Finding a Good Shampoo
While it’s impossible to know the proportion of the ingredients listed in a label, a good rule of
thumb is the more ingredients listed, the better the shampoo. That’s because there’s only 3
categories of ingredients in a shampoo: cleansers, stabilizers, and conditioners. If there’s
25 ingredients listed, chances are the product has a sophisticated mixture of more than one
of each agent, which increases the odds that the product will leave your hair soft and
manageable. And you’ll know after the first use whether the product suits your hair.

To help you decide which combo of ingredients you want in a conditioning shampoo, here’s
a list:

1. Proteins – amino acids, hydrolyzed proteins, keratin. (Eggs contain a protein that hair  
CANNOT absorb and adds no value to a product other than as a marketing tool.) This is
good for the hair shaft. Nexxus Therappe, Revlon’s Flex Body Building Protein Shampoo,
Revlon’s Milk Plus 6, Redmond’s Asuuie Mega Shampoo, Jhirmack’s Lite Frequent Use

2. Milk – for its protein, not for its fat. Good for split ends or damaged hair. Revlon’s Milk Plus

3. Balsam – excellent when combined with proteins. Adds volume by coating the shaft.
Revlon’s Flex Body Building Protein Shampoo.

4. Vitamins – Panthenol found in B5 is absorbed into the shaft and helps strengthen it.

5. Moisturizers – lactic acid, lecithin, urea. Especially helpful for dry or over-colored hair.
Revlon’s Milk Plus 6, Jhirmack’s Gelave.

6. Oils and waxes – avocado oil, coconut oil, wheat-germ oil. Provide a coating to retard
water evaporation and the coat makes the hair look shiny and smooth. Beeswax and
spermaceti also protect against water evaporation but aren’t as oily as the other oils.

7. Lemon – citric juice. Good way to strip accumulated oils and dirt for oily hair. Neitrogena
Shampoo, Redmond’s Australian Hair Citrifier. You can also use a real lemon.

8. Allantoin – from the comfrey root. Good conditioner, increases the shaft’s water retention,
is antidandruff, dissolves excess kerotin on the scalp or shaft. Nexxus’s Therappe.

9. Silk – coats the shaft and make it more reflective, and thus look shinier. Jhirmak’s Gelave,
Alberto Natural Silk, Reinforcer’s Aqua Silk Shampoo.

10. Sunscreens – will add minor protection from the sun, but don’t assume it does for your
hair what it does for your skin.

11. Polymers – almost all shampoos and conditioners have this and it’s a nice coating that
adds volume, strength to hair. But it attracts moisture in the air and makes hair feel kind of
sticky. It shouldn’t be a large component of the ingredients in the shampoo.

Things that do not help in a conditioning shampoo:
1. Eggs contain a protein that hair CANNOT absorb and adds no value to a product other
than as a marketing tool
2. Carrot oil – used for aroma and color, not for hair health.
3. Aloe – aids healing in burns but is only effective in living skin, not hair.
4. Vitamin E – this is a nutrient. Your hair doesn’t eat.
5. Malt – appears mostly in men’s shampoos but isn’t the most effective protein option.
6. Vitamin – only B5 helps because it contains panthenol.
7. Birch and all other herbs – birch is good when dabbed directly on an oily scalp for its
astringent properties. All herbs effectiveness are totally lost when mixed in a shampoo.
8. Honey – does nothing to hair and is totally water soluble, so it gets rinsed out.
9. Jojoba – yes, it’s good while it’s on your hair, but it’s also water soluble, so it gets rinsed
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Finding a Good Shampoo

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Why You Lose Hair
Making Your Hair Look Fuller
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