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Hair cosmetics


Hair cosmetics are substances applied to hair or scalp to beautify, preserve or change their appearance. They can be divided into two groups; beauty items such as shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, straightening, and perming creams, colors. These products are used to groom or adorn the mane and keep them manageable for a longer period.

Common Hair issues

Some common problems are dandruff, oily/ greasy/flaky scalp, dryness of strands, fizziness, brittle and dull texture, split ends, Graying, damages caused by dyes, heating tools, environmental stress, and baldness. These problems are usually caused due to malnutrition, heat exposure, chemical treatments, or unhygienic conditions. Some of them need proper medicinal treatments and some can be easily overcome using topical applications.

Categories of cosmetics for head

There are three main categories of these products and they are used to overcome various problems.

  • Cleansing or hygiene
  • Growth promoters
  • Grooming products

Cleansing and hygiene

The goal of cleansers and shampoos is to break down dirt and grease (Sebum residuals) accumulated on strands and leave a healthy-looking clean mane. They help in scalp cleaning as well. The addition of some active ingredients and special formulas also helps fight various scalp diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, inflammation, alopecia, or seborrhea. These medicated shampoos not only treat diseases, they keep strands soft, frizz-free, and shiny.

Growth Promoters

This category of cosmetics has unique ingredients that can stimulate hair growth. These ingredients can be natural or chemical and are prescribed by dermatologists. Products e.g. shampoos and lotions contain vitamins, and medicines applied to the scalp that helps stimulate follicles to promote new growth. The most common medication used for this purpose is minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil accelerates the growth phase of follicles to produce new strands.

Grooming hair cosmetics

Grooming agents’ are conditioners, gels, creams, and lotions chemically made to temporarily or permanently change the appearance of strands. Some of them alter the structural integrity of shafts including dyes, bleach, perming, and straightening creams.


Conditioners are used to make hair manageable, combable, frizz-free, and soft after shampoo. The anti-static conditioning components lubricate the cuticles and neutralize the negative electrical charge. Many shampoos contain conditioning agents and help cleansing and grooming at the same time. Different types of conditioning products are available over-the-counter;

  • Leave-in conditioners
  • Deep conditioning
  • Anti-hair loss conditioners

Fixatives or sprays, gels, waxes, shiners, heat-protective sprays, camouflage products

All these items are styling agents used before or after styling procedures like curling, ironing, backcombing. They help in the long hold of a particular style and usually wash off after shampoo. Heat protectors reduce the chances of damage caused by heating tools.

Colors/ Dyes

Dyes are used to cover graying or color them in fashion colors. Some dyes are temporary, others are permanent.

Temporary dyes

These colors help to add a tint or shade to brighten up natural shade. They are kept outside the cuticles and washed off just after washing with normal shampoo.

Semi-permanent dyes

These are water-soluble colors. As they don’t require hydrogen peroxide the color reduces just in 6 to 8 washes.


These gentle shades are ammonia-free. They are suitable for covering graying but not for lightening down the original tone.

Permanent dyes

The most commonly used colors are permanent. They are liked for their longevity, superior ability to cover gray, and vast range of color options.

Perming or straightening creams

Both work on the same principle. The structure of hair is broken down by applying the cream for a particular time and bending them into a new shape with the help of hot iron or curling rods either straight or permed. Reshaped strands are permanently kept in their new shape and washing or oiling cannot affect them.

Hair cosmetics reactions

Cosmetological solutions can cause adverse reactions, like allergies, infections, red rashes, itchiness, etc. so it’s always recommended to take expert advice and patch tests before use.

Take Away

There is a huge range of hair cosmetics for improving and grooming scalp and strands. The products include styling aids, shampoos, conditioners, permanent perming and straightening creams, lotion, and dyes. They are beneficial but their misuse may lead to temporary or permanent dermatological problems. It’s essential to use a reliable and suitable formulation according to a person’s biological structure and skin sensitivity.

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