccessful in finding any actual information about "fiber actives," so I conclude that they are made up.

Since I've been taking showers, I've always used the labels of shampoo and conditioner bottles as casual reading material while waiting for conditioner to set in.  They have practically the equivalent number of words as a short article about cosmetics in a Cosmo.  They're like novellas about the joys of hair care.  You also learn a lot of "important things."  The back of the shampoo bottle reads:

Allow us to convince you to purchase
our product with our completely useless
 red graphic which indicates danger  
"Dove recognizes that the main reason for our hair problems is damage.  That's why we put damage care and repair at the heart of everything we do.  Did you know? Heat styling appliances can reach up to 425*F and damage essential proteins in the hair. Advanced damage care and repair system:

Formula with patented MICRO MOISTURE SERUM builds a protective shield around the hair fiber to help your hair defend against high temperatures from heat styling.  Leaves hair protected and ready to style everyday without weighing it down."

Then there's a chart that helpfully illustrates the symptoms of damaged hair, like, that it feels and looks damaged, and that more damage requires more protection.  Thanks, Dove...

My husband uses Crew shampoo.  Crew makes higher-end hair products and markets them to men.  The front of the bottle says:

[American Crew logo]
Official Supplier to Men
For normal to Oily hair and scalp

The back of the label reads:

"Gently washes away excess oil on hair and scalp.  Wheat protein promotes strength."

While the usually-women's shampoo bottle wishes it could just come with a complete 55-page waterproof manual, the men's shampoo bottle almost seems afraid of words entirely.  What information do we need to have on our shampoo bottles?  What is helpful?  Ingredients, for one.  The fewer, the better, usually.  And if there are components of the formula that would be better used on a certain type of hair, that's generally good to know.  But good god, please don't insult my intelligence.  Your product is not likely to change my life to any great extent.

Marketing to the lowest common denominator all the time annoys me.  I will say this, though: I'm having a really great hair day today.  I take it back.  Several hours later, my hair is now quite uncharacteristically flat, and I've got a weird cowlick thing going on in front that is irritating me.  It's probably a good shampoo/conditioner for someone who likes a more sleek look, or who uses a straightening iron for styling, but for people like me who like our hair to look a little fluffier, the conditioner is way too heavy.  My hair is very soft, though.