The shampoo that you pick up off your supermarket shelf sells for a bunch less dollars than a shampoo from a salon. No doubt, salon shampoo is a luxury. Is it really worth the price-tag? Cheap shampoos use cheap ingredients, and the thing is - cheap ingredients actually come at a cost.
METALLIC IMPURITIES / TRACE ELEMENTS
When shampoos and conditioners are manufactured using low-cost ingredients they are more likely to be contaminated with heavy metals and trace elements. If you have virgin hair that has never been in a room with a bottle of hair dye then this is not too much of an issue, but for those who indulge in a bit of balayage or even a full-on foil job, proceed with caution. Trace elements can react with hydrogen peroxide and cause your hair to melt off.
An off the shelf supermarket shampoo is also likely to have a high pH. The natural acidity of your hair and scalp sits between 4.5 and 5.0 and prevents fungi and bacteria from flourishing as well as keeping your cuticle closed and healthy.
Most cheap shampoos have an average pH of 6.0 or higher and that’s not good news for your scalp or for your hair. This high pH will mess with the natural balance of your scalp and lead to cuticle damage, breakage, knottiness and FRIZZ.
The primary function of a conditioner is to nourish and infuse your hair with moisture. Cheap conditioners use synthetic chemicals like Silicones to give your hair the appearance of being healthy, without actually doing anything good for it. The cheapest silicone is Dimethicone, an insoluble silicone which acts like a plastic glove on your hair. It makes it slippery and smooth, which doesn’t sound all bad, and it isn’t if you can remove that silicone on the reg, plus soluble silicones are all good. When an insoluble silicone builds up in your hair it creates an impenetrable synthetic shield that prevents nutrients from getting in, starves your hair of moisture and eventually depletes your hair health until it snaps. The Tresseme girl knows this to be a fact...
Shampoo cleans the hair with chemicals called surfactants. These are soaps that remove surface oil from your scalp and hair. Cheap surfactants are highly effective at cleaning but they can also be harsh; stripping moisture from your scalp, causing irritation, and fluffing up your cuticle. There’s also the risk that they could strip out the colour you just spent hundreds of dollars on at the salon. On the flip side if your hair is natural, oily and fine that’s not gonna be an issue for you.
THE BIG PICTURE
Nobody ever died from using cheap shampoo – or did they? There is very little transparency from the global haircare brands that create the shampoo you’ll find at your local supermarket. Is it likely that workers in this field are exploited? Yes. Is it likely that manufacturing processes are harmful to the environment? Yes. TBH there is a dearth of information about the exploitation and ethical practices in the haircare industry, however, there are some awesome brands that are tackling these issues and lighting the way for us:
- Davines Essential Range
- Kevin Murphy Ocean Waste Plastic
- Botaniq 100% Natural