Trying to improve my life


English: Bottles of shampoo and lotions manufa...

English: Bottles of shampoo and lotions manufactured by the C.L. Hamilton Co. of Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve all seen the commercials of beautiful men and women in the shower with white copious lather encasing their heads. Their nimble fingers massaging their scalps. Shampoo! Noun: a special cleansing preparation that produces suds. Verb: the act of washing the hair, a rug, etc., with such a preparation. Perhaps a better definition is “a preparation of surfactants that will remove surface grease, dirt, and skin debris from the hair shaft”. 1

Shampoo is a relatively new invention and has only been around for about 100 years. Prior to the invention of shampoo people washed their hair with soap, but soap can leave a dulling film and is hard to wash away. In the late 1700s a British colonist from India, Dean Mahomet , brought the technique of champi to the west. Champi, from which the word shampoo is derived, was a technique of massaging the head with an alkali, oils and fragrance. The practice of shampooing my have become popular due in part because it was advertised as being administered by young women practitioners. Shampooing remained popular due to its acceptance by the medical community as a health benefit.

In 1898 German Chemist Hans Schwarzkopf opened a drug store in Berlin. After success with selling perfume he decided on expanding the product line and focused on hair care. In 1903 he created a powder shampoo. The product was immensely popular, so much so that he began selling the shampoo to other chemist in Berlin. Although the product was convenient to use it had soap in it that dulled the hair. In 1927 Schwarzkopf introduced one of the first liquid shampoo.

In the early 1930s Dr. John Breck introduced one of the first shampoos in America. The Breck line of shampoos were also popular due to the Breck Girl (illustrated by Charles Gates Sheldon then later by Ralph William Williams). The Breck line is still available today. In 2006 The Dollar Tree purchased the line and has available on its website kids shampoo and conditioner, detangler, bubble bath and body wash. In 1934 Drene shampoo was introduced. It was the first shampoo made from a synthetic detergent. In fact the cleansing ingredients in modern shampoos are mostly synthetic surfactants.

Shampoo is designed to rid the hair of soil. Soil can include sebum, environmental pollutants, hair products and skin. Sebum is made up of different substances such as paraffins, squalene, cholesterol esters and fatty acids. The amounts of these substances present in sebum depends on the sex, age, environment, and diet of the individual.

A good shampoo should restore luster and sheen while reducing interfiber adhesion so that hair can be bouncy and have volume. A shampoo should not strip the hair entirely of sebum, which could cause the hair to tangle and be unmanageable. The consistency of shampoo should be thin enough to pour but thick enough to remain in the hand for application. It should also rinse easily and should be mild with little to no irritation.

A new trend in shampooing is the no-poo, or no shampoo method. People who use this method wash their hair either with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (a small amount of baking soda is used to cleanse the hair while the apple cider vinegar is used to condition it and impart shine), or plain water. The idea is that shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can strip the hair of all its sebum. Proponents of this method believe that by eliminating shampoo and conditioner they can attain healthier hair and leave the chemicals behind.

References cited:

1 Hair and Hair Care: Chapter 3 by Michael Wong


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This entry was posted on December 24, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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