Shampoo is supposed to be bad for the hair? Many people rather think: Shampoo is shampoo and cleans the hair. What is supposed to happen big? Well, quite a bit. If you use the wrong product, a lot can actually go wrong in the long run: Your hair will be greasy again a few hours after washing? It’s possible that it’s the silicone in the shampoo. The tips are getting drier and drier and more fragile or the scalp suddenly itches? This could be due to aggressive sulphates.
We have summarised for you here what you need to pay attention to when buying shampoo so that Bad Hair Days are history in the future.
Are silicones really as bad as their reputation?
Yes and no. “It’s not quite fair to demonise silicones in general, especially when it comes to heavily stressed hair, they can work wonders,” says Julia Lückemann, master hairdresser and co-owner of the trendy Nova Hair Studio in Hamburg. The basic rule is: silicones seal the hair surface. The hair feels soft, shinier and easier to comb, which reduces hair breakage. “However, there are big differences in quality. Good silicones can be removed by shampooing, bad ones cannot,” says the expert.
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Why are non water-soluble silicones so bad for hair?
“Non-water-soluble silicones are cheap to produce, which is why they are usually found in cheap drugstore products,” Julia Lückemann knows. In the beginning they give you a great hair feel. The strands become very soft and shiny. “But because more and more silicones accumulate on the hair over time – because they don’t wash out after all – at some point the hair becomes really sticky,” says the expert.
Really effective care substances can then no longer penetrate and the hair dries out under the “plastic film”.
And that’s not all: the silicone film not only sticks to the hair, but also to the scalp. The result: it can no longer “breathe” and the hair becomes greasy more quickly. It can also become a problem when dyeing your hair if you use care products with non-washable silicones. “The colours react to the silicone and can appear worse”, says Lückemann.
When are silicones good for hair?
“High quality water soluble silicones go there, do not stick to the hair. They are removed and renewed with every wash. They make colors last longer and give shine and suppleness”, says master hairdresser Julia Lückemann. However, these good silicones are more expensive to produce and therefore usually only contained in expensive hair shampoos. So quality has its price in this case.
But if you have very damaged hair, you should definitely invest if you don’t want your hair to fall victim to scissors. Anyone with normal, healthy hair who doesn’t want to dig so deep into their pockets simply use a silicone-free shampoo from the drugstore. This then also fulfils its purpose: to clean the hair, not to make it sticky.
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How do I recognize bad silicones?
As a rule, leave the bottle standing if the following non-water-soluble silicones are listed on the back:
- Cetearyl Methicone
- cetyl dimethicone
- stearyl dimethicone
- Phenyl Trimethicone
- Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylilanol
- Ascoryl Methylsilanol Pectinates
Do sulphates dry out the hair?
Another group of ingredients that many women blacklist is sulphates. These substances make shampoo foam and dissolve fats and impurities from the hair.
“The best known foaming agent is sodium laureth sulfate. After all, it is the most cost-effective to produce and is therefore found in countless products,” says Lückemann. “Unfortunately, Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a very aggressive surfactant – it produces extremely high foam. In our minds it is a sign that something cleans well when it foams a lot. But this is not necessarily true. Agents that do not foam as much clean just as well.
They also dry out less and are gentler on the scalp and hair.”
Who should definitely do without sulphates?
Especially if you have very dry hair or a sensitive scalp, you should avoid Sodium Laureth Sulfate. But also if your hair is dyed or treated with keratin. Because then the aggressive cleaners can cause the colour to fade prematurely and the keratin treatment to wash out early.
A great alternative are so-called wash conditioners, which are completely free of sulphates, i.e. they do not foam at all, but rather work like a cleansing milk for the face. “Once you get used to it, it can greatly improve hair and scalp. Because whoever does less damage to the skin’s natural acid mantle can regulate their scalp better on their own”.
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Why are parabens so bad?
One thing first: It has no influence on your hair whether parabens are in the shampoo or not. Nevertheless, many people are afraid of them. So why are they? Parabens are preservatives that protect shampoos and other cosmetics from spoiling – and have been for more than 80 years. They are the most scientifically researched preservatives, are considered to be particularly well tolerated and rarely cause allergies. Nevertheless they have a bad reputation.
It is said that they have a hormone-like effect and may therefore possibly cause cancer. This has not yet been scientifically proven. But neither has it been proven that it is definitely not.
Who should do without parabens?
All those who as a precaution would rather do without! Because you can now also find numerous shampoos and conditioners without parabens on the hair care shelf. Instead, essential oils and alcohol are usually used as preservatives, which can irritate sensitive skin. So you realize that even if’s is only about shampoo, it is not that easy.
How often should I even wash my hair?
No matter how mild your shampoo is. If you use it too often, your hair will dry out. “The more you wash, the more your scalp and hair dry out. 2 to 3 times a week should definitely be enough”, recommends hairdresser Julia Lückemann. Her tip: dry shampoo can help to bridge the days. And it doesn’t dry out as much as shampooing the hair.
Dry shampoos in comparison
For sportswomen who would like to take a shower after their daily workout, the expert recommends rinsing the hair every 2nd time with water only. Fresh sweat does not smell and can be easily removed from the scalp and hair with water. Shampoo is then superfluous.
Why is it that the scalp is always greasy?
Crazy enough, it’s not just a personal predisposition, it’s the hair washing. “Frequent washing is a vicious cycle. The scalp is dried out and produces more sebum to compensate. So the hair gets greasy faster. The less often you wash it, the less greasy it becomes,” Lückemann knows. Also less foaming shampoos without said sodium laureth sulfate can help.
“Even if it is difficult at the beginning: Don’t give up so quickly, the scalp needs a few weeks to get used to it.” Whoever keeps this up will be rewarded with fluffy-light hair!
Conclusion: Renunciation is often good, but not always the best solution. Not all substances in shampoo are as bad as their reputation. Silicones, for example, cannot be lumped together, whereas you should avoid the cheap sodium laureth sulfate. For parabens this is not so easy to generalize. In this case, you should weigh up for yourself whether the “free of” variant is the right choice for you.