A Quick Guide to Shampoo
Usually, you wouldn’t think of using another shampoo brand unless your hair becomes dull and dry because of the shampoo you use. But it is important to understand the different types of shampoo available. More than buying products by scent and price, you will be able to easily choose what type of shampoo suited for your hair type.
3 Different Hair Types
Your hair can fall into one of these types:
- Oily hair – Your hair looks dull and lifeless. No matter how much shampoo you use, your hair returns to its limp and greasy self after one or two days.
- Dry hair – Your hair looks dry, frizzy, and has split ends.
- Normal Hair – You’re extremely lucky to have this hair type! You have little hair loss and dandruff.
Here is a primer on shampoos, types of shampoo, and other important facts. You will also learn what to expect should you decide to use homemade shampoo.
Types of Shampoo
When you go to the supermarket, do you feel overwhelmed by all the shampoo choices? You aren’t alone. There seems to be a shampoo for every hair problem and hair type out there. But when you know the types of shampoo available, you can quickly go to the beauty aisle and find the perfect product for you.
- Clarifying shampoo has a high acid content, making it a good choice for swimmers. Clarifying shampoo’s formulation helps in removing excess styling products left in your hair. However, because the acid content is high, use of this product should be limited to once a month. This is to avoid damage and dryness to your scalp.
- Chelating shampoo is for you if you constantly take showers in hard water. This shampoo will remove all the minerals, slime, and residue that have built up on your hair. It will also detoxify your scalp.
- Keratin shampoo is popular if you want to repair your hair and make it smooth again. Your hair is mostly made of keratin protein, this type of shampoo will bring back your hair’s natural moisture.
- Sulfate-free shampoo is perfect for people suffering from eczema. It’s a medical condition characterized by dryness and inflammation of the skin. You can also use it if you have a sensitive scalp, because this shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from your hair.
- Dry shampoo is ideal if you’re traveling and don’t have access to a shower. It’s a starch or alcohol-based spray that gives your hair volume while taking away the oil and grease. Generally safe for all types of hair, you can still feel clean until your next bath. Otherwise, you may find your hair feeling brittle and looking like you left sand in your hair.
- Homemade shampoo is made from natural ingredients, as the name may suggest. Mixing your own shampoo may seem strange at first, but think about it: commercial shampoos, while convenient, may contain ingredients that aren’t safe for your hair. Going the DIY route is more cost-effective and there are plenty of recipes available online. You might find this book
- Shampoo bars contain organic ingredients in a solid form. These were invented in the 1940s and were common before liquid shampoos became a thing. Some ingredients used in shampoo bars include butter, essential oils, and natural plant oils.
Shampoo PH Levels and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
You may think that soap suds means cleaner hair but think about it: the soap suds that go down your drain may be harmful. The dirty water from drainpipes can end up in a river, lake, or ocean and can be harmful to the fish and other undersea life.
Have you ever wondered why sulfate-free shampoos exist? Because most commercial shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient that makes bubbles in your shampoo. You can also find it in other beauty products like hand wash and cleanser.
However, sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate your skin, and irritated skin can cause eczema and dermatitis. If you continue using sulfate shampoos, your hair could feel much oilier as your scalp will work even harder. This is because SLS strips away your skin’s natural oils.
Another thing to be wary of is preservatives. Do you check your shampoo’s expiration date? Commercial hair products can have plenty of preservatives in them to keep them shelf-stable. Having preservatives in shampoos does prevent bacteria and yeast growth. However, this can also mean that your shampoo can be toxic for the environment, because these preservatives target and kill bacteria and yeast, which are still living organisms.
Why Your Hair Needs pH Balance
If you’re experiencing a dry and itchy scalp or want your hair to grow just a bit faster, your hair might be pH imbalanced. As you may know, pH measures the level of acidity of a substance. Generally, 0 to 6.9 is considered acidic, 7 is considered neutral, and 7.1 to 14 is alkaline. Aim for a pH level between 5 and 7 for your shampoo.
Besides keeping your scalp healthy, pH balanced shampoo can keep your hair cuticles closed, keeping your hair from drying out. It also stops your scalp from over-producing oil after you get your hair treated.
