The Purpose of Shampoo

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Humans have cleansed their hair, scalp, and body from the beginning of times. As early as 4000 B.C., Eurasians managed to clean their hair and body in bathhouses, as documented by Virginia Smith. In Mesopotamia, personal cleanliness had become a common occurrence, by 3000 B.C. The cosmetic business was thriving in Egypt in the ancient world, as they harvested domestic vegetable source materials such as lotus flowers and other sudsing plants for cleanliness and washing of the hair and body. The early Egyptians, Sumerians, Orientals, Romans and modern day Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus made religious and hygienic rituals out of bathing and cleansing hair. In the twentieth century, bathing became more accessible and a convenient chore that could be carried out at home for the common man. In the nineteenth and early centuries, soap was a choice product for cleansing the body and hair. By the middle of the 20th century, synthetic detergents were introduced in the form of liquid products called shampoos and bath lotions. Since then, detergent based products have come of an age and become everyday use products. There have been numerous innovations in the shampoos and bath products in the last century.

 Shampooing African Descent and Caucasian Hair

 Wet African descent hair is five times more difficult to comb  compared to Caucasian wet hair. Dry African descent hair is 50 times more difficult to comb compared to dry Caucasian hair. Wet Caucasian hair is roughly two times stronger than wet African descent hair. Similarly, dry Caucasian hair is 25% stronger than dry African descent hair. The largest difference in strength lies in wet hair. Therefore, a great deal of care and caution is needed when combing wet African descent hair.  In the case of shampoo for Caucasian hair, the following hair properties need to be imparted to the hair: thorough cleansing, non-stripping, non-irritating, maintaining hair pH, least damaging, abundant foam, easy rinsing ability, soft hair, shiny hair, etc. Since wet African descent hair is very difficult to comb and very fragile as compared to Caucasian hair, the following attributes need to be imparted to African descent hair: gentle cleansing of hair and scalp, maximum ease of wet and dry combing of hair, non-irritating to scalp, non-stripping to hair and scalp, and the rest of the same attributes as in Caucasian hair and scalp. In our next blog post I will discuss the different types of shampoos now available on the market.