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?
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?