With many people having joined the “no-poo” bandwagon because of fears overly harsh chemicals (like sulfates) drying out their hair, it’s clear that this trend isn’t fading away any time soon.
But what’s the real truth behind the ingredients in shampoo?
We asked Brandon Schwartz, director of Marketing for Unwash, a haircare brand that wants to break the lather-rinse-repeat cycle, about why we may be using this hair cleansing product wrong.
1. Our need for shampoo has been historically exaggerated.
Schwartz believes clever marketing has had more to do with demands for shampoo and squeaky clean hair. “Some decades hairstyles necessitated stronger cleansers to remove heavy styling aids. Nowadays, though, woman are migrating to accentuating their natural hair style.” Since we may be using less product, many hair types don’t need strong cleansers anymore. “Shampoo, and the ‘anionic surfactants’ shampoo uses to cleanse hair, end up stripping away parts of the hair shaft along with precious oils, moisture, and hair colour. It’s time to take a second look at that process and move to something beyond just ‘sulfate free’. It’s better to just eliminate those soaps altogether.”
2. More lather doesn’t mean cleaner hair.
“Bubbles (and lather) are produced from soaps in shampoo, and overtime people naturally connected the bubbles (or lather) to the feeling of clean,” explains Schwartz. So, many companies started adding ingredients that would create more lather and a richer, creamier feel, even though they didn’t actually add any real cleansing ability. “Lather is an indicator of soap, and soap has a stripping affect that isn’t always needed.” If your clients aren’t using a ton of styling aids and want to wear their hair naturally—, then a cleansing conditioner is the best way to hold onto oils, moisture, hair colour, and hair integrity.”
Unwash’s Bio-Cleansing Conditioner is meant to replace traditional shampoo, and gently cleanses while retaining the hair’s natural oils and moisture levels, and protecting colour. “People don’t like the way their hair looks after it’s been shampooed,” says Schwartz. After using Bio-Cleansing Conditioner hair is smoother, shinier, softer and more manageable. “This is because the hair isn’t constantly being stripped bone-dry.”
3. Sulfate-free doesn’t mean damage-free.
You’ve likely heard that sulfates in shampoos are bad for hair, but Schwartz says it’s important to get properly informed. Both the detergents (soaps) and sulfates in shampoo penetrate the hair shaft, which hurts the integrity of the hair and strips it of all oils, moisture and hair colour. This means even sulfate-free shampoo isn’t necessarily better for the hair. Schwartz says this is due to anionic surfactants. “Surfactant is a word that stands for ‘surface-active-agent’. When it comes to hair, surfactants generally are ingredients that have a cleansing effect on the hair.”
This is why Unwash’s Bio-Cleansing Conditioner uses naturally-derived, rinse-off emulsifiers, to gently cleanse hair without opening up the cuticle or stripping the natural oils from hair, making it safe for all hair types.
4. Occasionally using cleanser is a good thing.
Schwartz recommends focusing more on the client’s hair type when recommending cleansing products. What is good for some hair types isn’t so great for others. “When it comes to shampoo, it should be used when the hair has a lot of heavy buildup—but not on natural hair.”
For some hair types, using a stronger cleanser once-in-a-while is OK if it’s needed. This is why Unwash’s line includes an Anti-Residue Rinse, which is a pH-balanced, mild, paraben- and sulfate-free, bio-based cleanser that gently lifts away dirt without stripping the hair’s natural oils.
“For some, the root of all their hair problems stem from shampoo. In turn, they have to buy lots of different products to compensate for the stripping nature of shampoo,” says Schwartz. For those needing an extra boost of moisture, Unwash’s Hydrating Masque–which contains argan oil, coconut oil and seabuckthorn—can be used one to two times a week on mid-length hair and ends to help hydrate stressed tresses.
This post was sponsored by Unwash. To learn more about the co-washing movement, visit www.unwash.com.
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