SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS Shampoos The purpose of a shampoo is threefold: 1. to cleanse the hair and scalp; 2. to improve appearance of the hair; and 3. to improve and facilitate management of the hair. Unfortunately, shampoos are good cleansing agents but not particularly good at maintaining optimum hair appearance or facilitating hair management. This is where the need for a conditioner arises(see page 7). Different shampoos contain different surfactants (cleansing agents); often more than one. These vary in their effectiveness as cleansing agents, but even more so in the condition in which they leave the hair. Sometimes shampoos are too effective and remove all the sebum or natural oil. Conditioners are then used to replace this lost oil to a certain degree with various artificialsubstitutes which remain on the hair. Not all shampoos are the same Shampoos are made for normal hair, fine hair, dry hair, greasy hair, damaged hair, sunny climates, swimmers, and even medicated for such conditions as dandruff. Others may be made for the exacting needs of Afro-Caribbean hair (see page 9). It is most essential that you select a shampoo for the right hair type – normal, dry, greasy ordamaged (over processed). If in doubt, your hairdresser will tell you which class you belong to. (There is just a possibility that some hairdressers will be slightly biased when it comes to admitting that hair is over-processed!) Market research has shown that opinion on shampoos is very subjective. A shampoo which one person regards highly will be instantly rejected by someone else. Often, theshape of the bottle, the perfume, or even the colour are the deciding factors, and manufacturers know this. From the consumer’s point of view, this really is not very sensible. You should choose your shampoo carefully and reject it if it does not suit completely. Do a little experimentation and then stick to the one that suits you best. There is no need to keep changing your shampoo once asatisfactory product has been found. You are advised to seek your hair care products, such as shampoos, from the large and well-known companies. You are then buying cosmetic and scientific knowledge together with reliability. These big companies have a great deal to lose if their products do not live up to their claims. Lather is an issue not well understood. People like lather ,and shampoos often containsubstances to stabilise the lather. Lather is not essential to effective cleansing. What do shampoos contain? Shampoos are fairly straightforward products, although some appear to have many more ingredients than others. Generally, a long list of ingredients merely suggests duplication of ingredients (for example, three preservatives instead of one). The major ingredient is always water. Shampooswill nearly always contain two surfactants for cleansing purposes, and possibly a separate lather stabiliser. There will usually be one or more humectant, the function of which is to attract moisture and impart this to the hair. There will be
a number of substances the principal function of which is to coat each hair, making it smooth and shiny whilst also keeping the moisture in. These varyfrom simple oily or waxy substances to complex chemicals which attach themselves to the hair electrostatically. In recent years, silicone compounds such as dimethicone have become very important for this purpose. And finally there will be perfume and preservatives. It is not unusual for a shampoo to contain several preservatives. Are shampoos safe? Shampoos are amongst the safest of all cosmeticproducts, partly because they are diluted, and partly because of their short contact time. Their ingredients are generally remarkably safe and unlikely to cause allergy or sensitisation. If a given shampoo does cause allergic proble ms, it will almost certainly be due to the preservative(s) or perfumes it contains. If this is the case, then you are just as likely to be allergic to many other...
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