The most commonly found ingredients in shampoos are as follows;
Sodium laureth sulfate: The main detergent
Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate: A secondary detergent
Dimethicone: Similar to silicone, it helps shampoo glide through the hair
Glycol Distearate: A thickening agent
Sodium chloride: Common salt helps bind ingredients together and thickens the shampoo
Cetyl Alcohol: Makes shampoo feel thicker or softer and helps bind together the other ingredients
Cocamidopropyl: Another cleansing agent
Glycol Stereate: Gives shampoo that attractive pearly sheen
Polyquaternium: Has anti-static properties and can help bind water to hair by forming a sheer film over it
Cocamide Mea: Thickens shampoo and creates foam
Regardless of the price these ingredients are to be found in most, if not all shampoos, on the market.
Lets compare two as an example. Firstly Philip B White Truffle Shampoo, 220ml at £39
The top listed ingredients in the Philip B shampoo are; Water/Aqua, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Soyamidopropyl Betaine, Soyamidopropalkonium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Polyquaternium-10, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Panthenol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Chloride, (other ingredients are used)
The second shampoo I am comparing is Pantene Pro V, 500ml at £3.99 which contains;
Water/Aqua, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamide MEA, Glycol Distearate, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-7M, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
Please notice the ingredients listed in black, and how many are shared between the two shampoos regardless of the price difference. Other ingredients used which come in much further down the ingredients list (and therefore not listed here) are used in such small amounts as to make little difference. Akin to adding a drop of alcohol to a glass of water and calling it a cocktail.
So really claims that a much more expensive type of shampoo is better for your hair than a cheaper one are in short, lies. The primary ingredients are same regardless of paying £39 or £3.99 (and getting 280mil extra) and the ‘extra’ ingredients generally make up less than 1% of the product and thus are next to useless when it comes to caring for your hair.
Shampoos are fundamentally simple formulations. Aside from water, they need to contain surfactants, detergents, to clear away the oily materials on the surface of the hair, allowing them to be washed away with water.
A cheap brand is likely to clean your hair as well as, if not better sometimes, than a more expensive type. What you really are paying for is the experience, the ability to pay that much for hair care, and the sense of luxury that then gives you.
A 59p bottle of shampoo is unlikely to give you the same sense of luxury when sitting on your shelving as a £39+ bottle of shampoo. And it certainly won’t impress your friends as much when they nip in there to use the convieniences (i.e snoop about)
By all means buy expensive products if that is your buzz, but know that cheaper products will almost certainly give you the same level of care. (Just hide them from your nosy friends or decant them into the most expensive bottles once empty. Top tip)