What’s your Shampoo?



They say that beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin without the want to change. Quite obviously, ‘THEY’ are wrong.


Because according to research, the Beauty and Cosmetic industry is approximately a 378-billion-dollar industry worldwide. So, yes, the people who say all that are probably people like me. The ones who don’t pay much attention to their skin or are amongst the fortunate few who need nothing to be done to their skin or body to meet the ‘impossible standards of beauty as set by the aforementioned industry’. In case you’re wondering, I’m very much in the former. My weight alone would disqualify me from the latter category because I’ll need at least five size-zero models to balance out the scale. I digress, but to summarise it, ‘Beauty is definitely in the hands of the person holding the makeup bag’.



How to get that perfect natural look: Take five different makeup products. Use them together and voila – L’aspect Naturel.
Irony much?


My mother always had one complaint about me. No, actually she had about 245 of them, but this one ranks right up there with the rest of them. She always says (yes, she still does – in fact she said it about a week ago when I last met her) that I have the skin of someone who slaves away day in day out in the paddy fields, tills the earth, and walks barefoot through the coarse land. Of course, the fact that I never refuted this observation didn’t help either.


Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much that I don’t take care of myself –(though my wife might strongly disagree here). It’s more of the fact that I don’t feel the need to invest in hundreds of different moisturisers and beauty products. See, I could generalise and probably say that it’s a guy thing. That on average, most men don’t believe in spending all that money (and effort) in making sure they have fabulous skin. But I can’t. At least not in 2016, when everywhere I turn, I see adverts and posters of macho men moisturising their hands to make them supple, applying fairness creams in their quest for success and talking about pimple-destroying-blackhead-chopping face washes. Metrosexuality has taken the world by storm, and sadly I think I missed the memo.


Well, perhaps not entirely. I have to come clean here and say that once, in what I’d call a rare blue moon occasion, I too have let my curiousness take over,  have succumbed to peer pressure and ended up buying one (or more) of these products. Of course, my skin, that up until this particular point had always been blessed with plain water and some soap, and the occasional face wash smuggled from my mother’s/wife’s cosmetic stash, objected quite vehemently to this sudden attack by foreign molecules. I swear that had my skin learnt to talk, it would have said ‘WTF were you thinking? This is not for us!’ But since my skin is speech-impaired, it responded in kind. Over the next few days, I was ‘gifted’ with pimples of varying shapes, random rashes, white patches and a few other unmentionable ‘souveniers’. Well, that was the end of that.


Now my wife on the other hand,  much like most modern women (yes, I’m generalising) loves her cosmetics. I use the word love quite loosely here – it isn’t like a major chunk of her salary is spent on beauty products, but she’s definitely an ‘above-average’ user of branded products. Fortunately, she’s narrowed down most of her makeup products to one or two brands and knows exactly what she wants. Having said that, it wasn’t the case always. Back during our ‘courting phase’ I remember accompanying her to many different makeup stores. In fact, many a time, I’ve ended up with various smudges / spots on the back of my palm from where she’s tried to find a particular shade of lipstick or concealer or whatever else they’re called. Fortunately, her affinity towards moisturisers meant that she always had hand lotion in her purse, which just erased all the spots off my hand with a couple of rubs.


Have you seen some of the ingredients in the moisturisers and hand lotions available today? They have stuff like butter, cocoa, vanilla, lemon, orange zest.  I mean, they’re just a couple of ingredients short of a cake mix. Soon, we may have to use KFC’s caption – it’s Finger Licking Good – when it comes to moisturisers. I digress. [Seems to happen quite a lot these days, doesn’t it? I must have been Dory in another life]


So, of all the beauty and body products in the market today, my wife has a special fondness towards one particular item. Shampoos. We sort of hoard bottles of shampoo at home. We have some lined up on the counter, some in the storage box under the washbasin and some in the chest of drawers in the bedroom. There are the less expensive every day ones that you get from your local supermarket to ones that we’ve taken from one of our kleptomaniac-fuelled trips from posh hotels and resorts (Okay – those are probably me – remember my Hotel Kleptomania? ) to super expensive ones that probably deserve to be kept under lock and key with a personal security guard.


