Did you know that some haircare companies are creating shampoos that don’t produce a lather at all? Their upgraded formulas are made from natural ingredients without harsh chemicals or heavy detergents. Thus, they make some people wonder whether their hair is getting clean or not.
Meanwhile, some people suggest that we’ve been psychologically conditioned to equate lather with cleanliness. But once we look closer at why shampoos produce bubbles, we begin to see how we’ve been misled. The only thing foam shows is that the soap is attracted to water. It has nothing to do with dirt.
The facts about shampoo lather
Contrary to popular belief, lather doesn’t always equal clean. When you shampoo your hair, detergent molecules attach to the dirt and oil on your head. And as you rinse, those molecules mix with water to form a soapy lather.
That means bubbles have nothing to do with how clean your hair gets in the shower. In fact, a heavy lather is often an indicator that there are too many chemicals in your product. That’s one reason why natural shampoos don’t produce as much foam.
Why don’t natural shampoos produce a lather?
Natural shampoos are notorious for not producing a foamy lather, so some people assume they’re not effective at cleaning hair. However, chemical-based shampoos use harsh detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate to create bubbles and give the illusion of clean. Meanwhile, sulfate-free haircare products gently wash the hair from room to tip, all without using compounds that damage the strand just to make foam.
At the same time, a natural shampoo can create a decent lather if you know how to use it. Understand that bubbles are usually indicative of two things: chemicals and water. So, if your product is void of harmful chemicals, then it makes sense to add more water for a frothier lather. Still, you won’t get the enormous poof of bubbles on your head because your hair needs nourishment more than it needs detergent.
3 ways shampoo lather can damage your hair
Shampoos with lots of chemicals aren’t good for your hair, scalp, or skin. So, even if you enjoy the fluffy lather, you could still be doing serious damage to your hair. Detergent-based hair products often create more problems than they solve, including these three:
#1. Your hair gets progressively worse.
Shampoos and conditioners with sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils, making your scalp overcompensate in its oil production. That, in turn, makes your hair greasy. Then you have to wash it more often, and the cycle continues. Over time, your hair can become extremely dry and even start breaking off at the ends.
#2. You have to maintain your mane like a pro.
Because of all the breakage and split ends produced by chemically laden shampoos, your hair will need to be cut and conditioned more often. That can make it harder to grow it out if your hair is already thin, short, or processed. Plus, continually damaged hair can even limit your styling opportunities at the salon.
#3. Your styles don’t last as long.
When you’re constantly getting your hair trimmed and fixed because of what your shampoo is doing to it, maintaining your favorite style is virtually impossible. Not only do the chemicals strip any color deposits you may have but they can also change the structure of your strands, making that amazing cut look less than attractive within days.
NOTE: Some chemical-based shampoos may even cause an allergic reaction if you have sensitive skin or a damaged scalp. Plus, the detergents are generally bad for the environment because of how they’re made and discarded.
The top 5 benefits of using natural shampoo
Sulfate-free shampoos made with natural ingredients can provide numerous benefits to your hair, scalp, skin, and appearance. Here are the top 5:
#1. Your hair gets a dose of nourishment.
Healthy shampoo ingredients help deliver much-needed vitamins, minerals, oils, and botanicals to your thirsty follicles.
#2. You experience faster growth.
A rush of fortified nutrients can stimulate hair growth while helping the strand maintain its natural moisture balance.
#3. Your hair texture improves.
Chemical-free shampoos can actually enhance your hair’s appearance over time while reducing breakage, split ends, and dryness too.
#4. You don’t have to wash as often.
When your hair is clean, healthy, and moisturized, it doesn’t need to be shampooed as often. Over time, that can improve your hair’s condition as well.
#5. You can pronounce most of the ingredients.
It’s important to know what you’re getting exposed to, so most natural shampoos are made from recognizable elements.
What to expect when washing your hair with natural shampoo
Using a high-quality natural shampoo for the first time can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you’re used to the lather produced by chemical-based hair products. And if you’ve never used sulfate-free shampoo before, your hair may feel slightly dry before it feels soft again.
That’s because chemical-based products use silicones to create the illusion of softness. However, natural shampoos are void of silicones and therefore expose the real texture of the hair before refining it. In fact, it can take between 7 and 10 washes to get all the silicone off of your scalp. Thus, you may want to wash with natural shampoo more than once per session, especially if you have thick hair.
Remember that most bubbles are an illusion of clean created by water-reactive detergents. So, don’t expect a large foam pileup on your head. Instead, be ready for a silky-smooth wash with a fresh finish. To get more lather, simply scrub your head in a circular motion using the tips of your fingers or add a little more water onto the mix.
TIP: Follow your shampooing with a gentle, natural conditioner to increase the softness. Leave it on for at least 3 minutes to lock in the moisture.
Natural shampoos don’t produce a bunch of lather because they don’t have to. Instead of depending on harsh chemicals and heavy detergents to create the illusion of clean, sulfate-free shampoos actually wash the hair strand from root to tip while nourishing the scalp and promoting more balanced oil levels. So, while it may take your mane some time to adapt, changing your haircare routine can do more than just change the way you look.