17 November 2011

My favorite things: Oscar Blandi dry shampoo

It’s getting to be serious crunch-time here, folks. The dissertation – now well over 200 pages that I’ll have to xerox and hole-punch four times for each of my committee members – is due in five days. FIVE DAYS. The defense is in twelve. Did you know the graduate school sends you an official paper letter in the mail, reminding you of your defense date and time? I stuck it on my refrigerator, to keep the stress level high. And oh yeah, I suppose there’s a major American holiday that we’ll be traveling for in the middle of that craziness.

Sounds like a great time to talk about something as frivolous as cosmetics!

But hear me out! And turn your grossed-out threshold down a bit, because I’m going to make a big confession: Over the last year, I have slowly but surely been working on a project. A project besides my dissertation. The project’s goal? Be able to go a week without washing my hair.


Now wait. The goal isn’t to have nasty hair all the time, the goal is to have decent-looking hair for a week without washing it. BIG DIFFERENCE. And admit it, you would rather not have to wash your hair daily, right? With the pricey shampoo and the blow-drying and all that? And then your hair looks icky the next day and needs to be washed whether you want to or not because your scalp expects it? Exactly.

To do this project you need but two things. The first is a whole lot of patience, because it is going to take a while to train your scalp not to make all the gunk you’re usually washing away. It took me over a year. And second is this:

That would be Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo, and you can get it here at Sephora (and perhaps other places). This stuff is amazing – forget everything you have ever heard about dry shampoo (or heaven forbid, substituting baby powder). This stuff magically absorbs all the oil without turning your hair chalky or cakey. The key is to use it sparingly – yes, you will look prematurely gray if you squirt the whole bottle on your head (and smell like a lemon, because this stuff is rather strongly scented). I put just a little in my hand, smooth it in the worst places (usually my temples and behind my ears), and brush my hair. Within minutes it’s invisible and I’ve bought myself another day of not washing my hair. Score.

Even though it looks expensive, when you consider how long it lasts, it’s actually a deal (less than my pricey shampoo and conditioner, by far). I first bought the little 1-oz. bottle for $11, and it lasted me nearly two years. I then got the 2.5-oz. bottle for $19, around the time I started this project, and it’s still three-quarters full - and I’m using it regularly now, of course. (In contrast, I’ve heard the spray is only good for a few uses, which is ridiculous, so skip that one.)

Now, this dry shampoo may be one of my favorite things, but can only do so much. More importantly is to streeeetch the time between washing your hair. I already washed my hair every two days, or three if I could stand it, but it still would be a few months before I felt like my hair was not-gross enough to stretch another day. Wait a few more months, add a day, repeat. It also helps that I was already reluctant to wash my hair if I didn’t have to, but nevertheless, this required commitment. And fortunately there was good ol’ Oscar to help out, until my scalp gradually learned that I wasn’t going to be applying chemicals to strip away the oils, so it could stop freaking out, thanks.

And that’s it! No fancy pillowcases, no new hair-washing tools or tips, no hairstyles-to-cover-the-oil. Just Oscar and patience.

But “pics or it didn’t happen”, right? Okay! Here’s what I look like after rolling out of bed six days after last washing my hair:

If you can momentarily stop staring at the ridiculous dissertation-enhancing undereye-puff I’ve got going on, you can see that my hair looks fine. Six days after washing my hair! Six! Is it as squeaky-clean as when it’s first washed? No, but it’s definitely better than my hair used to be on day two after washing. My scalp and I are buddies now.

There’s even a bonus. You know how when you are getting ready for a formal event, and you go to the hairdresser for an up-do, they request that you not wash your hair in advance? That’s because you get a better up-do with “natural” hair than squeaky-clean. And we all know that I love a good thirty-second chunky up-do (and concealer for the crazy eye-bags):

That is currently my main hairstyle now that I’m spending most of my day in a chair writing, writing, writing. And I’m probably saving hours each week not having to wash my hair every other day. Now that I’m majorly stressed out trying to finish everything up? I need every one of those hours.

But how about you? Now that winter is upon us, and you won’t be getting a sweaty head as much? Save yourself from static-y hair, and give it a try!