Recently a video of NASA astronaut, Karen Nyberg, has been circulating social media but the video was actually filmed in 2013. Nyberg films herself at the International Space Station and shares with viewers how you shampoo whilst experiencing weightlessness in space.
As Nyberg explains, no-rinse shampoo is a must otherwise, as we are all familiar with, you’re guaranteed to leave loads of shampoo on your scalp and your hair would be greasy ten minutes after having washed it. Often when we imagine life as astronauts we forget that they still have to live like us and carry out the mundane tasks that accompany daily life-like washing their hair.
We often take for granted the ease of our daily lives. To wash our hair, we simply stand under a shower, lather, rinse and dry but for Nyberg it is a very different story. She explains that she “has a mirror so I can kind of watch what I’m doing” but as she says these small water droplets are floating away from her in the anti-gravity surroundings. She spots them and explains that “sometimes the water gets away from you and you try to catch as much as you can.” She also reminds viewers that resources are limited where she is so she must reuse towels longer than she would on Earth and try to be as conservative as possible with the water she uses.
Nyberg then applies no-rinse shampoo and combs her hair upwards until she resembles one of the trolls. After she adds a little more water, she says that “it actually feels kind of squeaky clean right now”.
Interestingly, Nyberg goes on to explain that as her hair dries, the water evaporates and becomes humidity in the air and then the air conditioning system will collect that into condensate which will then turn that water into drinking water.
She combs it once more and explains that “While it dries, I just let it stay free.” This video was part of a series of astronaut how-to video guides for life in space.
Next time I’m complaining about having to wash my hair, my sympathies will go out to women like Karen who must endure the troll look for a squeaky clean scalp.