Magazine beauty cupboards are like SPACE NK stores, just without the bright lights, glossy titles, and smiley staff. There are vertiginous shelves of compartmentalised creams and compacts from tens of hundreds of brands. Normally I venture in once a week to grab something of mutual benefit, for both it and I. I need a replacement of something and it, being new, needs to be tested, reviewed and fingers crossed, written about in high regard, in order for its sales to skyrocket. (I am not attributing myself with stellar selling power; merely editors as a whole.)
My most common procurements are hair stuff, not because I'm overly invested or enthused by my own, but because there's a lot of it, and it needs washing often. Three perfunctory washes a week, actually, followed by some kind of styling product that promises the shine of a flat park pond, and the nourishment of bone broth, though neither rarely come through.
Like many pre-lockdown, I didn’t foresee the dateless end. I ran out of the office quicker than celebrities to their second or third homes, and found myself - not even a teeny tiny violin is necessary - scratching my head in Sainsbury’s toiletry aisle. Shampoo and conditioner, two for £5 - great! Not great. My hair was audibly dry and visibly wiry. Bloody sulphates. In a bid to restore some semblance of OK hair, I enlisted Hershesons Almost Everything Cream. (I'd used it before, but never this devoutly). Two pumps, worked through towel dried hair. Well that was four weeks ago, and I’ve done it at least twelve times since.
For an industry so magnetised to beauty hyperbole, it’s refreshing to see that Hershesons don’t claim infinite promises. The adverb 'almost' is a clever one. Expectations adjust but are soon surpassed. It’s given waves direction and definition. It's flattened frizz. It's made my hair soft to touch and good to smell. If I wanted to do something so ridiculous as to blow dry, or even more neurotic, tong my hair in quarantine, it would prime and prep it, too. I can’t think of many things it doesn’t do. And consulting an afro-haired friend who is usually the first person to throw down the gauntlet to the creators of one size fits all (read: ill-marketed) hair products, she’s in emphatic agreement.
It’d be easy when launching a product arm of an already very successful hairdressing brand, to think about a whole range - kerching! Lucrative. Something for everyone: big hair; small hair; long hair; short hair; dry hair; oily hair, but with Hershesons, there exists only one. For an objectively upmarket salon, a democratic hair product is not only rare, but a blue bottled joy.