As I was roaming the aisles aimlessly at Marshall’s, one of my favorite discount home goods stores, I stumbled across a Keratin shampoo and conditioner. I thought about all the articles I’ve read saying Keratin is great for keeping hair healthy and strong, and the ends of my hair were a bit dry, so I thought it might be worth the $12 per bottle. Not exactly an expensive experiment, especially since my usual Aussie is $5 per bottle for approximately the same size. So onward, for science!
Low Maintenance Routine...
I aim for lowest hair maintenance possible. I’ve always heard to shampoo the scalp and then let it run down to clean the rest. I’ve also heard you should only condition the ends (and then let the conditioner sit for a couple minutes) for healthiest and least-oily hair. Whether or not that’s true, that’s what I’ve been doing for years. I always let it air dry, and usually shower at night. Avoiding a blow dryer stems from laziness, but I’ve heard it’s healthier anyway. I only wash my hair three to four times a week, which I’ve also heard it healthier when using standard products. If it’s a bit oily, I like to braid it (since that’s actually the only way a braid will even stay in my flat hair unless I load up on hair product), and ironically I get more compliments when braiding which takes less effort. Healthy and low maintenance. Win win.
... Turned Nightmare
After the very first use of the new Keratin shampoo, my hair felt oily and dirty. I was ready to call it then and there, but my partner suggested that maybe my hair needed to get used to it. It was a different set of chemicals in the shampoo, after all. Ok, why not? I’ve already paid for it. A week turned into a month, with little to no improvement, but now I was invested. With the new Keratin, I was forced to shampoo all my long hair thoroughly twice throughout. Then I would condition quickly, because it seemed to get more oily the longer I let it sit before rinsing. I still let it air dry. Every time, it was still oily at the scalp and dry at the ends. I am now 6 months out. My hair has never been more dry and more split at the ends, or more oily at my scalp. I lost count of how many days I showered in the evening, woke up, and put my hair in a braid or a bun, which was added into the rotation since my hair never seemed to be down anymore.
I’ve thrown out the half-full Keratin shampoo, and I’m happier for it.
Yes, the trash can. It was obviously going downhill fast from the start.
What possessed me to wait 6 months? The Sunk Cost Fallacy.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
A sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. The shampoo and conditioner cost a combined $24, which was a sunk cost since I had started using the product and couldn’t return it. I felt obligated to use them despite not really wanting to, because doing anything else would have been a waste of that $24.
For all my touting of living the good life, I forgot the number one rule: stop doing the things that make you unhappy. There is no condition saying “unless you spent money on something, in which case you should keep doing it.” My Aussie shampoo doesn’t particularly bring me joy, but using the Keratin shampoo made me feel annoyed, and I should have stopped using it immediately. I am now out $30 for a deep repair shampoo and conditioner, which is the only real fix short of chopping it off and re-growing it. In brighter news, my hair is on its way to a full recovery after only a week of using the new stuff, which would have been completely unnecessary had I simply tossed the Keratin from the get-go and gone back to my $5 bottles of Aussie. Live and learn, right?
While easier said than done, never let your past decisions influence your current decisions. You can’t move forward if you’re too busy looking behind you.