Choosing Shampoo Products

Basics of Hair Washing - Choosing Your Best Shampoo Products


For most of us, washing the hair or choosing shampoo products does not qualify as a top-of-mind experience. We do it, if not thoughtlessly, then at least mechanically.

Washing your hair is part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth, letting the dog out, or flipping through the morning paper.

Conversely, special hair treatments such as perming, waving, tinting, or dyeing are usually given a measure of priority, probably because they are done less frequently, produce immediately visible results, and require a larger investment of time and money than mere hair washing.

If you truly care about the way your hair looks day in and day out, however, you would do well to reverse those priorities and devote more thought and energy to the seemingly mundane task of washing. Most women nowadays wash their hair on a daily basis, which means that the results, whether for good or ill, compound over time.

When performed gently and correctly, washing can help you achieve clean, healthy hair that always has lots of life, lustre, and bounce. But when the job is done poorly or incorrectly, the damage just gets worse and worse, turning hair that ought to be perfectly manageable into an unruly mess that can’t hold a set or even stand up to combing and brushing without splitting and breakage.

Choosing Shampoo Products stepsChoosing Shampoo Products

As with facial cleansing, washing the hair properly begins with choosing shampoo products that are right for your type of hair. We feel that you should opt for the most effective cleanser your hair can handle, but stop short of any shampoo that irritates the scalp or leaves your hair feeling dry, coarse or brittle.

To be fair, we should tell you at this point that many well-respected dermatologists and hair-care professionals put less emphasis on a shampoo’s cleansing ability than we do, and more on mildness. These experts would encourage you to choose the gentlest available shampoo, provided it still managed to clean your hair.

They would contend, with some justification, that the hair shaft is a fragile structure that should be protected from the oil-stripping action of a strong cleanser with shampoo additives like proteins, vitamins, and moisturizers.

While we totally agree with all of this in theory, our real world experience has shown us that most women err on the side of buying shampoos that are milder than necessary.

As a consequence, they wash their hair frequently—in most cases, at least five or more times per week—but it never feels quite clean to them because the shampoo they have chosen is not strong enough to cut through the mixture of dust, grit, grease, and last night’s hair spray that has accumulated since the previous mild washing.

One ineffective cleansing follows another, and over time the combination of daily washing and daily blow-drying, and the build-up of residual shampoo particles renders the hair drier and more brittle than ever. In the user’s mind, this only confirms her suspicion that she needs a mild, moisturizing shampoo for her exceptionally "dry” hair when choosing shampoo products.

But to our way of thinking, she might be smarter to use a stronger cleanser with less frequency, and thus give her hair and scalp the chance to recover and rehydrate between washings. A separately packaged conditioner, if needed, could then be used on "off” days should the hair show signs of dryness.

Now, this is not to suggest that a very gentle shampoo can’t be the right choice for you. If you currently use, say, a protein-enriched conditioning shampoo and it not only keeps your hair clean but also helps mend split ends and brings a little volume to the party, so much the better.

Some people do possess naturally dry hair or limp hair that lacks body, in which case a mild, conditioning shampoo makes perfect sense. But what must be understood is that mildness can only be achieved by sacrificing a certain amount of cleansing power. That’s the way it works with bar soaps and with shampoos as well.

The critical item in choosing shampoo products is to determine where your shampoo ought to fall in the broad range of options between the strongest detergent and dandruff-fighting shampoos on the one hand, and the mildest moisturizing and conditioning shampoos on the other.

Choosing Shampoo Products

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About Hair Shampoos
Types of hair shampoos low pH or pH-balanced shampoos and cleansing shampoos with ingredients ranging from balsam, herbal, aloe, vitamins, honey


Choosing Shampoo Products



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