It’s easy to assume all shampoos are the same. But if you genuinely care about your hair and its health – and how good it looks – then don’t just grab a bottle of shampoo off the supermarket shelf.
The fact is, professional shampoos are more expensive for a reason and, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. You may think you’ve got yourself a bargain with that £2.99 bottle of shampoo you pick up with the weekly shop, but is it really delivering? Is it meeting the very specific needs of your hair and scalp? Many cheaper brands simply coat your hair in chemicals to give it a healthy-looking shine, but it’s, literally, all on the surface.
A professional shampoo will contain active ingredients that will nourish, hydrate and give hair a genuinely healthy lustre. And if you buy from a salon, your stylists will be able to advise you on the right shampoo for you – think of it like a prescription for your hair. You want a shampoo that will address your hair needs, whether that’s frizz, dryness or excess oils.
Dispelling the myths
Frequent shampooing will rid your hair of its natural oils. This is not true. On the contrary, washing hair with the right shampoo helps distribute natural oils throughout the hair and helps them penetrate the hair shaft for genuine hydration.
Your hair will clean itself. This is a common misconception, but the truth is, if you don’t wash your hair regularly with the right shampoo it will get dirty – and probably won’t smell great either! Think of all the aggressors your hair is exposed to every day, exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, and general grime. All these unpleasant chemicals and odours will build up in your hair and on your scalp. You’ll also get a build-up of dead skin cells which can lead to conditions such as dandruff.
You shed more hair if you wash it frequently. Again, not the case. Everyone can lose a little hair when they wash it, but you won’t lose any more hair through frequent washing – you’ll only lose what you need to lose. It's natural. If you feel you are losing an excessive amount of hair, that’s the time to consult a specialist, but shampooing is definitely not the enemy here.
Bella Chouhan, a stylist at leading salon group, Trevor Sorbie Salons, believes many of us have become so used to the way a cheap shampoo makes our hair feel, we think that’s how it’s meant to be. Says Bella: “This tends to be a mental or even generational thing. People are brought up with a certain idea of what clean hair should feel like from the shampooing process, so most people love it when a shampoo produces loads of lather. But lather is not always the way to go. The price of a high street shampoo will be reflected in the quality of the ingredients – often they will contain a lot more sulphates to produce more lather, but these are the exact ingredients that fade colour, strip moisture and damage ends and scalp.”
Bella’s Top Tips for Successful Shampooing
Don’t scrub your hair – the best way to give it a thorough wash is to evenly distribute the shampoo across the scalp, then scrub the scalp and as you rinse any dirt in the hair will be washed away, while keeping tangling and damaging the lengths and ends to a minimum.
When you shampoo at home, always rinse your hair first, get any excess dirt out then loosen your hair and ring out the water before you apply shampoo - that way you’ll need less shampoo
Always rinse thoroughly after you’ve shampooed to avoid a build-up of product on your hair and scalp.
Never shampoo without conditioning - it's like soaping your skin and not moisturising afterwards.
Shampoos and Conditioners You Could Try
Ask your stylist which of these professional shampoos and conditioners would best meet your hair needs.