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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 56-60

Trends in hair care and cleansing: A knowledge, attitude, and practice study

Department of Dermatology, J.J.M Medical College, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
N Asifa
Room No 9, Department of Dermatology, J.J.M Medical college and Hospital, Davangere - 577 004, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CDR.CDR_4_17

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Background: In the present era, everyone would like to have healthy, glamorous, and shiny hair. The technology has advanced the cleansing and hair beautification process. Hair cleansing or washing is the act of keeping hair clean by washing with shampoos, soaps or other detergent products, and water. Shampoos aid in cleaning and maintenance of hair. Hair conditioners are used to improve hair's texture and manageability and give hair a smooth and resilient feel. Objectives: The aim of this study is to describe the knowledge, attitude, and practice of men and women toward cleansing of hair with respect to Indian scenario. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey conducted on male and female patients who attended dermatology outpatient department. A prestructured questionnaire about hair care and cleansing was used to assess 50 male and 50 female patients in the age group of 11–60 years. Results: In this study, we found that about 65% of participants washed their hair once a week. Hard water was used to wash hair by 44%, shampoos were used for cleansing in 65%, followed by soaps in 25%, no cleanser in 8%, and soap nut in 2%. Hair conditioners were used by 20%. Egg and other substances, such as hibiscus and soap nut, were used by 20% before cleansing. Oil before cleansing was used by 9%. About 48% of participants felt the need for a change of a cleanser after 6 months. The whole scalp hair was cleansed by 48% of the participants, whereas 14% concentrated more on the front of the scalp, followed by 6% who cleansed their hair ends more than the center or front. Conclusion: In the current Indian scenario, most of the people have to be counseled about the proper methods of hair cleansing and hair care, and to shrug out the age old myths concerning hair cleansing.

Keywords: Hair care, hair cleansing, shampoos

How to cite this article:
Kusagur MS, Asifa N, SugaReddy. Trends in hair care and cleansing: A knowledge, attitude, and practice study. Clin Dermatol Rev 2017;1:56-60

How to cite this URL:
Kusagur MS, Asifa N, SugaReddy. Trends in hair care and cleansing: A knowledge, attitude, and practice study. Clin Dermatol Rev [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 29];1:56-60. Available from: https://www.cdriadvlkn.org/text.asp?2017/1/2/56/211783

  Introduction Top

Dermatologists are often probed by the public with or without hair disorders with questions like how frequently should we cleanse the hair? Which shampoo or soap gives us glossy hair? Which conditioner should we use? How to cleanse the hair?[1] As technology is advancing the awareness about hair care among the general public is ever increasing. To answer these queries satisfactorily, one must have a sound knowledge of the basic structure of the hair, the mechanism and action of various types of shampoos, conditioners, and bars. This study, in brief, will focus on the hair cleansing products and other hair care products preferred by the general public in the act of cleansing.

Cleansers mainly used are shampoos, soaps, conditioners, soap nut, and other herbal products. Shampoos are liquid cleansers based on the synthetic detergents blended to achieve the desired amount of cleansing. They are designed to get rid the hair of dirt, sebum, desquamated cells, cosmetic products, environmental dirt, as well as to improve the overall aesthetics of hair.[2] The basic ingredients of shampoo are detergents, thickeners, pH adjusters, sequestering agents, preservatives, additives, foaming agents, conditioners, and special additives like sunscreen.[1] Soap is a substance used for cleansing prepared by treating a fat with an alkali, whereas a conditioner is a hair care product that changes the texture and appearance of hair.[3] They are usually applied after cleaning hair in the form of rinsing or leave-in application.

A wide range of shampoos, conditioners, and hair care products are available in the market suitable for all types of hair normal hair, damaged hair, dry and lustreless hair, oily hair, and colored hair. Hence, this study was undertaken to describe the knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding the use of hair care products.

  Materials and Methods Top

The study was based on a cross-sectional survey conducted on male and female patients, who attended dermatology outpatient clinic at the primary and tertiary care center. The data were collected from patients while they wait in the outpatient clinic, during October to December 2015.

The specially designed questionnaire used for data collection in this study was analyzed on 100 patients (fifty males and fifty females). The final set of the questionnaire included 24 questions. This study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee. Personal information, including age, marital status, educational level, occupation, and household average monthly income was collected. In addition, the questionnaire also requested detailed information regarding the use of hair cleansers, the frequency of hair wash, and the type of cleanser used. The different types of cleansers were clearly defined to the participants as follows: shampoos, soaps, conditioners, and herbal products.

