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Message on a Bottle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   SodiumLauryl Sulfate, Lauramide DEA, Glycol Distearate, 2-Ethylhexyl-PMethoxycinnamate(Sun-Filter), Methylparaben, DM-DM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, HydroxypropylMethylcellulose ...

What's the difference between sodium lauryl sulfateand sodium laureth sulfate, anyway? If "sun-filter" wasn't printedafter 2-Ethylhexyl-whoozamawhatsit, how would I know that the makers of CitreShine Revitalizing Shampoo wanted to protect my hair from the sun?

Aftertaking biology and chemistry, I can figure out that glycol distearate has twomolecules of stearic acid and some type of alcohol related substance.Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose has a hydroxide radical somewhere on it, and athree- as well as a one-carbon alkyne. Is the cellulose in methylcelluloserelated to what plants use to build their cell walls? If so, and if our appendixstill worked, would we be able to digest shampoo?

How do you pronounce"disodium EDTA?" Do you say EDTA or is it an acronym for another longscientific name? One day I might have to read the ingredients of a shampoo bottlein public, and I will commit an oratory faux pas (which, by the way, I know ispronounced foah pa).

I used to read the ingredients on the softsoapcontainer in the tub when I was little with the ease of someone rollerskatingover large rocks. Now I read it with the ease of someone skating over a smooth,flat surface blindfolded. Inquiring minds want to know what they are gentlymassaging into their scalps. If the makers of the shampoo did not test thisproduct on animals, am I a guinea pig? If all my hair falls out or turns green,and I write an angry letter to the scientists at Advanced Research Laboratoriesin Costa Mesa, CA, will they just chalk it up to experience and change the amountof, let's say, DMDM hydantoin?

I was also under the impression thatshampooing one's hair was easy. You wet it, lather up, and rinse. Now you have torepeat. How often should I repeat? Why should I repeat? Is this a moneymakingploy to suck in all the conscientious people who follow the manufacturer'srecommended rates and directions? What kind of a message is: "If you followthe directions, you will be losing your money to corporate shampoo magnates, whowill laugh at your stupidity"? Do they make the assumption that I will washmy hair only after I engage in a muddy rugby game?

At any rate, I willcontinue to wash my hair in ignorance and shampoo. I will continue to wonderuntil I take an advanced chemistry class or someone tells me what I've been usingfor the past 17 years. Or maybe I'll write a letter to California.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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