Thursday, October 07, 2004

Retro hair products, pt.5: Top Brass ZP-11 Anti-Dandruff Hairgroom

This is it! In a couple of months, this stuff ended the dandruff problem that had been the bane of my existence for years. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

It is rarely seen in stores, so I almost resorted to ordering it online. I actually found it at a small store near my house that specializes in "ethnic" hair care products. I'm not sure what ethnic group normally buys it. The store owner said that for a while she could no longer get it from Revlon, but now it appears to be back in production.

Do not confuse it with the normal Top Brass in the red box, which actually turns up quite often at drug stores. Only the one in the blue box has the ZP-11 (pyrithione zinc, just like Head and Shoulders and the elusive anti-dandruff version of Brylcreem).

Top Brass is basically in the same genre as Brylcreem, although the texture is slghtly less oily and more like toothpaste. Possibly related to this, it is less shiny, particular after the hair has dried. The label promises "no medicinal odor" but this is an out and out lie. The smell is hard to describe by any word other than medicinal.

"Unlike wash away shampoos, full medication clings to your scalp hour after hour, day and night." This is damn true. And it works. There are other leave-in dandruff treatments, including one by Aveda and one by Head and Shoulders themselves, but those don't have the added benefit of retro hair styles or pseudo-military packaging. Top Brass doesn't just cure dandruff, it probably also kills Nazis or something.

Warning: wash your hands thoroughly after use and keep them away from your hair during the day! This is for two reasons. One, if it gets on your hands it might get into your food, and the taste is unpleasently bitter and hard to get out of your mouth. The worst, however, is if you get it in your eyes. It burns like fire. I got some in my eyes while driving, and I almost had to pull the car over to the side of the road because it was so difficult to keep my eyes open with the Top Brass eating away at them.

Another disadvantage is that you really don't get a lot of it each tube, so you run through it pretty quickly if you use if everyday like I did.