  Results Top

The questionnaire was used to assess 50 male and 50 female patients, the socioeconomic demographic data are shown in [Table 1]. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of individuals regarding hair cleansers were assessed and results are as follows. With regards to knowledge of patients [Table 2] shampoos were used by 65% of individuals in our study and 40% of patients (23 females and 17 males) believed that shampoos are effective than soaps or other products in removing dirt, grease, and dandruff. People were also of the view that shampoos give shine to hair. A total of 26% (16 females and 10 males) of participants felt that use of conditioners with shampooing or after shampooing may lead to dry hair, 9% individuals (7 females, 2 males) felt that application of oil before cleansing would nourish the scalp, 20% (17 females and 3 males) believed that application of egg, hibiscus, and other substances may impart strength to hair, 44% used hard water for cleansing, 45% (25 females and 20 males) believed that hard water may cause dry and lustreless hair, 37% (20 females and 17 males) individuals were of view that aggressive or excessive hair cleansing may lead to hair loss, 10% (8 females and 2 males) preferred herbal shampoos to be more effective in treatment of dandruff and 4% (3 females and 1 male) had ever heard of conditioner with sunscreen.
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of the participants in the study

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Table 2: Knowledge of participants regarding hair care and cleansing

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Regarding attitude toward cleansing [Table 3], 12% (7 females and 5 males) were not in favour of use of shampoos as they felt that it may lead to premature graying of hair, 15% (12 males and 3 females) individuals used hair gel or hair sprays as it was known to add gloss and shine to hair, 18% (12 females and 8 males) felt that soaps are not effective against dandruff, 25% (20 females and 5 males) did not prefer to use oil before cleansing as it would lead to oily hair after cleansing, 26% (11 females and 15 males) were of view that hair conditioner should be used only occasionally, 21% (18 females and 3 males) felt that combing hair immediately after cleansing may lead to hair loss, 7% (5 females and 2 males) felt that shampoos should not be used with artificial colored hair as it may lead to loss of hair color and 13% (10 females and 3 males) preferred not to use cleanser after application of hair dye or henna as they considered it superior to cleanser.
Table 3: Attitude about hair care and cleansing

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Regarding practice [Table 4], 65% of participants preferred to wash their hair once a week, followed by 15% twice a week and 20% once in 10 days as shown in [Graph 1]. A total of 65% (55% shampoos and 10% herbal shampoos) preferred to use shampoos, 25% used soaps, 8% individuals used no cleanser and 2% used soap nut for cleansing as indicated in [Graph 2]. For cleansing, 50% used one packet of shampoo followed by 2 packets in 15%. Twenty (20%) participants used conditioners during or after cleansing. Twenty (20%) (egg - 7, hibiscus - 7, methi - 3, and others - 3) used these substances as conditioner before cleansing. Hard water was used in 44% for cleansing. The whole scalp hair was cleansed by 48% of the participants whereas 14% concentrated more on the front of the scalp, followed by 6% who cleansed their hair ends more than the center or front.
Table 4: Practice about hair care and cleansing

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Association between sociodemographic data and hair cleansing

Participants with middle and higher socioeconomic status used shampoos, whereas those of lower socioeconomic status used no cleanser. Younger participants (15%) in the age group of 15–25 years, preferred to use hair gel and hair spray. The shampoos were chosen based on color in 7% and based on fragrance in 8%. Blue color was preferred by males and pink by females. They also were of view of changing shampoos every 6 months. Hair dye and henna application were more common in the age group of 45–65 years. Female participants used 1–2 packets of shampoo each time for cleansing and concentrated more on ends. Conditioners were used more commonly in the age group of 11–30 years. Female participants used egg and hibiscus compared to males as shown in [Graph 3]. Female participants used branded and costlier shampoos than males.

People with low- and middle-socioeconomic status used hard water for cleansing as compared to those with higher socioeconomic status.

  Discussion Top

Hair cleansing as viewed today is a matter of concern for many individuals with reference to the type and safety of cleansers. Although many studies have been investigated regarding hair dyes and hair cosmetics, there has been no exploration with respect to hair care and cleansing perceptions. This article explores the gap in hair care and cleansing based on general public's knowledge, attitude, and practice.

In this study, the frequency of hair cleansing was once a week in the majority of participants. The frequency was influenced by the length of the hair, sex, culture, social practices, familial pressures, individual personal hygiene, and economic status. The frequent cleansing may damage the hair shaft is a myth. Frequent and regular cleaning with a well-formulated cleanser will not damage the hair. Hence, there is no upper limit of frequency.

