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Choosing the right shampoo today has become a tedious task simply because of the fact that there are hundreds of products that claim they are the best for your hair. The question arises, do they really do what they are meant for? Let us help you sort out how to find the best shampoo for your hair considering important factors listed down below.
1. Scalp Type
Consider the type of your scalp while buying a shampoo and not hair alone. If your scalp is oily but your hair is dry, you can choose a cleansing shampoo for your scalp and a good conditioner for the hair to make it balance.
2. Hair Quality
A different set of shampoos are manufactured to meet the requirements of different hair quality. You need to understand the need for your hair before buying one. Dry hair needs moisturizing shampoos, oily hair needs cleansing shampoos that have sulfates however they are not recommended for regular use and thin hair needs extra care thus using mild shampoos or best hair fall shampoos.
3. Acidity- The pH Level
The scalp has a pH level that is higher than the rest of hair. In case your shampoo has a different pH level, it can make hair follicles brittle thus resulting in hair thinning and making them dull. Shampoos for dry hair must have a low pH level that will moisturize your hair. Avoid using high concentrate of sulphates in your shampoo unless they have moisturizing agents to avoid hair damage.
Ideal pH level of scalp and hair is around 5.5.You should use a shampoo that has the same numbers around 5.5 to avoid any pH misbalance of the scalp and hair. Lower pH balance is great for hair. It results in shinier, smoother and with less flyaway making your hair manageable. Whereas, high pH level can make cuticles weak. This makes the hair look dull and damaged and its harder to manage.
You can use pH strips to know the level of acidity in the shampoo. PH level strips are easy to use and easily available at any drug store. You just need to pour a sample of your shampoo and wait for the results until the color changes.
4. Hair Damage
Not every shampoo delivers the same results. Choose a shampoo that helps repair your hair. If you are experiencing dandruff, it’s good to use best dandruff shampoos as these products have properties that help cleanse the scalp and stop dandruff from occurring. Or if you have colored hair; use a shampoo that protects and keeps your hair color intact without damaging or drying it.
5. Hair Type
Curly Hair might need sulfate free shampoos to help curls intact, thus keeping them moisturized whereas straight hair might need Keratin shampoos to tame frizzy or unmanageable hair. We recommend using best mild shampoos for usage as it is good for maintaining pH level balance
6. The Shampoo Ingredients
We should know what we are feeding our scalp. You might not realize but the use of these shampoo ingredients can be one of the causes of hair fall; hence we’re listing the ingredients to educate you further about the good and the bad ingredients in your shampoo:
- Sulphates: Most of the shampoos in the market today contains Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or Ammonium Laureth Sulphate (ALS), Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALES) as the number one ingredient. With the new trend in market, consumers have started opting for “Sulphate-Free Shampoos” since these ingredients take away natural oils from the hair and make your hair lifeless. However, the truth is without sulphates, cleansing products won’t work well. Sulphates are good at separating dirt and oil from your hair but it also strips your natural oils and proteins that help keep your skin and hair healthy. Sulphates won’t give you cancer. They are a type of irritant that strips natural oils and breaks down proteins leading to a degenerative effect. Make sure to opt for Sulphate shampoos only if your hair type requires one but do not use it frequently.
- If you have curly, damaged, dry or coarse hair, avoid using shampoos with sulfates. It will make it worse. Use sulphate shampoos when you have a lot of hair products in your hair like hair wax, styling cream, gel or sprays so as to get rid of these silicon products and dirt thus cleansing your hair and scalp.
- However, if you have oily hair, oily scalp, oily-dandruff scalp, you can prefer using sulphate shampoos because at times mild shampoos won’t work in taking out dirty and cleansing your scalp. Herbal shampoos too at times won’t help with this hair type as they don’t lather much hence leaving oily hair a mess.
The following are some milder alternatives to look for in your next sulfate-free shampoos:
- Sodium Cocoamphoacetate
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine
- Lauryl Glucoside
- Coco Glucoside
- Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
- Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate
- TEA Lauryl Sulphate
- TEA Laureth Sulphate
- Preservatives: Avoid products that have formaldehyde such as DMDM Hydantoin Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazalidol urea, Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, Monosodium salt, N-(Hydroxymethyl) glycine and Quaternium-15 OR Parabens such as butylparaben, Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. These ingredients are added to shampoos to improve its shelf life as they prevent fungi, bacteria that grow in cosmetics. Parabens are not bad for hair but they are bad for your health as they can cause cancers and tumors. Other Preservatives like Sodium benzoate, Benzoic acid, and Phenoxyethaol are also harmful chemicals to avoid.
- Irritants: Ingredients like triethanolamine(TEA), Benzophenones, diethanolamine(DEA) and dimethicone cause scalp irritation and destroy the hairs’ natural keratin. If concentration level of these ingredients is extremely high, it can cause premature scalp aging and even cancer or acute hair fall. Know more what are the best ways to prevent hair fall if in case you are suffering and looking for home remedies for hair fall treatment to reverse the effects of these harsh shampoo agents.
- Fragrances and Artificial Colours: Some shampoos or products use certain fragrance or color for aesthetic reasons. They usually appear on the product label as D&C or FD&C followed by a number or color. Avoid these.
- Avoid Propylene glycol: Avoid using shampoos that contain Propylene glycol. This ingredient is most commonly used as an antifreeze in cars. This ingredient helps in keeping shampoos and conditioners from freezing during shipping and storage.
- Alcohol: Shampoos, conditioners and most hair care products contain some form of alcohol. It dehydrates hair thus degrading your hair health. Avoid products that have listed alcohol as one of the first four ingredients. If ‘alcohol’ is closer to the top of the ingredient list like Isopropyl alcohol etc; it means higher the percentage of the product. Hence, avoid shampoos with that much concentration level. Mild shampoos can be your savior. As their name suggests, they are mild and good for daily usage. Know what mild shampoo means and why you should switch to these.
- Greasers: Avoid products that have ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin and other petroleum products that weigh down your thin hair preventing natural oils. It contains carcinogens that can clog pores and thus prevent natural oils or herbal oils from being absorbed.