The world of shampoos is quite a confusing one. There are, to put it quite simply, limitless options. Normal, Dry, Frizzy, Greasy, Oil, Silky, Curly, Long Curly, Short frizzy – the list just goes on and on. Do you want your hair to be normal and silky? Or long and non-greasy? Or maybe short and extra volume? The options can leave you more befuddled than a set of the toughest multiple-choice answers for a CAT entrance test. Is it any wonder why you find people wandering the haircare aisle of the supermarket, scanning different bottles to find one that works the way all these adverts claim they work?


Shampoo shopping gives most of us this ‘Joe Fox-esque’ moment. Remember the scene from the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’ where Tom Hanks’ character talks about buying coffee at places like Starbucks. If you modify it slightly, I think it works well for shampoos too.


“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” – Joe Fox


Of course, we know from experience that most advertisements when it comes to the beauty and cosmetic industry must be taken with a pinch of salt. And shampoos are no different. After all, half of the women advertising the various hair care products seem to sensuously dance in the shower as if they’ve discovered the G-spot on the top of their heads. And here we are, normal human beings, busy trying to remove soap suds from our eyes. If any of them had actually worked, I’d have hair like Professor Snape (who could be a kickass brand ambassador for L’Oreal). Instead, I’m this close to the top of my head looking like Voldemort’s.


What amuses me more than the adverts for these shampoos are the ingredients they contain. The large supermarket near our apartment, for some strange bizarre reason, had the shampoo aisle right opposite the chocolate and juices aisle. What caught my attention was that a lot of the juices and chocolates had similar ingredients to the ones advertised on the shampoo bottles – mint, cucumber, lemon zest, ginger, orange, contains real almonds and so on. These days, shampoos seem to have more minerals, vitamins, fruits and nuts than some of us have in an entire day. Maybe, someday it’ll count towards our five-a-day.




A little education never hurt anyone, I suppose 😉 Say what you will about the shampoos and the choices. The harsh reality is this:



Photo credit: When Rapunzel gets bored via photopin (license)

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  1. Well… I have changed my sampoo … its ayurvedic sampoo and am using ayurvedic hair oil. they have nice herbs, flowers, lime and things like that. I am doing this so that… well I get better hair its got brittle and parlour says its suffering from hair fall. Now about beauty, I always feel I am not good looking in photos, there is always the bad hair and fizzy hair, and face not too nice. Yet again in person I have experienced even due to this people attracted to me and they call me beautiful, and I take it, that is a inside quality insde me they are commenting about. So, there will be make up products that suit you including your dress that will make you happy about you and one should do that. I need to purchase rose water, and face sunscream now(: it’s over… but yeah one cannot gget fair through any of those creams thats too much…
    Maria recently put up this awesome post : Crop Tops – 20 Ways to Style Your Small Crop TopMy Profile

    1. I’m glad that it’s been working for you, Maria. I won’t deny that the products and the natural ingredients do have their uses; after all, that’s what our ancestors probably used before ‘shampoo’ and ‘soaps’ became mainstream.

      Haha! I think that’s the marketing gig – you have to buy those add-ons to sort of appear ‘complete’ in their sense of the word.

      Good to see you here.

  2. New look, just Wow of the website .
    And agree the line aunt says because i have heard this from her many times 😀 not to me but to my brother .

    Cosmetics and skin stories, really there is a lotto write on these as they are major income these days.

  3. Maybe the guy who stocks the shelf got confused and that’s why the shampoos are next to the juices!! Can’t blame him!!
    I used to be like that; sampling all sorts of products trying to find the elixir of youth!! Nowadays, I’ve become my grandmom and only put besan on my face and coconut oil in my hair!! LOL!!

  4. Oh this reminds me about my recent visit to the Salon and how I was ‘showered’ with the various types of shampoos and treatments to give my natural curls (which I absolutely love) a more straighter look. And all this was totally not an advice I would seek for! Sigh! If only a shampoo could change everything, life would be so simple, isn’t it? 😛 😛
    Nibha recently put up this awesome post : The KnockMy Profile

    1. They love to do that at the salon – upselling, as they call it.
      One day, shampoos will change our lives – maybe we’ll go bankrupt buying them.

  5. Don’t you think James is a better model for shampoo ads? Given how his hair is always ruffled in the wind and he seems to keep it that way as well? This is a fun read.. I am soooo sharing it!

