Shampooing your hair
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Shampooing your hair

Because the scalp needs to be treated gently and with care, it makes sense to use a mild shampoo.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 07, 2004 21:24 IST

Because the scalp needs to be treated gently, it makes sense to use a mild shampoo. In this respect it is impossible to beat a baby shampoo. If this does not suit you look among the makes that state their pH (a measure of acidity and alkalinity) and choose one that is near pH 5. This will be very close to the normal acidity of the scalp.

There are no reasons for using a medicated shampoo. An antiseptic is called for only if an infection is present and anyone with a scalp infection is in need of a doctor and not a medicated shampoo.


Ensuring that hair is clean and shiny is the most important step in hair care. Choose a shampoo from a reputed manufacturer to suit your hair type. The active ingredients vary considerably in quality. A shampoo should cleanse thoroughly without irritating or demoisturising the scalp. This is more important than the acid and alkali balance.

Overwashing robs hair of the necessary moisture and oil.

It should not be necessary to use much shampoo to get good results, nor should shampooing leave the hair "squeaky clean" as this indicates that too much oil and moisture have been removed. Such additives as herbs and fruit or protein do not affect the hair's condition.

Really greasy hair may be washed once a day but it is not advisable to shampoo more than once or twice a week if your hair is dry, as overwashing can rob the hair of moisture. Dry shampoos, made of a grease-absorbing fine powder can make the hair look fresher when there is no time to wash it.

A conditioner helps to make each hair more light-reflective and prevents penetration of anything harmful to the inner core.

As tap water is mildly alkaline, hair that is dried straightaway after shampooing may become charged with static electricity making it flyaway and difficult to manage. Our grandmothers resolved this by adding vinegar or lemon juice to the final rinsing water to neutralise the alkalinity. A modern day equivalent is to use cream rinse or conditioner after every shampoo. In addition to stabilising the pH value of the hair these include light-reflective ingredients, which coat the length of each hair to increase shine and gloss, as well as adding bulk.

Perms and permanent colorants can affect the water preserving cuticle layer.

The outer layer of the hair or cuticle swells and flaps open when any alkaline substance such as hard water, shampoo, dye or a perming solution touches it. A cream rinse or conditioner helps to smooth down the cuticle. The cuticle seals each hair to guard against water evaporation, the major cause of dryness. A conditioner also helps to make each hair more light-reflective and prevents the penetration of anything harmful to the inner core.

First Published: Jul 11, 2003 19:15 IST