Shampoo Ingredients: The Basic Ingredients You Should Know

Alyssa François | 27 November 2017

What’s in your poo?

With personalized shampoo on the rise at the moment, many women are becoming thrilled about the idea of creating a shampoo product with just the ingredients their hair needs. However, each shampoo ingredient serves a purpose and you could be missing out on a benefit just because it’s missing from your shampoo system. We’re here to help you out on that front!

We understand that not every consumer is well versed in shampoo ingredients, and it takes some digging to understand what each ingredient is and what its purpose is. Read on below as we explain what you should know about the ingredients in your shampoo bottle, and what each does for the state of your locks:

Shampoo Ingredients: The Basic Ingredients You Should Know

shampoo ingredients infographic
Here are the shampoo ingredients you need to know.

1. Sulfates

This is a big one as sulfates have been getting a bad rap lately, but many don’t know what sulfates really are. Sulfates are simply surfactants, a.k.a. a soapy substance that deeply cleanses your strands. There are a lot of shampoos on the market that have a lower count of sulfates, a fact that helps make the formula a bit gentler. You’ll probably come across this in a lot of shampoos formulated for color-treated hair, like Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo. This shampoo gently cleanses, and when used with its corresponding conditioner, helps preserve the vibrant, moisturized look and feel of colored hair.

SUAVE KERATIN INFUSION COLOR CARE SHAMPOO

2. Water

Water is usually the first ingredient found in most shampoos, as it usually takes up the largest amount of a shampoo’s formula. This is an essential ingredient as it helps blend all the other ingredients together, and it also serves as a hydrating ingredient. Need a hydrating shampoo to try? You can opt for Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo, which also works well at boosting volume in fine and flat hair types when paired with its conditioner.

DOVE OXYGEN MOISTURE SHAMPOO

3. Silicones

Ed’s tip: Any ingredient you see in your shampoo with the suffix “-cone” at the end is a silicone. Silicones help create slip in your hair and are also the key reason why your hair feels smooth after washing; they give that telltale “slip.” Another reason you should love silicones: This is the ingredient that also helps tame frizz.

4. Glycol Distearate

Ever squeezed your shampoo into your hand and noticed it had a pretty, pearl-like finish? You can thank glycol distearate for this. This ingredient is used in a lot of shampoos that are meant to help condition hair.

5. Sodium Chloride

Let’s be honest for a second: If you came across a shampoo that had a super watery feeling, would you still use it, and would you think it will do a great job at cleansing your hair? Probably not. This is where sodium chloride comes in. This ingredient is used to help thicken your shampoo.

6. Carbopol

Ever wondered why certain products instruct you to shake well before use? It’s for the simple fact that shaking causes shampoo ingredients to move around and mix together. You don’t normally see this instruction on shampoo products. Why? Thanks to carbopol, ingredients float throughout your shampoo, eliminating the need to shake before usage.

7. Fiber Actives

Ingredients like fiber actives are vital for damage-repair shampoo products, as they are the ingredients that help repair damage within the hair cuticle. One of our go-to shampoos for damage recovery is Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Shampoo, which, along with the conditioner, visibly repairs damage in just three uses.

SUAVE PROFESSIONALS COCONUT OIL INFUSION DAMAGE REPAIR SHAMPOO

For more shampoo tips, here are some of the best budget-friendly shampoos to try