The cosmetics industry will have you believe a lot of their marketing spin is anchored in the truth – that a certain product will make you look a decade younger; a beauty cream will take care of those unsightly crow’s feet (as long as you continue to purchase it every three months for the next five years) and a life-changing powder will revolutionise your life. All just a few examples of crazes we all know people religiously buy into.
When it comes to hair maintenance, advertising also rules supreme. So, will buying a combination shampoo and conditioner really transport you to a tropical paradise? Will you instantly become more attractive, like another brand’s beautiful spokesperson? Will it really save you time and effort to achieve the perfect oil-free shape you’ve been striving for?
Sometimes, the answer is a yes, and that’s great. Take dry shampoo – you might have seen this piece in the Daily Mail on it last week – a product that does what it says on the tin, saving you time and effort. The debate around the effects of dry shampoo rattles on and we’re told how it can lead to our locks falling out one week, but the one-spray solution to long-term hair health the next.
It’s true that, in lieu of proper hair maintenance, it can significantly damage your hair and scalp. It may sound like one of those old wives’ tales, but when you’re substituting a quick fix for proper care on a long-term basis, you’re only damaging your long-term hair care.
Dry shampoo works by absorbing the oil that your scalp naturally produces, giving your hair a refreshing look and feel. Conversely, shampoo is a detergent, designed to clean the scalp and clear it of debris. The term ‘shampoo’ in dry shampoo is clearly a misnomer in this instance, encouraging consumers to think that it’s fine to use it as a substitute for proper shampoo, as we argued in the Daily Mail.
The problem with overreliance on it is that the dry shampoo sprayed on your hair doesn’t clean the hair – it sits on follicles, absorbing the gunk our scalps produce. Over time, this build up of matter – the materials in dry shampoo, oil, dead skin etc – builds up on the scalp and what was once a convenience now ends up blocking pores, causing irritation and scaling of the skin. Convenient, eh?! Ultimately, a lack of cleaning the scalp – regardless of hair length – can lead to seborrheic dermatitis, an unfortunate skin condition that, like any condition that affects the scalp, can lead to hair loss.
If you’re using this product as a convenience, then that’s perfectly fine. Keep cleaning your scalp and hair regularly, and you’re good to go. However, don’t let the advertising techniques sell you something that simply will not do the job and will lead to an itchy and painful experience – as well as a long-term threat to your hair health.