hair care products, so I thought we should spend a few days looking at shampoos, conditioners, and leave in conditioners. Let's take a look at shampoo first...
What is a shampoo? A shampoo is a foamy product intended to cleanse your hair, remove dirt and oil, and remove styling products while leaving hair in good condition. It has an acidic pH - meaning a pH of 6 or lower - and it contains surfactants, water, and preservatives. You can find a number of types of shampoo - conditioning, clarifying, moisturizing, to name a few - but they all contain those three ingredients at minimum. It's the extra things you add to a shampoo that makes it conditioning or clarifying or moisturizing.
A daily use shampoo is one that has lower levels of surfactants that make it suitable for use every day.
A clarifying shampoo is a shampoo that doesn't containing conditioning agents like cationic polymers - for instance, polyquat 10 or polyquat 7 or polyquat 44 - or dimethicone. The goal is to remove all the styling products or oil from your hair.
Related post: What makes a clarifying shampoo clarifying?
Related recipe: Shampoo: Clarifying shampoo for all hair types
A conditioning shampoo is one that contains cationic polymers and/or dimethicone. It washes your hair and leaves behind a conditioned feeling. It may or may not contain emollients for moisturizing.
Related post: Modifying the basic shampoo recipe to be more conditioning.
glyceryl distearate or oils or butters or esters. It may or may not be a conditioning shampoo. It is unlikely to be a clarifying shampoo. It normally has a creamy looking appearance because that gives us the impression that it is moisturizing. It doesn't have to look like this...
Related recipe: Shampoo: A conditioning shampo for dry hair with SCI and glycol distearate
A dandruff shampoo is one that contains evidence based ingredients for fighting dandruff. They must be tested to prove they really do help dandruff, so you can't make something at home and make that claim. They might be conditioning or clarifying or moisturizing or daily use or 2-in-1.
A 2-in-1 shampoo is one that contains conditioning agents so you don't have to follow up with a conditioner afterwards. They may or may not contain more conditioning than a conditioning shampoo.
hydrolyzed proteins that coat the hair shaft and moisturize from the outside or inside - or humectants, like glycerin or propylene glycol - which will draw water from the atmosphere to your hair to moisturize it - mildness enhancers, extracts and other botanical ingredients, fragrances, and so on. The thing to notice is that the main ingredients remain the same - surfactants, water, and preservative - while the additives change!
As an aside, any of these products can contain any surfactants, including SLS. I know some people are avoiding SLS, but SLeS, SLSa, and the sulfosuccinates are NOT sulfates the way you think about sulfates. The reason people don't like SLS is because it's considered a non-mild or "harsh" detergent. The rest are considered mild to gentle surfactants. I recommend you check out the surfactants section of the blog to learn more about these great ingredients!
click here. (The only reason to include the alcohol is to make it sprayable. I don't suggest it, but some people like it.)
In general, you'd use a ratio of about 7:3 baking soda to starch. I like 72% baking soda, 25% arrowroot powder, and 3% nice smelling dried flowers or 1% fragrance oil mixed with 3% Natrasorb bath. You can use corn starch or tapioca starch or other starches, but they feel squeaky on my hands!
Some people use baking soda as a shampoo by adding water. This isn't considered a shampoo as the product doesn't clean our hair the way shampoo does and the pH is alkaline. Please don't use my dry shampoo recipe to wash your hair. Use it in between cleanings to absorb oil.
A cold process soap bar isn't a shampoo either. It might clean our hair, but it has a pH above 8, which is alkaline. By definition, a shampoo is acidic, below pH 6. (Check out this post on why CP soap isn't great for our hair.) You can make shampoo bars, but they are what are called "syndet bars" (syndet meaning synthetic detergent), and they have a pH 6.5 or under. (They don't contain water.)
This means that any recipe you encounter that suggests watering down a liquid soap - I generally see castille soap suggested - is NOT a shampoo recipe as the resulting product is either neutral or alkaline. If you wish to make a product like this, you need to add a preservative as you are adding water! (Any time we add water to something, we need to include a preservative. No exceptions!) And you need to use distilled water!
Want to know more about pH? Check out this post on the topic!
Questions about shampoo that weren't addressed here? Check out the hair care section or surfactants section of the blog and see if I answer it there! Or comment below!
Join me Thursday when we take a look at conditioners!