Guide to buying Personal Care Products
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Beauty is enhanced by soft healthy shining hair and a firm radiant skin which are prime indicators of good health. Unfortunately, factors like exhaust fumes, smoke, changing weather, stress, coffee etc adversely affect our skin and hair daily, making them dry and rough. A good cleansing routine combined with a nutrient-rich diet helps in preventing skin aging and maintaining luxuriant hair and promotes hair growth. Skin and Hair types range from normal, oily, dry or a combination type and each demands a different treatment. There are suitable moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners available for each of these types.
Leading brands such as L’Oreal, Paul Mitchell and Sebastian Professional have a huge range of moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners and hair styling products to suit different hair types and conditions.
This buying guide to Personal Care Products enlightens you about these different hair products and skin care products to enable you to choose the right one for your type.
A Shampoo is a hair care product formulated for cleaning the scalp and hair. Your hair type and scalp condition determine the type of shampoo you should go choose.
Hair ranges from normal, oily, dry, damaged, processed, to frizzy and naturally curly. You can also have a combination type depending upon the weather. Each type of hair demands a different shampoo.
Scalps can be oily, dry or have dandruff. Few people are allergic to certain ingredients in the shampoo; a hair expert can recommend the right shampoo for you.
Types of shampoo:
Mild Shampoos are formulated for normal and healthy scalp and hair. These shampoos clean, moisturize and keep your hair soft, shiny while adding some volume to it.
Moisturizing shampoos are designed for treating dry hair and scalp. These shampoos clean the scalp and trap moisture from the environment to keep the scalp hydrated while maintaining pH of the hair around 5.0. Some moisturizing shampoos contain oil which does makes it unsuitable for a greasy scalp.
Shampoo for oily hair contains astringents like sage and tea tree oil that rid the scalp of excess oil.
Shampoo with extra body is advised for fine or thinning hair. They pump up the volume of the hair creating an illusion of thickness.
Anti-Dandruff shampoos are specially formulated hair care products that attempt to rid the scalp of dandruff while minimizing itchiness and redness caused by dandruff.
Clarifying shampoos contain acetic acid found in vinegar. Your regular shampoo, hair styling products, including gels, mousse, creams, and conditioners leave residues behind that make the hair dry and brittle leading to split ends. Used once or twice a month, clarifying shampoos strip the hair of all buildups, giving your hair a fresh clean start.
Balancing shampoo is great for daily use. Sometimes the scalp becomes oily while the hair stays dry balancing shampoo is a gentle and keeps the moisture level between the hair and the scalp in balance. There are specially formulated anti-dandruff balancing shampoos and for washing colored or chemically treated hair. Designed to keep the hair soft and manageable, balancing shampoos contain vitamins and proteins, aloe and Shea butter for softening the hair.
Lightening shampoos are ideal for blonde hair. Containing a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide, it is used for lightening the hair and maintaining highlights in colored hair. Frequent use can damage the hair follicles, but a suitable conditioner can avert it. The effects of a lightening shampoo differ with hair health, color and thickness and the chemical processes such as perming, chemical re-bonding or straightening.
Organic shampoos contain herbs like aloe vera, rosemary, sage etc and fruit extracts of peach, strawberry etc plus other natural ingredients. They are suitable for those allergic to chemicals. Organic shampoos too have variants like chemical-based shampoos and work equally well. Some commercial brands include some chemicals in the shampoo to keep it fresh. Check the ingredients before buying.
Volumizing shampoo is a protein-based that adds volume to fine, thinning hair. Humectants, found in panthenol, a form of pro-vitamin B5 take in moisture from the air to lift up the hair shaft and plump it up. This creates an illusion of thick hair. Silk protein replenishes the natural ph level in the hair to make it look thicker. Other ingredients include wheat protein, rice protein and witch hazel for added moisture and resilience.
Is your hair feeling dry and listless after shampooing? Or are they too frizzy, curly and unmanageable? Such hair require a little extra pampering that a hair conditioner or serum can give. Conditioning or moisturizing your hair is the second step in hair care after shampooing. A hair conditioner is a moisturizing agent for hair that gives softness and shine to hair while keeping it tangle-free and manageable.
A wide range and variants of conditioners are available to suit different types of hair. Buy a product according to your hair type to achieve optimum results. Depending upon the composition, a conditioner can be made of both natural as well as synthetic ingredients.
A moisturizing conditioner has humectants that moisturize the hair for a longer period and smoothes the hair cuticles. A conditioner that contains lubricants like dimethicones, methicones, stearyl alcohol, cetyl, panthenol or silicone is recommended by hair experts for frizzy, dry or naturally hair. Extracts of Aloe Vera, Shea butter, avocado, jojoba and tea tree oil are natural moisturizers.
