Apr. 4th, 2012

Back in September, after returning from my SiL's wedding, I found that there was a sticky residue in my hair that would not come out using shampoo. I figured it was from all the product they used styling my hair, and I asked some friends how to get rid of it. Baby shampoo was the recommendation of choice, so I ended up with a small bottle of Johnson's. It took several washings, but eventually it did the trick.

Over the past few months, I have had this same issue occurring sporadically, without the layers of gel and hairspray associated with Wedding Hair. The baby shampoo trick has sometimes worked, and sometimes...well...not.

Fast forward to last week, when Ang and I flew out to San Diego followed by a couple of days in Austin. During and after this trek, the hair just on the top of my head looked (and felt...ew!) as though it was stuck together with glue. Many washings with the baby shampoo did nothing. I ended up Googling "how do I wash this sticky residue out of my hair," and, lo and behold, found this group of women who have the same problem.

I realize that internet opinions are worth what you pay for them, but a surprising number of these women said that this had happened after using Clairol Perfect 10 colorant on their hair, which I also use. More interesting to me, however, was that many of them were not blaming the color itself, but the conditioner that comes with the color. My MiL actually gave me a bag of them when we were down there over xmas, since she uses the color but not the conditioner. The tube is conveniently sized, and so I have been taking it with me on trips to use as my daily conditioner. Hmmm, says I.

Luckily, I have easy access to a lab with some high powered optical microscopes, so I went into the lab and looked at some strands of hair. Initially, I compared a sticky strand to a non-sticky strand. It was hard to see any real difference, but the sticky strand looked like it might have some sort of clear residue. I decided it would be easier to see the material if I had multiple strands, and so I "collected a more significant sample" (read: pulled out a couple of strands that were stuck together). The evidence was there. The material was clear, viscous, and elastic. Probably a silicone or other oil, which is consistent with hair conditioner. (If I need more data, there's always the FTIR...)

With all of the guesses as to the cause of this issue on the web page, came a long list of suggestions as to what might help clean off the gunk. Some of the sufferers reported back after using these methods, and so I had some idea as to the relative success rates, if you are ready to believe the women writing to this site. With nothing to lose, I decided on trying (1) dishwashing liquid, (2) baking soda, and (3) vinegar.

The dishwashing liquid that was recommended was Dawn. The women figured it was safe, since animal rescuers use it to clean off oil-soaked birds and mammals after spills, and that sounded like reasonable logic to me. Sadly, when I got home I found that we only had Palmolive Oxy, so I took a risk and tried it. It seemed to get a little out, but not much. It was time to go shopping.

I returned home with Dawn (original scent), a new box of baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. (I had read something a few weeks ago about using ACV as a skin cleaner, and I figured two birds and all.) This morning I did a thorough washing with the Dawn, twice, in the affected area. I conditioned the ends of my hair afterwards (not with the Perfect 10 tube!), since Dawn will certainly strip away the "good" oils as well as the bad.

Holy crap.

I'd say the sticky stuff is about 95% gone. There is a little bit of stickiness left in one spot, but nothing even close to what was there earlier. Hooray for Dawn! I feel as grateful as a newly de-cruded penguin. When the Palmolive didn't do anything, I thought it was going to be a long hard road to find a cure, but Dawn saved the day. I think I may write to the company and thank them.

And now I will throw away the extra tubes of conditioner I have from Clairol.

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theoriginalblurker

July 2013

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