the return of the lady of shalott

ginger, shallot, and knife

ginger + shallot + knife (1)
= ???…
(It’s OK: this is only the first of a [ed. METAPHORICAL / FIGURATIVE / ANALOGICAL] sequence, the rest of which offer some solutions. Please note that this parenthetical note does not give away the plot or ruin the dramatic tension. Promise.)

Remember this?

Well, we’re back!

Back with a difference.

No more service.

Tolerance and patience have reached their limits.

[Ed. Now updated with notes indicating which parts of what follows are METAPHORICAL. The reason for this is that there have been misreadings, elsewhere; while bad reading is to blame, I must also blame my own bad writing. Even though it’s in the nature of the figurative to be opaque and ambiguous, I must take my share of the fault here, as Chief Fool of my own blog.

Also, as this post is about vice. And an important first step in dealing with one’s own sins is to look clearly, and to acknowledge them. I try to remember this:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
(John 8:7)

The good reader will too.]

As have time and energy: hell, I have other things to do, and other ways to spend leisure time. Like what, say you? (Cheeky monkey.) Like digressing in a leisurely way, says I; which as we’ve seen previously is a crucial leisure activity. Like writing about having other things to do. At great and tedious length. See this here post? That’s over 3,500 words’ worth of digressionary idle chatter: I admit that at least half of that is mine, and I also admit that it’s a far cry from Wordsworth. Now, wouldn’t it be bloody brilliant if we all (myself included, and first and foremost) put that much time and effort and dedication into writing novels and poetry and political rants and generally Using The Pen To Benefit Humankind And For The Greater Good Of The Entire World, Universe, And Anything Else There Might Be And Mayhap Might Come To Be, Potentially, In All Eternity And In Every Dimension / Possible World / Et Caetera Ad Infinitum Et Ultra?

Hence why, if writing anything more than 500 words long, it must include at least a Moral Of The Story (or two, or more; such things usually go in multiples), if not a full-on rant for at least a paragraph. I think I’ve obeyed that rule so far; will try my best to follow it henceforth. That compromise is the best I can do. After all, retrospection is all too easy: it makes one want to punch both one’s own past-self and one’s future-self, simultaneously and at once, and irrespective/disrespectful of not disrupting the time-space continuum. And legislation cannot, in a proper good fair just system, be retroactive. That might also be for good sound space-time-continuum-preserving sci-fi reasons too.

Anyway. That’s at least one digression out the way. Onwards and upwards and back on-track:

Yes, it’s nice to be great and good and know stuff. To be Richesce personnified. And it’s nice to then do something about it and incarnate that greatest of Medieval virtues, Largesce. But remember, remember: what happened to such things through the later Middle Ages? Already in several hundred years’ worth of reforming religious waves; and in criticism from 13th century satirists (“Trop doner” is already there, in Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose); and definitely and most decidedly by the time we’re in the 16th and with Lady Folly: Richesce and Largesce are not the be-all and end-all. There’s more to life. And they might not even be virtues anyway… or not in the way they were originally intended, let alone how they’ve been mocked along the way.

The sagacious SAGE (not their real or MakeupAlleyer name; see further below) reminded me of all this, and of something else: the folly of being taken in by flatterers. That having one’s feathers fluffed up and stroked is at least as dangerous as having them ruffled.

Sure, there’s a charitable side to helping others: love thy neighbour (aka the new commandment, love, that replaces the ten old ones); be kind; share resources, including your own, with those who have less (including brains, rapid researching, and fast typing). But sometimes one needs to be cruel to be kind. And sometimes one also needs to remember that it is better to teach a man to fish than it is to give fish to him. On the other hand, one must not forget what happens when one leads a horse to water…

The other side, though? Vanity. Pride. That’s what one falls into, in trying to avoid avarice and anger, and in trying to help others out of their own sloth, gluttony, lust, and envy.

Rats. Proud? Vain? No way do I want to be a smug git. I hate smug gits. Shit. Thanks SAGE, saved me. For the moment…

You may recall that much of that earlier exchange was in the following spirit:

lady of shalott

So what’s new, in the world of Shalotts, and those intersections that occur when shallots and ginger collide?

