doc

INVISIBLE Dry; Ultra Dry; Silk Dry: oh how I long for the days when a deodorant was just that, a stick of deodorant — plain and simple.

When I was a teenager there was Mum and there was Sure. Girls usually chose the latter for its feminine packaging, while men opted for the former, lured by the advert, showing a tick shape on a sweaty, muscular body which stayed dry even when they ran across the Sahara or hacked through a rainforest.

Now we’ve got all manner of them: home and dry, high and dry, bone dry and a host of other varieties that leave people like me — sent by my daughters on a shopping errand — dazed and confused.

There’s one that’s ‘invisible’, and another that’s ‘double invisible’. Does that mean your underarms completely disappear? Then there’s a few that are described as ‘dermo’ in the same way as a face cream: dermo repair, dermo sensitive, dermo beauty, and again, invisible. Very puzzling.

I checked out the ingredients on a few of them and they’re pretty much the same. So why not produce just two or three, instead of 103?

Hair products are as bad. When I was a girl my mum bought Vosene, which to me smelled revolting — more like medicine than shampoo. Even now, the aroma takes me back to that horrible Sunday night hair-wash-school-next-day feeling.

As an anti-dandruff shampoo, Vosene hadn’t a lot of competition in those days. Head and Shoulders, that’s about it. Now there’s all sorts on the market and, from the line up, dandruff seems the least of our worries.

Now we need to repair and protect, strengthen, volumise, straighten, you name it, we are doing it to our hair.

Much of it, I believe, is a big con. I use all sorts of products recommended by my daughters to tackle dry, frizzy hair and they don't seem to be any more effective than washing-up liquid.

I won’t even mention toothpaste. Should I get the one that protects gums or tackles plaque or preserves enamel? And what about my actual teeth? Are the ones that give active protection less effective than those that simply offer protection?

Too much choice, that’s what we’ve got. That's why it takes us half a day to do the weekly shop.

It took me 15 minutes and a text home before I settled upon a deodorant. I keep urging my daughters to take a leaf out of my dad’s book: he has never used deodorant and has always used soap to wash his hair. He doesn't smell and his hair looks fine.