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What Are the Different Types of Strengthening Shampoos?

Kathleen Howard
Kathleen Howard

Strengthening shampoos are gentle cleansers designed to repair damaged and brittle hair. The main difference between strengthening shampoos is the way these products strengthen the hair. Some shampoos provide hair with an additional supply of keratin, which is a protein that makes up much of the hair strand. Many shampoos contain a variety of strengthening ingredients, like collagen, elastin and a variety of moisturizing agents. In addition to strengthening and protecting the hair, a few shampoos are also formulated to strengthen the follicles and prevent hair loss.

The majority of strengthening shampoos contain very gentle surfactants, which are the ingredients that cleanse the hair and scalp. These shampoos commonly lack sulfates, which are harsh detergents responsible for the lathering action associated with most shampoos. Over time, sulfates and other harsh surfactants can be very drying. Non-sulfate strengthening shampoos will not damage the hair or strip the strands of natural oils.

Plastic bottles of shampoo.
Plastic bottles of shampoo.

Different strengthening products will also contain a number of nourishing ingredients. One of the most common ingredients is keratin. When a person uses a keratin shampoo, the protein will coat and protect his or her individual hair strands. Each hair strand will be more able to withstand the damage caused by heat styling, pollution and other environmental factors. With regular use, keratin shampoos increase elasticity and result in healthy, strong hair.

Keratin shampoos promote strong hair.
Keratin shampoos promote strong hair.

Shampoos that contain keratin are especially helpful in strengthening curly hair, which is more likely to become dry, frizzy and unmanageable. The use of a keratin shampoo will rebuild hair strands and reduce frizz. Keratin builds a heavy layer on the hair strand, so such shampoos make it easier to straighten and style curly hair.

Aside from keratin, many products also contain elastin, collagen and several different moisturizing agents. Elastin is a protein that gives the hair much of its strength, flexibility, and elasticity. Collagen is another protein that contributes to the strength of the connective tissues. These proteins are capable of improving both the strength and appearance of the hair.

Moisturizers, like coconut oil, shea butter and humectants, also work to revitalize dry, unhealthy hair. One of the leading causes of hair breakage is dryness. Most strengthening shampoos strengthen hair strands by providing much needed moisture.

Most strengthening shampoos contain surfactants, which cleanse the hair and scalp.
Most strengthening shampoos contain surfactants, which cleanse the hair and scalp.

Consumers hoping to achieve strong, healthy hair might also be able to prevent hair loss. Some strengthening shampoos contain ingredients like peppermint oil and menthyl lactate. These ingredients are believed to protect against hair loss due to their ability to block Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness as well as baldness in many women. While these ingredients are not included in every strengthening shampoo, formulas that also promise to thicken the hair often contain DHT inhibitors.

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Discussion Comments


@heavanet- I often use natural shampoos, and I have found that they do make your hair stronger because they are so good for it. Most of them do this without animal ingredients, because natural shampoos are also known for being vegan and cruelty free.

Parabens, phthalates, preservatives, and petroleum-based ingredients are artificial chemicals that can be drying and damaging to the hair. Truly natural shampoos do not contain these ingredients, so they are very strengthening to the hair. Just be sure when you are shopping for a natural shampoo to read the labels to make sure you are avoiding these artificial ingredients.


Is a natural shampoo good for your hair if you want to strengthen it? I have heard that shampoos that do not contain harsh and artificial ingredients make your hair healthier, but do they make it strong? I hoping to find a good shampoo that has strengthening benefits without using a shampoo that has animal-based ingredients like keratin and collagen.

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    • Plastic bottles of shampoo.
      By: Dessie
      Plastic bottles of shampoo.
    • Keratin shampoos promote strong hair.
      By: Anastasia Tsarskaya
      Keratin shampoos promote strong hair.
    • Most strengthening shampoos contain surfactants, which cleanse the hair and scalp.
      By: esp2k
      Most strengthening shampoos contain surfactants, which cleanse the hair and scalp.