For the past few weeks, people have been coming up to me and asking if I’m all right. I’ve seen looks of concern all over–surprising especially, because every fashion writer spends September a little more ragged, a little more tired, a little thinner. People have been asking me how I’m doing, if work’s going well, and if I’ve been under any new stress.
The reason this is happening is simple: I have not washed my hair for a while. Running around the city during NYFW probably contributed to a more-bedraggled-than-usual appearance, but I think the real culprit is that my hair has collected weeks worth of dirt, oil, grit and old fashioned amorphous New York City grime. I’ve been testing dry shampoos for this very post, and I’ve been doing it by going about a week between washes.
I realized, though, when I sat down to write this that 1500 words on dry shampoo would be a hell of a lot more interesting if I also had a drug problem.
I’m reminded of a really old episode of Doug where Doug has to write an essay on silt. He sits at his desk for hours, but the only words on his paper remain, “Silt is…” In the echelon of uninteresting things of the world, I’d rank dry shampoo right near silt, alongside the weather, dry toast and hearing about your dream last night. How, I wondered, was I going to squeeze a longform post out of this without admissions of vastly more alluring subjects like, I don’t know, smoking PCP or absentee parents? I wondered.
As all deeply boring things begin, here is a definition: dry shampoo is sometimes a spray but, more traditionally, a white powdery substance (perfect!) that can be used to “clean” and freshen up the hair when it’s not possible to actually wash it. Dry shampoo works by stripping out all the excess oil–along with leftover sweat and general nastiness–that the hair is producing because you’re not washing it.
The product has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more research suggests that washing hair too frequently can be really, really bad for it–especially using commercial shampoos and conditioners, often loaded with harsh, unpronounceable shit–and strips away the hair’s natural oils. Dry shampoo can extend that time between washing a few extra days, but keep you from looking like a greasy, drug-addled mess.