SHALLOT: Unscented, cone-free conditioner with basic ingredients? After struggling with allergies, it’s been tough finding a deep conditioner with some weight that’s not filled w/ botanicals or tons of extracts. Tried ‘the Balm’ but had a reaction to it which made me so mad since it did wonders for my hair. Any recs are appreciated :-).

FENUGREEK: JMO Bare Unscented is great and I believe cone free. But light, not really a *deep* condtitioner.
SHALLOT: TY. I’ve tried that but like you said, it’s not deep
Since I use Free & Clear shampoo which can be drying, looking for a dish with extra moisture. Ugh, allergies!
GINGER: agreed: usable but not very conditioning

JUNIPER: have you tried Whole Foods unscented shampoo? It’s from their Everyday 365 or whatever line, it’s not SUPER moisturizing, but that depends how dry you hair is. Or, you might try pre-treating your hair with an oil, shampooing, and then using a less intense conditioner.

GINGER: here are some unscented cone-free conditioners:
more here:
(also permalinked on notepad–in faq bit at end of intro section–and in favourites > hair)

Here’s a bunch, in no particular order: Google for ingredients & where/how to buy:
Curelle (prefer Riche)
Desert Essence
Earth Science
Avalon Organics
Prairie Naturals
Whole Foods 365 (not very good IMO)
Free & Clear (not very moisturising)

Of these: rec Curelle. One of the best conditioners I’ve used, “greener” and/or unscented or otherwise.

My other recs contain silicones (solid bars with dimethicone); I assume when you say no silicone you know for a fact you can use no silicones at all, for irritation reasons? Unusual: but you and your doctor known your skin!

Edit: I remember you PMed me a lot about silicones back in 2011, and a bit in 2012; I reread that correspondence and it didn’t look like you had a medical reason for avoiding silicones, nor had you researched them (and they are a large and varied chemical family: to start with, water-soluble vs. not…).
Has that changed?
Have you researched silicones more in the meantime?
Have you been told not to use them by a doctor (and told why not, i.e. precisely what they do to your skin and hair)?
Have you seen a doctor, to check for other underlying conditions that might make (or be connected to) hair more dull and fragile, scalp more sensitive, etc.? Better to treat causes than effects…
Experimented properly using different silicones?
Comparative testing:
one silicone-containing product against another,
one kind of silicone vs. another,
different concentrations,
different combinations of silicones,
and each of the above vs. no silicones?

If you haven’t properly investigated all the above, there is no good sound sensible reason to avoid and reject silicones.

Having said that: hopefully some of the suggestions in our various replies might help you find a no-cone conditioner that works. But if it stops working, and if you’ve had a continuity of hair not doing its thing (not just “bad hair day” or “I want to look perfect”): time to see a doctor. Seriously!

CUMIN: 2nd Answered on Hair board

hanging hair bow board

Hair board (1) + fantasizing about appropriate punishments for those who deserve a fate worse than death (here, hanging by the neck by a silly bow until dead) = hanging hair bow board; image links to instructions on how to make one of your very own.
[Ed. from a selection of the more entertaining / creative results of a Google image search for “hair board,” combined with what in north-west Europe we call “dark humour” of the “gallows” variety; with apologies to people from elsewhere for cultural difference.
NB: please do not worry. I am neither suicidal nor advocating that for others. This note is probably unnecessary for most good readers, but I have noted some misreading of this post has been going on elsewhere. Not to embarrass the misreaders, but: if the observant and intelligent reader were to read all of this present post, and to read it in its context–that is,this blog–and in the spirit of that blog–that is, a frivolous blog about folly–and if the good reader then reasons through to figure out who the appropriate victim of said fate would be: it should be clear that any victim of (figurative, fantastical, cartoon) violence here is Ginger O’Rama. Remember, this is a blog about Folly and the Praise of Folly. By a self-admitted Fool. Who is, fortunately, well able to distinguish fact from fiction/fantasy, the the figurative from the literal. Allow me a moment of heavy-handed sardonic tomfoolery. Maybe a smidge of Socratic irony.
NBB: For the heavy-handed reader who is not very good at reading: (1) it’s OK, the joke is on me; (2) go read Erasmus, The Praise of Folly. Everything will make a lot more sense. On here, and in less silly irrelevant things in the whole of life. HTH.
To all readers: my apologies, as ever, for being overly-parenthetical.]

