This should come as a surprise to no one, but the beauty industry has miraculously come up with another new product they insist needs our immediate attention. Get your credit cards out girls. In order to constantly create demand for useless and questionable beauty treatments, clever product lines are continually being introduced as new and improved, now with blowfish and fairy wing DNA, or, cleaner, more natural, distilled from puppies’ tears, or whatever marketing magic they can conjure up to suck us in. Give me strength. And we gleefully buy the newest version of an over-hyped new-age treatment product.
This time it’s scalp exfoliators. I guess that means they’ve tapped out all the possibilities for the various oils they’ve been foisting on us for the last couple of years (click here to read Boomerbroadcast’s earlier post Building My Own Oil Cartel) As if we’re not already busy and broke enough keeping ourselves stocked up on all the latest shampoos and conditioners, volumizers, mousse sprays, and colour enhancers, now we’re required to exfoliate our scalps. One such product recommended in the May issue of ELLE CANADA actually had a price tag of $115.00!!
If regular washing and conditioning with forty-two mutually dependent products they’ve sucked us into buying are not already enough, now we’re expected to scrape all their carefully marketed earlier products off our filthy scalps with expensive and newly-formulated exfoliation products. It’s double jeopardy. We need the ‘before’ products to generate a need for the ‘after’ products. Scalp exfoliators are popping up everywhere and if we don’t immediately buy-in, well, I hate to think of the consequences.
I don’t know about you, but just keeping my feet exfoliated has pretty much become a full-time job as I’ve aged. And now that we can’t get to salons for professional grating and sand-blasting, we’re having to do it ourselves. And, as boomers, it’s not easy reaching down there to attend to our lower digits. Regular body exfoliation is accomplished a couple of times a week in the shower with special facecloths that I buy at Walmart. They have terry cloth on one side and loofah on the other which does quadruple duty on my face, legs, arms, and body. Foolishly, I thought that was enough and I was done.
It’s getting harder and harder to stay beautiful. As Norah Ephron once said in I Feel Bad About My Neck, maintenance issues can easily occupy as much as eight hours a day—a fulltime job. What with our cleansing, toning, moisturizing, masking, conditioning, exfoliating, hair removal, and deep treatments, we hardly have enough time left over to take care of the basics like washing our pits and brushing our teeth.
It’s not easy being a woman. My husband’s beauty regime, on the other hand, includes a mere three items—a bar of soap, a deodorant, and a tube of toothpaste. Any old brand will do. My products require an entire linen closet of baskets and organizers divided according to the type of products for hair, body, face and medicinal, and subdivided further according to makeup (further subdivided into blushers, lipsticks, foundations, etc.), shampoos, conditioners, nail products, . . . and the list goes on.
And now they want me to exfoliate my scalp. This concerns me. First of all, thanks to the ravages of menopause I’m going bald. Each and every strand of hair is precious and as worthy of protection as any rare insect in the Amazon rain forest. Would an exfoliator not break and remove fragile individual hairs? That would be disastrous for me. Can I sue if all my hair falls out as a result of exfoliating my scalp? Maybe there’s an income opportunity here. Or maybe I’ll just stick to a good brushing with a natural boar bristle hairbrush followed by scrubbing with my fingers and Neutrogena shampoo.
The quest for beauty is a never-ending journey. I’m content to settle for good enough under the circumstances. I never was and never will be anywhere close to the photoshopped images we see in fashion magazines. No one is. Not even the models in the photos. During our home lockdown, most of us have eschewed makeup, jewelry, street shoes, expensive hair appointments, and the accompanying fashion angst if we’re not perfectly turned out. We’re clean; we’re comfortable, and we’re surviving, despite the lack of mani-pedis, regular facials, and other so-called essential beauty rituals.
I look forward to the time when I can once again get dressed up to go out for dinner or enjoy a day of retail therapy followed by lunch with my boomer gal pals. But in the meantime, you’ll have to ignore my unexfoliated scalp, my less-than-perfect pedicure, and my DIY hair. By the time we’re set free once again, I may have forgotten the one hundred and twenty-eight steps required to make myself presentable each morning and you might see me facing the world au natural. Now that’s a truly scary thought. And I like it. Have you exfoliated your scalp lately?
Nora Ephron’s I Feel Back About My Neck is a really fun read. If it’s not available at your local library or bookstore, you can order from Amazon by clicking on the image. Disclosure: You’ll receive Amazon’s best price and I may receive a teeny, tiny commission. Thanks for your support.