Monday, 3 December 2012

Shampoo: Is It Working For Or Against You?

Try Some Of These Techniques And You'll Have Happier, Healthier Hair

Shampoo: When Less Is Definitely More
For The Health Of Your Hair
The two most common problems we hear from women is that their hair is either frizzy and “has a mind of its own,” or it is great right after a shampoo but by the evening or next morning it is completely limp and hangs like a curtain that has seen better days.

The first problem of frizzy hair is often due to the ends of the hair being dry and damaged and, between you and me, shampoo is doing more harm than good.

And don’t go read to me what’s on the label of your shampoo bottle about how it is feeding your hair lovely protein or some other baldfaced lie.

Your shampoo is doing nothing of the sort.

The problem of limp hair is often associated with straight hair, usually fine in weight. In this case, your shampoo may be okay (I say, MAY be okay) and I would suspect the culprit is your conditioner.

Both of these problems can begin to be solved by using LESS shampoo or conditioner, LESS often.

This doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily wet your hair everyday to make it easier to style, if you find that helpful.

But it is worth experimenting with not washing and conditioning your hair every time you step into the shower and seeing how your hair responds.

In this article you will learn a little about shampoo.

What is shampoo for and what is it really doing to your hair?

What is shampoo actually for and what does it really do to your hair?

First of all, shampoo and soap are two different products. Just because I say shampoo might be damaging your hair (or merely not helping the situation) does not mean you have been duped and you could have been using a good old bar of soap all these years.

The biology of hair is well known and it is really pretty simple. And if we all wore our hair short, it would need as much care as your fingernails do – that is to say, not too much care at all.

The cuticle or outside layer of your hair, as you probably know, is made up of scales that lie more or less tightly on top of each other like roof tiles.

These scales shift around as the hair swells when it is wet and then shrinks back when the hair has dried. This is one reason why rainy or humid days can make some hair develop its own plan for the day – usually not in line with your plan!

These scales slide back into place harder and smoother when they have had a slightly acidic bath and all major brand shampoos have the correct acidity levels to achieve this positive effect.

This is where the old fashioned advice to rinse your hair in diluted lemon juice or beer comes from. And it really does work, but it seems like a waste of beer to me.

Soap is slightly alkaline, the opposite of acid, which leaves your hair, if you could look under a microscope, a bit spongy and stretchy. The cuticle is left not so hard and more likely to flake and break.

Plus, soap has the added disadvantage of clinging to minerals in the water, basically making soap scum, which is not doing anything good for your hair. So don’t abandon your shampoo for soap.

Shampoo’s main job, of course, is to remove dirt, oil and all the hair styling products you put on your hair.

Now we don’t like dirt, but unless you work in a fish tinning factory or a coal mine, I have news for you, your hair is probably not as dirty as you think.

But what about oil from your scalp? 

What about the oil from your scalp? If you suffer from frizzy hair, the problem is that the oil (the scientific word for it is “sebum”) is actually your own body producing the conditioner your hair needs to stay healthy.

And the more you shampoo, you wash this sebum away and make it almost impossible for your body to do its natural job!

The old wives’ advice to brush your hair 50 or 100 times a day was how women in the past helped distribute the sebum more evenly down the entire length of the hair.

This isn’t entirely necessary and brushing damaged hair is not really a good idea (and if you have curly hair, you probably already know that you should not be brushing your hair at all. Not ever.)

But if you want to help your hair along, combing your hair when it is dry with your fingers is absolutely the most gentle way to work out snarls, groom out loose hair and spread that natural (and FREE) sebum down to the ends of your hair.

Your skin on your fingers cannot catch on the scales of your cuticle the way brush bristles do, making this the absolute kindest way you can treat your hair.

You do end up with fingers full of old hair, which doesn’t feel that nice, but your hands are easier to clean than your brush.

Should you use shampoo at all? 

Is it necessary to even use shampoo at all? You can certainly experiment with going shampoo-free. Indeed many women with curly hair use shampoo maybe once or twice a year.

This is true. And their hair isn’t stinky or full of spiders or some other horror story. Their hair is really healthy. Their natural sebum is doing all the work for them.

If you don’t get on with the no-shampoo method, try using the tiniest pearl of shampoo it is possible to squeeze out of the bottle.

Rub your hands together and only use this diluted shampoo where your scalp feels it could use a scrub.

You won’t get a lot of soap suds with this method but this actually means that your shampoo is dealing with dirt.

If you are shampooing and you get a nice head full of bubbly lather, your hair was actually pretty clean, so you were just using shampoo for the heck of it.

Soap lathers first, because it is just simply formulated to make bubbles (some soap formulas, such as olive oil based soap, have almost no lather but clean just as effectively), and second, because it isn’t actually encountering any dirt.

How about a really good, expensive shampoo full of protein and peptides and sunscreen?

This is a big topic – one of my favourites – and it is in my opinion the biggest rip off that the shampoo companies are putting over on the general public. I’ll talk about that in another article.

If you have hair that goes  limp, you have the opposite problem. 

If you have hair that goes completely limp, then we're talking about the opposite sebum distribution problem.

It isn’t necessarily that your scalp is very oily, but that your hair is probably very smooth, so the oil travels down the length of your hair very easily – too easily!

In your case you usually need a normal shampoo, with no silicone added, because this coats your hair and makes it shiny but ultimately really weighs it down.

Further, silicone does not wash out easily with shampoo and it just builds and builds with every wash.

Along the same lines are volumising shampoos. All these products do is add a film of styling product along the length of each hair.

This film may feel fine first thing in the morning, but it will ultimately weigh your hair down. These filming products are also difficult to wash out and can build up if you use this type of shampoo repeatedly.

So if you suffer from limp hair, shampooing is a good thing using a basic shampoo for fine or normal hair, but even you may not need to wash your hair every day.

Your issue very possibly is with your conditioner.

In the next article, I’ll explain what conditioner actually is, what it does (and doesn’t do) for your hair and how much of it you need.


Enjoying yourself? Don't stop now.

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Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK for some top quality hair clips you'll simply adore.

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