“Stronger, more beautiful hair in 7 days, guaranteed.” Ads like this one from Clear’s recent ad campaign try to convince you that if you wash your hair with the right shampoo that all of your hair worries will be over.
Frizzy? “Buy this.” Damaged? “No problem!” Spent a week in the woods? “We got your back.”
The truth is that shampoo and conditioner are not miracle workers. In fact, many shampoos are the CAUSE of your hair “issues.”
As I mentioned last week, buying shampoo or conditioner with sulfates can be EXTREMELY damaging to your hair. Do you remember the Herbal Essences commercials? Bubbles are assoicated with cleanliness. Sulfates make bubbles. While bubbles are great for your dishes, bubbles treat your hair like a dirty pan covered in day old scrambled eggs. Bubbles strip away the good oils created by your scalp, which in turn dehydrates your hair. Click here for more info about sulfates in shampoo and conditioner.
Ingredients to avoid:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos) and Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos).
While it is difficult to COMPLETELY avoid sulfates, the sulfates considered to be more gentle are: Sodium Cocyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Socoyl (or lauryl/lauroyl) Sarcosinate.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of “bad” and “not-so-good” sulfates, but it is a basic guidline.
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to purchase sulfate-free products. Click here to see what Wal-Mart offers. My favorite shampoo at the moment is Italian company, Davines, “Love” shampoo (available on Birchbox.com for $24). Although it contains sodium laureth sulfate, this is considered to be a “gentler” sulfate and it does not foam much.
After you’ve equipped yourself with the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and budget, make sure you are washing it correctly.
1. Don’t wash your hair everyday. If you feel like your hair is oily OR for scent purposes, use a gentle or lightweight shampoo. Baby powder or dry shampoo can also help to absorb oils in your hair between washes.
2. Build up is created when we don’t rinse our hair properly. I have a friend who insists on switching her shampoo and conditioner every few months to help control build up. I don’t have the heart to correct her, but that is WRONG. If you feel that your hair has build up every few months, it is probably due to the change in seasons, your stress level, or a change in your diet or hormones.
3. Brush your hair before washing it to remove loose hair and detangle it so that the conditioner can work more effectively.
4. Use proper technique. After squirting a quarter size amount of shampoo in your hand (any more than that is counter productive no matter how long your hair is), massage it into your scalp and crown area first, then work the shampoo through the rest of your hair. The focus should be on your SCALP. Take several minutes to really massage your scalp.
5. Use a clarifying shampoo weekly for dyed or highlighted hair (particularly if it is bleached). Hair becomes porous and absorbs yellow tones from hair spray, sweat, smog, and even minerals from your shower water, and the clarifying shampoo will help your hair hold the beautiful color you paid for!
Lastly, shampoo and conditioner are made to cleanse, detangle and hydrate your hair. Regardless of your hair type we all need to give our hair restoration, damage repair, and nourishment. These are found in styling products, finishing serums, oils, and hair potions to name a few. THAT is where you should spend your big bucks. 🙂
What is your favorite Shampoo/Conditioner? Comment below!
None of this matters if you don’t follow the basics!
Playlist used for writing this post: Be OK- Ingrid Michaelson, Some Nights- Fun, In Repair- John Mayer, Valley (Reprise)- The Oh Hellos, Stupid- Sarah Mclachlan, Guilty Filthy Soul- AWOLNATION, Sunday Best- Augustana, All You Ever- Hunter Hayes, Enchanted- Taylor Swift, Summer Nights- Rascal Flatts, Catching My Disease- Ben Lee, Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, Glycerine- Boyce Avenue