Helpful household tip or hindrance?

Published 6:05 pm Sunday, November 7, 2021

By Anne C. Carmichael

Oft times, we seniors tend to think we know more than the younger generation simply by osmosis and because we’ve been on the planet longer.

If we’re to be absolutely honest, much of our so-called wisdom is borne of failed experiences and pure stupidity, but lessons were gleaned nonetheless.

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Today, I will share a recent lesson that I was forced to learn out of necessity. It could, however, save you money and perhaps improve your appearance. (OK, so maybe you won’t look great, but with a little luck and my ingenuity, it could prevent others pointing a finger and cackling when they see you out in public).

Allow me to provide a bit of backstory that will hopefully garner an explanation (or excuse if you will) for my lapse in judgment and the ah-ha moment that saved me from myself.

I grew up in a household with a mother who had been a licensed beautician since she was just out of high school. She worked in salons near each of the army bases where my father was stationed during WWII and continued on that career path when they returned to Kentucky after the war.

She hung up her smock and scissors when they adopted me in 1951. She was a full-time mother and homemaker until I started high school. That’s when Daddy built her a two-station beauty shop onto our house.

The majority of Mom’s clients were between the ages of 50-65+, so when a younger person booked an appointment, requesting a more current style or process, I was often the unwitting dummy on whom Mom and her staff experimented.

My point is–over a period of fifty years or so, I learned about many aspects of hair care. I must admit my experience often gives me a false sense of confidence that can and has led to disaster.

Additionally, In these challenging economic times, many seniors find themselves drifting from a single monthly Social Security check to the next like tumbleweeds across the Sahara. We often have to get creative and ‘make-do’. We squeeze a penny until Lincoln jumps up off his concrete monument and screams.

So not surprisingly, I no longer have a dozen bottles of various hair care products lined up like sentinels around the shower.

In the past, there were half a dozen bottles of potions formulated to address every meteorological impact on my tresses as well as scents to accompany my many moods.

Oh, there are times when I make a purchase to correct a certain issue of concern, such as my recent purchase of a shampoo to eliminate yellowing from porous silver, grey or white hair.

Now, granted — the bottle clearly says ‘FOR OCCASIONAL USE ONLY.’ It even goes further to explain that more frequent use than the recommended once a week could cause hair to absorb too much of the purple pigment.

Well surely my years as a beautician’s daughter made me smarter than the manufacturer, right? So I proceeded to use this product daily, rather than weekly.

I’m sure you see where this is going. Had I not been such a know-it-all and had I taken even one quiet moment to listen, I likely could’ve heard my snow-white hair choking on the purple pigment, even as I lathered up.

But I’m always in a hurry to do nothing, so I went merrily on my way with lavender suds soaking into my blissfully unknowing brain.

That is until this morning, when even through a pre-coffee haze and without my glasses, I walked past the mirror and saw an image of a one-eyed, one-horned, flying PURPLE people eater.

I ran screaming for the most reliable source of help available — the internet.

I was a bit miffed to discover that, while good ole Google was, as always, ready to help, they were a bit judgmental. Basically, every link said, ‘Next time, read the label and act accordingly.’

I was indignant when they told me a plethora of expensive products to buy. As I often do, I talked back to the inanimate object that is my laptop. ‘If I could afford more products, I wouldn’t need you’, I told it.

A few modifications to my query with words such as ‘natural’ and ‘homeopathic’ and ‘common household staples’ finally led me to a few solutions that I felt were not only readily at hand and would cost me nothing, but also might just work.

Of course, my own creative bent and know-it-all attitude caused me to once again modify several of the recommendations. Will I never learn?

I won’t bore you with the failed attempts to rid my hair of whatever purple flowers gave their life for this seemingly permanent pigmentation; but because I feel I am noblesse obliged and have dedicated my column to the betterment of my generation, I will share my success story.

Whereas Google suggested clarifying shampoo, I substituted Dawn dishwashing liquid. I surmised that it was safe for that darling baby duck that was covered in oil spilled from the Exxon Valdez, it should be safe for my delicate locks, right? And it said Platinum on the bottle, so that’s a nice silvery shade, isn’t it?

Another tip that caught my eye and which sat waiting in my kitchen cabinet was an apple cider vinegar rinse.

So, my dears, I am pleased to tell you that if your grey, silver, or white crowning glory is yellowing from external factors such as heated appliances (blow dryers, curling/straightening devices or merely air pollution) and you’ve fallen victim to the purple products for light-colored hair…..I hope this tip will save you from the same trauma as I’ve experienced today.

As always, here to help. Until next time.

NOTE: My personal experience and subsequent solution are for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as recommendations or fact.