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The star of Estonian laste joonis/filmid (kids' animated films) koera/tüdruk (dog girl) Lotte is not a fan of PUSAD (tangles), but this is definitely not just a girl thing. If you spray pusa/palsam or (anti)-tangle conditioner in your hair, then the kamm (comb) becomes your friend. Photo by Riina Kindlam


In Eesti, šampoon is followed by PALSAM (conditioner). Palsam or balsam in English means a preparation containing resinous, aromatic, oily, plant-based substances – like the herbal liköör Riga Black Balsam and what used to be called cream rinse for your juuksed (hair). There is also a balsam-yielding tree, the balsam fir which in Estonian is called a NULG; the ultimate jõulu/puu, since it's a master at retaining its okkad (needles).


No one wants pusad in their hair for jõulud! You must be puhas nagu porgand (clean as a carrot)! Do like Lotte does with her own line of sauna/tooted (products) including vanni/vaht (bath foam), duši/geel (shower gel), pisara/vaba (tear free) šampoon and of course the pusa/palsam, which is mets/marja/lõhnaline – smells like forest berries. Pouring vanni/vaht in your  vann results in a mulli/vann (bubble bath), while at a spa you will find another, nonsoapy mulli/vann – a jacuzzi.


FYI – Š is pronounced sh, à la šokolaad, Lotte comes from the pretty name Charlotte (no silent E-s in Estonian) and when in Eesti, if you ask to go to the vanni/tuba (literally bath/room), people will think you want to wash up with Lotte's bubbly stuff. In a lot of older homes in Eesti, the vanni/tuba and WC (from "water closet") are in separate rooms. And to make matters even sillier, it's written WC, but pronounced VC "vee-tsee". AND there's no C in the Estonian alphabet!... Tualett and käimla also work, but kemps is cuter.


Here's to cleaning up well for the holidays! Püh-püh-pühkima (sweep) for the püh-püh-pühad (holidays). And don't forget to spray your Lotte-inspired topknot with juukse/lakk (hairspray, literally hair lacquer/varnish.) Lotte's got her own online pood you know: She's no laisk/vorst – slouch aka lazy sausage.


Riina Kindlam,



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