The lat­est hair washes prom­ise to pretty much do ev­ery­thing you could ever want, but can a sham­poo re­ally do any­thing other than get your hair clean?

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Is your hair wash an eye­wash? Here’s what makes a sham­poo worth your money.

Re­gard­less of its colour, length or tex­ture, our hair is our crowning glory. So much so that a sur­vey by global beauty brand Avon re­vealed that 67 per cent of women feel their most con­fi­dent when they’re hav­ing a good hair day. Which ex­plains why we spend so much time mak­ing sure it looks good – ap­par­ently us ladies are whiling away the equiv­a­lent of ten days a year preen­ing and per­fect­ing it. And it’s not just our time we’re will­ing to in­vest into our locks. Our wal­lets are tak­ing a hit too. It’s es­ti­mated that the av­er­age women spends Dh4,000 a year on hair prod­ucts. The global value of hair­care cur­rently stands at over $80 bil­lion, and ex­perts are pre­dict­ing that num­ber is only set to rise.

So how much should we be spend­ing? And more specif­i­cally, how much of that should go on sham­poo, a prod­uct that is, quite lit­er­ally, washed down our bath­room plugs. Should we be lured into think­ing that more ex­pen­sive is bet­ter, or would a drug­store prod­uct get our locks just as clean for a frac­tion of the price? A re­cent BBC doc­u­men­tary ex­plored this very fact and with in­ter­est­ing re­sults. An ex­per­i­ment was un­der­taken at Hud­der­s­field Univer­sity, in the UK, where three sham­poos were put to the test. They var­ied in price from Dh4, Dh30 and Dh200 and each were put un­der rig­or­ous lab tests to see which could clean hair the most ef­fi­ciently. Dr Laura Wa­ters, one of the chemists lead­ing the ex­per­i­ment, ex­plains. ‘Hair pro­duces a nat­u­ral oil called se­bum, and the job of any sham­poo is to get rid of the dirt and de­bris, such as dead skin.’ In her find­ings, all three sham­poos con­tained a sim­i­lar clean­ing in­gre­di­ent, known as a sur­fac­tant. Sur­fac­tants as well as be­ing in sham­poos, are also found in de­ter­gents, and their main pur­pose is to loosen dirt from what­ever it’s cling­ing onto, in this case your hair and scalp, by re­duc­ing its sur­face ten­sion and then al­low wa­ter to ei­ther wash it away or make it dis­solve. How­ever, where the three sham­poos dif­fered is the added ex­tras they of­fered, or in some cases, didn’t of­fer. The cheap­est sham­poo was found to con­tain no con­di­tion­ing agent, which the sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered makes hair be­come more static and more likely to at­tract more dirt. Mean­ing the more fre­quently you use it, the dirt­ier your hair be­comes. How­ever the more pricey of­fer­ings did con­tain con­di­tion­ing agents, leav­ing the hair in bet­ter con­di­tion and clean­ing it the most pro­fi­ciently. Of course, adding con­di­tion­ing agents – which are of­ten ex­pen­sively sourced oils or hy­drat­ing but­ters – makes a for­mula more ex­pen­sive. And it’s these ex­tra in­gre­di­ents that can set one sham­poo apart from an­other and are, ul­ti­mately, worth your money.

Brands are now go­ing above and be­yond to of­fer sham­poos with ben­e­fits to try and give you your best hair day yet – from hair washes that will lock colour mol­e­cules into the hair shaft rather than let­ting them es­cape, to clever poly­mers that wrap around hair strands pre­vent­ing mois­ture and hu­mid­ity get­ting in and keep­ing the dreaded frizz at bay. Read on to dis­cover the lat­est sham­poos that do so much more than just clean your hair, al­though they do that darn well, too.

How much should we spend on a sham­poo? Should we be lured into think­ing that more ex­pen­sive is bet­ter, or would a drug­store prod­uct get our locks just as clean for a frac­tion of the price?

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