Blonde, brunette, redhead, black, fine, thick, straight, curly, long, short… There are so many types of hair which differ in their characteristics and, therefore, many different types of shampoo. It makes sense that everyone will like one type of hair or another. Having said that, there is one thing which we all find pleasing: healthy and well-looked after locks.
For well-maintained hair, certain products are indispensable, like shampoo. Contrary to what you may believe, shampoo can do much more than simply wash your hair. In fact, there are a wide range of shampoos on the market with a diverse array of functions and characteristics. Take note.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The best Shampoo: Our Picks
- 4 Shopping Guide: What you need to know about shampoo
- 4.1 What exactly is shampoo?
- 4.2 What benefits does shampoo have for my hair?
- 4.3 What are shampoos made of?
- 4.4 How does shampoo work?
- 4.5 What are the different types of shampoos?
- 4.6 What specific properties can shampoos have?
- 4.7 How should you use shampoo?
- 4.8 How often should I use shampoo?
- 4.9 What are the adverse effects of using shampoo?
- 4.10 What are the advantages and disadvantages of shampoos?
- 5 Shopping criteria
- 6 Summary
- Shampoo is a product intended to wash and care for the hair. It works by removing excess oil from the scalp.
- In actual fact, shampoos have many more cosmetic benefits beyond washing your hair.
- There are various types of shampoos with different functions and characteristics, and for different types of hair. We can also find shampoos with specific properties. The composition of the shampoo will determine its function, the cosmetic results it will produce and in some cases, adverse effects.
The best Shampoo: Our Picks
In this section, you will find a list of the very best shampoos currently available on the market. Additionally, we’ve summarised the key characteristics of each one in order to make a comparison. From this, you’ll be able to decide which is the best shampoo for you.
Shopping Guide: What you need to know about shampoo
Before buying shampoo, it’s important to know the key attributes of that product. To that end, we have included the most relevant features of shampoo, so that you can be fully informed. We also answer the most frequently asked questions from consumers about shampoo.
What exactly is shampoo?
Additionally, our scalp can peel off, releasing small pieces of skin, or dandruff, which can stay in the hair. Our surrounding environment also contains particles which have been generated by pollution and can deposit themselves in our hair. Finally, residues from other products such as gel or hairspray can accumulate in our hair.
The combination of all of these elements can result in dirty and unpleasant looking hair. This is where shampoo comes in. Shampoos can eliminate all of the dirt from our hair, thus achieving a clean and healthy appearance. Additionally, they give our hair softness and shine.
What benefits does shampoo have for my hair?
However, these days the composition of shampoo has been updated to provide many more benefits.
For example, some shampoos can hydrate your hair. On the other hand, others are designed to remove more oiliness from the hair. There are also shampoos whose ingredients can straighten curls, or alternatively enhance them.
In short, shampoo is an essential hair care product. It gives you perfectly clean locks, as well as serving your hair care needs. Every type of hair, depending on its characteristics, requires its own special handling. For this reason, there are different types of shampoos to suit these various needs.
What are shampoos made of?
The main component in all shampoos are surfactants. These are excellent cleaning agents which also produce foam. The remaining ingredients are conditioners, thickeners, acids, preservatives, opalescents, essences, essential oils and active ingredients.
The following table details the eight main categories of ingredients found in shampoos, along with their key functions and some examples.
|Surfactants||Cleaning and foaming||Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulphate and sodium lauryl ether sulfosuccinate|
|Conditioners||Offset the dryness of the detergents, replacing part of the eliminated oils||Diethanolamine of coconut fatty acid, lanolin, lecithin|
|Thickeners||Make the shampoo easier to use and apply||Sodium chloride|
|Acids||Balance the pH||Citric acid|
|Preservatives||Prevent fungi and bacteria||Methylparaben|
|Opalescents||Create a pearly effect for dry and normal hair||Derivatives of waxes|
|Essences and essential oils||Perfume||Plant extracts: lavender, rose etc|
|Active ingredients||Enrich the product||Vitamins A and E, keratin, collagen, aloe vera, chamomile|
Despite the wide range of combinations available, all shampoo compositions must meet certain objectives. They must be easy to rinse out and produce good results after washing the hair. They shouldn’t damage the hair or contain toxins and should irritate the skin and eyes as little as possible. Shampoos must also be biodegradable with a slightly acid PH.
How does shampoo work?
The surfactants, or cleaning agents, in shampoo separate the sebum from the hair, taking with it all the accumulated dirt and contaminants. Soap works in the same way, but mixes in much more with the sebum. This means that much more oil is removed, in turn causing dryness. This is why we can’t wash our hair with soap.
What are the different types of shampoos?
Among the best-known types of shampoo are antidandruff shampoos which have ingredients to prevent fungus. There are also natural shampoos which are based on organic ingredients; and alternative types which do not contain chemicals. There are also shampoos for babies available, as well as dry and solid shampoo.
Below is a table with the main types of shampoos on the market and there most important characteristics.
|Antidandruff||Contain ingredients such as zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, tar, salicylates and ketoconazole that reduce the fungi which cause dandruff.|
|Natural||Shampoos made from natural ingredients (vegetable extracts) combined with surfactants. Their effectiveness is controversial.|
|Alternative||Shampoos with lower levels of potentially harmful chemicals, especially sulphates. They require more frequent usage compared to traditional shampoos for the same results.|
|For babies||The contain less eye and skin irritants. Additionally, they use more gentle surfactants.|
|Solid shampoo/shampoo bars||A special type of shampoo which is in a solid form that you can then rub into your hair. Less effective than liquid shampoo.|
|Dry Shampoo||Shampoo applied by spraying onto the dry hair. Removes localised oils in the most problematic areas such as the roots without needing to wash the hair.|
What specific properties can shampoos have?
