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Shampoo Basics & Tips

Jun 4, 2008
Due to the introductions of the latest and greatest hair care products, hair consumers have developed some misconceptions about the basics of shampoo.

Although new shampoo products may promise to achieve a wide range of benefits from fattening strands to adding color or changing texture, the key component of shampoo is quite simple.

That component is to clean the scalp and the attached tresses.

It has been the primary requirement of shampoo since shampoo was first created.

Shampoo Basic Requirements:

-The ability to cleanse hair of oils, sebum, debris and dirt -Should work equally well in all types of water from hard to soft -Should be gentle enough not to irritate eyes, skin or scalp. -The ability to leave the hair in the basic condition it was in before the shampoo was applied. In other words, not damage the hair in any way by applying shampoo.

It is important to have a basic understanding of how shampoo is created.

Shampoo Basics - Molecules No discussion of the action of shampoos and how they function to cleanse the hair and or scalp can be meaningful unless a study is made of the shampoo molecule.

Shampoo formulas are composed of a series of large, specially treated molecules. Each and every molecule consists of both a head and a tail section designed to handle specific cleansing functions.

The tails of the shampoo molecule attracts dirt, debris, grime, grease and oil but repels water. The head attracts water but repels dirt. The two work together to clean the hair.

The Basic Shampoo Cycle The shampoo cycle first starts with the hair when it becomes dirty.

The scalp naturally excretes sebum or natural oils. The oils flow from the top of the head down the length of the hair. As the hair becomes oily, those oils, which are sticky and greasy cling to the surface of the strands. These greasy strands attract dust, debris and many other types of foreign matter.

Because of the sebum and natural hair oils, plain water can not easily clean the hair because water molecules alone are unable to pull dirt away from the cuticle.

This is why shampoo contains a tail with the ability to attract dirt, grease, oil, grime and debris to it. In essence the tail molecules of the shampoo will suck up the dirt from the surface of the hair.

Importance Of Massaging Shampoo To Activate Tail Molecules To activate the tail molecules, the shampoo formula has to be massaged into the scalp and hair. This insures that the shampoo's tail molecules can be brought into direct contact with all the oily, dirty, grimy substances and vacuum them out. The action of massaging the shampoo into the hair and scalp will cause grease, oils and dirt, as they are sucked up by the tails and roll up into small blobs.

If an excess of shampoo is used, the formula will seep into what is known as imbrications that cover the strands. This can cause excessive tangling, matting, tearing and dryness. This is even more true with shampoo formulas that are alkaline.

As warm water runs over the top of the shampoo covered hair, the water literally washes away the blobs of dirt and grease that the heads of the shampoo molecules have sucked up from the surface of the strands. Foreign matter captured by the tails are removed only during the rinse stage of cleansing.

Excess Shampoo Challenges Excess shampoo molecules that haven't been utilized to remove dirt and debris are less easily removed from the hair shaft. This is why hair that is not rinsed properly will become coated with the excess shampoo, leaving your hair feeling dry, greasy,tangly etc.

Continued rinsing is essential to completely clean the hair of all leftover shampoo.

The amount of time required to rinse shampoo out from the hair is reduced when less shampoo is initially applied.

This is why my ongoing theory of "less is more" when it comes to shampoo procedures is so important. It is always better to not use enough shampoo than too much shampoo.

It is also known that swelling of the cuticles is prevented by acid, soap less shampoos.
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