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Shampoo Ingredients

Generic as well as avoidable elements in a shampoo.
Rashida Khilawala
Have you ever wondered why certain shampoos have a positive effect on your hair while some leave your hair lifeless and dry? It is because the ingredients of a shampoo may be conducive for your hair, while the opposite may be true for the other brand. So, instead of going with the trial and error method, keep a look out for certain ingredients.

Generic Ingredients

All shampoos have a similar ingredients for sure. These ingredients have the ability to clean your hair thoroughly. Shampoos have many more components as well; however, those we will be seeing under the several other subheads.

Detergent -

This is an important ingredient in any shampoo or cleansing agent. The detergent helps remove dirt, excess oil, and grime off hair. However, the detergent in shampoos has to be mild because the skin on the scalp and hair shaft are delicate, and can get damaged by strong detergent.

Special Effect Agents -

There are certain agents added to make a shampoo look like what it does. Like pearlescent shampoos have an ingredient called glycol distearate to give it the respective look. Other ingredients like herbs, honey, etc., are added for the marketing and concept advantage.

Preservatives -

In order to ensure that the shampoo's constituents stay good and to delay any reactions caused due to passage of time, preservatives need to be added to the shampoo. Most shampoos that have natural ingredients, need to use more preservatives than others. However, most of these preservatives are fairly delicate and won't be harmful.

pH Balance -

You must have noticed that most shampoos advertise about the amazing pH balance. This balance is the slightly acidic nature of the shampoo that has to be there to nullify the alkaline effect on the hair cuticles. It is required to make the hair smooth, soft, and shiny.

Conditioners -

Depending on its ratio, the need for the consumer to use another conditioner may differ. The conditioner helps make the hair smooth, soft, and strong. It also helps reduce the knotting in the hair, which helps reduce hair breakage and hair fall.
The amounts and ratios may vary in different shampoos, but the ingredients are there for sure.

What Really Works

Certain ingredients are really good for the hair. They are the components of shampoo that really work at making your hair give you an undue advantage.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

This is a type of detergent that is gentle enough to clean hair without stripping it of its essential oils.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride

This ingredient helps make your hair smooth. More so, it gives your hair volume without adding to its weight.


This ingredient basically coats the hair. This coating is conducive and cannot be washed out by water. The coat makes the hair far more manageable and tangle free.
While these ingredients may sound highly chemical-based and that may discourage you from using a shampoo with these ingredients, these are the ones that are really great for the hair.

What Makes No Difference

Just like the ingredients that really work, there are certain components that make absolutely no difference to the hair quality. While having them in the ingredient list may sound mighty good, they are pretty much useless in the shampoo.


Proteins are really great for the hair. But, that is when they are digested, not when they are applied on the hair. In a shampoo, they have absolutely no impact on the hair.

Vitamins and Pro-vitamins

Yes, even these sound really impressive in an ingredient list. However, they too may be good for the hair when in the diet. In the shampoo, they are pretty useless.

Botanical Extracts

These are great to add a lot amazing fragrance in the shampoo. However, as conducive ingredients, they are without any benefits.

UV Protectants

UV protectant may sound promising for protecting the hair from the harmful UV rays. Nonetheless, research and studies have shown minimal impact on the hair against UV rays.

Fruit Acids

Fruit acids really are great for the health. So, eat fruits. But if you think that adding it in a shampoo will help the health of your hair, you are highly mistaken.


To be honest, unlike your skin, your hair doesn't really wrinkle or age. Hence, having antioxidants in the shampoo is quite futile in nature.

Designer Water

It sounds very classy to use a shampoo with designer water in it. But let's be practical, designer water can very easily be washed away by shower water, what then is its purpose in the shampoo?
Wow, it is quite disappointing that such great sounding ingredients are useless for the hair. Well, what can you do, it is how it is, right!

What Should Be Avoided

Now, there are certain ingredients that are absolutely terrible for the hair. They cause hair fall, weakening of hair and seborrheic dermatitis. Here is a list:
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
  • TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos)
  • Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos)
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Sodium Thiosulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Sodium Alkyl Sulfate
  • Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • TEA-Dodecylbenzene
  • Sodium C12-15 Alkyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfonate
Hope this content helps you out. Make sure you look out for the ingredients that work, and pick a shampoo that has them. You can try making your own shampoo with the right ingredients. Hair adds to the personality of every individual. So, be extra vigilant with the products you use on them.