Let’s get this settled once and for all. You hear from your stylists over and over again that you should be using high end shampoos and conditioners that they recommend to you.
Today I am here to lay it out on the line as to why the cheap shampoo and conditioner you’re using is trash (bold, but true) and a higher alternative is better in the long run. After talking with multiple stylists and doing my fair share of research I think I’ve got it figured out.
What is in cheaper shampoo and conditioner that makes it so bad?
One very simple answer, fillers and toxic chemicals.
What are fillers and why are they bad?
Fillers are ingredients put in shampoo to dilute and take up room in the product thus costing the company less money to produce. Such examples of fillers are silicones and paraffin wax. Now, there are both good and bad silicones. My friend and co-worker, Osman (Hair Wizard of Oz), explained that silicones smooth the surface and make the hair feel softer and give your hair a ‘shiny’ look but are not actually fixing the problem. For instance, you want silicones in your makeup primer because they are smoothing out the skin and pores, but you wouldn’t want them in your skincare because they would give your skin itself no physical benefits. Same goes for shampoo and conditioner. The ‘shiny’ affect you’re actually looking for comes from proper hydration. Silicone is also weighing your hair down and giving it that dull/lifeless feel. When it comes to wax, the same kind of thing happens where a waxy build up is being left on the hair and thus creates a dull and frizzy effect.
Some examples of bad silicones are cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone, amodimethicone, dimethiconol etc.
What are the toxic chemicals in my shampoo and conditioner and why are they bad?
The common toxic chemicals in shampoo and conditioner are; synthetic fragrance, sulfates, sodium chloride, parabens, 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, neurotoxins, formaldehyde donors, carcinogens, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium chloride, methylchloroisothiazolinone, acrylates copolymers and more.
Synthetic fragrance, parabens and 1,4-dioxane are all toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer.
Sulfates are considered surfactants and are what causes the shampoo to lather up. Their job is remove dirt, excess oil and anything else from the hair to effectively clean the hair. The bad part of sulfates is when too much is used in a shampoo it can strip the hair of its natural oils and proteins. Sulfates are considered safe to use in low concentrations, but an alternative is to purchase sulfate-free shampoo. The difference is, sulfate-free shampoo has less lather and may take longer to rise out of the hair.
Sodium chloride is used as a thickener meaning it makes the shampoo or conditioner feel thick when in reality it is removing moisture from the hair drying it out and affecting colored hair. It is considered an irritant and is not beneficial for people who get keratin treatments.
Phthalates are used in plastic, neurotoxins are poisonous, carcinogens and formaldehyde donors are used for preservatives.
Ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are essentially detergents that strip the hair of it’s natural oils. Sodium chloride is basically table salt. It is a thickener and is used with ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a preservative that has antifungal and antibacterial. It is a skin and membrane irritant and can cause chemical burns when used in high dosage. Although it can be seen as safe in small dosage.
Lastly, acrylates copolymers are essentially used in products for their power to create firmness and hold. Although, they are mostly used in styling products, they can be used in shampoo. When used in shampoo they can create build up on the hair.
Now, although a lot of these ingredients are considered ‘safe’ by the FDA does not mean they’re benefitting your hair. After all, why would you want to be continuously putting something onto your hair that is serving it no benefit. See where us hairstylists are coming from?
With that being said, I encourage you to to do some research for yourself on what ingredients are in the products you’re using. I personally choose to use and recommend Neuma and Colorproof shampoo and conditioner because of Neuma’s Zero List and Colorproof’s Advanced Colorcare System, Proprietary Blend of 11 Sulfate-Free, Salt-Free Surfectants, Protein Power Complex, Flexshield Technology and Rejuvenating Botanical Infusion. I hope this blog post opened your eyes and inspired you to look into the ingredients of what you’re using.