Hurry, hair running out

Flagrant theft has shampoo stickler in a lather.

Published April 24, 2007

RIVERVIEW - The way Dan Sherman tells it, he's just a 51-year-old man who needs St. Ives Jojoba Shampoo for survival. Otherwise, it's hair today, gone tomorrow. Simple as that.

His "lifetime supply" was stolen from a U-Haul trailer. No one makes St. Ives Jojoba Shampoo anymore. It wasn't exactly the Shampoo of the Stars in its best day. It sold for a buck a bottle. But it made his hair look bouncy and full. He needs at least five cases to make it into old age, when, presumably, he'll be too bald to care anymore.

There's a rootlessness, in hair and life, about Dan Sherman. He comes from San Francisco. He's single. Moved to Riverview in December to be close to investment properties. Works for Coldwell Banker. After three months, he already has a for-sale sign outside his house. Has just a few pieces of furniture inside. There's not a speck of food in the kitchen.

He has a single plastic bottle of St. Ives Jojoba Shampoo, forlornly dry, like a beer glass on a Sunday morning. He opens the cap. Puts the bottle under his nose. There's still a faint scent of something lightly and sweetly fragrant. The print on the outside has faded from many showers. He drained the last drop a month ago.

He posted an ad on Craig's List: "REWARD St. Ives Jojoba Shampoo." It offered $300 for information leading to the procurement of five cases or 50 bottles except for the "raspberry type". "If you see any of this product in dollar stores, or know any dollar store owners who would search their distributors, maybe we can find it, and I will pay you a finder's fee."

* * *

On his Coldwell Banker business card photo, Dan Sherman's hair looks bouncy and full. He says the photo was touched up. In person, it's true, Dan Sherman's hair doesn't look so good. It just lies there. Frankly, it looks like it has six months to live.

St. Ives Jojoba is the only shampoo Dan Sherman has ever found that, in stylist parlance, volumized his hair. He started using it in San Francisco in the early '90s. "I got great feedback," he says.

Around the late '90s, "it started to disappear." The raspberry type started to show up; he hated it. In 1999, he called the manufacturer in Los Angeles, and the company shipped him 50 bottles of the old stuff.

Dan Sherman lived a happy life until last December when he made his move to Riverview. He packed all his belongings - stereo, computer, passport and shampoo - in a U-Haul trailer and started east. In Phoenix, he checked into a Marriott and took one bottle with him to the room.

The next morning, the U-Haul trailer was gone. A couple of days later, police recovered the trailer, minus the St. Ives Jojoba.

He dove in dumpsters for two days. He pictures a criminal in Phoenix with full, bouncy hair.

* * *

In his new digs in Riverview, Dan Sherman hoped to brew his own batch in the kitchen sink. He couldn't read the faded ingredients on the bottle. He found shampoo recipes, bought jojoba oil and rosemary herbs. He mixed them with castile soap, a shampoo-y derivative of olive oil.

His hair looked like a day-old salad.

"I'm not a good cook."

In mid April, he received an e-mail from dollaritem.com, a liquidator in Los Angeles.

Item: #20451 Unit Price: $1.04. Description: Wholesale Shampoo St. Ives Jojoba. Fifty cases. Pieces per case: 12.

Dan could almost smell the light, sweet, un-raspberry-like fragrance on the e-mail. He fired off a reply: "I'll buy all 50."

The next day, he received another e-mail from dollaritem.com. It reeked of conspiratorial cruelty. All 50 cases had been sold.

Dan Sherman has two remaining alternatives:

He can tear his hair out. Or, as his unsympathetic brother has suggested, just let nature take its course.

John Barry can be reached at jbarry@sptimes.com or 727-892-2258.


Relief effort

If you know where Dan Sherman can find some St. Ives Jojoba Shampoo, e-mail him at danspeaker@att.net.