Is lather important in my shampoo?

12 Oct

- 2020 -

Is lather important in my shampoo?

All those shampoo adverts we see on TV, Online and Print always feature an extremely happy woman washing her hair with a very foamy shampoo. Even baby shampoo adverts have lots of foam! These constant images have taught us to associate lather with a shampoo’s ability to clean.

A lot of people look out for that whisked egg-white type peak in their shampoo, but this shouldn’t be your standard for you to judge if it’s cleaning your hair of not.

In fact, sulfate-free shampoos tend to have less foam, but to compensate for this, foam boosters are put into the shampoo to create bubbles many of us know and love.

Foam boosters in our shampoo are a surfactant – more specifically a primary surfactant because their cleansing ability is high (which isn’t a bad thing). Foaming happens when the surfactant molecules gather around air instead of oil. The result is millions of tiny bubbles.

The three main types of foam boosters used in our shampoo are:

  • Alkanolamides
  • Betaines
  • Amide Oxides

However, lather is a good indication of how clean our hair is. Ever wondered why there is never much lather in the first wash? This is because our hair carries the most amounts of oils, dirt and possibly minerals and our shampoo is working at removing the bulk of it. The more you wash your hair → the less debris→ the more lather because the surfactant molecules are mixed with the air, instead of the oils in your hair.

In summary, If you have A LOT of foam, it most often means that you simply used too much shampoo. Although foam helps naturally curly and/or coily hair by reducing the amount of manipulation needed to detangle, there’s a difference between foam and full on bundles of bubbles. Ideally, your shampoo should just have enough lather to lubricate your scalp and hair.


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