There I was in the shower early one morning (you may want to switch off your imagination here) when my shower gel ran out and I had to grab another off the shelf.
I’m not fussy about such things and I don’t usually pay much attention to the label, but for some reason I did notice that this particular product contained, amongst other things, bamboo extract.
Of course, the label failed to explain what benefits the bamboo brought to the gel. It couldn’t be for its fragrance, it didn’t really have any. Then it occurred to me that bamboo is well known in gardening circles for its vigorous growth – could it be that regular use might reinvigorate the failed hair follicles on my bald pate, or perhaps re-start the growth process that fizzled out in my late teens and left me disappointingly well short of that magical 6ft.
Well, I have to report that, so far, after several days of use . . . nothing. Most disappointing.
But it did make me look a bit closer at the array of shampoos (obviously not mine), conditioners and shower gels that seem to fill the shelves in our bathroom.
Firstly, it’s the ingredients that catch the eye. The small print on the back of the bottle generally has a list of caustic-sounding chemicals as long as your arm, but interspersed in these are the Latin names of the ‘natural’ ingredients which give your product its special properties. My bamboo (it says) is Bambusa vulgaris and vulgar or common it is when compared to some of the more exotic concoctions available. I had to ‘Google’ camu camu berry and dragon fruit and I’m still not sure what difference they’ll make to your skin and hair, or come to that, the benefits of rice milk, white willow and bluebell, lime and kiwi, sweet mandarin and grapefruit or strawberry and cream . . . possibly more likely to make you hungry than clean.
Of course, the manufacturers do make claims. For example, my wife’s shampoo (which apparently also contains mother of pearl) promises 50 per cent more shine and hair that is ‘light as a feather’.
Another reassures ‘suitable for vegans and vegetarians’. Perhaps you can eat it after all!