Tips // How Shampoo & Conditioner Works
Published 3/1/19, 3:45 PM by Fleur Scalp Care
Sweat, oil and dirt builds up over time on our scalp and hair. We shampoo when we want to clean our hair and some of us then use a conditioner to moisturize it. Some of us do it daily while others less frequently. But do you know what goes on and how shampoo and conditioner actually works?
Sebum is a moisturizer produced naturally from sebaceous glands found on our skin, mainly on the scalp and face. Sebum is an oily waxy substance that is produced to coat, lubricate and protect the hair and scalp from drying out and getting damaged.
It is hydrophobic and waterproofs your hair and skin. In other words, you can wash away the dirt and flakes but not the oil and sebum if you just use water.
Due to its greasy nature, excess sebum is also more likely to attract dirt easily and cause flakes and hair to clump together.
Hair shaft or our visible hair is made of three layers. The outermost layer, cuticles, protects our hair from external damages and helps retain moisture within. Cuticles work like a window blinds that can be lifted in warm settings or alkaline conditions.
How Shampoo Works
Shampoos are designed to clean and condition our hair. It contains a variety of chemicals that work together to cleanse our hair, washing out the dirt and oil. In addition, any hair styling products we used on our hair will also need to be removed.
The main active ingredients of shampoos are a blend of surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulphate.
Surfactants improves the lather and rinsing properties of the shampoo. It also easily binds itself to the hydrophobic oils and dirt. The shampoo can then be washed away with water, carrying the binded oil and dirt elements. This is how shampoo cleanse our hair and scalp. In essence, shampoo strips the sweat, oil and dirt from our scalp and hair.
Soaking your hair along with using shampoos also generally lift up the cuticles in order to reach and cleanse deeper.
How Conditioner Works
After the shampoo removes the dirt and oil along with the protective sebum and moisture, the hair cuticles are left opened and exposes the hair shaft.
Conditioner works by first closing the cuticles, locking in the nutrients and keeping pollutants out. It also moisturizes the hair making it smoother and stronger, less prone to breakages and easier to style.
Shampoos have negatively charged surfactants that raises the cuticles. Conditioners, on the other hand, has positively charged surfactants to counter that effect.
Not Too Oily, Not Too Dry
A balanced approach is vital for achieving healthy hair. It can’t be too dry or too oily.
Dry scalps lacks moisture and can cause tightness and irritation. This could then lead to itchiness and dandruff.
When sebum is removed and the hair becomes too dry, our sebaceous glands may start producing more sebum to compensate and prevent the scalp and hair from drying out, resulting in excessive sebum and greasy hair.
While there is no standardized one-size-fit-all routine for everyone, it’s good to identify your hair type and experiment it yourself. Some people might be shampooing daily, others maybe every other day. Some people might condition immediately after shampoo and others might use conditioner on its own.
The type of routine depends on individual lifestyle and hair type. If you have very fine hair that is greasy by midday, you can try to condition lesser. If your hair is thicker and dry most of the time, conditioner can be used more regularly.
Have you tried our Scalp Spa Therapy? It is designed to detox and purify your scalp and hair while moisturizing it, giving it a fresh clean start. Our products use organic and natural essence to deliver the best care!