What is Daddy-O? A form of address, an entreaty, an exclamation? Daddy-O today is a shampoo by Lush, the 100% vegetarian, ethically buying, environmentally conscious, UK-based fresh handmade cosmetics company. Given the name of the shampoo and the leering illustration on my bottle’s rear of the man who created it, one might worry that Daddy-O will prove a too intimate experience – an inmate experience, so to speak, as though ‘Daddy-O’ were the pitiful pleading of the last-but-one in the prison shower. But what a smell! – pull my hair, Daddy-O, finger vigorously my filthy scalp, press my face firmly into the glass of my shower cubicle!
Urban Dictionary user Beatnik Nick aptly describes the phrase ‘Daddy-O’ as ‘Mid 50’s to mid 60’s beatnik/hipster slang. Somewhat equivalent to today’s ‘dude’ or ‘man’ but with a much cooler zen-bohemian and/or streetwise hipster attitude’. Daddy-O is the title of a 1958 B-movie starring Dick Contino. Released as a double feature alongside Roadracers, it follows hotshot street racer Phil Sandifer as he investigates the murky circumstances of his best friend’s death. Contino as Sandifer takes the alias ‘Daddy-O’ to perform as a nightclub singer, suspecting the club’s owner Sidney Chillas of some involvement in his friend’s murder, in a film whose poster would later appear in Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, and whose lead character would inspire a short story by James Ellroy in the collection Hollywood Nocturnes.
In the Coen brothers’ Fargo, a blood-spattered Carl Showalter, played by Steve Buscemi, utters a concerned and incredulous ‘Whoa Daddy’ which takes us slightly off track, but may at least serve as an aid to pronunciation.
The big selling point of Lush’s Daddy-O shampoo is its combination of violet and fresh lemons, meant to revitalise the silver and blonde tones in your hair. Violet leaf absolute, a fresh organic lemon and seaweed infusion, and fresh organic lime juice are joined by citronellol, linalool, and limonene, coumarin, rose absolute, bergamot oil, cananga oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and fresh sea water to produce an intensely fragrant, purple concoction.
Boasting until recently a bleached blonde streak, I lopped my locks around the time I bought Daddy-O, so I can’t testify too much on behalf of its ability to emphasise light hair colours, but it certainly contains the right ingredients and looks the part: all the effective solutions I’ve found in the past towards lighter tones and the elimination of brassy orange-yellow have been purple. I don’t find that Daddy-O adds much volume to my hair, but it leaves it feeling exceptionally clean and soft and appearing superbly shiny. And once again, the smell is something else: many reviewers have compared it to the iconic British candy Parma Violets, but the lemons and limes, rose, and coconut make the scent more complex, the bergamot even adding a hint of liquorice, while the violet leaf is darkly woody.
In this Daddy-O shares some of the characteristics of Lush’s Kerbside Violet, from the Gorilla Perfumes Volume 3 collection, and my favourite new fragrance of 2015, its varying notes of violet leaf coming through a backdrop of rosewood, jasmine, and ylang ylang. A short spritz of Kerbside Violet about the neck and wrists would complement a head washed with Daddy-O post-shower, and I have also been using the shampoo with Lush’s Veganese conditioner, which contains lemon oil, lavender, rosemary, and agar agar gel to make the hair tousle-free and silky. Providing soft hair without being too flimsy or drying, for the scent alone Daddy-O is hard to beat, surely one to stick with or return to often as an enticing phase in a shampooing rotation.