Wednesday, November 26, 2008

R0bert Pattins0n's Sentient, Self-Washing Hair

I learned something yesterday. It was a subject I'd never even heard of before.

Interviewer: What is all this talk about you not washing your hair for months on end?

R0bert Pattins0n:
People are scared of my hair. But it starts washing itself after about three weeks.

R0bert Pattins0n, by the way, is the male star of the new Twilight movie. For teens, he is the hunka-hunka-du-jour. He also has really crazy-looking hair, and it often doesn't look particulary clean.

But "washing itself"? What the heck?

It turns out this isn't merely the stoned-out ramblings of a starlet-boy. "Self-washing" is a state of hair.

Let me back up, because if I give you the short version of this, you'll just be disgusted and disbelieving. You need to hear everything.

Consider a cat, or a bunny, or a foofy Pomeranian dog. You don't wash your pet every day, right? They only get a bath every few months, and yet a cat's hair (or a bunny's, or a doggie's) always feels soft, clean and glossy and/or fluffy. Why is that? Why don't cats get greasy-hair days?

The answer is that a cat's oil glands, skin and hair have all evolved to keep the cat's fur clean and healthy with nothing more than water-based baths. In the wild, that's all a cat gets. The jungle just ain't got soap.

The thing that is really bizarre--and frankly hard-to-believe for us modern folks--is that human hair is the same way. Because we shampoo regularly, we strip off our natural oils and upset the body's balance. As a result, if we stop shampooing, our hair starts to look greasy and disgusting in a matter of days due to over-production of oil.

Here's where the "self-washing" thing comes in.

Apparently, if you stop using shampoo, but rinse your hair in warm water regularly (for example, every time you shower), then after about six weeks of suffering beneath your greasy, disgusting, smelly mop of hair, your system finally sorts itself out. Your natural balance of oils reasserts itself, and your hair starts looking clean and fluffy again. You've entered the "self-washing" phase.

Of course, your hair doesn't really wash itself. I suspect what happens is the hair shaft becomes so well-moisturized that it swells shut and becomes impervious to dirt. And since most dirt and all sweat-residue is water-soluable, a quick rinse is all that's required to swoosh the yucky-yuck off your impervious hair.

People who do this--and obviously you're only going to hear from those who think "self-washing" is groovy--report their hair is healthier, nicer-looking, and more manageable than it was when they washed it in shampoo, and that no one ever notices the difference, and that scalp problems and dandruff often disappear, and that they're happy to not be spending money on shampoo they don't need or sluicing unnecessary detergents into the environment.


On one hand, this "self-washing" thing is fascinating to me because I'd never heard even a whisper about it before.

But on the other, behold R0bert Pattins0n's hair:

Ew. Is that hair gel, or...?

(Picture removed because its presence was doing crazy things to my hit rate, liek woah OMG.)


Has anyone here ever had "self-washing" hair, either intentionally or accidentally? If so, what did you think? Does this system actually work? Does it sorta work? Is the phenomenon of "self-washing" hair a sham, or is shampoo the real sham?

As an experiment, I tried just rinsing my hair instead of washing it last night, and then I brushed it heavily once it was dry (which you're supposed to do, to distribute the oils.)

My hair should look disgusting right now, but to be honest, it just doesn't. It's not crazy-flyaway like normal, which is nice, and although it has less luster, it doesn't look dirty at all. I'm truly surprised. El Husbando hasn't noticed anything either, which is great, because when I mentioned "self-washing" to him yesterday, he thought it sounded utterly revolting.

But yeah. I'm probably not going to continue this experiment beyond today.

**warily eyes R0bert Pattins0n's hair**

Edit 10/01/2009: Okay, I lied. I did go through with it. Read this post if you'd like to know what I thought of "self-washing" hair, as well as my best-discovered way of getting through the icky six-week transition stage.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm steaming my eyeballs tonight.

It's okay; they're still in my head. My eyes have felt very dry lately, even when they're not. Eyedrops don't help, but sticking a mug of hot water under my nose and blowing to force the steam into my peepers is quite soothing. The guys at work must think I have a bladder of titanium, given how much of today I spent looking like I was just in the middle of a sip.

Writing in the early morning is still proving to be an effective habit, although I'm a bit worried it's to blame for the sore eyeballs (Ah hah! You can be allergic to mornings!)

Hmm. I feel like splattering some personal stuff here tonight. I suspect that's why I sat down to blog.

