Monday, July 12, 2010

Let Me WOW You.

The product I chose to “WOW” you with is… my hairbrush. My hairbrush beat a lot of other interesting things that I was reflecting on to choose for this design observation. It beat my pair of quirky shoes that I just can’t stop wearing and my really loud, portable speaker that I got on an airplane coming from Ukraine. Why? Because my hairbrush really is a unique thing, and although I have a lot of other hairbrushes with different shapes and textures, this hairbrush never gets replaced or forgotten. This sounds very dramatic so I really do hope nobody in classs ever seen a hairbrush like this (haha).

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble with people “dealing with” my hair. I really don’t know why but I get really sensitive when my hair gets pulled. When I was a kid, just a little tug in the wrong areas would make me cry. I would even hesitate to let my mom ponytail my hair or dry it after I take a shower. Back then, she’d have to talk to the stylists in the salon to be extra careful with my hair because if they treated it “normally,” there’s a big chance I’d cry. It’s funny because thinking about it now, I feel like I was such a brat and just plain maarte. But, it was true though, I really had a problem dealing with the pain of my hair being pulled; It “extra hurt” for me. Thus, it was because of this problem that I started my search for the perfect hairbrush, not comb, hairbrush. Combs were just plain hard. I needed a hairbrush with bristles that were not too hard, not too sharp, etc. I had very high standards… Thankfully I found it! It was such a long time ago. I forgot how old I was, but I still remember how I found it. I was walking along the aisles of the grocery section of Duty Free (here in Manila) and I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. But, as I was about to leave for the checkout counter to join my parents, I spotted something very interesting on the lowest part of the grocery rack. It was a bunch of big hairbrushes. Sadly, I don’t remember the brand and it doesn’t have an imprint of the hairbrush itself. Anyway, I bent to pick one up and it was “love at first touch.” The texture of the bristles was perfect. I chose the “newest-looking” one and ran to the checkout counter.

There are so many reasons why I like this hairbrush. The obvious reason is because of its bristles. The bristles are very thin and flexible. They have little circles on their tips, so even if the bristles are thin, they’re not sharp. It doesn’t hurt my scalp, even if I “brush hard.” Also, since the bristles are flexible, when I have tangles in my hair, they bend to untangle the knots carefully.

I really do feel the difference when I brush my hair with a normal, hard plastic brush and when I use my own flexible-bristle brush. You could now see why I loved it so much as a kid. It was gentle to my head. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even feel my tangles anymore. My brush would untangle them very “subtly.” Another benefit it gave me (one that I didn’t discover as a kid) is that I could stick it in my hair and leave it there. Okay this sounds strange so let me clarify. My brush also acts like a giant hair curler. Because I don’t want my hair to fly away, I use the brush to roll it inwards and just leave it there as my hair sort of “adapts” the form of the big round brush. This is better explained using pictures :

The bristles are long enough and set close enough to each other to stick to my head and hair without dropping off (it does after a while though because of my moving around). After I take the brush out easily, my hair is fixed and I don’t have to dry it with a hair dryer. There are times though that the brush would get tangled up in my hair because I’d take it out the wrong way, but these times are very rare and it doesn’t take me long to ease it out.

My brush looks big because of its long bristles, but I still think it’s portable. Since the bristles bend easily, I can stuff it in my bag and the bristles would bend to fit. It’s not the prettiest brush because some of the bristles stick out unevenly, but I like that “imperfection” because it looks interesting. It’s an all-black brush and an all-plastic one. I like how the color doesn’t fade or chip off. It’s just really an all black brush and it stays that way. It could pass for a brand new brush but I think the bristles would give it away. One more feature to mention is that at the end of the plastic handle, there’s a hole. I don’t really use this feature because I don’t hang it anywhere; I just leave it on my desk. But, when I’m typing articles like this, or when I’m surfing the net, I stick my pinky in that little hole and see how many rounds I can do by swinging the brush around with my pinky. I’m not lying, I really do this when I pause and take my hands off the keypad or mouse.

My brush has been with me for as long as I can remember. I can’t replace it because I know I’d never get a brush like this again. There is no way of knowing its brand because there is nothing on the plastic that would even give me a clue. It’s not in the grocery section of Duty Free anymore and I haven’t seen anything like it here and abroad. I can’t throw it away, and I don’t need to. Although I mentioned that some of the bristles kind of stick out in different directions, it doesn’t affect the function of the brush. This favorite brush of mine still works perfectly, and to think I’ve dropped it millions of times from different heights. It stays the same. And, I guess since it’s been with me for so long, it already has sentimental value. It’s been my favorite brush ever since, and I really do think it will stay that way.

Now it’s time to sort all these reasons and characteristics into their groups. I’m going to call this each group a “factor.” I think one important group that I can gather some characteristics of my hairbrush into is the “why do I need it?” group. Let’s call this the WyDINI (pronounced like “Houdini” except with a “y”) Factor. Sometimes we need to ask questions like these to remind ourselves of the value of our things, or even the things we plan on buying maybe. Under the WyDINI Factor we have the flexible bristles and their ability to solve my problem of being too sensitive about detangling. Basically what goes under this factor is the “softness” of the bristles and the benefits they give me by making brushing and fixing my hair a less painful process. The next group would be the “what else can it do for me?” group. This is yet another question, similar to the first that we need to ask ourselves when thinking about products and why we need/use it. Let’s call this the WECID (weh-kid) Factor. Under this go the other functions of my hair brush, apart from its main one which was mentioned earlier. The function that I would put under WECID is the giant-hair-curler-function. Because of this function, aside from brushing my hair gently, my brush can also fix it without me having to use the hair dryer and damaging my hair. Now that is wicked (hehehe). The next group would be the “would it last?” group. This is called the WIL Factor. This factor would be referring to the sturdiness and/or durability of my brush and how it would look like in the long run, and if indeed it can last long. Under the WIL Factor would be the fact that the plastic doesn’t break even if I’ve dropped it millions of times from different heights. Also under this factor will be the fact that the color doesn’t fade or chip. Because of these characteristics under the WIL Factor, my brush will never look old and ugly. The last group is the one with my favorite label. It’s the “wait! There’s more!”group. Let’s call this the WAIT Factor. I think the name is very appropriate because after listing all the important functions/characteristics of the brush, you would think, “Is that it?” And the reply would precisely be, no, WAIT! There’s more. Under this factor would be the less important features of the brush, but still features none-the-less. The “portability” of the brush, the hole of the brush that you can use to hang it, and the tiny fact that it would be less painful to get it out of your hair (if and only if it gets stuck of course) because of the flexible bristles – these are the things that would fall under the WAIT Factor.

Given my “W” Factors, WyDINI, WECID, WIL, and WAIT, I could say in summation that I like a product because of the need/s that it fulfills, the multi-function factor of it, its ability to last long enough (with me) or its durability, and because of other little things I can do with it. The “W” factors makes it easier for me, and I believe will make it easier for other people to determine whether or not they like the product, need the product, or simply gauge how they feel about the product.

Let's Try It!

Let's try testing these Factors on something else to see if they work:

There we have it! I think my Factors worked. What about yours?

The End. :)

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