from the desk of the groomed man
Is your current shampoo drying out your hair and scalp?
Have you ever picked up the bottle of men’s shampoo on your shower floor and looked at the ingredients to see what’s in it? Most commercial men’s shampoo and conditioners contain a plethora of ingredients which could be doing your hair and scalp more harm than good.
Conservative estimates highlight that one in five men experience some form of dandruff (including psoriasis and dermatitis), but this goes as high as up to 50% of the total population. While there are anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioners available, many don’t get the results they hope to achieve, leading to further irritation, dryness and flakiness. These products typically contain an active ingredient specific to dandruff such as zinc pyrithione, however are filled with irritating and damaging ingredients such as sulfates making treatment counterproductive.
So how do you ensure the shampoo you’re using isn’t worsening the condition of your hair and further drying out your scalp? The first step is understanding the ingredients instead of focusing on just one, as a combination of better ingredient choices combined with science backed actives are going to improve overall results.
What ingredients to avoid when using a men’s shampoo?
Product formulation and ingredient selection has evolved drastically over the years, leading to more premium and healthier options. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ingredients you should be avoiding when selecting the best men’s shampoo for you.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a surfactant commonly used in many skincare and haircare preparations. It’s known to be one of the worst surfactants to use and is highly sensitising to the skin and hair when used at 2-5 percent. It creates an effective lather but strips the hair and scalp of its natural oils and is known to irritate and cause dryness. While there are many claims on the internet that it is harmful to one's health, all have been debunked.
Parabens are preservatives that are easily absorbed by the scalp and some studies have attributed them to hair loss due to irritating the scalp. Parabens are known to contribute to dryness that exacerbates dandruff.
Commonly used as gelling agents in shampoo, phthalates enter the body through inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption. Studies have shown some phthalates disrupt the hormone activity.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine are known as foaming agents and thickeners used in shampoos, creams and other cosmetic products. Studies have found varying levels of toxicity in these ingredients, which is why you may want to avoid. Both DEA and TEA could be highly irritating and cause allergic reactions, leading to dry and brittle hair which is another reason to avoid these ingredients.
If you’ve ever used a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner (90’s flashbacks), you would find this silicone based ingredient. Known to coat the hair to give the impression of softening, dimethicone leads to product build-up in the hair, preventing the shaft to absorb nutrients and ultimately leaving it brittle and suseptible to damage.
Shampoos may contain certain preservatives that release formaldehyde, and even in the smallest quantity can be highly irritating, sensitising and drying to the hair and scalp.
Fragrance can come in many forms, from completely natural, nature identical to synthetic. You may see parfum or fragrance on packaging, which encapsulates a variety of ingredients which could cause sensitivity or allergic reactions. In saying this, we definitely don’t want to paint every product with the same brush when it comes to fragrance due to the complexity of ingredients used to create it. If you are concerned about any synthetic fragrance and prefer essential oils, you will find essential oils listed individually on the INCI list (ingredients list) on the back of the label.
A confusing ingredient as there is a difference between good and bad alcohol when it comes to cosmetic products. Some alcohol ingredients (cetearyl and stearyl alcohol) aren’t as bad for dry hair and in many instances help retain moisture in the hair and skin. Avoiding ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol and propynol will ensure you’re not contributing to dry and brittle hair.
What’s the best men’s shampoo for me?
Selecting the right men’s shampoo amongst the thousands of choices can be tricky, but using the guide you can narrow it down and start looking for superior and less irritating products that do good for your hair and scalp. A hint is avoid most drugstore shampoo and conditioners which are known to be mass produced and use several unnecessary chemicals.
Our Australian made men’s shampoo and conditioner contains none of the above, is highly concentrated to last longer using less product and is extremely gentle. In fact, it was formulated to be gentle enough for the beard and strong enough to remove hair product in one go without drawing out the natural oils in your hair and scalp.