Water: Hard & Soft (October 1998)

Those of you who have been receiving this newsletter know about my quest for BIG hair. In my continuing search I have come across yet another beauty aid you should know about. Water. HARD water! We used to have hard water. Bilious, yellow, lumpy hard water that smelled a little like hard-boiled eggs. It turned the tile in the shower orange, and the inside of the dishwasher, and just about anything that came in contact with it. I looked tan most of the time.

Yes indeed, hard water. We donít have it any more. Nine years ago we bought a water softener and now we have very soft water. Soft water is a ploy devised by the people who sell water. They want you to use more of it, so they invented soft water, which may look like real water, but it doesnít ever get the soap out of anything. I havenít added laundry detergent in 9 years. Iím just washing clothes on the leftover residue. Still have lots of suds.

I detest showering in soft water, and this is where the water sellers make a lot of money. I stand there trying to rinse off and no matter how long I stand under the nozzle, I still feel soapy. Shriveled and prune-like I give up when the hot water runs out, but my skin is still slippery.

Soft water makes everything slippery, especially my hair. Itís not that Iíve ever had robust hair, itís always had that spider web quality to it, but it loses any body it ever had in soft water. I have kept the ďmooseĒ people in business too, foaming my head after every shower in the hopes that the white ball of foam smeared over every tendril will somehow let me fluff my hair to normal levels. After 20 minutes of styling, even with the BIG HAIR STYLING WAND, I go limp and flat by lunchtime.

When I travel, I have much better luck with my ďdo.Ē I can stay bouncy and fluffy until almost dinner. I just realized---itís the water. Hotels probably have HARD water. So, now, I go to the one tap in the house that still has hard water and fill a little plastic bottle full to the top. I put that on the drain in the tub so that it will heat as I shower. When Iím all done with my shower, I shake my head vigorously back and forth to get all the SOFT water out, and then pour my little bottle of HARD water over my freshly shampooed head! It apparently works, and Iím getting used to the egg smell again.

In my on-going efforts to improve upon the system (I used to just carry the water over to the shower in my hands) Iím filling all the wide shallow baking dishes I have with hard water and letting it partially evaporate to maximize the waterís coiffure enhancing properties. Iím losing a lot of counter space, but itís worth it. When this batch is ready, my hair should reach the ceiling! (c) 1998 by Ami Simms.