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August - September 2007



by Shashi Gossain B.Sc (Hons), MRPS, Member

Supermarket shelves are full of different kinds of shampoos and conditioners, each promising the ultimate shiny, healthy and glossy head of hair.

Is there any magic solution to this age old problem?

Which is the right kind of shampoo for your particular hair type?

Well here are some simple guidelines to help you avoid that “bad hair day” syndrome:

All shampoos fall into one of two categories:

Cleansers only (you need a separate conditioner) Combination of cleanser/conditioner. These do not clean or condition as well as a separate product.

All conditioners accumulate on the hair shaft and needs to be cleaned using a simple shampoo.

There are several types of shampoos:

Dry Shampoos: These are powders that are brushed onto the hair and then brushed out. They do not really clean, but “mop up” the grease temporarily.

Baby Shampoos: Specially formulated for babies, as they have tufts of fine hair, they are not strong enough for adult hair.

Shampoos for colour treated hair: These should be rich in moisturisers and proteins to strengthen the weakened hair shaft.

Daily use Shampoos: These are gentle cleansers, with a higher amount of conditioner.

It is strongly recommended NOT to shampoo your hair every day as daily shampooing takes away too much of the natural oil and water from the hair shaft, making it very brittle. However, if you really do feel the need to shampoo daily, follow these tips:

Use a simple cleansing shampoo.

Do not use a conditioner if you are using a conditioning shampoo, as there will be a build up of residue.

Thoroughly rinse your hair.

Limit the amount of build up by reducing the number of styling products used.

Thoroughly dry your hair.

Give your hair an occasional Oil Treatment.

Try to skip at least one day of the week and not wash your hair.

When deciding on which shampoo to buy, look at the ingredients and bear in mind that, generally, the bigger the list the better the shampoo, as the various combinations of ingredients are needed to bring out the optimum results.

The following are the most popular ingredients in a conditioning shampoo:

Proteins: Amino acids, hydrolysed proteins, keratin,

Milk: For its protein component (and not for its fat). Excellent for split ends or damaged hair.

Balsam: Used to add volume, especially when mixed with proteins.

Vitamins: Panthenol is absorbed into the shaft and helps to strengthen it.

Moisturisers: Lactic acid, lecithin, urea - especially for over-coloured hair.

Oils & Waxes: Avocado oil, coconut oil, wheat germ oil, beeswax, etc. These coat the hair and prevent water evaporation.

Lemon (citric) juice: Excellent to strip the accumulated resins from oily hair.

Allantoin: Excellent conditioner. It increases shaft’s water retention and dissolves excess keratin on the scalp.

Silk: Coats the shaft and make it more reflective and shiny.

Sunscreens: Limited in its use on hair.

Polymers: This is an important component in all shampoos and conditioners. It adds volume and strength to the hair. It can, however, make the hair heavy and sticky.

Conditioners relax tangles, remove static electricity, and add volume to hair. They also moisturise the hair shaft.

There are several types of conditioners:

Crème rinses: These are made up of a combination of waxes and thickeners which get absorbed into the shaft while the excess is rinsed out.

Instant Conditioners: These are a combination of waxes, oils, emulsifiers, proteins and balsams. These actually just coat the hair shaft and are not absorbed.

Deep conditioners: These are made up of emulsifiers, waxes and oils. These conditioners should be left in the hair for at least half an hour before rinsing out, and are particularly good for dry or over processed hair.

Body building conditioners: These are made up of polymers and water, e.g. mousses; good for thin and limp hair.

Hair Repair conditioners: These are applied after the shampoo and are not rinsed out. The polymers cling to the hair shaft, while the protein complexes strengthen the hair.

While there are an ever-increasing range of different types of shampoos and conditioners, a little knowledge is better than none and will help you to choose the one that just right for your hair type!

More Health

More articles by Shashi Gossain B.Sc (Hons), MRPS, Member

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