Sorry, I'm Washing My Hair

All right--let's get one thing straight. A Bad Grrl never lets a Bad Hair Day stop her from doing whatever she pleases. And a Bad Grrl would never use this lame excuse to avoid a social engagement.

Honesty is an important part of a proper Bad Grrl attitude. Shakespeare wrote, "Take note, take note, O world! To be direct and honest is not safe." Well, Shakespeare wrote a lot of crap along the way (have you ever seen the "The Taming of the Shrew"?), but he's right on this one. Being honest isn't safe--but being safe and being a Bad Grrl are incompatible goals. So don't lie about washing your hair. It's just a bad idea.

But since I'm on the subject, a word about washing and conditioning your hair. Glands in your scalp produce oil to make your hair shiny and flexible. Shampoo washes away that oil--along with the dirt that clings to it.

Shampoos contain detergent or soap. If you were ever duped (in a fit of Earth Mother consciousness) into substituting that Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap for your shampoo, you probably know that it's not a good idea.

You see, soap solutions are alkaline or basic. The shaft of every one of your hairs is covered with cuticle cells that overlap, like the tiles on a terra cotta roof. In a basic solution, these cuticle cells swell up and get rougher. Soap may leave behind soap scum, deposits of calcium and magnesium. A rough surface and a layer of soap scum -- leaves your hair looking dull.

That's why old-fashioned beauty books suggested rinsing with lemon juice or vinegar. Acid helps dissolve soap scum and makes the cuticle scales lie flat, making your hair shiny and smooth. Most shampoos and conditioners are slightly acidic, for the same reason.

So the take-home message is this:

    1. Don't lie.
    2. Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap may be great for getting rid of ants ( ) but don't use it on your hair!

BadGrrlz Contents | Bad Grrlz and Bad Hair | Books by Pat Murphy