Meanwhile, we have a cross-post over on The Hair Board (isn’t MakeupAlley hysterical? I mean, if you said “meanwhile, over on The Hair Board” in any other context or out of context, people would either laugh or look at you really, really funny…):

LEMON: Maybe the Shea moisture masque
KUMQUAT: if you mean the one in the brown jar this stuff is so heavily scented
LEMON: Not by artificial fragrance
KUMQUAT: yeah but still super strong, I have allergies too and can’t handle this
CUMIN: Sounds like she wants no scent at all

KUMQUAT: hmm no recs but sounds like something whole foods might have

GINGER: pbi: answered (and more answers) on Green Board. HTH 🙂

CUMIN: All kinds of hair types need weight. In another post you said you used Suave. Suave is really scented. Weight, holding moisture, and protection often come from cones. Going without cones calls for other ingredients or using products after washing and conditioning. What do you use?

Are you doing oil treatments? These are helpful when someone has dry hair.

No clue what basic ingredients mean. Do you mean just a few ingredients? There is no base that conditioners build from when making one well except usually water or aloe.

If you avoid cones you need to do other things to protect your hair. Use a protective leave-in, use oil, do treatments. Moisture will not just jump into your hair. If your hair is that dry you need to look at your routine, products and diet. Do you color?
Highlight? Blowdry? Flatiron? Spend time in the sun? Wash too often? Use after-products to protect hair? Have you tried cleansing conditioner/cowashing? What are you doing to zap moisture?

Gingerrama gave some good suggestions but you may find more natural products moisturize differently. A switch in shampoo may be needed too.

shallot knife

ginger + shallot + knife (2)
= [ed. metaphorically] remove the ginger from the equation, else she gets shopped up too; and use a specialized shallot-only tool.
Here, the aptly-named “Green Onion Slicer Shallot Knife Slicer Cutter Kitchen Knife Banana Slicer Tools Useful.”

Meanwhile, over in World Of Personal Messages™ (or, wop ’em):


I’m rather new here and was going to offer her suggestions until I read your post.
I’m used to a very small message board. A little overwhelmed by the mass posters here at times.
Is this someone who asks repeat questions with no answer good enough? I noticed she asked about Suave and V05. Then posted that she uses Suave naturals but now wants unscented. Suave naturals is very scented so I can’t imagine her not being able to use scented products. I have read people avoid silicones because of build up when not using sulfates.
I noticed a few comments in your post that suggest she may have OCD or perfection issues.
Should I just avoid her?


Hi there!

This seems to be a well-meaning person–not a troll–but beware, can end up being time-consuming and ask incessant questions.

Earlier example of this, where I experienced major urges to tear my hair out:
(anonymised, as I always do in this sort of situation)

While some of them are good questions, many of them are questions that would be best answered by:
1. look it up yourself
2. if you don’t know what an ingredient is/does, go and find out for yourself
3. if you don’t understand the chemistry, go teach yourself
4. if you ask someone a questions and they gice you an answer, at least do them the courtesy of reading that properly
5. and if they suggest you go and look stuff up for yourself, that’s probably what they mean, and continuing the cycle of similar questions (without finding stuff out for yourself in between) is not going to endear you to your correspondent.

Rinse and repeat. Until correspondent feels like they’ve had the life sucked out of them… and I’ve got a full-time job and a life and suchlike, and neither of them is “being a charity-worker.”

So: two words of warning:
1. perfectly decent human being, but not the brightest spark in the box;
2. needy and asks questions upon questions upon questions etc etc etc…

I would leave her to it. I’m not convinced she has any idea (and no more idea than two years ago) about her hair, hair in general, hair products, etc. I mean, it could be *anything* in her current stuff that’s leading to these reactions; and it could be a combination of products; or other things, like hair-styling things, laundry detergent, and so on…

*tears hair out*

For the record, I have to use unscented stuff for skin/scalp reasons (and many scents make me sneeze, and there’s few I actually like anyway). But I can use plenty silicones, on both hair and skin: actually some of the best ingredients around, on me. Love them dearly 🙂


Ginger xox


Wow! She really used you as own research. Seems like she’s a little lazy and paranoid. Hard to help someone who can’t help themselves.
She had asked some questions on the HB and something seemed off. I checked her posting history and it looked repetitive. I have a good bit of ingredient knowledge (due to researching and reading and reading more) and was going to help but I could not understand some posts. Almost like the one post was: “I know what like” and the next was: “tell me what to like.” Poor gal seems lost.
I think you are right, best to just stay clear.
I agree silicones have sure been friendly to my body and hair.

acedia et vanagloria

[Ed. This item is not metaphorical. It is entirely literal, real, and serious. It is, I hope, a sign that I am on the path on the way to lessening my own folly. I hope that’s not being overly-presumptuous, because that would mean further error and sin for me.]