A protein-based volumizing conditioner gives body to limp, fine and damaged hair. Also known as reconstructors, these contain hydrolyzed protein or keratin that penetrates the shaft and bind the cuticles to add a shine and smoothness to the hair.
Hair that tangles easily needs an anti-frizz, detangling conditioner for closing the hair cuticles so that each hair strand stands separately. They contain polymers like silicone for cuticle smoothening and fatty acids that act like sebum (natural skin oil) to add gloss or an acidifier with a low ph of 2.5 to 3.5.
Hair conditioners come in four variants- ordinary, pack, hold and leave-in conditioners. Such conditioners allow the hair to be easily dried, brushed and styled without having to battle with tangles.
- An ordinary or rinse-out conditioner is applied to the hair after it is washed and rinsed out within two or three minutes.
- Thick, heavy and creamy, the masque or pack conditioner glues the hair together. It is to be left in the hair for a longer period than the ordinary conditioner, before it is rinsed out.
- Similar to a hair gel in texture, the hold conditioner is used to style the hair.
- Thinner and lighter, a Leave-in conditioner is left in the hair till the next hair wash. Ideal for active individual like sports people, swimmers and athletes, a leave-in conditioner is either sprayed on or gently rubbed into the hair after it is towel-dried. Some products like a hair gel, styling mousse and cream have leave-in conditioners built-in for moisturizing the hair.
- Hair Serum: Basically non-sticky silicone-based oil, a serum works like a conditioner. It is applied after a hair wash to hydrate, add gloss, strength and prevent tangling by forming a thin protective film on the hair strands. Serums containing SPF are known to protect hair from sun and damage caused by overuse of hair styling products and environmental pollutants.
Points to consider before buying a shampoo and a conditioner:
- Trying out small sachets of different products to see what suits you.
- Determine your hair type before buying a shampoo or a conditioner.
- The shampoo and conditioner have different purposes, hence experts advise against buying a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.
- Normal healthy hair may use a lightweight conditioner while dry and damaged hair requires intense conditioning.
- Colored, dyed and chemically processed hair needs special products. Consult a hair expert to recommend products suited to your hair type.
- Shampoos and conditioners can be fragrant or non-fragrant. Some skins are allergic to certain ingredients like synthetic dyes and fragrance used in these products. Organic products containing plant extracts and aromatherapy oils are the best for them.
- Special shampoos and conditioners sans any animal product are available for vegans.
- Some conditioners come with a built-in SPF factor that protects the hair from the broad range of damaging UVA and UVB sun rays.
- The price is also a consideration. Products formulated by private salons are costlier than commercially available ones, but are considered to be far superior and effective.
A hair spray helps to hold the hair in place so that the hair styles like perms and curls can last longer. Hair sprays do not flake off and are not affected by sweat or humidity.
Hair spray is a mixture of complex polymers of vinyl acetate and methacrylate with water and/or denatured alcohol and dimethyl ether that acts as a spray propellant. On spraying, the liquid evaporates along with the gas leaving behind the polymers to coat the hair. The polymer creates a stiff bond and holds the hair in place even when combed.
Like shampoos and conditioners, hair sprays are available to suit different types of hair. Light hold, medium hold and super holds are the three types that are differentiated on the basis of the size of polymer droplets regulated by the bottle sprayer as well as their polymer formulas. Light hold hair spray is used as an anti-frizz for permed curls and for holding hair in place for a few hours. Medium hold spray is for easily manageable hair while super hold comes with the largest droplet size and hence a firmer holding power and is ideal for thin and unmanageable hair.
Organic or natural hair sprays have no alcohol content, no synthetic and irritating chemicals and no fragrance, and are thus ideal for those suffering from allergic reactions. Organic hair sprays contain flower and herbal extracts including aloe vera, comfrey, chamomile, henna, balsam, marigold, lavender, yucca, wheat protein etc.
Our skin gets easily damaged thanks to environmental pollutants and excessive exposure to sunlight that leads to formation of wrinkles and fine lines due to collagen breakdown. It is thus vital to keep the skin hydrated at all times to keep the skin from cracking and aging. Two specially formulated sunscreen moisturizers help to combat a broad spectrum of harmful UVA and UVB rays that can damage the skin irrevocably.
SPF moisturizers contain different levels of sun protection factor (SPF) ranging from 2 to 45 offering different levels of protection against harsh sunrays. An SPF moisturizer also protects against cold, against damage caused by free radicals and also helps control acne.
Convenient to apply on areas like shoulders and behind the neck area Sunscreen sprays are of two types. The waterproof type stays on during swimming, while the water-resistant variety stays on through perspiration.
Summing it up:
There are plenty of personal care products available in the market, so choosing the right one that suits your body can be challenging. More often, it is going to be try-and-test method that you will need to employ to find out which product works for you. Use this guide to narrow down the choices and make a well-informed decision.
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