There are days when I open my mailbox and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things just strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me.

I am a cheapskate. I read your column for hot tips, particularly about Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid. Recently I have begun to use Dawn for a hair shampoo. My wife is aghast. She says my hair is going to turn blue and I will smell. She claims that shampoos have an acid base balance that ensures shiny luxurious hair. Do you have an opinion? How about using it for body wash, as well? Bill

Dear Bill: l have to admit that I was a bit aghast myself as I read your letter. And I came this close to firing off a response siding with your wife but stopped short by sending myself on a research expedition so I could tell you exactly why you should listen to her and never ever shampoo or shower with Blue Dawn.

Boy, was I in for a shock. Not only could I not find credible reasons to not use Blue Dawn for personal care, I discovered a cult-like following of people out there who swear by the stuff not only for hair care and body wash but as a very effective acne treatment, too.

I found the list of ingredients for Procter & Gamble original Blue Dawn and compared them to the most expensive men’s shampoo I could find—Kérastase Capital Force. While not exactly the same (for starters, Blue Dawn has far fewer ingredients)—and with full disclosure that I am not a chemist—let me tell you that I was stunned by the similarities. From sodium laureth sulfate to methylisothiazolinone, Blue Dawn and Kérastase Capital Force have what I found to be remarkable similarities.

I decided to take this research a bit farther—right into the shower. And not to clean the floors and walls. I shampooed, body-washed and gave myself a complete Ultra Blue Dawn personal spa treatment using the super concentrated “Ultra” version I had on hand.

I purposely didn’t follow with hair conditioner because I wanted to experience the best or worst case outcome. I can’t remember the last time I and my hair emerged so squeaky clean. Of course, I assumed I just removed every last bit of moisture from myself, which I was willing to endure in the interest of product testing.

I styled my hair, as usual, using my regular routine and styling products. I waited a few days to declare the outcome. My hair was fantastic and so shiny—read it again: Shiny and dare I say luxuriously so. And super clean. My guess is the folks at P&G just might know something about what your wife refers to as acid-base balancing.

Related: No More Bad Hair Days

As for using Blue Dawn as a body wash, it was great. I felt so clean! I didn’t notice any difference at all from other body washes, other than it required a lot of rinsing, quite possibly due to the high concentration in the “Ultra” version of Blue Dawn.

I’ve done more reading and poking around and have now come to these conclusions:

  • Blue Dawn can restore hair in a number of ways because of its intense cleaning properties (remember the ducks and wildlife from oil spills)— oil, product build-up and other grimy liquids and dirt that regular shampoo isn’t strong enough to clean.
  • Blue Dawn may lighten your hair if you accidentally color too dark.
  • Blue Dawn will deep clean your skin with no apparent adverse effect that I can detect so far, even to my super sensitive skin.

I’ve begun diluting Blue Dawn with as much as three parts water and it still works really well.

As for your hair turning blue or you smelling, I don’t think I would be concerned about either unless you decide to not rinse, which I do not recommend. In fact, I suggest that you rinse, rinse, rinse again, and repeat.