Head trip

By Adriana Ermter

The first beauty products I ever spent my hard-earned $2-an-hour babysitting money on were Finesse Extra Body Shampoo and Conditioner. I was 13 years old, swimming twice a day for the Calgary Aquabelles. Washing my fine, thin, stick-to-my-scalp blonde hair meant more to me than just getting it clean: I was trying to rinse the chlorine smell out and scrub a little feel-good beauty in. My teammate Michelle used Finesse. She had beautifully thick, naturally wavy, blonde hair. I coveted it – and her shampoo. Finesse made me feel like I had half a chance at being pretty.

In the showers after practice, Michelle would sometimes pass me the blue plastic bottles and I’d pray that the bubbly, blue-ish lather would miraculously transform my sad locks into something better. It never did. But that didn’t stop me from return trips to the drugstore. Brand loyal for five years, it took a former boyfriend (a hairstylist, go figure) to break that particular lather-rinse-repeat routine. I hate to admit it: I haven’t gone back.

As beauty director, my locks now play guinea pig for the caviar-infused, blonde enhancing, dry rub-in, follicle-stimulating wet lines and more, including one peppermint fragranced purple shampoo, chemically crafted specifically for my hair type and whipped up in a top-secret lab. Reality check: there’s still only so much you can do with God-given DNA. A good cut and highlights now saves my day. Curiously though, I still think about Finesse.

And wouldn’t you know it, a package of Extra Body Shampoo and Conditioner, Firm Hold Hairspray and Firm Control Mousse ($3 each, at drugstores) recently landed on my desk. Maybe it’s kismet, maybe not, but one whiff of the soft fresh scent filled my mind with fond memories. I’m not going to jump in a pool or anything (all those chemicals with my highlights? Come on!), although I may send an email Michelle’s way. I am, however, taking the 26-year-old brand of hair care products home with me.

Not that I anticipate a miracle. I simply want a head trip down memory lane. Just don’t expect me to share.

Photography by Angie Martin.

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