Hair straightening shampoos: Are they really effective?
Nowadays, there are so many new different specialized shampoos we can choose from. Hair gels for better hair growth? There’s plenty of those. Hair vitamins for grey hair reversal? That’s been invented as well! Heck, even kombucha is already being used for hair these days! But, here’s something that we’re probably familiar with since time immemorial: Hair straightening shampoos. And maybe, we’ve gotten so used to it that we haven’t really checked if they’ve been working for us.
In this article, you’ll get to know more about hair-straightening shampoos and you get to decide if it’s really worth it!
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How Do Hair Straightening Shampoos Work?
But first, how do hair straightening shampoos work? Firstly, we have to acknowledge that there are broadly two types of hair straightening methods: permanent and temporary. Permanent hair straightening products can make hair straight for a few months, even when the hair is wetted. Meanwhile, temporary hair straightening products and methods make hair straight until it comes into contact with water or other external factors. With this type, the straightening effect lasts for only a few days.
Hair straightening shampoos fall in the middle of these two. It doesn’t necessarily ‘transform’ your hair’s composition unlike permanent hair straightening products such as Brazilian hair treatments or Japanese rebonding. It also doesn’t use heat to temporarily modify the shape/texture of hair, unlike hair dryers or hair irons. Hair straightening shampoos merely help your hair ‘maintain’ or ‘display’ its straightness.
What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing Hair Straightening Shampoos?
What’s inside hair straightening shampoos that make the hair ‘straight’? Hair straightening shampoos have higher levels of ingredients like silicones, polymers, and other conditioning agents that are deposited on your hair even after rinsing. These agents help weigh the hair down, thus fighting its natural tendency to curl or get frizzy.
However, there are ingredients and factors to consider when buying hair straightening shampoos. This can either increase or decrease the benefits of the product, so you have to keep a keen eye on the following factors!
What are the ingredients of the shampoo?
Like with many other hair products, you should make it a habit to check the label, ingredients, and manufacturers. From this main question, more questions arise, such as:
Does it have sulfates?
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to straightening shampoos is that the presence of sulfate might be more detrimental than beneficial. Sulfates are present in a lot of shampoos in general because they help in cleansing and ridding the hair of dirt and debris. Although, sulfate-free shampoos have their own set of advantages that you might want to check out as well.
Sulfate isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but if you have damaged hair, treated and color-treated hair, or dry hair as is, it’s best to steer clear from this ingredient. Using hair straightening shampoos with sulfate could strip away even more natural oil in your hair and make the situation worse.
How much silicone does it have?
Because of the higher levels of ingredients such as silicone, some hair straightener shampoos might weigh down your hair too much because of all the residue that builds up. This can make your hair feel greasy, dirty, and irritating to carry around. This can also contribute to the buildup of dandruff and leftover debris on your hair.
The most commonly found silicones in hair straightening shampoos are:
- Polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS
- Phenyl Trimethicone
- Cetearyl Methicone
Depending on the silicone content, microfilm forms on your hair that protects it from heat damage. At the same time, it also prevents further moisture from entering your hair, making your hair feel synthetic, almost like plastic. For natural hair, this is a major no-no!
Are the ingredients all-natural, artificial, or mixed?
Usually, products with artificial ingredients are more effective at what they do compared to products boasting of ‘natural components’. For a long time, this has been a common belief, but as time went on, a lot of all-natural shampoos are getting results that are just as great, or even better than some artificial shampoos. Some companies are also utilizing a mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients to try and get the best results.
Are hair straightening shampoos with artificial ingredients bad? Not necessarily. These kinds of products have been tried and tested in the market for so long and most have positive results. It’s just that natural shampoo options can be just as effective and can make for a good purchase. Keep in mind that the ingredient list being all-natural, artificial, or mixed can count. However, you should also highly consider the current state of your hair.
Is it Keratin-based?
Keratin is a protein that’s a building block for your hair, making it stronger and more damage-resistant. This is perfect for those who are not just using hair-straightening shampoos but are also temporarily straightening their hair out through heat styling tools.
However, keratin overload in your hair can also lead to oily, greasy, and weighed-down hair. Think about this if you’re going to purchase a keratin-based hair straightening shampoo.
Does it have natural hair oils?
