How Does Shampoo Clean Your Hair?
Though you have probably used shampoo to keep your hair clean for as long as you can remember, there's a good chance you've never really considered how it works. Rather than getting truly "dirty," your hair is much more likely to get dull, greasy, and limp the longer you go without washing it. Your scalp naturally produces a substance called sebum, which coats the outer layer of each strand of hair to promote shine and keep hair healthy. Unfortunately, your scalp continues to produce more sebum each day, and if you go too long without washing it, too much of this greasy substance builds up and gives your hair a signature dirty look.
Shampoo is designed to target sebum specifically by allowing water to wash it away. The main ingredients in shampoo are known as surfactants. They are similar to the sorts of chemicals you might find in laundry or dishwashing detergent, and their job is to help lower the surface tension of water molecules. Once impacted by these detergents, water is able to bond with sebum (as well as any other dirt, oils, or chemicals in your hair) and wash it away.
Considerations for Normal Hair
Shampoos also contain ingredients designed to restore moisture to hair and protect it from the damaging effects of heat and chemicals that you may come into contact with throughout the day. Normal hair tends to have a natural balance, not experiencing oiliness or dryness. Still, you’ll want to purify your locks while minimizing the risk of damage. Often, the beneficial effects of shampoo aren't enough to restore hair to its optimal health, however, which is why you should use conditioners to nurture and smooth your locks immediately after shampooing.
A Guide to Shampooing Properly
While using shampoo may seem like a pretty simple process, there are actually some specific steps you should take in order to increase its effectiveness. First, it's a good idea to brush hair right before you take a shower in order to reduce the chance of breakage. Once in the shower, rinse with warm water to open up your hair's cuticles and loosen any oils. Squeeze a drop of shampoo that's about the size of a quarter into your hands and then work it into a lather.
When you apply shampoo to your hair, target the areas closest to the roots most thoroughly and massage the shampoo into your scalp. If you have long hair, you barely need to use shampoo on the ends at all because they are very unlikely to have accumulated much dirt or oil. Rinse shampoo out of your hair and then move on to conditioner. Unless you have used heavy amounts of styling products, there is usually no need to repeat the shampooing process.
Maintaining normal hair is easy as long as you use the right products. Check out the selection of shampoos on drugstore.com to find the one that suits you best.
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