Aaand meanwhile also:


Haven’t been active on MUA for a long time, been working so much.
Yes I’ve seen drs & cones cause my SD to flare. After 2 yrs of sulfate shampoo & cone free dish, I’m SD free!!!!
I recall you being very good with ingredient knowledge & need your help interpreting.
Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Stearate, DMDM Hydantoin, Benzyl Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Citronellol, Polysorbate 20, Propylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Steareth 21, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Panthenol, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract (Sage), Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Extract (Blackberry), Niacinamide, Biotin (Vitamin H)

I use Suave dish but can only use one since the others have fragrances I can’t tolerate. Looking to rotate, maybe even change conditioners – who knows. It’s been a long time to heal but I did & the only cone free dishes I used were Suave & Vo5 Blackberry Sage. I think the Vo5 made my hair feel like there was a residue left but I had no reaction to it. Trying to understand the ing’s. At least if I know what may cause the filmy feeling & understand it, I’ll feel better about using it.
After going thru what I’ve been thru, I err on the side of caution & if I don’t understand something, I don’t use it (its a huge downfall) & my hubby hates me staring at the back of conditioner bottles lol.
Thanks SO much 🙂



1. Ingredients in that product: look them up. See previous correspondence, especially the stuff about looking things up. It sounds to me like you’re a bit confused and maybe haven’t learned much since then.

Sorry, I’m not doing ingredient-interpretation for people on MUA any more. I’m happy to show people how to do it for themselves, that’s all I can do for free (and better anyway: teach a man how to fish, etc.).

If you want someone to research ingredients for you etc., you will need to pay someone to do that. It is called research, and is work.

I cannot do that for free for a second reason: professional conflict of interest. I can only do this kind of research [pro bono] if it is for myself (ex. products I use, a skin-condition I have).

2. If your hubby doesn’t like you reading ingredient-lists, ignore him. Or explain to him why you’re doing it: he might be willing and able to help!

If he isn’t, if this were me I would consider dumping and getting a new improved hubby. But that’s just me. My DH is OK with my reading ingredients etc., as I do it for stuff for him too, so he benefits 🙂

3. All the Suave and Vo5 hair stuff is scented. This is on their ingredient-lists.

4. On things working/not working with hair: that could be due to ANY SINGLE ingredient or ANY COMBINATION of ingredients. In any single product (ex. shampoo). And/or in any of the hair stuff you’re using (and any combination thereof: so shampoo, or conditioner, or both, plus any styling products…).

You’d need to do more serious testing to identify causal agents for sure and definite.

5. If you have SD, you should talk to other people with SD. Look around online, there are support groups. Talk to your doctor.

6. Do a board-search on the skin care board. That is: just type in and look up “sd” and then “seb derm”, then read through results and copy-paste the MUAer names/IDs attached to them into a document if need be. You’ll soon find several people who have SD and often respond to posts about it.

Read through all their stuff: board posts, product reviews, notepads. See what they’ve used that works, and what doesn’t. See what other information they have, and what links. Go look them up too.

I would do all of that first; eventually, contact SD MUAers. But first, do your own research, as outlined above.




 paring knife and shallot

ginger + shallot + knife (3)
= [ed. metaphorical] time for some paring: change tool to a paring knife, and remove the ginger from the chopping-board

In the ginger and shallot metaphor, there is now a big sharp knife.

There are two fine hazy grey lines present in this situation:
1. between (fair use and/or) use and abuse
2. between generosity and giving too much

Each ambiguity too often exploited. In this case, the two exploited together, the one feeding off the other in a vicious circle for the victim and the virtuous one for the perpetrator of said abuse.