Switching from Commercial to Homemade Shampoo
Deciding to focus on natural hair care can do wonders for your hair. Your hair will gradually go through a detox process, stripping away all the build-up from your hair products.
But how do you know when your hair is trying to clean itself? Here are some signs to watch for:
Hair Detox Symptoms
- Oily scalp and hair – If you feel like your head is turning into a ball of grease, this is because your scalp is used to shampoos stripping away your hair’s natural oils. As a result, your scalp will make more oil. After your scalp adjusts to sulfate-free or homemade shampoo, the oiliness will subside.
- Sticky and heavy hair – a very common detox symptom. Your hair is removing chemical buildup as well as plastic from your old hair care products. These plastics will stick to almost everything, your hair included.
- Brittle, dry, and rough hair – Expect this if you keep experimenting with your hair. After your hair is stripped away of silicone, it will reveal all the damage your hair has been through. It is important to brush your hair in the evening to stimulate the scalp, too.
As much as possible, resist from grabbing your commercial shampoo and returning to your old routine. It will take some time for your scalp to adjust, but afterward, you will wake up to locks that are fresh and clean.
The Basics of Homemade Shampoo
Making homemade shampoo isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. There are some shampoos that have only two ingredients—and they might already be in your pantry.
You can even make a simple clarifying shampoo using only two ingredients: baking soda and water. This is what people use when they go “no-poo.” Just be aware that if you make shampoo using these ingredients, don’t use this every day. Too much baking soda can make your hair and scalp dry.
Here are some more ingredients you can use to make your own shampoo:
- Liquid Castille Soap. This soap’s name comes from a Spanish region, well-known for its olive oil production. In the old days, Castille soap was made with animal fat and olive oil. Today, this liquid soap is created by mixing plant oil with alkaline.
- Liquid Castille soap has a high concentrate, and a little can go a long way. Be sure to dilute your soap with distilled water.
- Vegetable oil. Creating shampoo with vegetable oil can keep your hair looking glossy. You can opt for olive oil, but you can also choose walnut, grape seed, jojoba, coconut, avocado, and argan oil.
- Xanthan gum. You might have seen this ingredient in food and makeup. When you dilute your Castille soap in water, the mixture will become thinner. Adding this ingredient is like adding cornstarch in a soup; it will transform the soap into the slightly-thick liquid you may be more familiar with. Locate xanthan gum online or in your favorite health food store.
- Essential Oils. You can customize your shampoo’s fragrance using your favorite oil. Best of all, there are some essential oils that can contribute to hair growth or will keep dandruff at bay.
- Fresh or dry herbs. If you don’t want to use too much essential oil, you may use herbs instead. This will give your shampoo a milder smell. Before adding herbs to your soap, put the herbs in boiling water first. Some herbs you can use include marigold, lavender, jasmine, and chamomile.
- Aloe Vera. You may already know that aloe moisturizes your skin. But it can also moisturize and cleanse your hair. Aloe Vera deeply cleans your hair and scalp, leaving you with clean and shiny locks. This works particularly well if you have dry hair.
- Raw honey. It’s good for the Egyptians, and it’s also good for your hair. Honey contains sugar as well as minerals like calcium and iron. Honey’s pH level is between 3.2 and 4.5. This is what stops bacteria from developing. Best of all, each type of raw honey is different, depending on the flowers the bees were around at the time.
- Egg Yolks. If you’re fond of egg white omelets, don’t throw away the yolks! The yolk has vitamin A in it, improving your hair’s moisture levels by encouraging sebum production. In turn, this keeps your scalp from drying out and forming dandruff flakes.
- Coconut Oil. When your hair desperately needs some moisture, there’s nothing better than applying some coconut oil.
Whichever ingredients you choose, you are sure of one thing: knowing what goes into your shampoo will give you peace of mind. While making your own shampoo does take a bit of work, knowing that you are nourishing your hair with all-natural ingredients is worth it.
But if you think you won’t be able to create your own shampoo, do not worry. There are plenty of online shops that have homemade shampoos. Armed with this information, going into a supermarket or shopping online won’t be as confusing.
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