Shampoo and hair cleanser are terms often used interchangeably. However, they have subtle differences. Shampoo is a cleansing agent that removes dirt, oil, and sweat from the scalp to leave your hair squeaky clean. On the other hand, hair cleanser is a type of shampoo with a pH balance that does not strip away natural oils from the hair but helps remove excess oil and dirt from the scalp without drying it out.
While both products will cleanse your hair and leave it smelling great, it is important to know which one to use depending on your needs. Let’s take a closer look at their different characteristics so you can make an informed choice next time you go shopping for these beauty essentials.
What Is Shampoo?
Shampoo is a cleansing agent made from a mix of detergents and surfactants that lather up in water to remove dirt and oil from the hair and scalp. It is made from a rich blend of ingredients like fatty alcohols, conditioners, fragrances, and a host of other chemicals that give it its unique properties. While most shampoos have the same basic composition, you may find some that are free of SLS, SLES, Parabens, and other harmful chemicals.
Some shampoos are also available as sulfate-free and vegan options for those looking for a cruelty-free alternative. Shampoo is created to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities from the scalp while also cleaning off product residues like styling creams and hair dyes to leave the hair smooth and clean. It is ideal for people with oily scalps who need to wash their hair daily. Because it is formulated to remove oil, it can dry out the hair and be harsh on the scalp. It is best used in combination with a conditioner to prevent hair damage.
What Is A Hair Cleanser?
Hair cleanser is a type of shampoo with a pH level that is closer to the natural pH of your hair and scalp. It is made from a blend of conditioning agents and surfactants that cleanse the scalp without stripping away the hair’s natural oils. It is made for people with all hair types and those who have sensitive scalps. Hair cleanser is easy to find and can be easily picked up off the shelves or ordered online.
It is also a little cheaper than regular shampoos of the same quality. Hair cleanser is formulated to cleanse the hair without leaving it dry and brittle. It is mild on the scalp, even for the most sensitive scalps, and does not leave any residues behind. Hair cleanser is best for people with all hair types who wash their hair every other day.
The Differences Between Shampoo And Hair Cleanser
pH Level: A major difference between shampoo and hair cleanser is their pH levels. Shampoo is significantly more alkaline than hair cleanser, which is more neutral and closer to the pH levels of the hair and scalp. Because shampoo is alkaline, it can dry out the hair and scalp and can leave them feeling stripped and irritated.
Oil Removal: Another difference between shampoo and hair cleanser is that shampoo is meant to remove excess oil from the hair and scalp while hair cleanser is formulated to remove excess oil without drying out the hair and scalp. So while shampoo cleanses and removes oil, it also strips away the hair’s natural oils.
Product Residue Removal: You also have to consider how well each cleanser removes product residue and impurities like styling creams and dyes. While both shampoos and hair cleansers can effectively remove impurities, shampoo is more alkaline and can strip away the hair’s natural oils and products to leave it too dry. Hair cleanser, on the other hand, is more neutral and is formulated to be gentle on the hair and scalp.
Shampoo vs. Conditioner
Another consideration is that shampoo is not the same as a conditioner. They may be made from similar ingredients, but they serve a very different purpose. A conditioner is meant to be applied after you’ve shampooed your hair and left it in for a few minutes to leave your hair smooth and silky. It is best for people with dry hair or hair that tangles easily.
Shampoo and conditioner are often used together to cleanse and condition the hair. Shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp while conditioning adds essential oils and nutrients back into the hair to leave it smooth and hydrated. You only need to use shampoo once a week while you can condition your hair daily without causing any damage.
While shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp and leaves it squeaky clean, hair cleanser is formulated to cleanse without drying the hair and scalp. It is a great option for people with sensitive scalps who want to go cruelty-free or those who have dry hair that tangles easily. It is also a good option for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint as it is SLS and SLES free and eco-friendly. Now that you know the difference between shampoo and hair cleanser, you can make an informed decision about which one to use.