Shampoo is made up of water, cleansing agents, foaming agents, preservatives
and other ingredients designed for specific types of hair. Most formulas,
regardless of brand or price, are remarkably similar, and all do a decent
job of cleaning hair. Moisturizing shampoos add conditioning agents -- such
as silicone, panthenol and triglycerides -- to give hair a soft, silky texture.
Deep-cleaning shampoos, on the other hand, use higher levels of detergents
to wash away oil and product buildup. Experts recommend using these shampoos
whenever hair looks dull or isn't responding to your regular hair care products.
They should be followed with a good conditioner, however, to replenish any
moisture that was washed away. Dry shampoos contain ingredients designed
to soak up excess oil. They can be used in between regular washings, to keep
hair looking and smelling fresh. Dandruff shampoos contain anti-fungal ingredients
to reduce the fungi that cause dandruff. They should be rotated with a regular
shampoo to keep hair from becoming too dry. Baby shampoos are generally not
strong enough to cleanse adult hair, but they contain gentle detergents that
won't sting a baby's eyes or irritate his/her sensitive skin. Here are some
other things to know before you buy a shampoo:
- Good technique is key. For
an optimal cleaning experience, experts suggest starting with a quarter-sized
(or dime-sized if you have short hair) amount of shampoo and slowly
lathering and massaging the product into your roots.
- You probably don't need to wash
your hair every day. Experts say oily hair needs to be cleaned more
frequently, but people with dry and damaged hair can and should prolong
the time between washings. That's because shampoo washes out the natural
oils that protect hair. Although conditioners can replace some of that
moisture, experts say water alone can cause damage to hair and can also
cause hair color treatments to fade.
- Don't be fooled by product claims. The only part of the shampoo label that's regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration is the list of ingredients. That means manufacturers can
claim their shampoos "add volume" or "moisturize," even
if they really don't do either of those things.
- Pricy salon-brand shampoos
don't necessarily outperform inexpensive store brands. The same ingredients
are often used for products in different price ranges. What's more,
there are good and bad products in every price point. The only things that
separate pricey salon-brand shampoos from drugstore formulas are fancy
packaging and endorsements by celebrity hairstylists, who may or may not
have any expertise when it comes to a product's ingredients.
- Be wary of shampoos
that claim to repair, restructure or nourish damaged hair. Hair is
not alive in the way that skin is and thus cannot be repaired. Shampoo
products can only temporarily improve hair's look and feel. Experts say
the only thing that can get rid of split ends is a haircut. Hair care products
are not capable of reversing such damage.
- Don't buy into the lather-rinse-repeat
myth. Unless you use an unusually large amount of styling products,
experts say it's only necessary to lather your hair once. Also, the amount
of lather and foam generated by a shampoo does not affect its ability to