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Shampoo 101

Young woman washing hair. rear view

There are so many shampoos out there that choosing the right one for your hair can be confusing. Do you need the expensive one from the salon or is one from the drugstore okay? Here’s everything you need to know to make a decision.


Silicones, sulfates and parabens

Silicone-, sulfate- and paraben-free have become buzzwords in the beauty industry lately, but it’s not clear to everyone what these ingredients are and why they should be avoided.


  • Silicone is added to shampoo to make the hair shiny and smooth, essentially coating it in a waterproof layer that stops moisture from getting in or out. While this isn’t bad in itself, many silicone products will create a buildup over time. This can make your hair look flat, lifeless and dirty, encouraging you to wash and style it more often, which can lead to damage.


Look at the ingredient list on your shampoo bottle. If there are ingredients ending with “cone,” there are silicones in the product. However, water soluble silicones like cyclomethicone offer the benefits of silicone without creating buildup.


  • Sulfates are cleansing agents that are found in household cleaners, detergents of all kinds and shampoo. They can strip oil from the hair, making it dry and brittle over time. Furthermore, if you colour your hair, sulfates can remove pigments from your locks, making your colour fade quickly.


  • Parabens are preservatives that are used in many different products. While claims that parabens cause cancer haven’t been proven, parabens can get into your bloodstream, where it’s thought they can disrupt your hormones. Parabens are clearly listed in ingredient lists, making them easy to spot.


Professional vs. drug store brands

While it’s true that most professional-grade brands contain ingredients that are better for your hair, many still contain the stuff you may want to avoid. Similarly, there are some pharmacy products that are great for your hair. Your best bet is to look at the ingredient list and choose one that doesn’t contain the ingredients you want to avoid.


Keep in mind that, in general, salon products contain fewer fillers and less water than drugstore brands, making them much more concentrated. This means that you need significantly less shampoo to wash your hair, making the bottle last a lot longer than you’d expect.


Become a hairstylist

If you love to learn about hair and beauty, why not turn your passion into a career as a hair stylist or makeup artist? Canadian Beauty College offers programs in cosmetology, medical aesthetics and health sciences. Contact us today to get your education started.

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