All shampoos contain surfactants, which supply the cleansing action and lathering properties. “Surfactant” is an abbreviation for “surface-active agents” because they help break the surface tension of water, allowing it to better remove oils and debris from the hair. There are many types of surfactants. The first and most common surfactant is soap. In fact, the first shampoos were solutions made of water, soap, and sodium carbonate. It was the British who coined the word shampoo from “champo,” a Hindi word meaning to massage or knead. Surfactants are divided into two categories: Sulfate and Non-Sulfate.
Sodium Chloride*, also known as table salt, has long been used in shampoos as a thickening agent. With the introduction of new chemical services such as Brazilian straightening systems, the client must avoid using shampoos that contain Sodium Chloride, as it may reverse the straightening effects. All of the shampoos in the L’ANZA Advanced Healing Collection are Sodium Chloride-Free.
*NOTE: “Sodium Chloride” is a specific salt that affects some chemical processes. Sodium and Chloride are independent elements that may be part of many other ingredients, such as Sodium Lauroyl Sarconsinate and Behentrimonium Chloride. These other ingredients should not be confused with Sodium Chloride, even though names may look similar.
There are also surfactants that are not sulfate based, and are just as effective at cleansing the hair. In the past, sulfate-free surfactants were not widely used because they are slightly less lathering than sulfate surfactants.
Today, L’ANZA technology has allowed us to develop blends of non-sulfate surfactants that provide a rich lather in a sulfate- free shampoo, particularly with the addition of botanical extracts such as Gugo Bark, which naturally enhance the “bubbling” factor.