healthHealth and Medicine

In The Event Of Nuclear War, Do Not Use Conditioner On Your Hair


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Happy 2017 everyone! Alexyz3D/Shutterstock

Thanks to the sudden appearance of Nazis, the threat of North Korea and the United States engaging in a very short and devastating nuclear war is now somewhat reduced. Imagine going back in time and explaining that sentence to people living in the summer of 2016.

Still, nuclear war is still on everyone’s minds for obvious reasons, and people’s interest in learning how to survive a thermonuclear exchange remains at an all-time high. We’ve already explained how to maximize your chances of survival in a more general sense, but as pointed out by NPR, we’ve left out something rather important.


In the event of a nuclear war, do not use conditioner on your hair.

Yes, we know – you’ll probably be too focused on all the death and despair and screaming friends and family to stop and think, wow, my hair has really got greasy today. We’re really talking to the well-prepared members of society here: you know, the type that have already set up their nuclear bunker and are stocking it up with supplies.

Some of the keener coiffeur cogitators may bring not just shampoo, but conditioner to their bunker. Nothing says well prepared for the post-apocalyptic world like a well-groomed tuft of hair. So why is it a bad idea to use in a radioactive wasteland?

Google searches for nuclear war always spike when Trump and the Kim dynasty have a bit of a tiff. Google

Guam – the US territory that has recently been threatened with missile strikes – issued a series of guidelines last Friday, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security. They make for darkly humorous reading: a large luminous mushroom cloud greets you as you click on the link, which is soon followed by some sound information.


“All nuclear devices cause deadly effects when exploded,” it says, helpfully.

“The danger of a massive strategic nuclear attack on the United States is predicted by experts to be less likely today,” it adds, before ominously adding: “However, terrorism, by nature, is unpredictable.”

Apart from telling you to be as far away from the bomb as possible, it also notes that you shouldn’t use conditioner. Apparently, this will “bind radioactive material to your hair, keeping it from rinsing out.”

This is the opposite of good. Radioactive hair is not what shampoo adverts mean when they say their product will give your hair a “healthy glow”.


Instead, it suggests that you use lots of soap and water in order to rinse out as many radioactive particles as possible. It also suggests that, if you’re caught outside when the bombs fall, you should walk around naked.

“Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading,” it explains. “Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90 percent of radioactive material.”

Blimey. Messy hair and no clothes? Make love, not war, people.


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