How to Wash Your Hair in Space

All you need is special shampoo, a wide-tooth comb, some warm water ... and microgravity.

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Karen Nyberg is a mechanical engineer who earned her PhD in the control of thermal neutrality in space suits. In May 2008, she became the fiftieth woman in space, serving on the crew of the space shuttle mission STS-124 on a trip to the International Space Station. She is currently living aboard the Station as a flight engineer on Expedition 36. 

Karen Nyberg, in addition to all that, is also the possessor of long hair -- hair that, in the microgravity of low-Earth orbit, takes on an amazing life of its own. Nyberg's typical space-coif is a sensible ponytail; occasionally, however, she'll undo that to reveal a remarkable hair halo. In the video above, she shares her tricks for hair-washing in space. The process -- which seems only marginally more labor-intensive than its counterpart here on Earth -- involves special space shampoo; some warm water; a towel; and a wide-tooth comb. Oh, and a water-drenched fauxhawk the likes of which you would never see here on Earth.

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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