I need to wash my hair. It has started launching its familiar passive aggressive attacks that let me know it needs attention, such as falling out (don’t be alarmed we go through this all the time).
I need to wash my hair in China. So I need to buy some shampoo (and conditioner etc.) In China.
So I went back into Watson’s (quickly becoming my favourite store here) with the intention of picking up a few things…and ended up with a few more.
Clockwise from left-right:
1. Dust Remover (Lint Roller): One of those items I always say I need but never purchase.
2. Schwarzkopf Extra Care Shea Cashmere Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Mask. We’ll revisit this later.
3. Wipes, wipes and more wipes. VALUE PACKS of wipes. The addiction spreads easily. And you go through wipes really quickly. And they smell soooo good. The pink ones are “sakura fragrance” and I have not the least clue how it smells. So I picked it up.
4. Umbrella. The third one I’ve bought since I’ve been in Shanghai (two weeks for those keeping track at home). The first was lost somewhere on the apartment search. The second was forgotten home today when I got caught in the rain. And as soon as I left Watson’s after purchasing the third, the rain stopped. Anyway it’s cute and every black woman knows that an umbrella IS a valid beauty-related purchase.
5. Some version of Head & Shoulders Shampoo.
So let’s talk a little bit about purchasing these hair products. Being in a Chinese beauty store makes me feel like a functional illiterate. I stare at the labels searching for something I recognize and trying to make sense of the pictures. This is the selection of Head and Shoulders Shampoo at the Watson’s across the street:
In a place that has two bar soaps, there are 30 different types of Head and Shoulders!! And the only English words on any of them were “HEAD AND SHOULDERS”. Don’t believe me?
So, like a 3 year old I resort to using images. And smelling things. The one with the apple, smells like apple. Okay that was easy enough. What about this purple one with the starfish on it?? Smells nothing like the sea, smells more like “Hopes and Dreams” or something. And what the hell is this one with the pink swoosh? Is this what “Pink Swoosh” smells like?
In the end I selected one with some minty green leafy ting on it that smelled ocean fresh. (Lord, I hope it’s not Whitening. Lol I am convinced that every beauty product over here has a whitening formulation.)
The other shampoo and conditioners weren’t any easier. They had enough English on them to differentiate one from the other. I picked Shea Cashmere cause it sounded like something that might be on black people products in the West. The description of all the products in the Schwarzkopf line was exactly the same though, proudly announcing that its “unique technology… repairs most precisely deep inside the hair cell”.
(Oh speaking of hair cells, when you google “black hair salon in Asia” you get results talking about Asian hair. Cause that’s how some people refer to it as ‘black’ cause clearly … it is. When you look at a cross-section of Asian hair the hair shaft is circular while black (African descent) hair has a more elliptical hair shaft. This is one of the basic features that causes the vast differences between Asian hair and black hair and gives Asian hair the strength that it has. Asian hair can also be extremely thick and coarse, not unlike my own. Pretty much everyone has used hair products made for and marketed towards Caucasians, but I’m kind of excited to try ones that are marketed towards Asians and see if they do anything for my hair.)
Anyway, no other helpful info on the labels, especially the mask. I mean, is it a leave in or a rinse out? How long do I leave it in? Five, ten minutes? Forever?? I need guidelines and I pretty much have to make this up as I go along. Shampoo and Conditioner is pretty easy, but pretty soon I’m going to have to redo my hair colour rinse and for that I need to know instructions. So THAT should be interesting…
Oh last thing. I love funny translations into English on Chinese products.
WHAT pray tell, is Body Scratching Cream? Okay, I know I know. Clearly it is some kind of exfoliating product. But it’s still funny. Tee Hee.