May 21, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Hair concerns

When traveling one should explore as much as possible, right? Why else travel but to see and experience things one cannot see or do at home? My visit to Central Market in Austin, Texas is illustrative. In the aisle, of what I will call, personal products was an assortment of hair products, specifically shampoo.

To be clear, I’m not receiving any remuneration for writing about this particular product, presenting its remarkable features to a public that may be unaware of its existence. The product is John Masters shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray sitting prominently on the shelf at eye level, leading me to believe that Central Market probably gets a kickback on sales, but not the point.

I counted four different shampoos with John Masters’ logo: 1. a Voluminzing Shampoo with Rosemary & Peppermint; 2. a Daily Nourishing Shampoo with Lavender & Rosemary; 3 a Scalp Stimulating Shampoo with Spearmint & Meadowsweet; 4. a Scalp Conditioning Shampoo with Zinc & Sage. Also available were a John Masters’ Hair Spray with Acaciagum & Aloés, USDA organic, and a Daily Nourishing Conditioner with Citris & Neroli. Upon reviewing this selection (of just one company’s products), I could only ask myself — What has happened to us? But then I recanted. I, among my contemporaries, are ultimate consumers — this is what we do — consume. One needs to be able to discuss intelligently the pros and cons of lavender and rosemary vs spearmint and meadowsweet.

Unfortunately, I often feel I am lacking in the ability to be a modern American in this regard. But travel, as is clear from my experience in the Central Market is helpful. I am certainly open to being informed — why travel in the first place if not open to new things and experiences. For me, Central Market was a new thing; and indeed, not only did they have shampoo but fresh octupi. The Market was indeed a new experience and one I shall not forget for some time. Not quite as spectacular as the Grand Canyon, but for us ultimate consumers, quite an adventure.

I will have to admit, I purchased neither octupi nor shampoo. The Walgreen’s shampoo I normally purchase without essence of plants seems to work ok and it would be a considerable time without food before I could bring myself to eat octopus; both prejudices, I assume, resulting from the fact that living in rural Iowa, having been born in rural Iowa, and practicing law in rural Iowa where octupi are rarely seen and John Masters’ hair products are not available, my sudden exposure to this massive and diverse quantity of purchasable products was difficult for me to comprehend and mentally digest — being a rather rural person.

Once again, the power of travel. And even if I am still unsure about the relative benefits of rosemary and peppermint vs zinc and sage, I now know there are some and further investigation is necessary for me to continue to be a proper, modern-day, American consumer.

Richard E H Phelps II