Brother Steve wondered in his initial product conspiracies post about whether Head and Shoulders cures or causes dandruff. If it doesn’t cause it, it sure doesn’t make it better. Either way, this leads to a larger question: how do they even make shampoo? How do they decide which ingredients to put in there and which chemical concoction is going to specifically be the one that eliminates dandruff, or adds 3 times the volume, or gives you that silky shine.
This morning, I read the ingredients of my shampoo bottle and have reached the conclusion that shampoo making is a conspiracy on par with carseats for kids (about to spend our 600th dollar on carseats for one child). I noticed that there was one ingredient that was 28 letters long, followed immediately by another that was 25 letters long – both of which started with methyl….Neither of these made up words can possibly mean anything. Then I noticed one ingredient called sodium benzoate. I think what happened here is that they knew they wanted some benzo, but weren’t sure how to end the word so they added the common ending for chemicals “ate” to make it sound better – then they poured salt on it.
But what my wife and I wondered the other day is what it must be like to be a chemist for a shampoo company. Once you add the water, the coloring, some mayonnaise and the fragrance, there is nothing to do but make stuff up. I’ll bet when they write up the “ingredients” to be listed on the bottle, they are well into a keg of Pabst and roaring with laughter. I have to admit, that would be kind of fun.