Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Retro hair products, pt.4: Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing

The original upon which the entire "VO5" product line was based, this is a truly unisex product. The ads are apparently aimed at women, and it comes with a little instruction sheet that illustrates it's use by a woman. Women apparently like it for dealing with split ends and other damages. Supposedly it was invented to tame the frizziness of Hollywood starlets' hair, possibly even Marilyn Monroe. That is why it qualifies as "retro" even though it is apparently not regarded by anyone as being in the same class of cultural artifact as Brylcreem, etc. However, places like Walgreens actually stock it in both the men's and women's hair sections. I can only assume guys are buying it because they want a big ole mess of grease in their hair.

This stuff doesn't mess around. The label says it all "super-concentrated". "Contains no alchohol or water". I've also seen it referred to as "organic", which I guess is literally true in the sense of the word "organic" that you learned in chemistry class.

In fact the two main ingredients are mineral oil and petrolatum (ie., petroleum jelly). In other words, it is very similar to what you can get by mixing those two, as I described previously. Ignore the directions that tell you to squeeze an eigth-of-an-inch blob. Squeeze out enough to seriously grease it up. Or better yet, buy it by the tub.

Your hair (and scalp) will stay very shiny, very slick, and very greasy all day long. You will be able to drive with the window rolled down on the freeway and your hair will not budge. It apparently has all kinds of wacky uses, although most of these could probably be accomplishd cheaper with plain petroleum jelly. If your lips are ever chapped, just run a finger through your hair and rub some of it on your lips. Why didn't Suzie Chapstick think of that?

The main disadvantage of this product (assuming you don't consider the inherent greasiness to be a disadvantage, which I obviously don't), is the smell. It somehow manages to smell more petroleum-jelly-like than petroleum jelly does, and worse things on top of that! To many people (including my wife) it quite frankly stinks, and the smell doesn't go away.