Like all ambiguous things, the lines are naturally wiggly. They curve, and have a potential for elasticity. That is exploited by the exploiting party: stretched off-course, in their own direction. The more one is stretched, the more one gives; the more one does so, the more one gets into that habit. One has been trained. This is the part that is manipulative and exploitative: and, as in many abusive cycles, with the victim labouring under an illusion of voluntariness, volition, and control.

How to deal with such lines? Cut them.

Cut them at the right time, though. Otherwise one gets tied into such a grey line oneself, too bound up with it. That can be dangerous: because elasticity has its limits. The more one gives, the less one is able to ping back, energy restored… and the less one is able to convert potential to kinetic energy and ping properly, fully, and forcefully in retaliation at, say, an abuser.

[Ed. The metaphors in this piece, and the additional notes about metaphors and metaphoricity, are brought to you with thanks to Jean de Meun via the authorial retractions / self-defences and contributions from the character Faus Samblant in his Roman de la Rose; and with thanks, as ever, to Desiderius Erasmus’s Praise of Folly / Moriae encomium.]



1. There are worse things than common-or-garden vices. A reminder of the spiritual vices:

  • blasphemy
  • apostasy
  • despair
  • hatred

I nearly fell into several of these. I live in semi-permanent despair, in online matters. And have fallen into MUA-apostasy a long time back, remaining (and remaining active) on MUA as a thorn in the side, if you will forgive the somewhat sacrilegious mixing of related metaphors. (It is, for a rare occasion, à propos given the context.)

I try to avoid hatred. No matter what. I hope we all do. 🙂

But blasphemy, now blasphemy, oh deary me…

SHALLOT and any other fools of like persuasion out there: there are limits to self-disgnosis. The main limit is called “go and see your doctor.” It should be followed by “listen to what he says: in this consultation-conversation, he should speak more than you, and most of your utterances should be questions.” Take notes. Given previous evidence of weak to nonexistent listening/reading and retention skills, I worry about diagnoses referred to above.

Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. By that, I mean: do not use terms like “allergy” willy-nilly. Lest The Allergy Gods take note and smite you.

hair bored

2. A lesson for smug hipsters.

Writers of fiction? eat your hearts out.

Well, don’t: instead of hanging out in Vancouver cafés, clogging the place up, being all hipstery whiny and wistful yet aggressive and snarky in your smugness… Instead of doing that, and depriving people like me of a seat for the enjoyment of my nice coffee (and whatever midafternoon snack), while you moan and groan at your MacBooks because inspiration isn’t striking, and you think that sort of behaviour is the best way to attract The Muse… in between glaring at anyone near you who’s not clearly a hipster in mid-writing-angst (or is it mid-angst-writing? or writing mid-angst?)… instead of being a PITA, fuck off and give me a seat, and go somewhere else, anywhere with an internet connection, and go to online conversations. MakeupAlley is an excellent start.

Also, Muses are ladies. No lady responds to that sort of approach. Few non-ladies do either, at least not in a positive way that doesnt’t involve swinging a hand-bag at your hipster-specced twatty-bearded visage.

And also, I see I forgot to mention old ladies. Old ladies are relevant here for several reasons:

  1. they deserve seats too. More than me. More than anyone. Seats. Are. For. Old. Ladies.
  2. they are always, in my experience, worth talking to; they are usually much more interesting than you are, as they have been alive for longer than you.
    Mind you, this is only true if they’ve been alive in active sort of way, observing shit happen and have shit happen to them. Not all old ladies are fascinating, just as is true of any other sector of the human population.
  3. old ladies either know everything about vain stuff like skin and hair and their care; or they’ve tried everything (and really scary things you’d never dare), been there, done that, got the t-shirt: or they don’t give a rat’s arse, and are now above and beyond all that sort of silly trivial crap.
    Beware, especially, falling into any stereotypes associated with old lady appearances and the interpretation and implications thereof.

Conversations between real people, in real (and virtual) life. You couldn’t make this shit up.


Or, moral of the moral-with-embedded-tales:

1. I still hate hipsters, even if that’s completely prejudiced of me. Especially the ones who are smug gits.

2. old ladies rock. Some of them, literally rather than just figuratively. Especially here in Vancouver.

3. there’s pride and there’s Pride. HAPPY (VANCOUVER) PRIDE!!!

vancouver davie street rainbow crosswalk

Davie & Bute, Vancouver: the first permanent rainbow crosswalk / pedestrian crossing in Canada

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