Shampoo does for hair what soap does for the body. Hair shampoo is used to remove dead skin particles, dirt, oils, environmental debris, oils and other polluting particles that make their presence felt in hair gradually. Shampoo is used to clean the undesirable build up of the given invasions without damaging your hair and making them manageable. Water is used to build lather in shampoo.
Lathered shampoo functions like a surfactant, thoroughly cleaning the scalp and hair and also removes the natural oils called sebum, which are produced to lubricate the hair shaft. Most people use conditioner after two shampoo applications to discipline their hair for combing and styling.
The concept and coinage of the word shampoo was given to the world by India during British rule. Head massage with oil was adopted by the English in 1762. The term shampoo was first introduced in England by a Bengali business man Sake Dean Mahomed in 1814. Dean and his wife opened ‘Mahomed’s Indian Vapor Baths’ in Brighton, Britain at this time and received appreciation as a shampoo surgeon to George the fourth and William the fourth. It was in the nineties that the word transferred from meaning oiling, to soaping of hair.
In the early stages shampooing was done by English hair stylists by boiling shaved soap and water with herbs to give fragrance and shine to hair. The traditional hair message and shampooing in India is still done by using natural products like oils and herbs in different formulations. These constitute shikakai, neem, areetha or soap nut, bael, henna, buttermilk, fenugreek seeds, aloe, amla and almonds in varied combinations with aromatic substances like jasmine, sandalwood, rose,turmeric and musk.
As mentioned earlier, sebum, oil secreted by hair follicles is cleaned with the use of shampoo. Although sebum is produced to protect the protein structure of hair it also attracts dirt and collects scalp flakes. Shampoo or surfactant is made to clear the excess sebum from hair strands. Shampoo is a different class from body soap, especially designed to clean hair.
A good shampoo should ease rinsing, minimize hair damage, protect skin against irritation and give hair a nice shine, fragrance and finish. It is desirable that shampooing products come with low toxicity, good biodegradability and are mildly acidic.