Like Silver and Gold, Lather and Foam

I love lather! I love the sound of the spoken word, its physical qualities when it’s gently massaging its way through my hair during a morning shower, and I love the images that it conjures up when someone simply says the word “Lather”.

With all of lather’s great qualities, one would assume that it couldn’t possibly have any detractors. Well, it’s true. Some believe lather is the enemy. I’ve read several articles where “an expert” suggested consumers should not base their shampoo buying decision on how much lather it produces, but rather how well it cleans.

You know these shampoos that don’t lather. They are the ones where you have to use 2 or 3 times as much shampoo to feel like the clean is reaching all areas of your head and hair, including the outer limits. The non-lathering shampoos also cost more because they supposedly do what lathering shampoos do, but without having to lather(!).

Since the non-lathering shampoos don’t lather, you have to work harder to push the “liquid soap” to the outer reaches. And then when you rinse your hair of a “latherless” shampoo, you’re never really sure you got all of your hair clean. Perhaps just “spots”.

I do like to have clean hair, but I’d never invest in a latherless shampoo. My priority for shampoo features is 1) It must lather!; 2) It should clean.

If you’re currently a lather detractor, let’s consider other forms of lather, like lather’s close cousin, foam (another ridiculously apt word, by the way). How many people do you know that don’t like foam? I often visit the local coffee house with the rest of my weary early-rising tech folk and what do I see? Long lines of people waiting in line to get “coffee” with foam.

By the time these coffee houses get done putting various ingredients through their complex array of machines, these coffee beverages are more foam (and perhaps sugar) than anything else and hardly bear any resemblance to what we used to think of as traditional coffee (you know, pre-Starbucks).

And let’s not forget our friend beach foam. Beach foam reminds me of one of my favorite experiences when I was a young child on a trip with my family to Vancouver, Canada. We were taking in one of Vancouver’s many great natural parks. Walking along a grass path that paralleled a waterway, there were areas bordering the grass and water that looked like sand. My slightly older brother (but not wiser!) decided that he had to walk on this dirt area.

As he stepped onto the dirt area, his foot went right through this deceiving-sand and right into the water. He had been lured into the water by what appeared to be a hard dirt surface, but was actually beach foam! Despite my brother’s negative association to foam due to this experience, as the younger (and often maligned) brother, this experience had the opposite effect for me and much reinforced foam as a positive in my mind.

Yep, quite a bit to say about the awesome qualities of Lather and Foam. Take that Silver and Gold!