I don’t like to brag, but I like to think of myself as above average speediness in terms of how long it takes to get dressed in the morning or get ready for a night out.
I’m often lauded at restaurants for my efficiency in bathroom lines. At Broadway shows, I’m routinely the first one up the aisle, around the corner, and first into the line of stalls. From time to time, I’ve been known to pull what my husband now refers to as a “classic quick-change” — where I’ll suddenly uncover a different dress or skirt from my purse, and change into it on the go. There are rumors out there that the ride up an elevator might be sufficient for me to go full ballgown.
I’ve found that putting a prize on speed has served me well. I’m able to keep up with male counterparts in my life during transitions like the dinner-to-going-out outfit change. When deplaning off a flight into a new climate with, say, warmer weather, you don’t have to worry about me unpacking my entire suitcase before heading out for a walk on the beach. Just a two-minute change in the airport bathroom into the carry-on sarong I brought on board will do just fine.
But try as I might, there’s one part of my post-shower routine that just can’t be avoided: Blow drying my hair.
As someone with historically long, thick hair, this is quite the process for me, and often adds another 20-30 minutes to my get-ready regimen. And unless the weather outside is somehow conducive for the “air-dry casual” look, I’ve found this minor inconvenience is often the dealbreaker between me keeping on pace with my husband in terms of morning efficiency.
You’re probably thinking, Welcome to the world of being a woman. Why does any of this matter?
I’ll tell you why. Because it makes the workday just a tad more complicated for women. Take the following examples:
- An hour-long workout at the gym becomes nearly two hours after factoring in the shower and post-shower blow dry.
- An intense week of conference events with little sleep and early call times means 30 fewer minutes of sleep than my male counterparts so I can get ready in the morning.
- A post-redeye shower routine subtracts another 30 minutes from potential business meetings upon arrival.
Over time, these minutes add up, extracting potentially valuable career-changing moments and opportunities in 30-minute increments. In a 30-year career of 7,800 workdays, we’re looking at 200,000+ minutes of our lives wasted with a basic hygiene task in the morning. Just think what else we might be able to accomplish with those reclaimed 3,900 hours of time.
How many more coffee meetings or business lunches might we have been able to attend? How much happier and healthier might we all be with a bit more free space in our lives to fit in both a workout and a breakfast meeting before work. What’s a girl to do?
And this, my friends, is why I declare dry shampoo to be the great equalizer between men and women.
This magical spray powder lets you convert one 30-minute blowout session into a two- or three-day hairdo. Finally, we too can get up, roll out of bed, get dressed, and with a few spritzes in our hair, be workplace-ready. And, with the aid of a shower cap or a to-go bottle in your checked bag, women can also roll off redeye flights and waltz straight in the offices of any client meeting we so please.
Dry shampoo has been my saving grace for countless workday mornings over the past few years. I’ve shut down bars with CEOs and managed to be first into the office the next morning to reset the room for another day of events. I’ve managed to triple-stack an evening of events and still show up for hours-long meetings the next day without batting an eye. No more do I have to worry about working with greasy hair or losing more sleep just to make myself presentable in the office. At last, I look back and think, we too have attained near-equal status in this regard.
I think back to my grandmother, who, like many before her, subjected herself to countless hours of hair curlers each night before bed. I look to the ionized heat power of hair driers today, making this process even faster for women around the world, I see pocket hair straighteners that fit snugly in an overnight bag, and I smile. We are making progress. Dry shampoo is just one more tool in our makeup bag kits to help us reclaim precious hours back into our lives and careers.
And while this may be a bit of an over-dramatized view into how many potential professional opportunities I’ve saved as a result of a basic, over-the-counter hair product, I do hold fast to this basic premise. If we can make mornings a little bit easier for women, why not try?
So, ladies — Don’t let long hair hold you back at work. It’s 2019, and I dare say — dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend.
*Disclaimer: The author received no money from the dry shampoo industry for this post.
Also published on Medium.