Ask Dr. Anna:
What shampoo should I use?
Do you remember those ads from the 80’s and every year since, where a woman is shampooing her hair in the shower, massaging her scalp in total ecstasy?
Well, that’s what I call ‘Hollywood science’. We’ve been taught to equate lathering with good, clean hair when it’s actually a sign of harmful chemicals.
I’ll be honest. I’m starting to think that they call it ‘Sham-poo’ because most of them are a total sham. Shampoo uses detergents to remove the natural oils that hold everyday dirt and environmental waste. There are so many shampoos on the market—from cheap to expensive, ‘colour-locking’ to ‘volume-boosting’—that it’s a tough product to navigate.
Most shampoos make your hair fluffy, thick and smelling good—but, at what cost? Thickening ingredients are added to shampoos to create that soothing foaming effect. Loads of lather is generally not a good sign.
Neither is a shampoo that leaves your hair smelling like Joan Collins. Harmful additives found in shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and create dry and itchy scalps. These additives can cause acne on the chest, forehead, and back. They are also linked to serious health issues like cancer.
So, to answer your question…
You want to find a shampoo that produces a modest lather (sorry ladies). A good shampoo should feel more like a conditioner—soft, and easy to apply and remove. Here’s how to choose a healthy shampoo:
- Read your labels carefully. Avoid shampoos that contain artificial fragrances, methylisothiazoline, parabens, and benzyl alcohol that are used to preserve their shelf life.
- Do not use a product that contains sulfates as they are linked to long-term health risks. Very quickly, they can irritate the skin and destroy the hair’s natural cleaning mechanisms.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate is a total no. It’s is made from petroleum—a non-renewable resource—which not only damages your scalp, it ruins the environment.
- Forget about shampooing twice—no matter how often you’re told by the ads. This is a marketing ploy to get people to use double the product which is wasteful and unnecessary.
- And, always check what the packaging is made of. Does it compromise the product’s integrity? It is biodegradable? My entire skincare line comes in 100% environmentally-sound packaging, which is not only important for your health but that of your family’s and the environment.
If you’re unsure of a product, visit the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) website. that displays the ingredients in order of percentage in concentration to make safer choices. If you’re still concerned, book a free consultation with me, and bring in your products for assessment.
Dr. Anna offers complimentary consultations to all new patients including product assessments.
Ask Dr. Anna
A new blog series where she provides information to empower women to make better choices.
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