Regardless of its colour, length or texture, our hair is our crowning glory. So much so that a survey by global beauty brand Avon revealed that 67 per cent of women feel their most confident when they’re having a good hair day. Which explains why we spend so much time making sure it looks good – apparently us ladies are whiling away the equivalent of ten days a year preening and perfecting it. And it’s not just our time we’re willing to invest into our locks.
Our wallets are taking a hit too, with it being estimated that the average women spends Dh4,000 a year on hair products. No wonder the haircare market is booming. The global value of haircare currently stands at over $80 billion, and experts are predicting that number is only set to rise.
So how much should we be spending? And more specifically, how much of that should go on shampoo, a product that is, quite literally, washed down our bathroom plugs. Should we be lured into thinking that more expensive is better, or would a drugstore product get our locks just as clean for a fraction of the price? A recent BBC documentary explored this very fact and with interesting results.
An experiment was undertaken at Huddersfield University, in the UK, where three shampoos were put to the test. They varied in price from Dh4, Dh30 and Dh200 and each were put under rigorous lab tests to see which could clean hair the most efficiently. Dr Laura Waters, one of the chemists leading the experiment, explains. ‘Hair produces a natural oil called sebum, and the job of any shampoo is to get rid of the dirt and debris, such as dead skin.’
In her findings all three shampoos contained a similar cleaning ingredient, known as a surfactant. Surfactants as well as being in shampoos, are also found in detergents, and their main purpose is to loosen dirt from whatever it’s clinging onto, in this case your hair and scalp, by reducing its surface tension and then allow water to either wash it away or make it dissolve.
However, where the three shampoos differed is the added extras they offered, or in some cases, didn’t offer. The cheapest shampoo was found to contain no conditioning agent, which the scientists discovered makes hair become more static and more likely to attract more dirt. Meaning the more frequently you use it, the dirtier your hair becomes.
However, the more pricey offerings did contain conditioning agents, leaving the hair in better condition and cleaning it the most proficiently. Of course, adding in these conditioning agents – which are often expensively sourced oils or hydrating butters – makes a formula more expensive than those without. And it’s these extra ingredients that can set one shampoo apart from another and are, ultimately, worth your money.
Brands are now going above and beyond to offer shampoos with benefits to try and give you your best hair day yet – from hair washes that will lock colour molecules into the hair shaft rather than letting them escape, to clever polymers that wrap around hair strands preventing moisture and humidity getting in and keeping the dreaded frizz at bay. Read on to discover the latest shampoos that do so much more than just clean your hair, although they do that pretty darn well, too.
Wash these shampoos right into your hair:
SHOW Beauty Lux Volume Shampoo, Dh175
As well as smelling absolutely divine, this shampoo contains very clever wheat protein based copolymers. What you need to know about those is that they literally lift hair up from the root, acting a bit like scaffolding, making fine hair look more voluminous and full. It also contains caviar and white truffle extracts, which not only add to the luxe effect of this shampoo, but are also brilliant conditioning agents.
Ouai Volume Shampoo, Dh103
This is packed with tamarind seed, a plant source of hyaluronic acid. If you’ve ever heard of hyaluronic acid for your face, then this does exactly the same for your hair and scalp; pumping it full of moisture. And hydrated hair is easier to get volume into, and retain it, because it doesn’t lose its shape so quickly. However there are also smart keratin proteins in this too, which bond to the hair, repairing any damage along the way.
Christophe Robin Regenerating Shampoo with Prickly Pear Oil, Dh110
Prickly pear oil may not be one that you are overly familiar with. However, this shampoo is about to change that because it’s packed with the stuff and for very good reason. Prickly pear oil contains very high levels of vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Vitamin E is brilliant at repairing skin, so on your scalp will help reduce any inflammation and also keep it moisturised. And the reason fatty acids are so valuable is because they help your hair retain moisture and stay flexible, keeping split ends and brittle hair at bay.
Grown Alchemist Volumising Shampoo, Dh195
This brilliant brand strips out harmful ingredients and only include those that are organic and naturally derived. The genius behind this shampoo is that it uses positively charged guar gum that naturally opposes our negatively charged hair, making the hair shafts stand up (don’t worry – you won’t look like you’ve been electrocuted!) and hence your hair appear fuller.
Color Wow Color Security Shampoo, Dh140
You won’t be surprised to learn that this shampoo is designed specifically to keep your colour in place for longer and prevent it from dulling. How does it do this? Firstly, it doesn’t contain all the things that can strip colour away, such as parabens and sulfates. They literally open up the hair shaft allowing colour to escape, so if you spend time and money on your perfect in-salon colour, it makes sense to protect it at home with the right shampoo. It also doesn’t contain any pearling agents. These are small beads of pearlised colour, which in other shampoos make your hair look shinier after one wash, but actually stick to the hair and over time make your hair dirtier. And that is not what shampoo should be about.
Crescina Re-Growth Shampoo, Dh199
Created by renowned Swiss cosmetic laboratory, Labo Suisse, this shampoo has been scientifically tested to promote new hair growth and reduce hair fall, meaning your hair will stay thicker for longer. The science behind it has been published in scientific journals, meaning it’s been proven to be true, but what you need to know is that it contains three very clever ingredients – cysteine, lysine and glycoprotein - which help stimulate hair growth at the root. A must-try for anyone with thinning and fine hair.
Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo, Dh145
Whilst this is primarily a volumising shampoo, it is so much more than that. All Sachajuan products contain their proprietary Ocean Silk technology – a combination of sea algaes that increase shine, add moisture and bring out the best in your hair. Because this gets your hair truly clean and it adds in hair-boosting benefits, it means your hair can do what it naturally wants to do, instead of having to fight again limp-inducing bad ingredients. And for most, that is to lift hair up at the root and look fuller through the lengths.
Davines Oi Shampoo, Dh80
As well as all the ingredients you need to get your hair seriously clean, this brilliant shampoo contains Amazonian roucou oil as its conditioning agent. What makes this oil so great is that it is lightweight, so it won’t leave fine hair feeling limp, but also hydrating enough to keep frizz at bay and get even the thickest of hair looking shiny again.