Things have sure gotten complicated since I was a kid. I’ve known this for a while in that detached way we have of noticing things that come on gradually. Like when we notice we need a haircut. Just how complicated life has gotten hit me while I was standing in the hair care aisle of a large store.
Twenty years ago the same store had one small section devoted to hair care products. You had four brushes to choose from, hair bands, barretts, curlers, and some combs and picks. There were curling irons in one size and all of them could be purchased for under ten dollars. Now there are curling irons in multiple sizes that you have to take out a small loan to afford. There are flattening irons, crimping irons and things that I’m not quite sure what they do. I noticed the picks were no longer available for purchase at this store, but there were many more brushes to choose from. Wide brushes, round brushes, small brushes, folding brushes, brushes with bristles, brushes with hard bristles or soft, brushes with spikes, brushes with hard handles or padded handles in either smooth or ribbed. Pet brushes are a few aisles over, but toothbrushes are one aisle over. Amazingly, the brushes weren’t what made me think how complex life had gotten though. It was when I turned around that it hit me in the face….almost literally.
When I was sixteen there were few brands of hairspray to choose from. I won’t mention the brands here, but they were all aerosols. Pump hairspray didn’t hit the market until I was in my early twenties and people started caring about the hole in the ozone. There was only one hold available and regardless of what they called it, it would keep a woman’s hair from moving in a convertible at 60 mph. I counted twenty-seven brands of hairspray. There is soft hold, firm hold, flex hold, super hold, extra hold, super flex hold and the list goes on.
Everyone used hair gel in the 80′s if you really wanted your big hair to stay big. Mousse became popular when I was in college. There are now as many types of mousse as there are hairsprays in all different holds. There is also hair wax, hair gel and products to make your hair shine, lighten your hair in the sun, make your hair glitter or grow faster. Shampoos don’t just clean your hair anymore and conditioners don’t just take out tangles. They now have the ability to make your hair straight, wavy, curly, thicker, unfrizz your hair or make it shiny. Some shampoos even promise to make hair grow back. You can get the anti-frizz with volume or without. There are as many combinations as there are brands. If I was a better mathematician I would calculate for you here the millions of combinations of shampoos, conditioners, gels, mousses, sheens, waxes and sprays. It’s enough to give a girl a headache and I haven’t even mentioned the hair dye which is no longer called dye. It is now “tint” or “color”.
If a trip to the store for a new shampoo and conditioner can get me this confused, I sure am glad I’m didn’t go in the electronics section.