Natural hair oils are also widely used for hair straightening shampoos. These oils work as conditioning agents that help moisturize and nourish your mane.
Having these kinds of natural oils is nice since they do give amazing effects and it’s generally safe for sensitive scalps and damaged hair. That’s something to keep in mind if you have issues with many artificial ingredients.
What is the price point?
You’ve got to find out if it’s worth it for its price! Ultimately, hair straightening shampoos are fairly cheap, but not every shampoo is even worth it despite the low price tag!
How much shampoo does the product contain?
A big thing we should also consider is the hair straightening shampoo’s size. Sometimes a product can have the most luxurious ingredients, but the amount of product you’re getting in a single purchase may not be worth the hassle.
Why Should You Start Using Hair Straightening Shampoos?
Hair straightening shampoos don’t fully, literally straighten hair. Nonetheless, they give off some worthy benefits! You should start using hair straightening shampoos if:
Your hair is dry and/or frizzy.
Hair straightening shampoos reduces and eliminates frizz and flyaways from your hair, leaving it silky smooth. Your hair becomes more manageable and can be freed from dryness and split-ends. If even after long usage of regular shampoos your hair is dry and frizzy, maybe give hair-straightening shampoos a shot!
Detangling your hair is a major hassle for you.
Hair straightening shampoos make it easy to detangle your hair, it prevents your hair from forming knots and crimps. This improvement makes your hair easy to comb, style, and manage in general.
You need your hair to stay straightened and manageable for longer.
Whether you have damaged, chemically treated, or natural hair, one thing is for sure: hair straightening shampoos help manage your hair. This shampoo is not an end-all-be-all, but it certainly helps you while you still haven’t gone on a trip to the salon for your much-needed haircuts, touch-ups, or hair treatments.
Time and budget are of the essence for you!
Busy and living life on the go? Hair straightening shampoos are definitely your friend. With the usage of this shampoo, your hair is more damage-resistant. In addition, you’ll also need less time and heat to be handled, curled, or styled with heated tools. Also, these shampoos are usually cheaper than most shampoos so that’s another reason most people go for them!
The temperature where you live can get way too humid.
Too much moisture can also be a bad thing for your hair, especially if you want to keep it in a single style for a while. Hair straightening shampoos, especially the keratin-based ones, lock in moisture within your hair and prevent new moisture from interfering with your hair strands. This keeps your hair sleek, shiny, and manageable!
What’s Not To Love About Hair Straightening Shampoos Then?
You might be thinking to yourself, ‘wow hair straightening shampoos are really effective!’. However, we also want to be the ones to tell you that this product isn’t as perfect as it seems. Sometimes, it may not be what you need. For instance, you don’t necessarily need hair-straightening shampoos if:
Your scalp is oily.
If you have an oily scalp, hair-straightening shampoos may not be for you. Hair-straightening shampoos won’t be able to wash away the oils on your scalp, nor ease the greasy feeling. In fact, because of the silicone build-up, you may feel even greasier!
You’re getting dandruff and other debris on your scalp.
For those looking for a deep clean that erases even the smallest traces of dandruff, hair straightening shampoos may not be for you. Sometimes, even dandruff-combs and shampoo brushes aren’t enough to eliminate debris from your hair. Hair straightening shampoos form hydrophobic microfilm and a residue that can add to what is already on your hair, possibly making it more of a problem.
Your salon trips and treatments are more frequent than usual.
Hair-straightening shampoos are considered by salons a ‘cheap alternative’, and if you frequently have chemically-treated hair, it may not be for you. The microfilm formation from the silicone will make it harder for your hair to absorb creams, products, and treatments that you may usually get at the salon. Your hairstylists and salon buddies may suggest other specialized shampoos that will cater to your hair’s exact needs.
Hair-straightening shampoos can do you some good, but it certainly does have its limitations. Again, it doesn’t work like temporary or permanent straighteners, but only serves to manage the hair and maintain a semblance of straightness in the hair strands. So check out all the info that we’ve selected and listed down for you, and make a balanced decision about what’s best for your hair!
Bernadette is a writer who’s also a trained and certified cosmetologist in Melbourne. Her specialties are shampoos and hair treatments! She loves to share tips and tricks to find the best products you can use at home. When she’s not writing, it’s either Bernadette’s in school attending continuing-ed classes or traveling and taking photos!