Hair Shampoos

Washing hair with a shampoo

Hair shampoo is a hair care product used to wash your hair and scalp. The primary purpose of hair shampoo is to remove excess oil, dust, skin particles, and other pollutants in order to make hair clean and manageable. Shampoos also can be designed to treat dandruff, seborrhea, itchiness, and other scalp disorders.

Ingredients in Hair Shampoo

It is important to know the ingredients in your favorite hair shampoo. These ingredients should be in accordance with your hair type.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that manufacturers accurately describe all ingredients on the bottle. Manufacturers usually use the chemical names to list the ingredients on the label. First listed ingredients are cleansing agents that are responsible for the shampoo ability to clean the hair and scalp. However, hair shampoos have many more components which can be seen on the label.

THE Main ingredients of an ordinary hair shampoo are:

  • Cleaning agents
  • Modifying agents
  • PH adjusters
  • Conditioners
  • Humectants
  • Detanglers
  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance
  • Preservatives
  • Water

Cleaning Agents or Surfactants

Cleaning agents help remove the dirt and sebum from the hair. Detergents help the surface area to become fully wet, lift the oil and the dirt from the hair to disperse them in the water and wash away. Common detergents you can find in shampoos are ammonium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and myreth sulfate.
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) can strip moisture and oils from the hair and cause eye and skin irritation. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) are commonly used gentle alternatives to sodium laureth sulfate in hair products. Sodium lauryl glucose and lauryl glucose are the safest options.

Modifying Agents

Thickening ingredients are incorporated into shampoo formula to make easier to pour the content and apply the correct amount to the hair. Sodium chloride, Cocamidopropyl betaine, cetyl alcohol, cocamide DEA, and stearyl alcohol are included in shampoo formula to keep a creamy consistency.
Cocamide MEA, lauramide MEA, polysorbate 20 and lauric DEA are foaming agents used in shampoo formulations to create lather which makes spreading of the product throughout the hair easier and help the detergents to work better.
Glycol distearate, glyceryl oleate, polysorbate-20, PEG-18, and PEG-40 are added to shampoo formula to make the product more aesthetically appealing.

PH Adjusters

Citric acid and sodium citrate are buffering agents added to make shampoo more acidic. The slightly acidic nature of the shampoo helps to close the cuticle, making the hair look smoother and shinier.


Cetyl alcohol is hydrating alcohol that acts act as a lubricant and helps comb hair effortlessly.


Glycerin, propylene glycol, hexylene glycol, sorbitol, and sodium PCA help attract and retain moisture, eliminate static, and reduce hair breakage.

Conditioning Agents

Allantoin, dimethicone , amodimethicone, amino acids, and glycerin help make the hair stronger, softer, and less prone to frizz.


Silicone oils (dimethicone/cyclomethicone) create a smooth hair surface and decrease friction, making hair easier to comb and style.


Essential oils and color additives are used to give the product a more appealing appearance in order to attract consumers.


Octyl Salicylate and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are sunblocks used to protect your scalp and hair from the harmful UV rays.


Methylparaben, propylparaben, cetrimonium chloride, behentrimonium chloride, disodium EDTA, and formaldehyde are preservatives used to keep shampoos free from microbial contamination in order to extend the shelf life.


Deionized water makes up to 80 percent of the entire shampoo formula. It keeps the ingredients flowing, makes the shampoo easier to spread, and keeps it inexpensive.

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