As you can see by my profile picture at the bottom of this post, I’m no stranger to long, gently flowing locks. I’ve grown my hair out three times, and at one point it hung down past my shoulder blades.
The problem with long hair is that it gets dirty a lot quicker than short hair, so I had to put shampoo and conditioner in my hair regularly just to keep it clean.
Thankfully, I’ve cut my hair, so I can slap pretty much any hair product into my close-cropped hair without having to worry about split ends, dry hair, and all those other problems that the average man has no business bothering with.
One thing I recently discovered is that regular shampooing can have a startling effect on hair. Here are some things you didn’t know about shampoo and your hair:
- Shampoo Affects the pH Balance — Your hair and scalp contain a certain amount of acid, while dirt contains alkaline. A healthy pH balance is vital for the health of your hair, but shampoo and conditioner can actually throw off the balance – especially if you use too much.
- Shampoo Strips Moisture — Shampoo is basically like an atomic bomb that gets rid of everything on your hair. It’s a blanket treatment that gets rid of dirt, oil, and the moisture that your hair needs, so it ends up dry and unprotected – which is why conditioner is so important to help restore oils to your hair.
Wow, this is all news to me!
Shampoo Ingredients with Funny Names You Can’t Pronounce
I’ve rarely taken the time to read the ingredients on the label of my shampoo bottles, but that’s because the names are just so hard to pronounce. Here are some things that may be in your shampoo:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate — This is an ingredient that is supposedly “derived from coconut oil”, but it’s usually made synthetically using petroleum as the base. They can irritate your eyes, dry out your skin, and even damage your hair if the shampoo has a high concentration of the chemical.
Amodimethicone —This is a fluid form of silicone, and it helps to give the shampoo the smooth texture that makes it so much fun to apply. It can cause negative allergic reactions to those that are sensitive to it.
Cocoamide DEA — This is the stuff that makes the shampoo foam very nicely, but it is a synthetic material that gives us the thickness of the foam. It is often contaminated with nitrosamines, which can be carcinogenic.
CA-24 — This ingredient is also called acidamide, and it is used in many bath products to fight off microbes. The concentration of the ingredient is often as high as 0.3%, but even just 0.1% concentration can cause negative allergic reactions.
Propylene Glycol — This ingredient is used in brake fluid and antifreeze, but it’s also found in shampoos. It helps to moisturize your hair, but it’s made from mineral oil. Too much of this ingredient can cause kidney and liver problems.
Nitrosamines — This isn’t an ingredient that is included in shampoo, but it is a compound that can be formed by all the ingredients ending in “-amine” and “-amide”. The compound is known to be highly carcinogenic.It’s pretty scary when you think about all of the crazy ingredients that you can find in your shampoo!
Did You Know: Shampoo comes from Bangladesh and India, where it was created in 1762. It was originally used for head massages, but it was used as a cleanliness treatment when it comes to the Western world in the early 19th century.
“Organic everything” has become the rage these days, and it’s hard to walk into a store and not see the myriad products labeled “organic” and selling for often ridiculously-high prices. There are organic shampoos that can help to keep your hair healthy, and which are free of the above ingredients.
The good thing about organic shampoos is that they are made with all natural, all health ingredients. They use extracts from plants, nutrients from fruits and veggies, and healthy oils.
They don’t have any colorants, and there are no ingredients that will make the shampoo foam up nicely (taking away most of the fun of shampooing my hair).
My advice to those shopping for organic shampoos: check the label. If it has a name you can’t pronounce, it may not be as natural as you’d like.
Lifehack: Beer – it’s not just for drinking anymore! Using beer as a shampoo will be the way to go, as the golden goodness has B vitamins, natural sugars, and proteins that will enrich your hair.
Boil the beer until it has reduced to about 1/4 its original volume. The alcohol will be gone, and you can mix it in with your favorite shampoo or apply it straight to your hair.
What You Do Want in Your Shampoo
If you’re not nuts about organic shampoos, here are some nutrients you DO want in your shampoos:
Glycerin — This is a fatty liquid that is added to shampoo to moisturize your hair, and it will guarantee that your hair gets all the oils it needs to be protected from the sun, the pollution in the air, and the dirt and dust flying around.
Natural Ingredients — If it comes from Mother Nature, it’s probably a good addition. Jojoba oil is probably the best herbal extract, but chamomile, lemon, avocado, and coconut all make great additions to your shampoo.