What to know about your shampoo

It might be one of the least pressing worldly issues in general, but when it comes to shampoo… well, there are some good ‘uns and some not-so-good ‘uns. Hair health, strength and quality can be affected by your shampoo, so if you’re despairing over a lack of growth or tired ends, it might be worth re-evaluating the products you use for hair washing. You might be surprised to know that in some cases, a great shampoo is more important than conditioner. With this in mind, we’ve put together a lost of the things you need to know about shampoo, including ingredients to look out for- and ingredients to avoid.

-          Watch your alcohol concentration

I bet you’ve heard that a few times on a night out- but this is about the stuff going onto your hair, for a change. Certain fatty alcohols can actually condition dry hair, so we’re not saying to buy nothing with alcohol from now on. Instead, just try to stay away from anything containing alcohols in high concentration (listed in the top four ingredients), as this can actually have the opposite effect and dehydrate your hair.

-          Avoid sulfates (or sulphates)

Sulfates, or sulphates, are the things that make the suds in your shampoo (they’re also added to some cleaning products, which is kind of disturbing). Despite giving a rich lather which makes shampoo more effective, they’re known to cause scalp irritation, redness, and itching, and can also remove hair protein, which is essentially what causes hair to grow. A good percentage of percent of your hair is protein, and when the protein is damaged, it can weaken the hair, affecting its strength and appearance. We advise you to look out for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium dodecyl sulfate on the ingredients list, and avoid products containing these.

-          Careful with the silicones

Have you ever found that the more you wash your hair, the dryer it seems to get- and the more it “needs” to be washed? You used to be okay washing every other day, and now it’s a nightly job? Chances are, you’re using a shampoo containing silicones- that is, ingredients such as dimethicone, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone (if you can remember that mouthful). Although they’re great for smoothing unruly hair, they have a nasty habit of building up on hair and preventing oils and moisture from entering the hair shaft. This eventually causes hair dryness and frizziness that can feel impossible to shift.

-          Big up the natural oils

Any organic shampoo based on natural oils pretty much gets a big tick from us. Oils such as argan, coconut or avocado oil will ensure hair isn’t left thirsty or dry, which can cause brittle ends and stunt growth. It’s fairly easy to find oil-based shampoos on the high street today, and they don’t tend to cost a bomb, either. If you struggle with hair growth, an oil-based shampoo is one of the best treatments you can give it (just make sure that the oils are natural and not artificial).

-          The power of amino acids

Amino acids are a vital nutrient needed by our hair. They produce keratin, which helps boost and grow the hair, and also play a major role in the production of red blood cells that supply nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, which again promotes hair growth. Look out for shampoos that are amino acid-based, or contain amino acids in high concentration.

Image credit: oprah.com

Laura Shallcross