- For oily hair: removes more oil from the hair.
- Anti-hair loss: strengthens the hair and prevents hair loss.
- For dry hair: hydrates the hair more.
- Colour protective shampoo: specifically designed to maintain the colour of dyed hair.
- Balancing shampoo: recovers the normal pH of the hair.
- Moisturising shampoo: hydrates the hair to maintain moisture and stay healthy.
- Volumising shampoo: gives the hair extra volume and body.
- Straightening shampoo: enhances straight hair as well as providing hydration and shine.
How should you use shampoo?
Firstly, wet your hair in the shower with warm water which is not too hot, otherwise, you will dry your hair. Put a small amount of shampoo, about the size of a coin, in your hand. Using more product does not give you better results. Distribute the shampoo between your hands and then gently massage into your scalp with your fingertips.
Rub the shampoo through your hair, starting at the roots and working your way to the ends. Once it is well distributed throughout your hair, rinse it out well. Then take the same amount of shampoo and wash your hair a second time. Next, rinse the hair thoroughly with plenty of warm or cold water. Wrap the hair in a towel and dry well.
How often should I use shampoo?
There is no strict rule about how often you should wash your hair. This will depend on the needs of your individual hair type. Generally, experts advise washing your hair between 2 and 3 times a week. In the case of dry hair types, these intervals can be longer. Equally, oily hair may be washed more frequently.
What are the adverse effects of using shampoo?
Irritation of the scalp and the skin is one of the most common adverse effects. This is more common in shampoos with irritating ingredients such as alcohol derivatives, which can cause dryness and peeling. Some people also report itching or irritation of the eyes in contact with shampoo.
Some components of shampoos can cause other changes and impacts. For example, there have been cases of SLS poisoning. On the other hand, sodium sulphate can damage vision. Substances such as DEO (diethanolamine) have harmful effects on the digestive system. Finally, some people may have allergic reactions to certain ingredients.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of shampoos?
When buying shampoo, it’s important to assess certain factors. Below we have listed the key factors to consider before buying a product. This will make sure you make an appropriate decision, choosing the shampoo which best suits your needs. These factors are:
The composition of the product is very important when buying shampoo. The ingredients will determine how well the product functions, its results and potential adverse effects. Therefore it is vital that you take time to thoroughly check the components of shampoo before buying it. Here are some examples.
Depending on your hair type, you may be interested in enhancing certain aspects, for example, increasing moisture, reducing oiliness or treating dandruff. On the other hand, you will want different components if you want to enhance curly hair or smooth it down. Finally, if you have any allergies or problems with your skin you will need to be very careful.
As previously mentioned, there are shampoos specifically designed for every hair type. According to this criteria, each includes specific components in order to suit the needs of each type of hair. Therefore before choosing your shampoo you must have a clear idea of the characteristics of your hair.
For example, there are special shampoos for straight or curly hair. You can also find exclusive ranges for dyed hair, which will enhance the colour. On the other hand, if your hair is overly dry, dull or damaged you may be interested in shampoos designed to repair and strengthen it. Whatever you hair type, you will be able to find a suitable shampoo.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the results you want to achieve. As you well know, the primary purpose of shampoo is to wash the hair, but it is not its only function. There are shampoos formulated exclusively to provide specific results. In other words, in addition to shampoos for each hair type, there are also shampoos for specific results.
As an example, you may be interested in a shampoo which helps to reduce frizziness in your hair. Another possibility is to find a product which gives your locks more volume and vitality. If your hair is dull and flat, you can give it the brightness it needs with the right shampoo. There are many options.
Age is a factor which is often overlooked, but it is very relevant. Children's hair does not have the same characteristics as adults' hair. Their needs are also different. In addition, children’s skin is more delicate. Therefore, the market offers special ranges of shampoos formulated exclusively for children.
These products tend to have a pH more considerate of the skin and eye irritation. Additionally, they contain ingredients to make combing easier. There are also "for the whole family" shampoos. Such products do not consider the differences that come with age, so it is preferable to use different shampoos for children and adults.
Illnesses or allergies
Dermatological conditions and allergies affect the use of shampoos in two ways. On the one hand, there are specific shampoos for certain skin diseases or problems. For example, shampoos with antifungal components can be very useful in case of fungal infections. There are also hypoallergenic shampoos and those with a neutral pH, in case of allergies.
On the other hand, those who suffer from certain diseases or allergies may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of shampoo. In short, it is important to keep these aspects in mind when choosing a shampoo. Choose the most appropriate shampoo for your condition and make sure it does not contain ingredients which may be harmful to you.
In short, shampoo is a very useful, everyday personal care product. Its core function is to wash the hair, by removing excess sebum (oil) from the scalp. However, shampoo has many other cosmetic properties, which are largely determined by its composition.
Properly using shampoo will give your hair a clean, healthy, strong and shiny appearance. In addition, it will give your locks everything they need to look phenomenal in their own way. Nowadays, shampoos are available which are designed for every age and every hair type. They can even promote certain cosmetic effects as desired.
Are your curls ill-defined and messy? The solution is a shampoo specifically designed for curly hair. Is your hair dry and damaged? Try the range of repairing shampoos for damaged hair. Do your children complain of itchy eyes every time they shower? Choose a shampoo for specially designed for children and solve the problem.
(Source of featured image: Dolgachov: 38880105/ 123rf.com)