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What to Look For in a Hair Loss Shampoo

January 11, 2021

What ingredients are in a good hair loss shampoo? How should a shampoo function? In this article we’ll go through everything you should look for in a hair loss shampoo, including excerpts from Haircare Bible: A Dermatologist’s Tips on Haircare and Hair Loss by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.

How Does Shampoo Work?

What constitutes a good hair loss shampoo?

Caring for one’s hair is just as important as caring for one’s face, but often gets less attention. Understanding what constitutes a good hair loss shampoo is an important part of making sure your hair stays healthy and voluminous. To help you navigate the world of shampoo products, we introduce you to the basics you need to know.

How should a hair loss shampoo function?

A shampoo is a viscous liquid (liquid with texture that tends to be thick). Its primary purpose is cleansing the scalp and hair of dirt, sebum, sweat, dead skin cells and environmental pollutants. It does so by dissolving oil-soluble dirt, which is water-insoluble and hence, cannot be removed by solely rinsing with water. A shampoo should also remove greasy residues from hair care products such as oils, gels and sprays. The overall effect is that of cleansing to maintain a good hygiene level to reduce the chance of scalp irritation, inflammation and odour.

While most shampoos can accomplish a thorough cleanse, the real challenge lies in removing just enough sebum to allow the hair to be clean without drying it out.

This explains why most shampoo formulations have a secondary function of smoothing the hair’s surface and imparting lustre, smoothness, buoyancy and volume. Certain types of shampoos also treat the scalp with medicated ingredients, such as those targeting dandruff, a common scalp disorder caused by a yeast known as Malassezia.

Hair Loss Shampoo: Copper Peptide Deep Cleanse Hair Regrowth Shampoo

The Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Shampoo is a hair loss shampoo formulated for hair loss and sensitive scalps. It contains amino acid surfactant that performs gentle action for sensitive scalps, is pH-Adjusted for deep-cleansing. It also includes actives such as zinc pyrithione for anti-dandruff, and copper peptide for healthy hair growth.

Ingredients In A Shampoo

Typical shampoos contain 10 to 30 ingredients. These include: cleansing agents (surfactants), conditioning agents, special care ingredients, and additives. Surfactants essentially cause a lathering effect via a process known as emulsification. For example, a surfactant emulsifies sebum and grime on the hair and scalp which can then be easily rinsed off with water. They are responsible for cleansing hair while the conditioners and other ingredients do the rest.

Types of surfactants

A surfactant is often amphiphilic, meaning its molecules contain both lipophilic (oil-attracting) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) parts. The oil-attracting parts bind to sebum while the water-loving sites parts to water. Such a mechanism allows sebum to be removed when in contact with water.

The type of surfactants used in hair loss shampoos is classified according to their hydrophilic polar group. The four common categories of shampoo surfactants are anionics, cationics, non-ionics and amphoterics. Most shampoo formulas rely on two types of surfactants.

The surfactant listed first in a shampoo’s ingredient list denotes the primary cleanser and also the ingredient in the highest concentration. The surfactant listed second is the secondary cleanser; this is often added to offset the weaknesses of the first surfactant.

Anionic surfactants

Anionic surfactants are named for their negatively charged hydrophilic (water-loving) parts. Derived from fatty alcohols, they are good at removing sebum from the scalp. However, excessive cleansing with anionic surfactants leaves the hair harsh, rough, dull, frizzy and prone to tangling. Examples include sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Cationic surfactants

In contrast to anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants have a positively charged element. Cationic surfactants are poor cleansers and do not lather well. They are also not compatible with anionic surfactants. However, they are excellent at keeping chemically damaged hair soft and manageable. As a result, shampoos for damaged or coloured hair often include cationic surfactants. Examples include long-chain amino esters, ammonioesters, and cetyltrimethylammonium chloride.

