15 Things You Should Know About Your Hair & Shampoo

Shampoo ingredients and what they do

Know how your hair picks up dirt

1. The hair shaft has a hard surface and doesn’t pick dirt up on its own. Hair only gets dirty when it’s covered with grease (or ‘oil’ as we always called it). This doesn’t come from your hair, but from your sebum, your sweat when you’re doing zumba, and when you slather your hair with products to look swanky. This grease attracts dirt which stays stuck to your hair, causing you to feel that it’s “dirty”. Once you shampoo, and the grease is gone, your hair goes back to being squeaky clean.

2. Most effective detergents do not foam well. So the lack of foam doesn’t mean it’s not cleaning well. Shampoos that feels like a bubble bath doesn’t mean it’s awesome either.

When to use a conditioner

3. Conditioner helps to seal the open cuticles of your hair, and locks moisture in.

4. Most shampoos have some conditioning content. However, as there’s a delicate balance between the shampoo’s cleansing and conditioning, most regular shampoo do not cover the needs of those with longer hair. If you have long hair, you’ll definitely need a separate conditioner to manage your hair better.

5. Don’t use conditioners if you have short hair, 4cm from the scalp (if you need an example, look at the sides of Justin Bieber’s head).

6. Never use conditioner on your scalp, that’s reserved for your hair (try using it only at the ends of your hair).

What’s in your shampoo? 

7. Here’s a list of what’s in your shampoo and what they do:

Shampoo ingredients and what they do

8. Your shampoo probably also contains some herbal extracts and aromatherapy additives, some of which are explained in the chart below:

Common additives to shampoos

9. For these additives to be truly effective, their concentration in the shampoo formulation has to be between 3 to 5%.

10. Additives make up a big part of a shampoo’s total cost. This is why most manufacturers stinge on the additives and usually settle for a token presence of 1% or less. So the next time you’re looking for a shampoo with squid ink to protect your tresses against UV rays, look for those which has 3 to 5% of the good stuff.

Take Care of Your Scalp: Choose the Right Shampoo

11. Your scalp’s the one that gets really greasy with oil, sweat and dead skin cells. Your hair (as explained earlier), doesn’t really get dirty as quickly. This is why you need to wash your scalp regularly, just like how you need to pop in the shower regularly to not smell like a yeti.

12. Oily scalp, dry hair? Because you need to wash your scalp often, your hair gets dragged into the cleaning process as well, and you’ll complain of dry hair. It’s important to choose a shampoo that suits your scalp type, and a conditioner that helps your hair stay soft.

13. There are no rules saying that all your hair should be shampooed. Try focusing only on the scalp area, massaging the shampoo in there while leaving the rest of your hair alone. This would stop drying out your hair.

14. Remember that what suited you a year ago may not work as well now. This is because as you grow older, your body condition changes (like how pimply teenagers stop getting pimples when they blossom). If you find your scalp condition fluctuating, consider moving onto something new. Try different shampoos to see which makes your hair happier.

15. There’s no hard and fast rule on how regularly you should wash your hair and scalp. Washing daily, on alternate days or even twice a week is okay as long as your head stays clean.


Do you have any hair care tips that did wonders for you? Share them with others in the comments below or on our Facebook page!


Edited by: The HealthWorks Team
Adapted from: “Hair Hygiene” by Rozanna Chung, professional trichologist. Questions? Check out her website Hairlab.

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