Follow-up to product conspiracies post


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.

4 Responses to “Follow-up to product conspiracies post”

  1. Trav Says:

    I am having flashbacks to Mr. Swenson (‘The Swede’) with all this talk about “ate”, “ite”, “ic” and “ous”.

  2. awhayes Says:

    Nice – I remember the Swede, though I didn’t have him but some friends did. Chemistry was one of the more painful subjects – though there are some who loved it (they probably make shampoo now). I had Mr. Dees and the only thing I learned from him was how to tune a guitar (by listening for dissonant sound waves).

  3. Australian Tea Tree Oil « packergeeks Says:

    […] the way – this isn’t the first time Packergeeks has wondered about shampoo ingredients – read here for a theory that argues that this process may involve the consumption of multiple Pabst […]

  4. “Self-adjusting” shampoo??? « packergeeks Says:

    […] about shampoo. Brother Steve and I have openly questioned the legitimacy of the shampoo industry in previous posts. Well, this morning, I noticed that the not-so-cheap bottle of shampoo my wife bought recently […]

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