Amphoteric surfactants

With both positively and negatively charged groups, amphoteric surfactants foam well and condition the hair. They help with the formation of micellar emulsion, improving the lathering ability of the shampoo, resulting in a thick liquid which is efficient to use. In addition, they do not cause stinging in the eyes and are gentle on the skin/scalp barrier, making them ideal for mild shampoos. Examples are cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfonate betaine, amphoteric acetate/diacetate.

Nonionic surfactants

Nonionic surfactants do not have a charged group and hence are compatible with any surfactant. Nonionic surfactants are the mildest type of surfactant. Such surfactants are often used in baby shampoos. Examples are fatty alcohol ethoxylates, cocamide MEA, sorbitan ether esters, and alkyl polyglucosides.

Conditioners In Shampoo

The purpose of conditioning is to increase hair manageability by smoothening and softening the hair shaft and to enable easy detangling. Shampoo formulations tend to add hair-conditioning ingredients to impart manageability, gloss and antistatic properties to the hair. Many are noted as ‘2 in 1’ to indicate the presence of both cleansing and conditioning benefits.

What are 2 in 1 shampoos?

They are conditioning shampoos that can wash off dirt and at the same time disperse conditioners onto the hair shaft. Examples of conditioning ingredients are fatty substances such as vegetable oils, wax, lecithin and lanolin derivatives, protein by-products (collagen, silk, animal proteins) and silicones.

What is the technology behind 2 in 1 shampoo?

Silicones and conditioning oils help smoothen out the hair shaft. They need to be regularly dispersed upon application to the hair shaft to condition the hair. Silicones add lubricity to the hair and reduce friction that arises from combing. They make it easier to comb through and detangle strands and prevent them from becoming frizzy.
Protein substances found in conditioners function by temporarily mending split ends and holding the hair fragments together until the next shampooing takes place.
The lathering components help to cleanse off the oil, dirt and dead skin cells of the scalp.

What is the science behind wet and dry hair conditioning?

The science behind conditioning hair while wet is based on a compound known as coacervate. It is best understood as something with positive and negative ions reacting in the presence of water.

On the other hand, the end goal of dry hair conditioning is to deposit smoothening silicones and hair conditioning oils on the hair surface. The commonest hair oils contain silicones such as dimethicone, dimethiconol, and amodimethicone.

Why should we avoid silicone-containing hair conditioners?

Scientific studies show that when the hair shaft surface is coated with silicone it becomes instantly smoother and it is covered with a protective layer. However, this is merely a temporary illusion of healthy hair. Silicone continues to build up layer by layer and eventually your hair gets weighed down. Instead of appearing smooth and shiny, hair may appear greasy and dull.

What are the other alternatives available?

In my development of the hair mask bar system for my patients with dry, brittle and unmanageable hair, I have incorporated natural proteins such as hydrolysed wheat, silk and milk proteins that directly penetrate and repair the hair shaft. These natural proteins are effective cuticle moisturizers that ensure detangled, well-nourished locks.

The Hair Mask Vials Bundle includes the Keratin Hair Mask for hair strengthening, the Silk Hair Mask for hair smoothness and frizz, and the Milk Hair Mask for hair softness.

Another important way to smoothen and condition your hair is through the use of plant oils. The bioactive substances present in plant oils contribute to their moisturizing, conditioning, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The LipiGro Serum is enriched with 5a-reductase inhibitor to reverse hormonal hair loss, and the purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius.

The LipiShine Serum should be used with the CutisCool™ Biological Gel Hair Cap in the Hot Oil Treatment. Enriched with Oleic acid that acts as a cuticle softener, Linoleic acid that smooths hair, and the Purified seed oil of ethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius.

The LipiSilk Serum is used to treat damaged hair, chemically treated hair, and split ends. It contains actives such as Linoleic acid for deep repair of the hair shaft, Vitamin E, a bioactive antioxidant, and purified seed oil of Hippophae rhanoides (Sea Buckthorn Oil).

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