Friday, January 29, 2010


When I was a kid, I noticed a framed, black and white photograph of a very distinguished man in my maternal grandmother’s bedroom. That man was my grandfather. Much to my chagrin, his head was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Now, I may not have been the sharpest knife in the tool shed, but I didn’t need a crystal ball to tell me I was going to have a chrome dome in due time.

A lot of people are excessively obsessed with their hair. Women (and sadly men) spend hours in front of the mirror each morning brushing their hair, applying hair spray, mousse, or gel, curling, straightening, or spiking, blow drying, coloring, highlighting, and a slew of other manipulations. Then, throughout the day they glance into every mirror, window, or any available reflective surface to make sure all 7,592 hairs are exactly where they left them. Curly haired women want straight hair and straight haired women want curly hair.  Blonds want to be brunette and brunettes want to be blond. Asian and African-American women also want to be blond, which is very strange. Nobody wants to be a redhead, but I think they’re hot….and hot-headed.

In my estimation, Americans spend billions of dollars on hair care products and services each year. I searched the Internet to determine the market value of hair care products in the United States, but was unable to find any information. I was, however, able to find some information for Italy. The people of Italy spend an estimated $3.2 billion on hair care products each year. If we assume there are 60 million people in Italy and 300 million people in the US, we can estimate the US hair care market value at $16 billion (five times $3.2B). Given the average Italian is 20% hairier than the average American, we can reduce the US estimate by 20%, resulting in a value of $12.8 billion. That’s a lot of greenbacks (and Lira’s)!

So why do Americans spend so much money on hair? As one who has had the opportunity to live with and without hair, I am firmly of the opinion that hair is overrated. I started buzzing my own hair with electric clippers in 1995. It was convenient because I didn’t need to drive to the barber shop and wait in line….and best of all, it was free. I let my hair grow out for several months in 2009 and quickly came to the conclusion that it’s really a hassle and expense I don’t need….so I’m back to buzzing.

My recommendation to everyone, male or female, is to buzz your heads, just once. The experience will be enlightening and refreshing. The total lack of vanity will free your spirit and help you focus on life's more important priorities. There are only two people who should be concerned about hair, 1) People with ugly heads and 2) Samson. Quite honestly, I think Samson was a bit overly obsessed with his hair, but did he really deserve to get his eyes poked out?

Here's a picture I call "California Girls" -- Leanna and Suzy, enjoying a ride in the beautiful California sun.  If you ever need to purchase a wig (e.g., for chemo treatment, evening job, Halloween, etc.), check out Valley Rags in Dublin, CA.  The people there are very compassionate and helpful.

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