Detergents in Hair Products. Should You Be Scared?

Lots of cosmetics contain ingredients considered to be harmful. Detergents are among them. What are they and how do they work? Check if detergents are really bad for your hair.

What are detergents actually?

Detergents are substances added to hair products and meant for removing all kinds of impurities. The substances are contained in nearly every shampoo – in smaller or bigger concentration. Gently-working natural substances or notorious SLS and SLES belong to detergents as well. They work on the surface. How exactly? They emulsify impurities (oil, sweat, dirt and dandruff), helping them separate from the skin and hair.

Types of detergents

Hair care products include various types of detergents such as:

  • Cationic surfactants have an anti-static, conditioning and purifying effect. They are the mildest of all detergents but, at the same time, have the poorest washing effect. They give the best result for dry, extremely damaged or curly hair.
  • Non-ionic surfactants poorly bind with impurities. They are milder than anionic surfactants yet effectively clean without causing irritations. They are well-tolerated and fully biodegradable.
  • Zwitterionic surfactants have a good cleansing effect. On the other hand, they are quite gentle. These detergents are used in cosmetics to alleviate the effect of stronger detergents.
  • Anionic surfactants effectively remove impurities and thus are added to clarifying shampoos. You should use them once in a while to get rid of the build-up of oil, dirt or dandruff. Sadly, they may, at the same time, irritate and damage natural hydro-lipid barrier.

Which shampoo to pick?

Choose the right shampoo for your scalp, not hair. After all, you mostly use it to clean the skin. However, not to disturb the natural hydro-lipid balance, you should always have a moisturising and nourishing shampoo at hand. This kind of full care ensures balance of cleansing and conditioning.