You love the smell (well, most of the time you do), you love how it bubbles, and you love that it’s giving your hair a clean, fresh touch. We all do. But how often do we get to question the way shampoos work, anyway? We don’t actually, almost never. Well, let’s change that today. Read below to learn a little bit about shampoo chemistry, the way it works and why you should use shampoo over a variety of super-sweet smelling soaps on your hair.
How shampoo works?
Every shampoo contains detergent. As you are already aware, detergent is the main ingredient of bath gels, laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents, etc, working as surfactants. How? Detergents let water bind with oils and other soiling particles by lowering its surface tension and making it less likely to stick to itself. Every detergent molecule contains a portion that is hydrophobic which gets attached to the sebum that coats the hair, as well as to any oily products you may be using for styling. Then, when the hair is rinsed, the sebum is eliminated by the detergent due to the hydrophilic part of the molecule.
What shampoo does?
Unless you’ve been spending time in sewage systems, rolling around in dirt or indulging in any other similar activity, you don’t really know what dirty hair is. But, you may have experienced struggling with hair that’s greasy to touch or just dull looking. The “greasy look” is actually a direct result of our skin producing sebum which is, essentially, designed to coat and protect the hair follicle, giving it a healthy shine. Unfortunately, that same healthy shine may look greasy and dirty due to its accumulation and the fact that many particles around, such as dust and pollen, get attached to it and end up locked to it. In contact with water, sebum (as well as oils) doesn’t get rinsed away as it’s hydrophobic. However, the combination of water and shampoo will help rinse away skin flakes, salt and other particles that may cause your hair to look dreary.
What are the common ingredients in shampoo?
Every shampoo contains the following ingredients, in the amount specific to the type of the shampoo or its brand.
Depending on the label producing the shampoo, different ingredients will be added to thicken it, make it uniformly mixed, and give it a pleasant smell. Added, the goal of every shampoo is to be effective in cleaning the hair and preventing the growth of mold and bacteria.
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, the effect of the detergent in a shampoo is to strip away the sebum and “clean” the hair. Once that process happens, your hair is left exposed to damage. For that, shampoos rely on the ingredients that help the hair repair and get a new, protective coating. Silicones add shine, smooth the hair cuticle and detangle it. Fatty alcohols calm frizzy, static and flyaway hair.
Again, depending on the brand of the shampoo, you’ll find different protective ingredients intended to keep the hair as healthy as possible. One of the most common additives added to shampoos is sunscreen, as well as ingredients protecting the hair against damage from swimming pools, various styling products, etc.
The importance of water
What really matters in keeping the hair healthy and growing (fast) is the quality of water you use when washing your hair. Although we usually go with tap, the safest thing would be to go for filtered, UV processed and purified water that’s relieved of bacteria and other damaging factors. At this point, UV-Guard is one of the most reliable companies you can turn to, so you may as well do it if you want your hair to get that healthy Hollywood glow.
Soaps and detergents
Using soap or any type of detergent on your hair won’t damage it per se but it will leave it looking dull, limp and shineless. Shampoos normally contain ingredients that bring down pH, helping the hair strengthen.
Shampoo is a personal care essential that we use on nearly a daily basis. It is important to begin to understand what it does and how it does it. There are many different types of shampoo on the market and they all have their own unique formulas. The type of hair you have will effect the type of shampoo you should use. All of our options are amazing, though, so check out our shampoo section to browse for yourself!