Shampoo and Pretzels

I have two stories to tell you. One is short and lighthearted and completely trivial and one is really long and involves one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. Can you guess which is which from the title of this post?

I’ll tell you the lighthearted one, which involves the shampoo (want to hear the pretzel story? You’ll have to subscribe to The Letter!)

Question: is it possible to not know that you’re washing your hair every single day for four months not with shampoo but with something else? I’m here to tell you from personal experience that yes, it is entirely possible.

I fill a small travel bottle with shampoo, so I don’t have to keep a large container of shampoo in my shower all the time (limited space). I fill it every month and a half or so and today was one of those sos. As I was pouring the shampoo into the plastic bottle today, I noticed something interesting. It wasn’t shampoo. It was body wash. I looked on the shelf to see if I had grabbed the wrong thing, but there were no other bottles on the shelf. Sure, there were other bottles, but I’d know if I grabbed the Listerine or the shaving cream instead of my shampoo. This is the shampoo I’ve been using for the past four months. Guess I bought the wrong stuff at the supermarket. All those bottles with the fancy names and the confusing colors. I’ve been washing my hair with body wash every day since Halloween.

What I’ve discovered is that body wash can be used as shampoo – and vice versa – and you’ll probably never notice the difference. I guess this isn’t too surprising. I’ve used hand soap as shampoo before when I ran out of the latter (and I bet you have too). The moral of the story? I think a big chunk of the personal hygiene industry is lying to us, every single morning.

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