  6. My tryst with shampoos and all other hair products .. well… i have never been happy with the results. Yup, often you are promised something, and the end result has always been the opposite for me. I have given up. So I just end up adding my own fruit extracts to well whatever shampoo i get in my hand!!!!! And when it comes to moisturisers well my own thumb rule, atleast when it concerns to Delhi winters, lesser the addtions/fragrances the better. So that often leaves me with the good old white Vaseline “Dabba”…..

    Love your new blog look… works as a sort of inspiration for me, giving me more ideas to revamp my own site.. well whenever I do get to doing it…

    1. I’ve pretty much given up too. In fact, I use a medicated shampoo for some hair treatment and then wash the rest off with some random shampoo I get.

      Vaseline Dabba is awesome 🙂

      Thanks, Ramya. MY services are available for hire 😛

  7. Ha ha! Fun-tastic post.
    Well, talk about men and the race to remove those black heads. I wish BBMP could work on potholes with such zeal. VT also has never tried a thing and if you ask him – I don’t think he will even know that concealer is a beauty product. Coming to me, 2.5 size zeroes will have to balance me too. Luckily I have found one simple brand that’s not exotic for my hair and my skin is just as is. I never used a thing and still don’t so yes – these fruits are only seen on the shelves in super market.
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    1. Glad you liked it, Parul!
      I Wish so too…but alas it’s not in their personal interests – if not BBMP might have done wonders 🙂

      Fruits are best on the supermarket shelves and in our stomachs than in the shampoos 😛

  8. The man with barely there hair wrote a post about shampoos? Well, he has to be a good writer I guess 😛

    I’m very particular about the brands I use. Just like J after going through many brands I found my comfort in one and have stuck to it when it comes to makeup. I have really bad skin and cannot do without makeup. Trust me it is better than having people stop you and ask what happened to your face or give you advice about how to take care of your skin. I do wish I had better skin, but God gave me awesome instead 😀

    I’m obsessed with my hair, so changes in shampoos is a big no for me. I’ve been using the same brand for years now and I couldn’t be more happier.

    I need to take care of my hair you know. Years later when you have none left, I’ll help with the wig.
    Soumya recently put up this awesome post : Sealed PromiseMy Profile

    1. Haha! I knew you’d pick on my rapidly thinning hairline.
      Oh, I’m planning to just shave it all off – easier hair care plan 😉

      You be awesome, girl! For everything else there’s the credit card 😛

  9. They just add yellow color when they say it’s an egg shampoo or green when they say it’s green apple shampoo. I mean imagine the smell of bottled egg!
    I’m not very particular but stick to one brand. My granny had long lusturous hair and she used anything from washing powder to natural shikakai.

    1. Ooo…can’t even imagine what bottled egg would smell like! But they should include the ‘scent’ to make it authentic 😛

      Ah! I reckon we should just go oldschool and follow what prev. generations did.

  10. You wrote an entire post on shampoo and cosmetics! Tussi great ho, Sid. Only you could have engaged yoru readers like this. Now coming to shampoos and cosmetics, well, I don’t use much. All my shampoos are handed down to me by my sister. She buys all branded ones and somehow starts disliking them after using once or twice and I get to keep and use those. The fact that I have horrible hair which behaves the same with just about any shampoo makes me the unwanted shampoo dispenser of the family. But I do use moistureiser religiously, can’t do without them. There is perhaps one bottle in every room and bathroom and my purse. I’m not interested in any other cosmetics, maybe, a lip balm, that’s all. And the husband, well, the only thing he keeps in our dressing table is his hair oil. Any day he uses cosmetics or even a moisturiser, I’ll know someone has switched him 😀

    1. Hehe! Well, I needed some content – and why not on a topic that’s been on my mind 😉
      I like that phrase – ‘unwanted shampoo dispenser’ 😛
      Ah! Moisturiser….see…everyone has something!

      ROFL – for that last one about your husband!

