Hair Care

How to choose Shampoos the correct way?

The main objective of a shampoo is to clean the scalp and the hair near the scalp. Now shampoos can distinguish themselves by different surfactant systems, conditioning agents (for example silicones) and also other functional ingredients (for example anti-dandruff). The ingredient that takes care of the cleaning is surfactants.

A surfactant is a molecule that binds to the water and oil and removes the dirt from your hair when it’s washed out. Sometimes a combination of surfactants are used for a better result.

We are going to be talking about the surfactants depending on their harshness/mildness and the amount of skin irritation and dryness they bring to the hair.

There are some surfactants that are more harsh than others, but that doesn’t mean they are not not safe to use.

Anionic surfactants provide deep cleansing and are also very harsh to the hair, but there are differences in harshness between the different anionic surfactants.

Harsh Anionic surfactants:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (this is harsher compared to the other 4 surfactants)
  2. Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  3. Sodium c14-16 Olefin sulfonate
  4. Sodium methyl 2-sulfolaurate
  5. Disodium 2-sulfolaurate

Mild Anionic surfactants (not harsh on the hair):

  1. Laureth-5 carboxylic acid
  2. Taurates: sodium methyl cocoyl taurate
  3. Glucose carboxylates: sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate
  4. Acyl glutamates: sodium lauroyl glutamate
  5. Acyl sarcosinates: sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
  6. Sulphoacetates: disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate
  7. Isethionates: sodium lauryl isethionate, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, sodium cocoyl isethionate.

Mildness boosters (not anionic surfactants):

  1. Cocamidopropyl betamine
  2. Coco-betamine
  3. Cocamide monoethanolamide
  4. Cocamide monoisopropanolamide (cocamide MIPA)
  5. Cocoglucoside
  6. Lauryl glucoside
  7. Cocoyl methyl glucamide

There are two types of shampoos you can choose from:

  1. One that contains harsh surfactants along with one or more mildness boosters.
  2. The second type of shampoo is the one that has more mild surfactants often together with extra mildness boosters. These shampoos can be expensive. These shampoos are best for curly hair.

Shampoos without Anionic Surfactants:

Shampoos that do not contain anionic surfactants are very mild and less drying to the hair. Shampoos like these can be used for daily washes, but a deep cleansing shampoo should still be used 1-2 times in 2 weeks. These shampoos are perfect for curly hair.

Tips on how to look for the best shampoo product:

  • The not anionic surfactants (mildness boosters) can also be added to the anionic surfactants to boost the mildness. So look for these ingredients after the anionic surfactants.
  • Look for sulfate and sulfonate-free shampoos. Many shampoos which are sulfate-free use sulfonates, which are harsher than sulfate.
  • Look for shampoos that contain milder anionic surfactants (for example, isethionates) and mildness boosters.