Monday, February 17, 2020

Shampoo song of myself.

This is going to read like sponsored content because I'm about to tell you a story about my bathing routine and truth be told my paycheck (let alone this farm) is supported by the sale of bar soaps and recently, a little body oil. Relinquishing wedding work and floristry made for some big economic shifts in the business of Saipua and my life - I had to cease most of my frivolous city type spending and adopt austerity measures.  I'm shy to get into this topic too deep as it's one I know we love to judge one another about. That aside, my relationship to money and luxury is so complex I could write multiple memoirs on the topic (lace it with flower arranging how-to pages in order to attract a publisher?) Suffice it to say I like extremes and my practice here knits together a deep sense of frugality with exemplary acts of hedonism. We do, after all, have a 4-foot disco ball in the big barn which we fire up not only for large dance events (save the date; SUPERNATURE is July 25th!) but also for the occasional mid week 'microdisco.'
Mediocrity is the enemy!
And so follows, my story. My song of shampoo.

All fall I used the scrap ends of shampoo bottles lying about my farm house; a place which housed on and off many women in the last few years and so there were a plethora of random travel sized bottles to use up, and then some quite luxurious bottles, half full and stuck deep in the closet. I went through them all, a desire to not waste anything, all the while in the back of my mind devising a plan to - only when this cleaning out of old shampoos was complete - I would go online and treat myself (dear god I'm getting sparkly telling this part) to giant brown bottles of AESOP shampoo and conditioner with the pump handles and then! I would be a complete woman.

I do all this and get to the checkout phase on the website of AESOP and stop. Days go by. 
I use a bottle of Dr. Bronners once and say never again. Every time I'm in the grocery store or food coop I peruse the haircare section but nothing seems right or good enough -which is also to say that nothing compares to the status-signaling brown bottles (the largest size!) that I have deeply sewn into a future version of my best self. 

More time passes, now I'm using a bottle of Johnson&Johnson no-more-tears shampoo reserved for my nephew. Jessa Blades, natural beauty extraordinaire visits us and I casually mention that I'm looking for a shampoo. She rattles off some small brands - all of which I immediately fail to register. 'And AESOP?' I ask. Full of synthetic ingredients. Which truth be told, never bothered me much - I don't need organic skin care I want packaging! I want gold!

What transpired from there was a dark cycle of weeks in which I would repeatedly tell myself that I would buy the shampoo if I accomplished certain goals around the farm. Then inevitably I would wisk away the reward away right at the end leaving myself feeling pitiful. This is a pattern I'm an expert in, and rather than try to unpack its origins (rooted surely in my suburban childhood shopping mall traumas) or analyze my sense of self worth I now try to reroute and reprogram when possible. Or as my therapist suggests; kindly acknowledge it with an "oh, there THAT is again" and move on.

It was haircare recently. This past summer it was linen sheets. Soon it will be something else that I begin to associate with my sense of 'deserving' and my ability to give myself permission to spend money. The work of capitalism is so deeply engrained in us, and our sense of pleasure, care-taking and well being. I think it's wildly fascinating and I enjoy pulling it apart at the edges of myself, for better or worse. 

I don't think about shampoo anymore because I sorted myself out this way -- I use my own saipua bar soap (clary sage recently) to wash my hair...I get a really thick lather going in my hands and wash the hair closest to my scalp. Then after the bath, I rub our new snake oil into my hair, just at the ends. This makes me very pleased, to have rerouted this obsession with products I make myself. I also really like the way my bathroom looks without branded products lying about.

You can make it too if you want:

SAIPUA 'SNAKE OIL' for Face and Body (and now also for hair conditioning) 

4.5 oz. grade A olive oil
3.5 oz. virgin organic deodorized argan oil
2.5 oz. virgin rosehip oil
a few drops of the essential oil of your choice -- (NOTE: don't overdo it with essential oils. When Jessa was here we had a conversation about how powerful and potent essential are, and how people tend to go a little gung-ho when using them. They can in fact be tough on sensitive skin and as with any potent plant preparation, require some respect or shall I say - the benefits are felt more deeply when one practices a bit of restraint with them. Easy for me to say, in truth I'm the one standing over Susan in the soap kitchen yelling MORE! MORE! as she works on scents with essentials. We contain multitudes.)


B said...

Thank you for this! It’s reassuring to know that my luxurious desires verses the idea that wellness culture is just capitalism rebranded for millennials is a battle others fight as well. Though I have to tell you, the linen sheets are worth it. But they’re also easy enough to make yourself if you know your way around a sewing machine and have 15 yards of fabrics worth of patience.

17 beats. said...

This is going to sound like a really stupid question, but have you considered making a shampoo bar (for yourself and also for customers to purchase)? I have been on the hunt for a decent one (in quality of content, fragrance, etc) and have had little luck.

Your snake oil recipe sounds nice— I hope to try it :-)

Nadia said...

This post really made me smile. Many years ago I attended a workshop, "Dutch Masters" that you held. It was transformative for me. I don't make a living with florals, it's just a hobby that at times seems self indulgent, although I do have a real career in painting conservation. I found that weeds, invasives, dead plant material all work well in my bigger theme of flower arranging.

Anyway, every once in a while, I do indulge in A few nice flowers and mix them in with the dead stuff. Similarly, I share your "Aesop" obsession. What is it about those brown bottles? So here's what I do...I indulged once, and when the lovely scented soap ran out I just kept filling the bottles up with whatever cheap lavender soap I can get my hands on. I mean seriously, why would I waste the real stuff in my 3 kids and husband? The bottles still make me happy. I will also add...I once bought a fifty dollar glass apothecary jar filled with salt from "March" in San Francisco. I mean, I felt hideous guilt about this for months but when the salt ran out, I continued to fill that beautiful jar with regular sea salt for a few bucks. The jar in my kitchen though, still brings me joy regardless of what's inside. Some of us just need to be surrounded by beautiful things. It's quite ok.

Inna Zvezdina said...

Thank for sharing! Will make it soon. As a flower farmer I do struggle with money spending for my own needs.
I also wonder what do you use as a hand cream?

Unknown said...

LOOOOOOVe your writing and love knowing that in this "season" of differences we can find people who are so similar in sentiments and quirky interiors that we could be related or just besties. Thanks! I've had your page up this week after finding you in an NYT article. I want to splurge on some of your soaps and the new oil. Of course I do! It's just going to take a I can just say I'm supporting my new bestie. Ugh. Who am I even using that word?? Love it!! Thanks again! Josefina

Pantea Fozouni said...

I would totally buy your soap and snake oil, too!

DP said...

"Suffice it to say I like extremes and my practice here knits together a deep sense of frugality with exemplary acts of hedonism." HAHA. This post made me want to 1) be your friend 2) try your soap. Thanks for the laughs. I look forward to your next post.

m.e.w. said...

Well, I can attest that the linen sheets are definitely worth it. The Aesop stuff is not.