Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: It’s a sham


If Dr Seuss were alive today he’d be writing the product claims for hair products. Clearly, where science fails, fiction takes its place. Like Seuss, the creative departments at the hair companies seem to have a peculiar talent for making up words for things that literally can’t happen. Seuss, however, was dealing with the imagination of small children. These copywriters are dealing with the unruly hair of disappointed adults. The stuff that grows on top of the place where the imagination is thought to live. Perhaps it is the use of said products that has contributed to the adult death of aforementioned imagination.

While shampooing the other day I took note of a preposterous product claim. Apparently it contained something called an ‘enviro lock complex’. I googled it. Sounded so scientific. You put complex behind any word and it sounds all sciencey. Except for Oedipus Complex, but it you’re using that on your hair then chances are you need to do a little South Pacific shuffle and wash that Mum right out of Your Hair.

Okay, Envirolock actually exists, but not for hair. I’m rather shocked to find out it’s a low-pressure sewer-pump system. Gross. They’re talking untreated shit. That’s not something you want locked into your follicles. Another google reveals Envirolock is used for keeping rubbish where it belongs until it self-releases. Wow, I don’t know if I want to rub it on my head or all over my bin.

Now I’ve bought the No Frizz. So I guess what they are telling me is that they have created a chemical solution that can lock in the environment. I guess that means moisture. But could it not also mean carbon? Sunlight? Rocks? Dirt? I guess what you lock in on any given day depends on your environment.

The very dirty truth about shampoo marketing is that it’s full of lies and impossible claims. Like ‘Makes Hair Healthier’. Hair is dead. You can’t bring it back to life. If it worked on hair, it would work on people. When your beloved drops dead in your arms just rub him all over with some Pantene, and he’ll be springy and alive in no time. The most it can do is give you ‘healthy looking’ hair. That’s basically like smokers. They’re healthy looking because they’re not fat. But they’re not actually healthy. Just healthy looking. They’re dead on the inside.

Another common claim is ‘reverses damage’. I could do with that at the Woolies carpark, as I have caused my fair share of damage while reversing. But you can’t reverse damage. We all know if you’ve done the damage you have to live with it. Your hair tells the stories of your sins. If it were really bad I’d shave it off. That’s not damage reversing, but it’s not a bad reset.

Another bogus claim is when it says ‘makes hair thicker’. That’s like buying kale with the belief that it ‘makes you better’. It doesn’t. It’s just smugness. And it doesn’t last. It’s just another kind of ‘green smoothie’ superiority. You’ll pass it in the toilet as just another ‘sham’ poo.

Some of the words are incredible though. Like Aveda’s anti-humectant. It sounds terrifying. I think it’s something like an enviro-lock but it fights humectant. This one actually exists in the dictionary. Humectants are additives that bind water and seem to be engaged in some sort of water activity reduction. I couldn’t find a definition for an anti-humectant. I guess it would be like some water-reduction-fighting hair-based superhero who was totally against repelling water.

I found another product that claimed to be a moisture block that operated with high-viscosity silicones. I’m not a health nut but if I’m against putting silicone in my tits, I’m not putting it on my head. Another one calls itself Thermasmooth shine extend. Now they’ve clearly made that one up. And why the obsession with smoothness? Clearly we are in a battle against frizz. Against roughness. Against the unruly unpredictability of the hair follicle. All I wanted to do was wash my hair. Turns out if the product claims are anything to go by, I’ll be washing my brain as well.

2 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: It’s a sham”

  1. Marion says:

    Good one, Mandy. Some time ago I saw one that was used by the Aztecs! Imagine the odour of Astec hair!

  2. andrew says:

    Good one Mandy, did you read the ingredients. Sodium laurel/laureth sulphate……makes the bubbles and is the main ingredient in industrial degreasers. POISON to your skin and is able to penetrate your pores and accumulate in your system. They don’t tell you that on the bottle…..

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