Sunday, February 27, 2011

An aside: Oily roots, dry ends

Take a look at your local drug store's shampoo aisle and try to find something just for oily hair. You can't. It's all for oily roots, dry ends. And this actually makes some kind of sense. If you have longish hair, your ends will be less healthy than the roots because they have been subjected to the outside world for longer, and have experienced the fun and excitement of increased friction. No matter how well you care for your longer hair, the acts of washing, drying, brushing, straightening, curling, dying, and other things will damage it, let alone things like getting longer hair caught in doors, laptops, and Dremels! (Having said this, I've always found the greasy roots, dry ends products never seem to do a good job of either!)

Don't try to solve this problem with your shampoo: This is a job for your conditioner. For your shampoo, concentrate on those things that will clean your hair and remove the sebum. Choose surfactants that will remove grease, like C14-16 olefin sulfonate, DLS mild, and so on. You don't really need to do much washing of anything below your shoulders because the goal is to remove the grease. If you're rinsing and repeating, wash the length of your hair to get rid of any environmental pollution and styling products, but only do it the once and very lightly.

Choose a good conditioner (click here and scroll down for recipes). You can go with something more oily for the ends, but keep it away from your scalp, because what's the point of getting all the oil out only to put it back? (During the colder times of the year, my husband and I often use my conditioner bar for the above shoulder hair and a more intense conditioner for the below shoulder hair as we don't want the oils we put in our liquid conditioner on our scalps.) And load your conditioner and leave in products with things that will reduce friction - silicones, silicone substitutes, oils, and so on - don't brush it so much, and definitely don't do the towel drying violently!


Heidi said...

I have a question about SLSa in the shampoo bar.

Why does it make some hair crunchy? It does it to mine. Is it because it's color treated? And does this crunchyness do any damage? I have to wash my hair daily and was just wondering about this crunchy feeling. ( I couldn't find any info on the web about this)

I am an oily scalp dry ends girl too and this is what I have been doing too. Using the conditioner bar with just a few swipes on top and more intense on the ends.

Oh, I do have another question. My dry ends tend to be poofy...not really frizzy. What conditioner ingredient would give it a more silky smooth, non poofy look?

If I add oil, it's just greasy. And I don't think panthenol would work because that thickens hair.

What would you suggest I experiment with. I have long hair, oily scalp dry ends, color treated because it's starting to turn gray...UGH! I'm wondering if the poofyness is due to the more wiry texture of gray or color treated hair.

Thank you for any suggestions you can make.

Oh no, I have a third question. Have you ever worked with keratin in your products. I find it is an ingredient in a lot of shampoos. Do you think it helps? Or does it just have label appeal?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Heidi. I don't know what makes hair feel crunchy after using SLSa. Everyone I know loves the bars I make, but my best friend's husband finds it makes his hair feel crunchy and I have no idea why his experiences are different than ours!

For dry ends, I'd use one of two things - a cationic polymer like polyquat 7, polyquat 44 (my new favourite), or honeyquat - and dimethicone. The silicones work wonders on smoothing out hair! And panthenol is a good choice. It might be a humectant, but it doesn't seem to frizz out hair the way the other ones do!

I haven't worked with keratin as I've never found it at any of my suppliers' shops. I have used Phytokeratin, but I don't think it compares.