Dear Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner,
I love you. Love you in a way that you love an old friend. A love that is thick and dependable. One that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. And doesn’t cause frizz.
I fell in love with you right around the time that my dad started buying no-name brand egg shampoo from Superstore. Being 14 with thin, flyaway hair, I was exceptionally bitter about this development. That shampoo, as you can imagine, smelled terrible, had a clotty texture and came in an endless one-gallon bottle. Not even with a pump, mind you, just a jug you had to wrestle to overturn in order to get a quarter-size amount in your palm. Admittedly, this made it easier to let it pour down the drain in small increments with each shower, which I gamely, angrily did.
I tried to point out that it was illogical to allow the one person in the family who was bald to be in charge of shampoo selection. This got me nowhere with mom (whose thick hair could be washed in tar and still look the same) or my brother (who was 10, didn’t care and somehow seemed to benefit from eggs in his hair). It also didn’t earn points with dear, old dad, who perhaps didn’t like being reminded he was bald as a coot.
Anyway, we were in Florida when I first met you. My family and my best friend Kristin’s family were staying in a terracotta-tiled motel in Kissimmee, Fla. Somehow or other, Kristin’s family’s shampoo ended up in our hotel room shower. Or maybe I was showering in their room. In any event, when I first got a whiff of your apple scent, my life changed. I suddenly knew what lather was supposed to be like: white and thick as whipping cream. I scrubbed and scrubbed my scalp. Then I squirted a dose of conditioner in my hand and, oh my foes and oh my friends, suddenly the tangles vanished.
My hair looked terrific all trip and I vowed, once I was old enough, I would always, always treat myself with the luxury of Pantene.
Since age 19, I have done exactly that.
One of my favorite things about you is your variety. Whether used for daily moisture renewal or total damage care, whether you want your look to be smooth ‘n sleek, full and strong, or sheer volume, you’re there, catering to people’s needs. That variety is so considerate of you, you know that?
And for the record, I’m not sure what Pro-V is, but that’s OK, I don’t want to know. It sounds scientific and good for my hair.
Also, while you have never stopped feeling like an indulgence, you are so fairly priced (and even more so when coupled with a meaty Kroger coupon — Kroger, you are the subject of my next love letter). I will admit, there were times when I splurged for vastly more expensive options. I tried rosemary and mint. I dabbled in sulfate-free papaya. Lathered up with one that said it was made for mermaids, which I suppose I wanted to be.
I’m sorry I did that to you. It was my loss. And it always reminded me of another great attribute of yours. Dear, sweet Pantene, you’re so endlessly available. By that, I’m not saying you don’t have standards; you’re no Pert. It’s just, I can go to the grocery store and there you are. Pharmacy, same thing. I don’t need to go to a special store, online or to a salon. You’re one-stop shopping.
So in the end, perfect Pantene, thank you. And thank you, dad, for making sure I am always grateful I no longer have to use egg shampoo.