There are some people who cannot bear to leave the house without squeaky-clean hair, which means they wash their locks daily. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find those who absolutely dread having to make the extra effort to wash (and dry) their hair, and perform the entire process grudgingly. Just where any one person happens to fall within this range, as it turns out, has a lot less to do with the general health of your hair than you might have previously believed.
How’s That (Shampoo and Conditioner) Workin’ for Ya?
Can you really tell if and how your go-to brands of shampoo and conditioner are working? The effectiveness in cleaning your hair and the level of protection it provides are often two distinctly opposing issues. Often, the superior performance of one even cancels out the other. You can’t always rely on the volume of hair that winds up in your hairbrush, either, as there are too many peripheral conditions that could factor into any brush hair tally.
How Shampoo and Conditioner Are Frequently Evaluated at the Store
A whole lot of women either mindlessly reach, grab and take their regular brand–usually the same brand, matched set, or, they are drawn first to the packaging–and often to the placement of the products. For instance, it is not uncommon for stores to segregate their high-end hair products away from the larger mass of mid-range products. Being located in the high-end section has very little to do with assuring quality and value. But next to the packaging, the wording used to describe shampoos and conditioners weigh in, pretty heavily. Most women are searching for products that will perform specific results and remedies. So, if the labeling says so, it does…right? Then, what comes next–and can even sway an almost done deal away from becoming a purchase–is the scent of both products. In shampoo and conditioner especially, scent is very critical. Just is. This is why you might find some of the product on either side of the bottle or around the rim. This is from shoppers removing the tops and giving the bottle a firm squeeze, in the interest of getting a whiff of the scent. More often than not, the squeeze is a bit too firm, resulting in product overflow, at which point the shopper replaces the cap, and returns the product to the shelf. And this is even when they decide to buy. They will characteristically next go for a virginal bottle. Regardless of any exact rating methods, most fall short of being anything more than a waste of time.
There is no One Best Product
It’s great to get reliable recommendations from friends who understand or share your same product performance requirements. Your stylist understands your hair and what type of products are needed to supplement its weaknesses and downplay any less wanted attributes. Scores of commercials for WEN seem to proliferate the Internet in an endless stream, and if you listen to their claims, they’ll convince you to feel awfully guilty every time you reach for that bottle of shampoo, for eternity. Now, WEN claims to be all natural, and emphasizes that the evidence is in the absence of suds-which would have you running from every other shampoo, if you were to buy into this. The original list of key ingredients for WEN has been modified, and any company queries now produce vague redirection, at best. Against claims made by manufacturers of this product, WEN contains petrochemicals, sulfates and some that even come with warnings regarding use. Feel better now? Good!
DIY Hair Products
For the die-hard DIYers, you can make your own shampoo at home. This clay shampoo is reportedly good for all hair types. It is definitely all natural and it won’t strip the hair. It won’t keep–(no preservatives, OK?)–so you can only mix up a week’s worth at a time, and you’ll be responsible for bottling/packaging. It’s so gentle, you don’t even have to follow up with conditioner. Ingredients and sources below.
Recipe, Directions and Sources:
In small glass bowl and nonmetal mixing utensils, combine well:
- 1 heaping Tablespoon bentonite clay. (So natural you can even eat some non-commercial forms of it, but not this one. Sold at most organic retailers and sometimes at WalMart.)
- 1.5 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. ( Available at your choice of grocery stores.)
- 1.5 Tablespoon raw honey. (Buy at organic and health food stores.)
- 5 Tablespoons filtered water–can be diluted as needed, but do not decrease water. Filtered water: (Sold just about anywhere.)
- Optional–as desired, you can add one or a blend of essential oils. Among those best known to promote hair health are thyme, cedarwood, lavender, lemon and rosemary. (Buy at organic and health food stores.)
Pour mixture onto dry hair (it can be rather runny,) with small amounts evenly distributed. Rub the mixture into the scalp as you proceed. Let sit for five minutes, but add more mix as needed to prevent it from drying on your head. Feel free to use as a face mask at the same time, but let the mask fully dry. Finish up by thoroughly rinsing in shower with warm water. Adjust proportions as needed, from results. Too dry? Reduce amount of clay.
The Basic Shopping “Need to Know”
Whatever products you go with, stay away from parabens and sulfates. There are some particular hair qualities that require special attention. The following are the most common:
- If your hair is fine: Go for a good volumizing shampoo.
- For curly hair: Shampooing with a product formulated for dry or chemically treated hair will help you tame those curls and make them easier to style.
- When your hair is dry: Shampoos that claim to deliver more intensive moisture therapy and replenishment are the best bet. Look for naturally derived oils among the list of ingredients, as these are the most readily absorbed by your hair. Some top emollients are found in the oil from avocados, rapeseed oil and argan oil. The very best? Coconut oil..all the way.
- For oily hair: Stick with shampoos designed to handle oily hair. Avoid label descriptives like “moisturizing” and “conditioning.”
- When dandruff is an issue: Stick with products formulated expressly for dandruff. Ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide are important ingredients to look for.
- Color treated and chemically processed hair: Look for products that are geared for extra protective performance for the specific processing in your hair.
You don’t have to wash your hair every day. Every other day, and sometimes every three days is sufficient. The shorter the hair, the more often it needs washing.