Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sepia Saturday #236: Wash, Rinse, Repeat!








This shampoo-head photo is the closest I could come to the prompt this week. Studying the mass of suds on my 8 year old head, I thought of the famous shampoo algorithm : "Wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat"!  Originally the instructions were to "wet hair, lather and rinse". This is a fine example of the power of a single word used wisely, in this case "repeat". Legend has it that Proctor and Gamble's shampoo sales doubled with the addition of that single word.

We weren't "repeating" much during this era. Actually I think my Mom washed our hair with the soap. The single bar of soap in the bathroom was used for everything.  I can remember it stinging our eyes when she scrubbed our hair in the tub....as below where my sister and I are enjoying our double bath and shampoo. I love this photo with the shadows, my sister's eyes shining, my giggle you can almost hear. Dad's white ink note fits particularly well on this scene. Today would you call this a spa day? The washtub soak was another version of our 50's spa day - in the photo below I've grown to about the maximum size for the back yard "jacuzzi". Joycie, my little friend, waiting for her turn, probably wouldn't have fit in the tub - maybe that's why she looks kind of sad. And I look smug.

























Employing a strategy similar to the shampoo instructions in simplicity, Alka-Seltzer sales zoomed up with the advent of the plop, plop, fizz, fizz commercials. Prior to that time, the instructions on Alka-Seltzer were to use one tablet at a time. Just one plop. Since Alka-Seltzer was comprised mainly of aspirin and recommended dosage for aspirin was 2 tablets, the company's advertising agency in the early 60's, Jack Tinker and Associates, came up with the idea of double-plopping. The plop plop ads they developed became some of the best known of the 20th century.

Alka-Seltzer Commercial
http://youtu.be/icwW6H-PJ-0

I'm happy to have missed the era of those horrible helmet hair dryers shown in the prompt. There our heroine sits, probably hot and sweaty, with the fumes from the nail polish paraphernalia gagging her. Were those chemicals not flammable? I guess not, as her cigarette is smoldering inches away from the bottles. We women have always been gluttons for punishment. She probably reached for the Alka-Seltzer when she got home.

I did my share of suffering for hair fashion. Fighting naturally curly hair which has gotten curlier and curlier as I age, I suffered through the straight style decades and ironed my hair in the sixties. Predictably the pendulum swung (swang?) and I got to gloat during the curly 80's when Barbra Streisand popularized the very same frizz I saw in the mirror every morning! Didn't have to do a thing which was great when on the road...here in Australia circa 1984.
Barbra and the look!

Smiling my way through the 80's
The frizz ran in the family. Here's my great uncle James on the left in the photo. Shampoo manufacturers would have loved him with that mop of unruly hair and beard. Uncle James!
Listen up!!!! Wet that hair, shampoo, rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat.



Bonus link: If you're interested in reading some very dark but excellent Orwellian type stories about manipulating consumers, give George Saunders a whirl. His stories are free here.
Free George Saunders stories
My favorites (not that anyone should care) are "The Semplica-Girls Diaries" and "Adams" which is not about consumerism but is so totally brilliant (think Iraq war).



For more hair raising stories, check out the others at  Sepia Saturday.

19 comments:

  1. Don King has nothing on Uncle James!

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  2. I love your Bathers photo, and the frizzy hair and ironing in the sixties are things I also endured in my attempts to look like everyone else. I even got my hair professionally straightened when I was about fourteen, but the effect lasted until I next washed it, ie. a week or less.

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  3. My mother used to wash my hair in the sink. She had a special collar made for hair washing. It was kind of like a flat flexible plastic donut with a hole in the center for my head. It kept the water on my head and not below.

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    1. The collar sounds great. We were always wet down the back!

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  4. Love the picture of Barbra. Reminds me of the movie "The Way We Were". You looked pretty good with all those curls, too. I never had to iron my hair, it was straight as an arrow all on its own. Then it turned silver & suddenly, I had curls. Surprise!

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    1. So you have silver curls? How lucky is that!

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  6. Love the Proctor and Gamble story. Indeed, I love the photos as well, particularly the one of Great Uncle James.

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  7. Doubled their sales! I bet that's true!

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  8. Suds and lather on the first photo is precious! Great stories, and photos. I like Barbara and all her looks through the years!

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  9. You were way prettier than Barbra. I love your curly hairdo.
    Nancy

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  10. Thanks for introducing me to a new author. I'm embarrassed I hadn't heard of him. Your great-uncle's hair is truly astounding :)

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    1. Happy to point you George's way.

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  11. That first picture is a real gem. My daughter had hair like yours in the 80's.

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  12. I love those childhood photos. So cute!

    You have reminded me that Mum used Velvet soap for everything, including washing hair! This also made me remember that Gran used the Velvet soap in a wire holder that we had to shake in the water to make bubbles!

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  13. Thanks for a most enjoyable story with great photos of women and girls (and a few men) and hair, and hair products. Yes I may never have used Plop plop, but it was certainly on everyone's TVs. I still refuse to shampoo twice because then I have to put another product into my hair to reduce the frizz, called a conditioner!

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