Because we use them so much, hair shampoo and conditioner sometimes just feel like any other daily essential we need to buy. When really, they are quite important and can have a real effect on our hair – whether that is positive or negative.
There’s no question about it, choosing the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type can make you look and feel great. Whether you’re in a constant battle with brittle hair, are suffering from a dry and itchy scalp or are struggling to grow your hair, there’s a hair product out there ready to help.
Ever feel overwhelmed looking at the sheer magnitude of different shampoos and conditioners on offer? It can sometimes feel like a real challenge to find the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and lifestyle.
We all know that shampoo ‘cleans’ our hair and conditioner, well, keeps it in good condition. But not many of us know exactly what it does.
Shampoo’s main jobs are to remove any surface debris from the hair and scalp, and to remove the natural oil produced by our scalp – the one that gives us that ‘greasy’ look if we leave it too long between washing.
How does shampoo work?
When we get into the shower or the bath, warm water opens our hair cuticles. Shampoos contain surfactants to help cleanse the hair of accumulated sebum and dirt. As sebum and other dirt particles are oil based, rinsing your hair with water is not enough to remove them, as they will not attach themselves to the water molecules.
Surfactants lower the surface tension between water and oil molecules as they are made up of two parts. One end of the surfactant is lipophilic (meaning that it likes oil) and the other is hydrophilic (water-loving).
The hydrophobic end wraps itself around the sebum/dirt and when you rinse your hair, the hydrophilic part attaches itself to the water, helping to lift the soil particle away and disperse in it in the water. Thus, cleaning your hair!
How does conditioner work?
Conditioner is used after shampoo to help close the cuticles. It does this by smoothing the cuticles down by the natural shape of the shaft. Hair conditioners are often enriched with different ingredients and oils to improve the appearance and manageability of hair – for that shiny, healthy look. Another tip: finish off by rinsing your hair with cold water to help smooth down the cuticles of the hair, giving it a shiny and healthy appearance.
What are the best shampoo and conditioner products for me?
Your hair is important, so you should treat it with the unique love and care it needs and deserves.
Whether you have oily hair, dry hair, coloured hair, curly hair, flat hair, or sensitive hair, there’s a shampoo and conditioner out there for all of us!
Here at Holland & Barrett, we sell a huge range of different shampoos and conditioners, including:
What is the best shampoo for dry hair?
A lot of people suffer from dry hair. Sometimes it’s down to our genes and other times it’s due to lifestyle factors, like if you spend a lot of time in the sun, swim in chlorinated water, or use a lot of styling products and tools.
Hair products enriched with moisturising ingredients, like shampoo with Argan oil, Manuka honey, tea tree, hemp oil and cocoa butter can all help to make hair feel more nourished and less brittle.
Using SLS free shampoo - aka sulfate free shampoo - could help, as SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), or any surfactant that makes products foam up, and can dry the hair out by stripping away natural hair oils. But which shampoos are sulphate free? Look for organic shampoo and natural shampoo, as they are more likely to exclude chemicals like SLS.
What is the best shampoo for a dry and itchy scalp?
Dry scalps are no fun for anyone. What can start as mild irritation can turn into itchiness and embarrassing dandruff. However, solutions for dry scalps are out there! Try shampoo for dry scalps enriched with cleansing and soothing ingredients like coconut oil, tea tree and coffee bean extract and see how they can help you.