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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Part 1

We are all constantly on the search for the next latest and greatest thing. Something new and improved or something on the cutting edge. There are so many advances in technology and science that it can be hard to keep up with the constantly growing and changing market. You may think I am going to talk about the latest Apple product or new flatscreen televisions. Nope, not this lady. This isn't even about electronics at all. No, this stroll down memory lane is going to happen on the beauty aisle. Lately, I have found myself longing for products of my youth. The shampoos, the cleansers, the perfumes…The memories.
The beauty aisle can be very intimidating to an unsuspecting victim. Shelves, aisles and counters filled with shiny, colorful packaging that promise to make all of your hopes and dreams come true. I know we want everyone to believe we are effortless beauties and we wake up in the morning with perfect skin, hair and minty fresh breath, truth is there is a lot of work that goes into this illusion. From the basics like soap and shampoo to advanced treatments like glycolic peels and oxygen masks most women devote, on average, around 90 minutes a day to grooming. Is it any wonder there are so many different products to while  away the hours each week (That's about 10 1/2 for those of you who are keeping track.)? Here are some of my greatest hits (and misses) from my first pimple to my dorm room days.
Since hair is the ultimate accessory, we'll start with it. I am a child of the 80s and 90s so my hands on knowledge is limited to those two decades. One of the few products from before those decades that I have had any experience with is Prell Shampoo. After South Carolina was rocked by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, many residents in the lower part of the state were left without power and water. Our small, rural community was without electricity and running water (we got our water from wells that operated on electricity. Double whammy!) for about two weeks. We cooked on a grill and relied on bottled water. Luckily, we had relatives in a nearby town who had municipal water, which had been turned back on by this point. I was taken over to my aunt's home to get a bath one day and she gave me this retro tube of Prell. I'm not sure what decade it was from (my guess would be the 60s or 70s) because Prell at that point was in bottles. It looked like uncongealed lime Jell-o but oh my the smell! I can’t really remember what it did for my hair, I was only ten at the time. This was probably the beginning of my fascination with beauty products. My Brother in Law doesn't call my sister and me "Beauty Product Junkies" for nothing. Next on my list would be Revlon’s Outrageous Shampoos and Conditioners. They hailed in the days of Cindy Crawford’s reign supreme as the face for Revlon. In their sleek black bottles, these were the best products for my long, thick , coarse hair. They had this very perfumey scent but it was fabulous! If I could find these somewhere today, I would snatch them up in a heartbeat! This is probably one of the products I miss the most. I have managed to find, however, the elusive Salon Selectives. From what I understand, the line went on hiatus sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s and was just recently relaunched. Thank goodness they thought of us devout fans of the sweet, apple-scented shampoos and conditioners. The fragrance that garnered a cult following remains the same. I am not sure what they did change unless it is bottle size, they are now in 32 oz. (approximately 1 liter) bottles. I recently disovered these gems on for under $4 each. When my package arrived I had to refrain myself from immediately hopping in the shower to have one of those Herbal Essences moments (minus the Herbal Essences, Blech!). Once I did get into the shower it was just like I remembered. The deliciously clean scent wafted and filled my bathroom and bedroom. My hair smelled and looked great, just like it had back in the day. Wow! I had really missed this stuff! The two hair care lines that I tried to love but couldn't are Pantene (it has been around forever) and Vidal Sassoon (the drugstore line from the 90s). I have allergic reactions to both of these. I love the way they smell and work but are no-gos for me. I guess its a good thing regarding Pantene. I've heard so many negative things about how their products work. If you don't know, the shampoos and conditioners coat your hair with a substance that gradually builds up with each use. Ultimately, after so many coats of this you will no longer get the smooth, shiny results you are use to, just limp, unhealthy hair that will need a good clarifying shampoo and deep conditioner to repair. If you really want to know what it does to me, I'll tell you and it is not for the faint of heart. If you have a weak stomach I suggest you skip ahead to the end of this entry. It literally takes the skin off of my scalp. I can't use it without my scalp literally peeling and developing painful sores. Very gross and unattractive. *Shudder* I would have really loved to have used the Vidal Sassoon products, though. What a shame! 
So what are some of your favorite blasts from the past? I'd love to hear about them!

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