Awapuhi Wild Ginger and Tea Tree Special are two of the shampoos used by hair stylist Luisa Valdes at the Lunatic Fringe salon in Altamonte Springs.
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS – In the world of hair styling, merchandise can be big business, racking up huge profits among people trying their hardest to look their best.
So what happens when one of the oldest products in the hair treatment world starts to get a bad rap, maybe even attract skeptics who think it’s just a big waste of money?
And what happens when the product in question is that centuries-old standby of hair cleaning, shampoo?
“Why most Shampoos are a waste of money” is a blog on the web site HairLossTalk, and this traditional product has attracted some harsh comments like “It’s the dirty little secret shampoo companies don’t want you to know—when you wash your hair with one of those nutrient-rich shampoos, most of the nutrients and active ingredients in the product don’t actually end up in your hair, they wind up down the drain … along with all the money you spent on the shampoo.”
So have woman and men been wasting their hard-earned dollars for more than a century on a product that, commercially, dates back to the turn of the century, when Kasey Hebert became known as the first maker of shampoo?
Local hair stylists say they’ve heard from the sketics, and think they’re … well, all wet.
“Yes, shampoo does work,” said Luisa Valdes, a stylist at the Lunatic Fringe salon at Uptown Altamonte.
Shampoo, she noted, is a well crafted hair care product used to remove the oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in people’s hair. Shampoo removes the unwanted build-up of these elements, she said, but don’t strip out so much sebum – the cause of people’s oily hair — that it leaves the hair unmanageable.
“It’s formulated to cleanse your scalp and cleanse your hair,” Valdes said. “It’s stripping what’s there, and cleaning your pallet.”
Before shampoo was invented, people tended to wash their hair with ordinary hand soup. Shampoo was designed to remove the aspects of soap that irritated the hair or left it looking unhealthy.
“There are natural oils that your skins produce,” Valdes said. “Your scalp has pores for that. It can go down your hair and makes it oily. There are shampoos that can strip that away.”
At Lunatic Fringe, Valdes said, she’s seen the impressive turnaround among clients who have gotten a shampoo treatment before their hair gets cut.
“I say absolutely it does work,” she said. “You definitely want to remove that buildup of oils.”
Ok, so using shampoo isn’t a waste of money. But how often should it be used?
“It’s all conditional,” Valdes said. “Some people think you should do it daily, and some people think you should do it weekly. It all depends on how active you are.”
The best approach, she said, is to shampoo your hair, then use a conditioner which can help ease combing and styling.
Lunatic Fringe has its own products, she said, like Awapuhi Wild Ginger, a lather shampoo.
“It’s a really harsh detergent for your hair, removing your oils,” she said.
Tina Jenkins Foote works at an organic hair salon, and she also stands by shampoo and insists that it works.
“I was once one of those skeptics before I became a stylist,” she said. “I had long hair and just wanted the cheapest pretty smelling shampoo.”
That turned out to be a mistake, she added.
“The result was long, straggly, tangly hair that I couldn’t get a comb through,” she said. “Later I decided short red hair would be fun. So I colored my blond hair a brilliant red. Loved it.”
But …
“After the first wash with my cheap, pretty smelling shampoo, my brilliant red was orange-ish,” she said. “After a week, a dull brown. So since I was in school at the time learning about professional hair care products, I decided to test it out. Colored my hair again, used professional shampoo for color treated hair — and my beautiful red lasted six weeks.”
At that point, Foote said, she became a convert. But the key, she added, is finding the right stuff to use.
” ‘Grocery store’ shampoos have a high pH level which strips the hair, then coats it with slippery silicone-type substances, making you think it’s healthy — but it’s not,” she said. “Sulfate-free shampoos are the best, since sulfates are a harsh ingredient that do nothing more than make your shampoo sudsy again, making you think your hair is cleaner because of all the bubbles.
“Not to mention,” she added, “the health risks of sulfates.”

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