  11. My dad had the best of skin and hair without using any decent products. And my husband has such good skin and he neither uses moisturizers or body lotions. I actually feel quite envious of men. They can look so good with bare minimum effort and no makeup. Personally l am not much a cosmetics person either. Sometimes l buy stuff but it actually is never used. Sigh! Seriously shampoos and shin care products seem to have got more confusing over the years. I just stick to a few brands and don’t even look at other stuff anymore. 😃

    1. Oh! I so envy them too, Rachna! They are so blessed! My dad’s the same too – he hardly takes any care, but his skin is awesome. Hair, well, that really wasn’t all that great. And while I didn’t get the skin, I definitely got the ‘rapidly thinning hair’ 😛

  12. Wohoo!! Awesome! The words, the analogies, the metaphors, everything! I always enjoy what you write Sid.

    Everytime I come to your blog and read your post, it leaves me in awe, only to wonder about the writing classes I’ve been asking you to take from I don’t even when!

    P.S: The blog looks fab. The layout is perfect and so are the fonts and the placement of everything. It’s simple and gives the perfect professional look along with a bit of quirkiness one can expect in your writing. Happy to be here 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for that lovely compliment, Geets! More so because as I read on your blog, you’re fighting a few personal battles too. It’ll pass!

      Re: Blog feedback – Thank you! That’s pretty much the look that I was going for 🙂

    1. Thanks, Upasna. I agree – it’s no long just women; in fact, I think men are adopting it a lot quicker than women are these days – heavy competition there, I’d say. I usually am a ‘one-piece’ person too.

  13. In a world where there are shampoos for all sorts of hair types and skin types, I go with one brand and been using it for a while now.. Else it is one of them sinful body washes that double up and help… Don’t really care much about the drama on the shampoo bottles.. I also think my hair has gone from frizzy, oily to just leave what little I have left be.. It will slap me next time I mess around.. 😂

  14. At my home, the scenario has changed a bit. It is my teenage son who is confused about which product to use. So, now the bathroom cupboard also holds ‘No acne’, ‘No oil’ and a plethora of shampoos for long hair (he is growing it long now, don’t ask), short hair. Apparently, all these products are specifically for men. Means, I have to get a different set too being the lone female in my male-dominated family. Some of the cosmetic companies are rejoicing at catching the boys young and making them lifelong customers.

    1. Haha! Told ya – they make metrosexuals out of all the kids quite early these days.
      And to think I still think of using ‘No tears shampoo’ 😛
      Thanks for stopping by, Lata!

  15. Hahahaha this is hilarious… Oh gosh i am still laughing at the g spot on head line. Your take on these beauty products is so perfect… they contain so much exotic fruits… I haven’t even eaten them in real life. But then I too am a shampoo hoarder… I got three different brands of shampoo and 4 of conditiner. My husband is losing hair just imagining thr bill every time we go shopping
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  16. Snape did need shampoo. He’d do well for a ‘before’ ad! You’re right though it’s so darned confusing. I just pick one of the most generic ones and use it forever. Too much decision -making is just not my way. The daughter is slowly getting to the place where she wants to choose – based solely on advertising of course !

  17. Well! Since you have lived abroad, you will agree that the options available in the US (and UK I guess) are crazy compared to the ones we have in India. A recent shopping trip in NYC made me shrink away from the sheer variety of everything. So while I agree with you about the more vitamins being in shampoos than in our food, probably, I still think we are better off than the hapless people who live amidst the insane abundance of endless choices.

    1. No doubt about that – there are far too many options abroad than in India. In fact, I discovered most of the ‘exotic’ products in the UK. 🙂

  18. Honestly, I don’t care what shampoo I use. Sometimes I will just use S’s, so it should not come as a surprise that I have never read the ingredients at the back of a shampoo bottle and if you asked me hair type, I’d say curly. I must be one of the very few women not interested in self care, much to the dismay of my parents – they keep telling me to take care of myself. But if it involves more than 5 minutes of my time, I am most probably not going to do it.
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  19. If Snape were to volunteer for an ad for shampoo, I would die to watch that ad. I can’t imagine Snape with non-greasy hair.
    Sirius would be a better choice, no? For the Before look- see Prisoner of Azkaban look, and for After- see Grimmauld Palace look 😛

    The fruits and juices added in shampoos make me wonder whether our super-ancient ancestors used the same fruits as shampoos. #JustAThought 😀
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    1. Ah, I’ve always found Sirius a bit too scraggly for my taste. 😛
      But yes, I get the gist.
      I think they did – we’re just ‘inspired’ by them!

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