An article appeared on the Daily Mail online overnight – I don’t know it is destined for the print edition – telling us that expensive shampoos are no better than cheaper ones. They are all, apparenetly, hogwash.
Well most trades have little secrets they wouldn’t want the general public to know about. For instance I am sure journalists don’t let on that they often simply rehash articles from other publications just throwing in a bit of local colour. This Mail piece bears a remarkable similarity to this one I read in the LA Times a few days ago.
They even quote one of the same experts, Paula Begoun. The Daily Mail of course refers to British brands and has a picture of celebrity as well, just to prove it is indeed a serious bit of journalism. Sadly they don’t quote the excellent Perry Romanowski, a proper cosmetic chemist and a contributor the the excellent Beauty Brains blog.
But on the whole I think the Mail is making a good point. Very expensive shampoo brands are frankly not really worth it. I am not sure that the really cheap ones are either. The kind of formulations you see on sale for about 60p a litre are much more dilute and use cheaper ingredients than the mass market ones. I wouldn’t use them personally. But supermarket own brands are usually pretty good value for money.
I certainly agree that botanical extracts added to shampoos almost never do anything at all and are usually there purely and simply to make the product look more natural. They are used at very low levels indeed, even lower than you might think from the Mail article. The name for these in the trade is ‘tip ins’. All in all, a pretty cynical exercise. The essence of some herb will not in any case wash your hair so I suggest you don’t let that kind of thing influence your purchasing decision.