How do you know which shampoo to use?
Your choice in shampoo matters because it’s part of your larger hair-care practice. A shampoo that doesn’t weigh down your fine, thin hair may extend the time between washings. Medicated shampoos may require a certain number of uses per week.
You’re probably wondering, “How do I know which shampoo to use?” Here’s a hair stylist tip: use a shampoo that has high-quality surfactants. This will make a big difference in the look and feel of your locks. “The less abrasive your surfactants are, the more moisture will stay in your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist, Michael Dueñas.
Abrasive surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate strip your hair of moisture, Dueñas explains. And that can lead to breakage, especially if you’re washing your damaged hair too often.
“Using a moisture shampoo is always a bonus,” he says. “If the surfactant is a variation of sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate or a coconut derivative, you are in good hands.” Sodium lauryl ether sulfate is gentler than sodium laureth sulfate, he says.
Another great product to consider is a deep conditioner, which can offset some of the damage and keep hair looking healthy, Dr Luke says.
To be effective, your shampoo also has to have the perfect pH level, which means it needs an acidic ingredient like sodium citrate or citric acid. A quick chemistry refresher: the pH scale ranges from zero to 14, with 7 being “neutral.” The lower numbers are more acidic, and the higher numbers are alkaline.
Why should you care about your shampoo’s pH? It can affect your hair health. If your shampoo has an alkaline pH, for instance, it can cause cuticle damage and hair breakage, according to research in a 2014 issue of the International Journal of Trichology. Pro tip: if your hair is prone to frizzing, choose a low-pH shampoo (it’ll say “pH balanced” on the label).