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Shampoo: Lather, Rinse, Repeat—But Not Every Day
To learn how to shampoo after you leave the salon, check out Groupon’s look at what shampoo really does.
Our follicles constantly produce a natural oil, known as sebum, that moisturizes and protects hair. Over time, sebum starts to build up, leaving hair with that familiar greasy feeling. Shampoo works by stripping out sebum using a surfactant, which clings to small clumps of the oil before water rinses the globs away, along with any dirt, dead skin cells, or confetti scraps left in the hair. Although surfactants are shampoo’s main active ingredient, most products also feature compounds to fight static, thwart mold and bacteria, and impart a sweet, pleasing scent. Most shampoos also contain lathering agents, although lather has no practical cleansing effect—customers have simply come to expect it.
In a span of less than 100 years, Americans went from washing their hair once a month to lathering up almost daily. Spurred mostly by ad campaigns of the mid-20th century, the trend of regular shampooing has taken a toll on our collective tresses. According to dermatologists, shampooing your hair too often can dry it out, causing the glands to compensate by secreting even more sebum. Experts recommend reaching for the shampoo bottle only two or three times each week.