How straightening shampoos work

Jane throws us a curve ball: Now that you’ve educated us about curl-enhancing shampoos, can you address the shampoos and rinse-out conditioners that claim to help straighten hair?

The Right Brain straightens her out:

As we’ve said before, shampoos that claim to magically make your hair curly are more bull sh** than beauty science. But making curly hair straight is another story – rinse out products can help, at least a little bit, if they deposit enough conditioning agents.

How can shampoos straighten hair?

Let’s be honest: no single use rinse off product can take the place of a straightening product like a relaxer or even a hair gel. If that’s what you’re looking for then you need to read about the 7 Sure Ways to Straighten Your Hair.

But if you’re just looking to tame hair that’s just a tad too wavy or curly, then rinse out products may be able to help you. That’s because silicones, polymers, and other conditioning agents can deposit even after rinsing. These agents help weigh the hair down, fighting its natural tendency to curl up or frizz out. They won’t fully straighten hair, but they’re better than nothing. For example, here are two examples that contain guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride and certain silicones like Quaternium 80 that have substantial conditioning effects.

Back to Basics Bamboo Straightening Shampoo

Water (Eau), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA, Disodium Cocamphodiacetate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Perfume (Fragrance), Sodium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Quaternium 80, Methylparaben, Polyquaternium 10, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxpropyltrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium EDTA, Polyquaternium 7, Propylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Panthenol, Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado), Penta Sodium Pentetate, Hedera Helix Extract (Ivy), Bambusa Vulgaris Extract

Marc Anthony Instant Straightening Shampoo

Water (Enriched with Silk, Silcone), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Lauramide DEA, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glycol Distearate, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Oleth 2, Glycerin, Panthenol, Polyquaternium 7, Hydrolyzed Silk, Dimethicone, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Simethicone, Dimethiconol, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazoline, Fragrance, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Green 3, Mica, Titanium Dioxide

(While both products may have a mild straightening effect, Marc Anthony got a bit carried away with his “instant straightening” claim which seems a bit misleading to us. We also love the way he “enriches” their water with silk and silicone.)

The Beauty Brains bottom line

No rinse off product can fully straighten hair. But if you need a touch of extra conditioning to smooth your hair, shampoos can help. Of course, you’ll have to experiment to find out what works on your hair type.

What do YOU think? Have you found any straightening shampoos that you’d recommend to your friends here at the Beauty Brains? Leave a comment and let us know!