Are You Using the Wrong Shampoo?

Karlaxox’s question…My daughter has blonde hair and her hair is quite fine too,and for shampoo she uses Pantene Aqua Light and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Are these the shampoos she should be using or are they the wrong shampoos she should be using?

The Left Brain responds:

We’re often asked questions like this. Unfortunately, the idea that you need to avoid using the “wrong” shampoo is often times more of a Marketing issue than a scientific one. You didn’t tell us if your daughter likes these products or not. If she likes the way they make her hair look and feel, then there’s absolutely no reason they’re “wrong” for her hair type. On the other hand, if she’s dissatisfied with some aspects of their performance, she should consider changing. Here are some of the common issues she might have with her hair and our assessment of how these products probably perform.

Reasons to try a different shampoo

Crappy cleansing

It’s unlikely her issue is “this shampoo doesn’t get my hair clean enough” because all shampoos clean hair pretty well. We’ve only seen this become a problem in the case of heavy styling product users and then our advice is to switch to a stronger cleansing system (something with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, for example.)

Vanishing volume

If your daughter has fine hair, maintaining body and volume could be a key concern. Fortunately, neither of the shampoos you mentioned are intended to provide a lot of conditioning that can weigh your hair down so they should be generally suitable for use on fine hair.

Shoddy shine

This one could be tricky because you have to walk a fine line to get the shine that you want. Too little conditioning can leave hair rough and dry which will cause the cuticles (the outer protective layer of your hair) to scatter light, instead of smoothly reflecting it. This will give you less shine. On the other hand, too much conditioning (especially with certain types of silicones and polymers) can leave a film on hair that makes it look dull. Aqua Light and J&J’s Baby Shampoo provide a low level of conditioning so they may not be providing enough shine.

Horrible hair color

Unless the shampoo is a color-deposting product (which neither of these are) it won’t dramatically affect her hair color. Again, some shampoos can leave too much of a conditioning layer on the hair which can make blonde hair lose some of its highlights. Also, if you live in a area with hard water, you might find that the minerals in the water are turning her hair a brassier shade of blonde. If that’s the case, try a different kind of clarifying shampoo.

Missing manageability

If she can’t comb and style her hair after washing her hair she may need a shampoo with additional conditioning agents. Of course, the products she’s using after shampooing are even more important when it comes to manageability. Conditioners (rinse out as well as leave in) and styling products (like mousses and hairsprays) will affect the way her hair looks and feels.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

The right shampoo is the one that makes your hair look and feel the way you want it too. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re using the “wrong” product for your hair type unless you’re having a specific problem with your hair.

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