This has been a bit of weird day, and not in a good way, and I'm going to use that to jump off on a weird tangent.

I gave a lab exam this morning, and one of my students came in and gave me...I'll just call it a thoroughly acceptable reason for not being able to write the test. I don't want to give out any of her details, but it involved two deaths in her family since I saw her last. The poor kid looked like she was hanging on by a thread. Then tonight, I found out about a death in my extended family, one that has some worrisome implications for other family members.

This morning I had a mild feeling of dread when I said goodbye to my husband. I'm a bit of an anxious person, so I didn't pay much attention to this, but here's where I veer off on my tangent.

My family's supposed to have a bit of the "sight", as in second sight, or psychic ability. I've always been of the opinion that I didn't get any of it.

Now, before I really get rolling here, let me back up one step. As mentioned, I tend to be anxious, and I have a frolicsome imagination also, so as a child, I was acutely terrified of the world. My brain was quite willing to picture ghouls and aliens and nuclear bombs coming to get me.

When I got older, I discovered the The Skeptical Enquirer, and it really was a liberating experience, because it gave the more rational parts of my brain ammunition to use against my imagination. Now I could now say, "Okay, that's bullshit" to a lot things I'd not been sure of before. It helped me feel a lot braver.

And for the most part, I still think the majority of evidence in favour of the paranormal is bullshit. Usually, these things are either self-delusion or con artistry. I do still count myself as a skeptic. If you tell me you believe in tarot cards or astrology, I will mock you.

So it's a bit odd--and possibly pathetic--that now I'm older still, and I've made a truce with the fact that, y'know, maybe I did get a bit of the family ability? I can rationalize that I'm really deluding myself, but if I listen to this inner detector that is too random to properly test, the statistics don't work out in favour of it being self-delusion.

El Husbando and I tend to not answer our phone during the day because it's usually a telemarketer. However, every now and then, I know it's someone we should talk to and I jump at the phone. I'm not always right, but I usually am. I have been the last four times.

When we were in London recently, my brother called to say his plane was delayed and he didn't know when he'd be joining us at the hotel. El Husbando and I settled down to watch some TV. A time later, I got the strong feeling that I should go down to the lobby and check for my brother. Rationally, I kept thinking, "No, there's no reason why he should be here yet, and even if he is, you'd probably miss him in the elevators." At the same time, I could picture myself finding him in the line-up for the check-in counter.

As I said, I've kind of made peace these hunches. I quietly slipped out and trotted downstairs. Waiting in the line-up for the check-in counter was exactly where I found him.

Walking to the room, my brother asked how I'd known he was in. Embarrassed, I shrugged and said the ol' family psychic ability had given me a tingle. He just nodded and said, "Yeah. I get those too."

My experiences are pretty mild stuff. Here's some of the freakier family stories:

- My dad once looked up from his reading and answered a question my mom hadn't asked yet.

- My grandfather once woke out of a sound sleep, then woke up my grandmother, and told her one of their neighbours had died. It turned out the fellow had, that night.

- That same grandmother dreamed of an almost-car-accident my mom had on the same night the almost-accident happened. The dream upset my grandmother enough she had to call my mom to make sure she was alright.

- My brother once fell asleep in an exam, and woke up when the bell rang. His test was complete. His teacher said he saw my brother put his head down for a minute, but then my brother sat up again and continued writing the exam. The questions my brother remembers answering, he got wrong. All the ones he answered while asleep, he got right.

Like I said, whatever I've got, it's comparatively pretty mild. I can't guide it (it didn't help me in Vegas last time I went), and it's not always correct. It's also often the sort of thing that could just be my subconscious picking up on subtle clues I didn't twig to.

Basically, it's just not very testable, which annoys the scientist in me, but it's bad science to dismiss something as imaginary just because you can't figure out a test for it. Of course, the real reason I'm accepting the hunches at face value these days is I feel like I'm cutting off something important inside me when I try to believe they're not real. Plus, there's little harm in this, because I don't even think about it until I get the "tingle". Hunches do not rule my life, and I do not walk in fear of the uncanny.

Now, how to sum up a post like that? I should have gotten this up in time for Hallowe'en! Goblin LOLs at herself. about like this: When I signed on with my agent, she expected a quick sale, and I hoped for one too.

But I had a feeling the book wouldn't sell anytime soon.

Guess what? :-/

Pageloads since 01/01/2009: