Thursday, July 15, 2010

More is not always better...

Here is my story (you've already read the moral of the tale in the headline!).

One of my towels got strange bleached out marks on it & looked weird (orange marks on a brown towel).  I couldn't figure out how they got there & assumed I had stupidly put one of my brown towels in with a white wash & bleach had marked it.

So I folded it carefully so the orange didn't show & kept using it, vowing NEVER to forget and put my colored towels in a white wash or foolishly think of bleaching them in any way.

The mystery deepens: more bits of orange kept appearing on my towel (not on the hand towels, not on my husband's towel, just on my bath towel).  It finally dawned on me that I could no longer fold my towel to hide the marks.  They were on both sides in all quadrants--and I know I hadn't bleached them.

I was clueless & did a search and read one tiny comment that explained everything: some hair products can bleach or discolor fabric/towels.

OMG, that explained everything.  Now I don't actually do anything significantly weird to my hair, but I do condition it occasionally (my husband does not, thus no impact on his towel).  I use different hotel conditioners picked up on travels.

I took some of the conditioners & glopped them on the towel & though it was not transformative, I could see some faint orange emerging on the sites.  Mystery solved.  And I knew I shouldn't try to replace that towel brand--it would only happen again.  Note this had never happened to me on any of my other towels, all colored.  I'm sure with these they used "natural" dyes or something!

Midterm moral:  Don't let your assumptions (e.g. bleach) blind you from the information.  Sherlock Holmes would have been able to deduce the answer from the clues without the internet.  I could have figured it out too.

So I decide I get to buy new towels.  I love the big turkish bath sheets & after obsessing about colors, cotton thread counts, etc. I get lovely thick towels.

Only to realize that extra big and extra thick means quite heavy to lift (over your head, say, to towel your hair).  And thick towels don't wrap around you as easily to dry off the nooks and crannies.

Note to self: next time, large size, less thick.  More in all directions is not always better.

More is not always better...

It reminded me of creating book covers & wanting each element--the title, art, typeface, headline, back cover copy--to shout "Buy Me!"

And then realizing that if they all were shouting, no one would get heard!

So the challenge was to determine what was the most powerful call to attention, then work on effectively leading readers to the next step, and the next, until they are hooked and immersed in the conversation.


Jeannette said...

I had the same mystery this year...burnt sienna towels were suddenly looking like they were the distant cousins of giraffes. I felt bad,thinking I had ruined the towels,and they aren't mine...this is at a lovely coastal estate. Of course I have no control over what guests use and only use pretty natural stuff myself so had never heard about the interactions and effects of various products.

There is a great website you could check out to see what is in products you use and whether the ingredients are safe. Google the environmental working group and go to their skin care page.

Isabel Swift said...

Jeannette: I am so glad to get further corroboration! And thanks for the tip on the environmental working group.

I have to note that this seemed more about the dye's used on the towels than the chemicals in the shampoo. I have had colored towels for years and used the same eclectic group of conditioners with no problem at all. I think these towels either had very easily damaged dyes or the dyes just weren't "set" properly.