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How can you avoid shampoo buildup? Episode 20

Did you know that most shampoos today are secretly 2-in-1’s? In today’s episode we tell which ingredients to avoid if you’re worried about shampoo buildup. Plus, we discuss the case the disturbing plastic surgery app!

Show Notes

Beauty Science News: “The case of the disturbing plastic surgery app”

Putting the app in inappropriate. It’s called “Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie version.” It lets children play plastic surgeon by performing virtual operations on the faces and bodies of Barbie doll like characters.

Example activity. “This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her. In our clinic, she can go through a surgery called liposuction that will make her slim and beautiful. We’ll need to make small cuts on problem areas and suck out the extra fat. Will you operate her, doctor?”

Options. You decide where to make incisions into the doll’s skin to alter her appearance, or whether to give her to give a local anesthetic before the incision is made.

Social media outrage. The app prompted outrage across social media because there is already too much pressure on kids to look a certain way and to strive for impossible photoshop quality appearance. iTunes responded by removing it.

A better way. If this was less about “obese kids must alter their appearance” and more about “teaching the science behind beauty products” this could be a good idea.

Question of the week: How can you avoid shampoos that cause buildup?

Trisha asks…Can you tell me what to look for in a shampoo and conditioner that will leave my hair feeling clean and not weighed down and coated in product buildup?

History of conditioning shampoos

  • 1943 – earliest conditioning shampoo (“Special Drene”)
  • 1970s – the birth of the true 2 in 1 (Pert Plus)
  • 1990s – moisturizing shampoos go mainstream (Pantene)
  • Today – MOST shampoos deliver some conditioning

Ingredients used in shampoos to condition

  • Cationic polymers
  • Silicones
  • Quats
  • Opacifying agents (e.g., glycol distearate)

How to spot a shampoo that gives you buildup

  • Look for clear vs creamy
  • Read the claims look for conditioner language
  • Read the ingredient statement

Beware the “Buildup Bunch”

  • Polyquaternium’s (10, 11)
  • Certain silicones: Amodimethicone
  • Anything ending in “Methosulfate”
  • Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride

The Beauty Brains Bottom line

Today most shampoos are “secret two-in-ones” so if you’re worried about build up you need to pay attention to what you’re using. Using clear shampoos and checking the label for conditioning agents can help.

Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:

  • Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
  • The straight scoop of which beauty myths are true and which are just urban legends.
  • Which ingredients are really scary and which ones are just scaremongering by the media to incite an irrational fear of chemicals.
  • How to tell the difference between the products that are really green and the ones that are just trying to get more of your hard earned money by labeling them “natural” or “organic.

Click here for all the The Beauty Brains podcasts.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rozy March 5, 2014, 10:49 pm

    Love to see you covering social issues. I was not aware of this app and while a beauty science app would be cool I am glad the app you talked about got removed, it just sends every wrong message about body image to kids. Makeup on zombies! I would use that! Be careful of the sweets because of AGEs! Hunger-ease, you must have been hungry during that podcast! 😛 Congrats on your daily flossing! You can get kids Listerine mouthwash that turns the mouth blue if you aren’t brushing right.

  • Barbara November 15, 2015, 11:01 am

    I was surprised to see you name amodimethicone in your “Buildup Bunch”. I had read that amino-modified silicones did not build up, or resisted build up, as the molecules do not attach on top of each other, only in lengthy chains. This resistance to layering is touted as one of the advancements in silicone chemistry demonstrated by this type of silicone polymer. Can we clarify?

    • Randy Schueller November 16, 2015, 6:20 am

      I guess it depends on your definition of build up. We included it because amodimethicone is substantiative to hair which means some people may perceive it to leave an objectionable residue.

  • Nikhil November 30, 2019, 1:27 pm

    Would Pantene Sheer Volume be a good choice for someone with really oily hair? I like Prell but it’s hard to find. The conditioning shampoos they sell now make my scalp itch and hair greasy the next day.