Shampoos are used as hair and scalp cleansers.[4] The usage of shampoos was more prevalent in individuals with higher socioeconomic status. Individuals who did not use shampoo as cleanser felt that the shampoos may lead to premature graying of hair and they are costly. There is ample evidence to show that the modern, well formulated, mild shampoos do not interfere with the mitosis in the growing matrix of hair and may indeed help fragile hair by decreasing grooming force. Adverse effects to shampoos are rare, hair damage to hair shaft can occur if a wrong kind of shampoo is consistently applied with respect to the type of hair.[1]

Conditioners are known to impart smooth and resilient feel to hair.[5] In this study, those individuals who preferred not to use conditioner felt that it may lead to dry and damage hair, but in actual, conditioners by their action reduce static electricity, flatten cuticle, reduce friction between hair fibers and increases the reflectance of light. Thus improves shine and color [5] and helps in detangling of the hair. Many individuals preferred conditioner and shampoo combined in one formulation, the so-called 2 in 1 shampoos.[6]

Hard water use was prevalent in low-socioeconomic strata (≤Rs. 2500). Each hair shaft is made up of little scales, like shingles on a roof. Hard water tends to make the scales stand up, which makes hair feel rough and tangled. Hence, it is more difficult to rinse out all of the soap. Washing hair in soft water will have a different result because it leaves fewer insoluble deposits on the hair.

Soaps are less effective in hard water because they react with the excess minerals to form calcium or magnesium salts that are not easily soluble in water and can result in the soap film. Soaps are used by population at large, in addition, have a higher pH than normal skin and hair.[7]

Hair oil was not preferred before cleansing by 25% of individuals as they felt that it may lead to oily hair even after cleansing. Keis et al. studied the effect of coconut oil and other oils on the hair [8] and they found that except mineral oil, heat decreased the capillary adhesion of other oils, resulting from the penetration into the hair fibers by diffusion and leaving a thin film on the surface.[5]

About 20% of individuals used egg, hibiscus and other substances to cleanse hair. It is known that egg yolk contains lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier. It works to emulsify the oil with water, which is then rinsed out. Hence, basically egg cuts through the grease and dirt and makes hair squeaky clean. High in protein, egg is excellent for fine, thin, or oily hair. The protein works to strengthen the hair shaft and adds body and texture to the hair. In addition, eggs are packed with biotin (often touted as the “hair growth vitamin”), iodine, selenium, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12 which are all helpful for shiny, healthy hair. However, there is no enough data in the literature to support these biochemical actions.

Hibiscus was used by 7% because it is known to act as a natural hair tonic. The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure hair loss or hair graying in Ayurveda. It is also known to act as a natural conditioner and antidandruff agent. It also prevents split ends and support hair growth. However, conclusive scientific data to support these benefits are lacking.

An ideal cleanser according to consumer's need should possess the following characteristics:

  • It should be gentle to hair and scalp
  • The color and fragrance should be pleasant
  • Easy to spread on hair and to rinse
  • Enhances gloss and luster to hair with long lasting effect
  • Well tolerated and nonallergic
  • Shampoos: An ideal shampoo should remove dirt and sebum. It should be nonirritant to eyes with good foaming properties and impart shine to the hair.

The study is the first study to demonstrate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of male and female participants with regard to hair care and cleansers. The difference in views of male and female participants also contributes to the strength of the study. Limitations of our study include the use of the small sample, which might not be representative of the whole community.

  Conclusion Top

The practice of hair cleansing using shampoos and conditioners is common among youths and in individuals with higher socioeconomic status. Hair care and cleansing are now part and parcel of day-to-day routine in the grooming of individuals. The dermatologists play an important role in answering the queries put by their patients.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

D'Souza P, Rathi SK. Shampoo and conditioners: What a dermatologist should know? Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:248-54.  Back to cited text no. 1
Draelos ZD. Essentials of hair care often neglected: Hair cleansing. Int J Trichology 2010;2:24-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Robbins CR. Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair. 4th ed. New York: Springer; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 3
Gavazzoni Dias MF, de Almeida AM, Cecato PM, Adriano AR, Pichler J. The shampoo pH can affect the hair: Myth or reality? Int J Trichology 2014;6:95-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Madnani N, Khan K. Hair cosmetics. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2013;79:654-67.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Rushton H, Gummer CL, Flasch H. 2-in-1 shampoo technology: State-of-the-art shampoo and conditioner in one. Skin Pharmacol 1994;7:78-83.  Back to cited text no. 6
Tarun J, Susan J, Suria J, Susan VJ, Criton S. Evaluation of pH of bathing soaps and shampoos for skin and hair care. Indian J Dermatol 2014;59:442-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Keis K, Persaud D, Kamath YK, Rele AS. Investigation of penetration abilities of various oils into human hair fibers. J Cosmet Sci 2005;56:283-95.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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