Friday, February 28, 2014

33 Watch: The English Roots of Shampoo


The word shampoo in English dates back to the year 1762 and is derived from a Hindi word.  At that point in history, there was a "bathing expert", Sake Dean Mahomed, who was also known as the "Shampoo Surgeon" of King George IV and William IV.  Over time, shampooing became more about washing hair, and less about massaging the scalp.  By the early 1900s, an inventor had created a commercial form of shampoo for sale, his name was Kasey Hebert.

In 1914, the same year the Federal Reserve launched and World War I got underway, the first advertisement for shampoo was released; it was Canthrox Shampoo and the ad was posted in American Magazine.  Later that same year, Rexall, another shampoo maker, would release an advertisement and begin selling their "Hair Beautifying Shampoo".

All that said, shampoo also has a very curious numerology, and an interesting spelling as well.  Think about it, how many words do you know that end is 'oo'?
  • Shampoo = 1+8+1+4+7+6+6 = 33
    • Notice 'shampoo' was invented just before the birth of the nation, at a time when they were purposefully naming states with coded 33 names.
    • Delaware = 4+5+3+1+5+1+9+5 = 33
    • Massachusetts = 4+1+1+1+1+3+8+3+1+5+2+2+1 = 33
Shampoo as we know it, made with synthetic surfactants instead of soap, has been in production since the 1930s, just before World War II.  When I was a kid, my dad told me "Don't shampoo your hair too much, because everyone I know who took extra good care of their hair, went bald early".  My parents were funny in that way, giving me advice probably most other children didn't receive from their folks.  Now that I know shampoo equates to 33, I think I further agree with his philosophy.  Further, opinions exist suggesting that most commercial shampoos and soaps truly are bad for your body due to all the artificial chemicals that are absorbed by both your skin and hair.