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Shopping for Shampoo

Head to any store’s health and beauty aisle and you will find lots of shampoos and conditioners. But are they as good as the more expensive salon products? Betty Sexton examines the cheap and the chic in “Shopping for Shampoo”.

Countless shampoos promise to revitalize, rejuvenate, and even repair your hair. But can they really do all that? And is there a difference between the cheap stuff and the expensive brands? A lot of people want to know. How can it go from $20 to .99?

Being a guy, I normally buy the cheapest stuff that they sell at the store. I just get my shampoo and things like that at Wal Mart or wherever.

Melissa Tessitore has been using the same shampoo for ten years. She has tried the expensive stuff but found it didn’t work for her. So we did some research to see if price really matters.

The main thing to look for in shampoos is PH. Colorado Springs stylist Parisa Farazandeh, has been in the hair business for 14 years. She and other experts say shampoos have two common ingredients – water and surfectant which is detergent. She says looking at a shampoo’s PH is a good way to measure quality.

PH is a number on a scale between one to fourteen – measuring acidity or alkalinity. Water’s PH is seven. Your hair and skin have a PH between 4.5 and 5.5. So, Parisa says finding a shampoo in that range will cleanse your hair but not strip the color or the natural oil it needs.

By swabbing different shampoos onto these PH strips – Parisa quickly found some good and not so good ones. Between three and four – so you want to stay away from the Therma Silk.

Altogether we tested 14 shampoos you can find at just about any grocery or drug store. Parisa found five with good PH levels between 4.5 and 5.5.

Pantene for Color Treated Hair and Pantene Pro V Moisturizing Shampoo as well as Physique Shampoo, Loreal Vive Fresh Shine, and Garnier Fructis. They were priced in the $4 to $7 range.

Parisa found others which she says are not so good with either too much detergent, coating the hair or too much alcohol – stripping the hair. They were Clairol Herbal Essence (both the moisturizing & replenishing shampoo, Thermaslik for Color Treated Hair, Finesse, both Neutrogena'’ Clean shampoos, as well as Suave and VO/5. They were $1 to $5. The WORST on her list was 56 year old Prell, which costs $3 for a 16 ounce bottle. It is definitely one you want to stay away from because there is more alkaline – so it will dry out your hair.

One stylist says Prell is the king of shampoo strippers. That was one of the ones that we had done demonstrations on that literally – they were using to remove old wax build up off a title floor.

We also tested salon brands and found they all fell in the optimum 4.5 to 5.5 PH ranges. They were Brochette Daily Shampoo, which costs $8 a bottle. As well as, Pureology, Alterna Shine, and Nioxin Cleanser in the $20 a bottle price range.

Parisa says they are definitely pricier, but you don’t have to use as much. There is less water in it, which is why it is so expensive – it is more concentrated.

Parisa and others suggest reading the ingredient panel – making sure glycerin and alcohol aren’t one of the first five ingredients listed since both fade color and dry the hair.

It is good to alternate your shampoo so your hair doesn’t get used to one kind of shampoo. Remember; be skeptical of shampoo claims. Hair is dead – so it can’t be repaired.

We talked to the makers of Prell and they admit original Prell contains alcohol, which can be harsh, so they recommend using other Prell products on color treated hair.

The makers of Herbal Essence, and Finesse claims their shampoos are safe and effective and don’t believe they dry or strip the hair.

Another tip from stylists – don’t wash your hair every day even if you work out a lot. They suggest washing and conditioning one day but the next just condition so your scalp doesn’t lose the natural oil it needs.

According to Parisa Farazandeh and other hair stylist who have studied shampoos, these are some shampoos sold at grocery and drug stores, which have acceptable PH levels.

1. Pantene for Color Treated Hair
2. Pantene Pro V Moisturizing Shampoo
3. Physique Volumizing Shampoo
4. Loreal Vive Fresh Shine
5. Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo

Parisa and others believe these shampoos have unacceptable PH levels, with either too much detergent, coating the hair or too much alcohol stripping the hair.

1. Prell Rinse Clean Shampoo
2. Clairol Herbal Essence Moisturizing Shampoo
3. Clairol Herbal Essence Replenishing Shampoo
4. Thermaslik for Color Treated Hair
5. Finesse Shampoo for Color Treated & Highlighted Hair
6. Neutrogena’s Clean Replenishing Moisturizing Shampoo
7. Neutrogena’s Clean for Color Shampoo
8. Suave Gentle Cleansing Shampoo
9. VO/5 Normal Shampoo

The salon brands Parisa tested have acceptable PH levels.

1. Brocato Daily Shampoo
2. Pureology Hydrating Shampoo
3. Pureology Volumizing Shampoo
4. Alterna Shine Shampoo
5. Nioxoin Cleanser Shampoo


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