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How shampoo can damage your hair and how to prevent it

Lisa Fogarty


Lisa Fogarty

Lisa Fogarty has written numerous articles for USA Today, The Stir, Opposing Views and other publications. She has covered everything from red carpet events to the discovery of toxic PCBs on school windows. She lives on Long Island, N.Y....

How to prevent the damage of shampoo without quitting it all together

Shampoo: It's nothing personal (except that it is), but we're just not that into you lately. Call this the "no poo" decade. Everywhere you turn, beauty experts and everyday women are swearing off shampoos and conditioners in favor of natural cleansing treatments that use ingredients like apple cider vinegar and baking soda to rid the scalp of dirt without stripping its natural oils.

And, even if you're not down with alternative hair washing methods, chances are you've recently discovered the miracle help-me-I'm-running-late morning beauty fix known as dry shampoo.

Maybe you've heard shampoos aren't good for your hair, but you aren't entirely sure why — especially since you made the decision to upgrade from your $2 brand to a serious, organic, sulfate-free luxury product that smells like heaven.

More: 15 Nasty chemicals beauty brands are still using

We spoke with beauty and hair experts, who helped explain how shampoo can damage your hair.

It strips your scalp of the oils it needs

Lori Contarino, the owner of Indigo Salon & Day Spa, says washing your hair every day is only going to add more oil to your scalp. "Shampooing every day can strip hair of its natural oils, dries out hair, and can cause breakage," Contarino said. "The natural oils are important in keeping hair healthy looking. Over-shampooing can also stimulate oils and cause hair to become more oily." Contarino says, if your hair is drier than normal, run a conditioner through it prior to shampooing, then shampoo, and then finish off with a second conditioning treatment.

More: What you need to know about sulfates

It can have similar effects of a perm

Say what?! Less expensive shampoo is filled with waxes and is diluted so you have to use a lot more to clean your scalp, says Stylist Marissa Newacheck of EDEN by Eden Sassoon Finishing Studio. One weird result? Frizzy locks like something out of your worst '80s hair nightmare. "The chemicals could actually perm your hair if left on too long," Newacheck said. "Your hair will be stripped of moisture and it can damage the cuticle permanently. The harsh chemicals and waxes will create buildup, clog pores and cause breakage over time." Newacheck reminds us to only shampoo the scalp and never wash our hair from the mid-shaft to the ends.

Know that dry shampoo isn't the best solution

If you are one of thousands of women who believe we're doing something fabulous by replacing our shampoos with dry shampoos, you should know they are no miracle cure. "Excessive use of dry shampoo can cause a build-up that actually attracts dirt and oil," said Celebrity Hairstylist and Hair Thinning Expert Angelo David Pisacreta of Angelo David Salon. "Dry shampoo is easy to use in between washes, but moderation is key or you will end up with a head of full of gunk."

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