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Have you ever had a bad hair day? I have had a bad hair week.

It started the Friday before last Friday. I showered and washed my hair (as you do). But as I began to blow dry, I realized a patch on the top was really greasy. Silly me, I thought. You haven’t rinsed properly.

Fortunately I have a stash of hippy headbands in my drawer. The kind you stretch round your head twice and cover a multitude of sins. I chose purple that day, for energy and vitality.

The next day, Saturday, I made sure I rinsed my hair extra carefully. But, lo-and-behold, same problem: hair extra greasy.

I chose a green headband that day,a sort of questing, what-is-happening-to-me sort of affair.

The next day, Sunday, I did two washes and rinsed thoroughly. But, no way! My hair was still disgusting. It was like working in the Woolworths service deli, during my teens, and having the metwurst drip on me.

I chose black that day, for mourning.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I was becoming alarmed. For no matter how I rubbed and scrubbed, no matter how low the water temperature, no matter how much shampoo I used, or how thoroughly I blow dried – my hair was like suet. You could have fried chips in it.

On Thursday I went shopping. Now I don’t know about you, but when I am perusing shops, possibly trying clothes on, I don’t want my hair to be greasy. Firstly because when you go into a shop with big mirrors and fluorescent lights you immediately feel yourself diminishing. Every wrinkle shows, evey small acne scar looms, let alone the hairs that are not growing on your chin. Added to which, the sizes are ridiculous in those stores. I can’t possibly be pushing a sixteen!

I wandered around the shops for about an hour. But I didn’t have the heart to try anything on (yes, that bad). Other shoppers were staring at me. I was sure of it.

‘Look at that woman’s greasy hair,’ they whispered. ‘It must be really bad under that black thing.’

‘Euw! Disgusting,’ they said. ‘I bet she doesn’t wash it.’

I tried to be philosophical. Told myself I was identifying with those who do not have the luxury of regular showers. Told myself that in future when I saw a plumpish, middle aged woman wandering round the shop with greasy hair and the early stages of a beard on her chin, I would be more understanding.

It didn’t work. I felt dirty.

On the way home, I drove past the hairdressers.

Shall I? Shan’t I? Greasy? Clean? It was like pulling petals off a daisy. I decided to go in.

‘Caroline,’ I said (I can not stress the value of the family hairdresser in these sort of emergencies. Someone who knows your folicle history). ‘I have a problem.

‘Do you need to bring your appointment forward?’ she asked, smiling.

‘No, it’s my hair. I can’t wash the grease out of it.’

‘How long has it been greasy?’ she asked.

‘A week,’ I said.

She and her assistant were by my side in an instant. Touching the offensive patch. shaking their heads, tut-tutting and deliberating. I can only say, it was like two librarians collaborating on a reference enquiry. A religious thing.

‘Come over to the basin, we’ll wash it straight away.’

It was a relief to be taken seriously.

‘This has happened before,’ they said, cheerfully. ‘One lady’s whole head turned greasy. It took us ages to get on top of it.’

I trembled in the chair, hoping this wasn’t a bizarre stage in my ageing process. Hoping I did not have to visit the skin specialists, only to be told there was no cure for me. Praying I wouldn’t have to go through life feeling slimy!

It took two vigorous washes to get my hair clean. The second wash had bi-carb soda mixed with heavy duty shampoo.

It did the trick. My hair is now wondrously clean. I feel like a girl on the Pantene commercial. Like shaking my head and letting it cascade around me. Feeling young and liberated and free.

Yesterday, I went to the hair salon for my regular ‘cut and colour.’ Then I am going to move on, try and put the whole thing behind me. Perhaps buy a lottery ticket, or shares in a shampoo company.

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