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How to choose a shampoo?

If you struggle at the time of buying a shampoo, or you wonder how often you need to wash your hair, or the correct technique... you are not the only one!

At the end of this post we hope you know:

  • What type of scalp you have, and why it is important

  • What type of product you need to clean it, and how to use it

  • What ingredients you can aim to find

First of all: it should be the scalp the one which dictates which product we are going to use to wash the hair. We use shampoo to clean the root area, we do not put shampoo in the middle and ends of the hair (normally). Learn a good washing technique here.

Ask yourself:

1. How is your scalp?

  • Normally, if you feel you need to wash your hair every 1-3 days, we tend to consider it oily.

  • If it is dry, it would look flaky, dull, even have small cracks. Sometimes it may feel itchy, or you can have small loose pieces of dry skin (do not confuse them with dandruff!).

  • If it is in the middle of both, we would consider it medium or average. You may wash it 1-2 per week, maybe when it gets dirty it may be a bit itchy and get oily.

2. How often are you going to wash it?

This question is related with your life style. If you do sports, or you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, for instance, you are going to tend to wash your hair more often. Therefore, regardless of your type of scalp, you would need to wash it more gently.

Oily scalp

To take care of this scalp properly, avoid overcleaning and overstimulating it. that would only encourage the scalp to defend itself and produce more oil.

  • Avoid overwashing: distance the washes with strong cleansers

  • You can try alternating:

    • Strong shampoo

    • Low-poo / diluted sh

  • Avoid overstimulating (rubbing the scalp, for instance when using a towel to dry)

  • Exfoliate every 15 days: to get rid of dirtiness attached to the oil, old oil, etc

Dry scalp

The aim to take care of a dry scalp is avoid cleaning it too harshly, and keeping it hydrated with its natural oils

  • Wash less often

  • Wash very gently:

    • Low-poo

    • Co-wash

    • Diluted shampoo

More than benefiting from exfoliation, it could benefit from gentle scalp massages with oils. Use coconut oil the night before, and leave it overnight if possible. You can watch a video about how to do it here.

Medium/average scalp

In this case, the product you use it is going to be more related with your life style:

  • Do you wash often? co-wash or diluted shampoo

  • Do you wash less often? gentle shampoo

  • Exfoliate 1 per month, gently

But what about the ingredients inside of the shampoo?

The surfactants are very important. They are the ones which are going to clean (the ones which create the bubbles).

There are other active components that can be inside of a shampoo, and can benefit your scalp (if you leave the shampoo 3-5 minutes before rinsing it, so it has enough time to act!). But today we will focus on the surfactants.

We have prepared a list of the most common surfactants. The ones in green are normally used in natural and organic cosmetics, being sodium coco sulfate (in combination with other anfoteric and non-ionic surfactants) the one that we would recommend.

Now you will be able to understand part of the confusing list of names (called INCI) on the back of shampoos.

But Alex... sodium coco sulfates is a sulfate!

Yes, sulfates have been demonized unnecessarily, it is just missinformation.

Sulfates are simply strong surfactants, very cleansing. Of course, that means that they have more power to remove oils (and dry the hair) and remove colour... if you don't use them with knowledge.

Cleansing properly the scalp is needed. Specially if you have oily scalp, or if you use dry shampoo, styling products and silicones.

Just experiment: if you think that your shampoo with sulfates if drying your hair and you need a ton of conditioner, try using less amount of shampoo. If you have colour your hair, the same: use less amount, use likewarm water, try to wash less often.


Did you like this information?

In Gaia Organic Salon, you won't only receive a hair/beauty/nail service. We truly care for the health of your skin and your hair, and we would like you to know how to take care of them also when you are at home.

That is why we collected your most frequent questions and created a series of workshops, where you can learn about haircare and skincare, and even to create your own products! adapted to YOUR hair and skin.

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