Concerned about shampooing your hair? Read this!

washing hair image

In the last few years, there has been an overload of communications saying that washing hair is bad and the best way to have beautiful hair is by not using shampoo.

With that assumption, many alternative solutions to shampooing have been created. For example, using conditioner to ‘wash’ the hair instead of shampoo, or combinations that are ‘detergent free’, to not shampooing the hair at all!

Those ‘solutions’ bring confusion and most of the time do not deliver on their promises.

So, what is the truth about hair washing and the effects of shampoos on hair? Can shampooing really damage your hair?

How does a shampoo work?

Shampoos are among the oldest formulations created to take care of hair. The main function of a shampoo is to clean the hair.

To clean the hair, shampoos contain ingredients scientifically called surfactants, known also as ‘detergents’.  

Through an electrostatic mechanism (similar ionic charges are found in surfactants and the hair surface) the shampoo cleans the hair.  

In that process of cleaning, the sebum, the dirt and residues of products (e.g. leave-in products) are removed from the hair and the scalp.

The problem is that the surfactants can’t select between what should be cleaned in your hair or not.

In other words, together with the ‘bad stuff’, during the process of cleaning, the surfactants also remove some particles of the ‘good stuff’, mainly hair proteins.

Why shampooing is necessary?

Although other hair care products, e.g. conditioners, may contain surfactants, those molecules have a different chemical nature than what is used in a shampoo.

In a simple way, conditioners are not designed to clean the hair; on the opposite, their main function is to neutralize the shampoo and deposit ingredients on the hair.

Same is true for hair oils and other hair care products.

That means that the usage of conditioners and hair oils lead to an accumulation of materials in your hair. That’s incompatible with hair cleansing.

Shampoos on the other hand, have as their main function cleaning. To protect the hair from damage, different combinations of surfactants are used together with other ingredients that balance the cleansing process and make the formulas mild to hair.

Does shampooing cause more damage than other treatments?

Maybe you have decided to quit shampooing based on the belief that shampoos will damage your hair and the other products won’t.

That is not necessarily true…

Hair does not have an intrinsic mechanism of repair, resulting that it is naturally prone to be damaged.

Before concerning yourself about the damage that the products (e.g. shampoos) can make to your hair, it’s key to think about HOW you are using products in your hair as well as the way you are taking care of the hair in general.  

Studies show that friction contributes to removing up to 7 times more protein from hair, compared to a hair washed with very low friction.

The process of drying also can damage the hair, depending on the device used and the way it’s done.

So, the products and devices that are used to treat the hair and the way that hair is washed are much more important to consider than avoiding shampooing.

5 thoughts on “Concerned about shampooing your hair? Read this!

    • Hair Care Science says:

      When washing your hair be gentle in the way you massage it. Focus the usage of the shampoo on massaging the scalp and hair roots and focus the conditioner on the middle to hair tips. Avoid excess of friction. That helps to protect your hair from damage.

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