DON'T JUDGE ME BUT: "I pay $105 to wash my hair"

Images: Nicky clutching an empty bottle of her favourite shampoo.

This conversation is coming my way very soon: Him: ‘Babe, did you get your haircut again this month?’ Me: ‘Er, no. Why?’ Him: ‘Oh, because there’s another charge for a hairdresser on our credit card statement for $104.’ Me: ‘Um…’ Him: ‘What’s that all about?’ Me: ‘Um…’

Let me try to explain my expensive and embarrassing shampoo addiction in the hope that I can mount some kind of defence when my husband discovers just how much I’ve been spending on washing my hair.

It began 18 months ago. I was invited to experience a Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ceremony. It was 50-minutes of pure heaven, complete with Japanese tea ceremony, hair brushing and shiatsu head massage all by a trained hair master.

And yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds.

But what I did take home with me that day, along with incredibly soft hair, was the brand’s Moisture Velvet shampoo, $47, and conditioner, $57. After I had gone through those bottles, I paid the biggest compliment a beauty editor can ever give, I paid for more. And then more, and somehow in amongst the litter of empty bottles I had become completely addicted to only ever using this one type of shampoo.

What Nicky's hair looks like when she doesn't use Shu Uemura*.

You see, I have the kind of brittle, dry hair from years of bleaching that can go for days without washing. Before finding my Mecca, I could wash it just once a week without it turning greasy.

That’s just how dry it was, but once I started using Shu Uemura’s shampoo and conditioner my previously unmanageable hair suddenly started behaving. It was soft, and shiny, glossy even. Which is something any blonde-haired woman can tell you only happens when the hair gods and certain planets align (i.e. never).

After decades of searching, I had found THE ONE. The product that could give me the elusive hair commercial type of shine. I thought that kind of weightless shine was an urban hair myth.


Like any good addict, I’ve been hiding my behaviour from my loved ones. Squirreling away money to pay for my hair crack, (mostly) paying in cash so my dodgy dealings can’t be tracked and stashing it in non-suspicious places around the house so that my husband or staying guests couldn’t find it and use it all up.

It’s an addiction that’s taking over my life. The things I once enjoyed, like clothes shopping, have lost all meaning. I think of everything in Shu shampoo units. ‘Ooh, that top is nice. Oh, it’s $100? I could get two Shu shampoos for that,’ I’d tell myself before placing it back on the rack.

I tried to go back to other brands, but I could immediately tell the difference. My hair would snap back to its old dry, coarse and hard to manage ways. I knew things were bad when I’d make excuses to casually mention it in conversation to fellow industry insiders. ‘Have you tried it yet?’ ‘It’s THE best.’‘Touch my hair. Go on touch it.’ I’d hear myself say. It was like I was a new mother constantly talking about her newborn.

I was aware that I sounded a fraction unstable, but I couldn’t stop. And then I found a fellow addict, she’d been buying up all the shampoo at the umbrella brand’s staff sales. I knew this was my in. ‘Hook me up,’ I whispered like a desperate junkie to a new dealer.

Even if there were a 12-step program for idiots who spend too much money on shampoo, I wouldn’t even want that kind of therapy. For now, I’m choosing to go through life considerably poorer, for the sake of shiny hair. You know, priorities.

*Kidding, this was an egg-wash experiment gone horribly wrong. But my Shu shampoo totally fixed it - ok, I'm doing it again, aren't I?

What’s the one beauty product you're willing to spend big on?