Can You Read the Directions on Your Hair and Beauty Products?
When I was in college, I had a sorority sister who woke up one morning in a fog, and mistakenly put vaginal cream instead of Crest on her toothbrush. We laughed about it all the time during our junior and senior years of college. Personally, I think a nasty grain alcohol punch at a frat party the night before was partly to blame.
These days, most of us don’t make those kind of mistakes, at least not because of alcohol. Truth be told, I make them because, damn it, I can’t read the fine print. When I can’t read the directions on the back, something bad is bound to happen. Damn these manufacturers, they still don’t get me–don’t they know I can’t keep my progressive glasses in the shower? Sometimes the glasses are kept beside the toilet, of course, where they are extremely essential. Manufacturers don’t seem to get that I can’t read a size 4 font. See? Of course you don’t.
Don’t you find manufacturers always telling you to follow the directions? I am a 45-plus woman and believe I am in the age range for a critical market. Don’t you agree? As a mature consumer, I am supposed to be checking out if the ingredients are going to kill me, right?
I want to be honest with you. My deep hydration UV+ Bamboo hair masque that I recently received as a holiday gift has been sitting in my shower for two months–I don’t know if it is a leave-in conditioner or rinse-out. The print is so small I can’t even read it with my progressive glasses. Same with a product in a fancy glass dispenser called Caviar Anti-Aging, Photo-Age Defense Repair, Patch & Protect. That one has been sitting in my linen closet collecting dust while I try to figure out if it is a hair product or a skin product. Who knows? Maybe it is both (or maybe it is a dessert topping— seriously, it looks and smells delicious!)
I complained to my boyfriend once about my beauty merchandise. He loves it when I complain about first world problems like my bathroom products. He was less than empathetic. “You would think that after 45years, you would know how to shampoo and condition without directions,” he said, and walked away. Men! They so don’t get it. And what was I thinking discussing this topic with a man who uses one-step?
So I called a friend. One with big hair and eyes like mine. “Oh My God,” she said, “I hear you, sister.” Just recently, she told me, she had been walking around for several days with sticky, greasy, flat hair. She was miserable, and mystified. She finally figured out that the hair product she had been using was not a styling cream at all, but was actually a rinse-out conditioner. Another friend told me about a girl who put a pomade styling product on her hair as a leave-in conditioning treatment and went out for a walk in the hot sun. The wax in the product melted down her forehead, bugs got stuck in her hair, and she couldn’t get the product out for days. No alcohol involved in these situations, just a lack of legible directions.
I’ve come to realize that my beauty products are complicated- Nourishing rinses, thickening agents, relaxants, curl protectants, sculpting foams, balms, mousses, repair creams, straightening treatments. The bottles and tubes are beautiful, and they smell good enough to eat, but since I am 45-plus, I need to know three basics — in a bold 14-point font: 1. What body part does it go on? 2. Is it leave in or wash out? And, 3. Are the ingredients going to kill me?
Because without instructions, I am dangerous.