Shampoo 101

You are here

In 1814, an Indian practice called ‘champi’ (shampooing) took off in the Western world. Sake Dean Mahomed, an Indian entrepreneur, then popularized the practice in England, opening a spa with a shampooing location that made hair cleansing a normal, everyday service.

In 1930, John Breck introduced the first liquid shampoo into America, which exploded in popularity. The message of shampoo was here: for healthy hair, you must shampoo a few times a week. Since then, the world of shampoo has exploded! The multiple brands and types available can be overwhelming – I mean, they all do the same job right? Not really.

Today, most shampoos contain specific formulas for different hair types and purposes – some protect and enhance colour, some support hair growth, and others simply hydrate with that fresh-from-the-salon scent.

Several Types of Shampoo Include:

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Dandruff is a scalp-specific form of seborrheic dermatitis, which is an overgrowth of yeast that causes your skin to shed at a higher rate than normal. Anti-dandruff shampoos will contain specific ingredients that help to combat the skin shedding. To get the most out of your anti-dandruff shampoo, leave it on the scalp for at least a minute before rinsing, as this allows the ingredients to get to work!


Co-wash shampoo is a 50/50 ratio of cleansing and moisturising. This type of shampoo is often more gentle on the hair, not stripping the hair of its natural oils. Co-wash is great if you have naturally curly or over-processed hair.

3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash

This type of product is usually loaded with silicones – an ingredient that leaves a silky appearance on the hair and body. Although 3-in-1s are great for those lacking in the time department, we would always say that it is far better to use a specific shampoo and conditioner for your hair type to really reap the benefits.

Use Shampoo Correctly

You want to get the most out of your shampoo and all of those delicious ingredients. So, to begin with, make sure you soak your hair with water – the wetter the hair, the less shampoo you will need. Squeeze some shampoo into your hands and apply to your head, concentrating on your scalp. Massage the shampoo in an up-and-down or side-to-side motion with the tips of your fingers.

Once massaged to your satisfaction, rinse thoroughly. You want to remove all the shampoo, as it does have a habit of sticking to your strands making them look dull. We would say it is not necessary to shampoo twice, unless you only wash your hair say once a week.

What is Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a way to cleanse your hair without using water. It has become the go-to styling tool for voluminous hair, gorgeous texture, and envious loose waves. Even though there is the word shampoo in the name, dry shampoo is nothing like shampoo, it only helps to absorb grease to give that end result look of freshly washed hair.

Pro tip: It takes five minutes for the dry shampoo to absorb the oil in your scalp, so spray it on, wait a few minutes, then comb it through.

Shampoo Ingredients

The vast bulk of shampoos contain ingredients such as surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate to emulsify oil and dirt, preservatives like parabens or sodium benzoate to inhibit microbial growth, and fragrance. But there are a few other key terms to look out for when shopping for shampoo.


Sulphate-free is one of the most common terms found on shampoos. This means that the shampoo doesn’t contain the most common lathering and cleansing agent found in most shampoos. Sulphates can be pretty harsh on the hair and scalp, which can lead to people wanting a more natural approach to their hair care.

Be aware that even though the shampoo says ‘sulphate-free’, it still contains other cleansing agents to get the job done. Most shampoos have detergents that strip oil and colour from the hair. Detergents lift the scale-like cuticles that comprise the outer layer of hair. When the cuticles are lifted, the colour will slowly fade.


Silicones are heavy in nature, and so those who have fine hair should avoid this ingredient. However, silicones can work wonders for people looking for smooth hair, as they cling to the cuticle to hold it down. Silicones do have a negative though – they can stop moisture from getting into the hair and so cause it to feel dry. So, if you are looking for more moisture, then avoid silicones. If on the other hand you want to reduce frizz, then this ingredient could be your perfect match.

Good Salon Guide’s Recommended Brands

Shampoo is the most basic part of your hair routine — and can also be the most complicated. But identifying your hair's most pressing needs, and then understanding the ingredients that best address them, will lead you to the perfect formula for you. Some of the top brands we recommend are:

Related Articles