I’ve brought this post back because I still have a lot of questions about hair – particularly shampoo and conditioner – on a regular basis. Excuse the blatant post recycle! I’ve been hairdressing since I was 16, and I’m 26 now – so i’ve been in the business for about 10 years now. One conversation I find myself having with clients and friends constantly is the Shampoo & Conditioner ‘chat’, if you will. Cheap drugstore, pharmacy or supermarket products… or the expensive shiny brand name products?
A dead give away of somebody who uses shonky shampoo is being able to smell it(you can always smell the cheap ones – but damn do they smell good!). ‘So… what shampoo have you been using lately?’ would be my next question. Generally the response is along the lines of ‘Uuum well normally I use *high-end-product* but at the moment i’m using *cheap-and-nasty* because I ran out’. Ladies, please.
After careful consideration i’ve decided writing this post was imperative to explain exactly why you should be spending a little extra cash on that fancy high end product. I’m no expert, I can only tell you what i’ve learnt first hand in the biz.
I’m sure many of you have heard it before, cheap shampoos and conditioners have Silicone in them. This is what cheap products have that expensive ones don’t a lot of the time – that silky smooth amazing feeling hair. As lovely as this feeling is you are coating your hair. Silicone build up actually prevents essential nutrients from penetrating the cuticle of the hair.
The most alarming part about Silicone is the effect it has on colouring. One of the first things you learn working in a salon is the effect bleach has on silicone coated hair. I have witnessed a woman’s foils actually steaming as she had so much build up in her hair. The foils get extreemly hot, and the hair starts to swell. In many cases the hair actually begins to break down. If you have ever had your hair chemically damaged – you know that chewy elasticised hair you get from over colouring – chances are you were using a crappy shampoo from down your local.
#2: Protein based products
This goes for cheap and high end. You need to be extremely wary of high protein products. They may be required if you have chemically damaged or dry hair, however you need to pair with a moisturising product such as a mask or leave in conditioner. Too much protein can cause the hair to become brittle and prone to snapping. Pretty much any product marked ‘Repair’ is packed with protein.
You know that amazing foaminess you get when you lather up? If you’re experiencing this on the first shampoo, it’s likely to be loaded with Sulfate – another name for a grease cutting detergent that helps the foaming of soap. This point is probably my fave. To begin with, a quick lesson in washing your hair. It’s easy right? A quick wash followed up with conditioner and you’re done. Wrong wrong wrong. Generally I wash my hair three times as I only do it once or twice a week, you might only need to do it twice… but TWICE is the minimum! The first shampoo opens the cuticle and the second shampoo actually cleans your hair, thoroughly.
I’ve had a lot of clients complain about high end shampoos because it ‘wont lather’. Chances are they have only tried shampooing their hair the one time. Sometimes your hair may be so dirty you might need to wash it three or four times, but you need to if you really want to get in there and get the hair looking squeaky. Sulfate also aids in stripping the hair of nutrients and the colour you just forked out half your wage for. A known hairdressing trick is actually to add a little head & shoulders to your bleach and water – that’ll strip the colour right out!
So those are really my main points. High end products are exactly that… high end and expensive. However if you plan on colouring your hair – most of us do – and would like to keep it as beautiful, healthy and voluptuous as possible, dig a little deeper. You wouldn’t wash your face would detergent… would you?