There is a bit of an overlap here from the 'healthy hair' page, simply because you can't really talk about one without mentioning the other, but this page is simply about products, what they do and to give you advice on where I would suggest you look (I do not make any products personally, though I do work with some people in the product industry) the advice given is my own and I have divided the links below into people who I work with and people who I simply recommend so I am as clear as possible as to my relationship with these product manufacturers.
But first some info on the blurb which is spouted by product companies!
FAQ on products
Alcohol free products
Alcohol is not the terrible chemical which its purported to be, some are actually good for the hair (fatty alcohols are emollients which smooth the hair) and there is no correspondence with consuming alcohol and thinning hair/hair loss, unless it is of a quantity which causes liver damage.
No such thing! Product companies wish to conjure up a natural feel to promote the goodness in their shampoo or conditioner just because it has one or two extracts in it please dont be so gullible! Just look at the label and you will see the amount of man-made products there are in each one!
If it is in a bottle and is a shampoo or a conditioner it is not organic!... (I always envision some Amazonian hunter-gatherer taking empty bottles up a magical mountainside squeezing juice of the shampoo tree directly into a bottle and then sending it direct to the high street shops!) Come on! Wake up...they are made in large factories with LOTS of man-made chemicals in them...this does not mean they are bad for you...they are just not organic...and no just because there is a flower in the bottle does not mean to say it has the flower juice in it!
100% pure products
A nonsense term made up by marketing companies, pure what...pure shampoo...as most of the products are 90% water any wet product count claim at least 90% pure/natural or organic!
Hair density products
This term is banded around by certain products which know they cannot use the words “hair loss remedy” because that would be a false statement. Instead these products claim to increase hair density!...so what does that mean? Is it the density of the actual hair, which increases? The density per cm2 ? The overall density...this is an erroneous claim, which cannot be tested against.
Product build up
Does your face suffer from product build up after using make-up, moisturizers day in day out? You put on and take off this stuff all the time, but you dont require an extra cleanser at the end of the week because its built up on your face? Same goes for hair!
My shampoo has lots of vitamins in it so it must be good?
How can a dead material absorb and reconstitute itself...this would be like putting a vitamin rich clothes detergent into your wash and expecting your old holey clothes to magically repair themselves??
Natural hair loss products
A hotly contested question!, basically, there are two medications which have been proven to have an effect on hair loss, and that is it really…but… There are lots of clever products coming onto the market which are claiming big things…the theorys of some (arginine based products mainly) are sound and cannot be ignored…but…the research on these are limited and are far from the magic pill or lotion they make out to be.
They will not be as effective as the proven hair loss medication and at best will help slow down the affects of hair loss and not cure it! An excerpt from my book (The hair medic) on hair products.
How do they work?
How does shampoo work?
A Shampoo is a mainly a detergent- it cleans the hair (strips the grease and oils off the hair shaft) a small molecule called a micelle which has a Hydrophilic (water loving) head and a lipophilic (oil loving) tail.
The Tail attaches itself to the oily hair, and then its dragged off along with the oil/dirt/grease off via the head being pulled off with the water when rinsed.
It has other ingredients in it which help; these include surfactants which help with breaking down the water bonds allowing the shampoo to lather up better, break down grease and get rinsed off easily.
How does Conditioner work?
A conditioner is even more simple, its an emollient – it smoothes the cuticles back down after being roughed up..This is a simplistic way of looking at them, but in essence, thats really all they do, some do penetrate the cuticle to the cortex of the hair and deposit certain, oils, proteins which act as a poly-filler to any type of crack in the hair, but this is all it can do, paper over the cracks and clean/smooth hair.
Price of products?
Why the huge difference in price of products on the market?
The difference can be thought of in the same reason there is a huge difference in price in cars, a Ferrari is far more expensive that your little run around city car, but why? They do the same job?
The answer is the same for both (hair products and cars) Its a question of performance!
Both cars will get you from A to B but the super sports car has a far superior build quality, raw material and expertise in making it what it is, the same can be said for a high end, good quality shampoo.
A more expensive shampoo will have more refined products and will be able to deliver the ingredient which delivers the value of the product better (e.g.: a volumising shampoo will have an ingredient in it which causes the cuticle to swell). It will probably have better quality perfumes and preservatives in the product.
The combination of both shampoo and conditioner is important too, as the products would most likely to be designed to work in tandem with each other and so be more effective
But remember you also buy into the whole ethos of the brand (name), its a psychological thing...you buy an expensive product because usually they are better quality!
The most important thing with hair products is that you are happy with the performance with it, no matter what it is!
Which one is best for me?
Categories for shampoos and conditioners usually fall into 6 basic categories:
For hair which is...er...normal! Not greasy nor dry, coloured or processed, neither thick nor fine.
Hairs which seem to over produce sebum and as a result make the hair look greasy.
*Greasy hair/excessive sebum production may be due to an underlying medical condition.
Frizzy**, dull, breaks easily, tangles easily, chemically treated hair.
** The Frizz some women suffer from may be due to an underlying problem causing excessive shedding, which causes this frizzy look; this cannot be rectified by cosmetic products alone.
Volumising products which plump the cuticle of the hair and temporarily create a look of thicker hair.
Usually in the coloured hair category these shampoos have ingredients to reduce fading of the colour.
For problem scalps these have active ingredients which have an effect on itching or flaking conditions.
Can a shampoo help with hair loss?
Medicated shampoos are the first treatment with most scalp conditions, itchiness, and flakey scalps can be maintained and regulated with the correct shampoo and scalp treatment combo. But what about helping hair to grow better??..there are lots of hair loss shampoos on the market but do any of them work?
There is a study C. Piérard-Franchimont, V. Goffin, F. Henry, I. Uhoda, C. Braham, G. E. Piérard. Department of Dermatopathology, University Medical Center Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège Belgium. International Journal of Cosmetic Science Volume 24, Issue 5, Page 249-256, Oct 2002.
Which concluded that shampoos which have a substance called Piroctone olamide demonstrated that it had some other benefits in addition to their reported antidandruff effect. The data show that these shampoos have a beneficial effect on the anagen/ telogen ratio (the growing vs. dying phase) the product increased the anagen hair percentage in subjects with dandruff. This results in a reduced hair shedding.
So the answer is in some cases, yes…the right shampoo can help with hair loss.
These are the people who I rate in the product industry for the quality of the products they make and their openness to claims made (if any).
Philip Kingsley: An entire range of hair products all Trichological tested, basically as a full range for hair care, you wont find better.
Tony Maleedy: one of the U.Ks leading Trichologists who has just launched his own range, with some very impressive science to back up his claims...and excellent medicated shampoo for all hair and scalp problems.
My recommendations (working relationships)
Beever hair care: A purely cosmetic hair care range of waxes, creams and styling products, I helped develop them so I know they are excellent at what they do and they are very kind to skin too!