Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Hair Care Advice You Won't Get From Your Stylist

What You Want Isn't Always What You Need

I was having a read through one of my industry formulators' books not too long ago following up on a question about shampoo which had been bothering me.

Now, if you've signed up for my Healthy Hair Care series of free articles, you will already know that pretty much all hair care products you can buy are chock full of irrelevant stuff that do nothing for your hair.

They just get added to the shampoo or serum to sound good when you read the label on the bottle.

You will also know that chances are you don't need to use nearly as much shampoo in your usual hairwash as gets normally recommended.

However, I was still astonished to find this following fact spelled out in my formulators' handbook:

Customers ascribe a measure of overall product quality to the feel of a shampoo's lather. To clean hair in an average hair wash, a concentration of detergent of only 5-8% is needed. But to produce the type of lather the consumer prefers, a concentration of about 20% is required.

Our Brains Make Us Stupid Sometimes


We human beings can be a bit simple.

We gather a lot of information through our senses, which is how our brain is designed to function. Our brain is always busily sorting through all the sensory data streaming in about the world into two piles: "good" and "bad."

The problem with this is because our brain wants to sort the world out speedy quick, it can latch on to the wrong indicators about quality.

Just as salty food tastes nice, our brain compels us to crave more of it, even when we know it's not good for us.

Shampoos, along with a massive range of personal care products, are designed to feel nice in your hand, a quality completely divorced from their actual ability to gently and effectively clean your hair.

So when you have your shower, your brain is loving the lather. So much so, you decide to wash your hair twice through. The result is that you might be using 8 to 10 times the necessary amount of detergent your hair actually needs.

When you read the typical anti-shampoo article on the internet, saying shampoo "strips" your hair of your natural oil, this is only true if you use too much of it with too much enthusiasm.

It doesn't mean you need to go out and buy some super special expensive shampoo, with loads of organic stuff (one of my favourite cons in the personal care industry) or crushed pearls or something.

It means you can continue to use whatever shampoo you like. Just use less of it, less often.

How Much Shampoo Is Enough?


Some people actually only shampoo their hair once or twice a year.

Personally, I shampoo my hair almost every day. But this is how I get the right amount of shampoo for my hair:


  1. I squeeze the tiniest drop of shampoo I can out of the bottle, about the size of a pea.
  2. I rub my hands together to lather it up.
  3. I wash one of my hands off.
  4. Using my fingertips I target just the spots on my scalp that need scrubbing.


Working out how much shampoo you need for your hair requires experimentation over time.

Start by not shampooing your hair at all, just getting your hair wet through, conditioning and styling as normal.

When you feel your hair is too oily, then you have a shampoo. But try using only a little rather than going for that head full of lather.

Increase and decrease the amount of shampoo you use to work out how much your hair truly needs.

What's really cool about this is that your hair will reward you with better manageability over time.

Some people see results within a week, while for others it can take a few months to figure out the perfect amount of shampoo for their hair.

Want to learn more interesting industry secrets about caring for your hair? Sign up for my free series of articles. You'll be glad you did!

(And don't worry. You can always unsubscribe if you change your mind. I hate spam too.)

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