Shampoo I

Shampoos constitute more than 50 per cent of the hair care and cleansing market and the estimated turnover worldwide is around $ 7 billion.

So, what is a shampoo?
It is essentially an aqueous mixture of detergents in varying concentrations and proportions. These detergents are either oil lovers or water lovers . The oil-loving component adheres to the sebum whereas the water-loving component enables us to wash away this sebum.
Also shampoos contain cationic and anionic surfactents: This is important because it is the cationic base which bonds the hair together (easy manageability) and anionic which counteracts, thus preventing matting of hair and less tangling.
Shampoos for infants contain special chemicals, which are non-irritating, and foam fairly well leaving hair manageable enough so that not only babies but even adults with fine or chemically-treated hair can use them.

What does a Shampoo do?
It cleanses the hair and scalp like a soap does for the skin. It removes sebum, sweat components, dead skin, layers and environmental grime deposited on the hair and scalp. Here it is important to note that, it is not detrimental or harmful in any way to shampoo the hair daily. Unless you use cheap products.

Dermatologists are using more and more specific shampoos to combat certain disorders that inflict the scalp like psoriasis, dandruff, fungal infections, inflammatory conditions, etc. They are better to use than pumping the patient’s system with medicines.

Ease of distribution, that is how easily you can slather it over your hair.
How easily you can lather it over your hair. Foaming types are better for compliance though there is no direct relation between foaming and cleansing. It is purely a cultural phenomenon. Foaming agents in the shampoo introduce gas bubbles into the water. As the shampoo cleans the hair, the foam combines with the sebum and is reduced in amount thus less foam is present on the first shampooing. As this is rinsed away the sebum is lessened and the second shampooing results in more foam.
Ease of rinsing it out of your hair.
Ease of combing wet hair after a shampoo without breakage, essential for today’s fast life.
Lustre… that is left behind on the hair.
Speed of drying hair, post shampoo.
Ease of combing and setting dry hair.

Conditioners are basically cationic agents which coat the hair surface lending it a lustre, bond the hair to decrease the “fly away” look along with anionic agents, reduce tangling of the hair making it easier and smoother to comb with less breakage even in a wet state, add body to thin hair albeit temporarily.

Since hair is a dead tissue, reconditioning that occurs after shampooing is minimal and temporary till the next wash.
Conditioners increase the hair gloss by smoothening the hair shaft.

Gloss is the result of light reflected by each hair shaft. In keeping with today’s demands we have shampoos which combine conditioners, non-fragrant ones, hypoallergic ones and, not in the least, ph-controlled and ph balanced ones. A very common advertising claim, what does it mean?

Most shampoos are alkaline which can swell the hair shaft rendering it susceptible to damage. Though this is not seen in cases of normal healthy hair, damaged, permed, coloured and diseased hair types benefit by using a ph-balanced shampoo. These prevent swelling of hair shaft by addition of acids to balance the ph.

An acidic ph is also a better scalp environment. Additives, such as wheat germ oil and panthenol, are added mainly for marketing purposes. They claim to leave hair silky and manageable. How much stays on the hair and what is washed down the drain is one’s own guess. Taking their cues from the cosmetic world, pharma-ceuticals have made excellent advances in formulating shampoos. The advantages are, these shampoos are of high qualitative standards and any claim made by the pharmaceutical needs to be explained satisfactorily to the doctors. These products ensure the best of both worlds to the patient – reliable treatment and cosmetic acceptability.

In my practice, I do need to advise a lot on what shampoo to use and find it helpful if representatives promote these products so that I can discuss the contents and their basis of use. Also seen nowadays is the latest trend of plant or herbal shampoos. They claim to be natural, but then how do they preserve, and how do they lather?


Shampooing your hair every day is not harmful, in fact, it may reduce your dandruff and hair fall.

Shampoos do not cause greying

Changing of shampoos is not to surprise hair but to prevent a build-up of certain constituents on the hair shaft.

Choose the right shampoo and you can keep your crowning glory healthy, clean and bright.

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