Shampoo is a hair care product used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants, and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair.

While it’s hard to know for sure when shampoo originated, we know that around 1500 A.D. is when hairstylists started coming up with their own concoctions for hair, trying to give it shine and fragrance. But it wasn’t until 1800 A.D. that the word "Champo" (shampoo) was introduced in India. The invention of washing our hair and using shampoo has quite a story that transcends all throughout the world and from B.C. to the present day.

B.C.

Dating all the way back to 4000 B.C, bathhouses first began using haircare and self-soaking routines. It didn’t take long until grooming took effect, including bathing with clear water and soaps made from animal fats. Fast forward to 1500 B.C., the Egyptians created their own soaps made out of essential oils taken from plants, animal and vegetable oils, and salts to be used for personal washing.

A.D.

In Syria in 800 A.D. soap was made with olive oil, sweet bay oil, water, and lye. During this process, the Syrians would leave the soap to cool, cut it into blocks and leave it to age for seven months. Four hundred years later, in Italy, the city of Castile became well known for its mix of European and Muslim-styled soaps, and Castile gained popularity with Spanish and European royalty because of this.

In 1500 A.D., Castile soaps traveled throughout Europe landing in England, imported in large quantities. The English tried coming up with ways of adding herbs, hoping it would help the hair shine and give fragrance. Unfortunately, the soap was difficult to rinse, leaving a dull residue.

Fast forward to 1800 A.D. when early colonial merchants in India first coined the term Champo, defined as a hair and body massage. The word Champo (now, shampoo) quickly moved to Europe where it was branded as "Champing."

1900’s

In the early Industrial Age, a German scientist named Hans Schwarzkopf opened a pharmacy to focus on selling perfumes and hair care products. Shortly after, a Frenchman named Edouard Pinaud created "brilliantine," aka conditioner, to introduce at the World Fair as a way to soften mustaches and beards.

In the United States, the New York Times produced an article in 1908 with simple rules on how to shampoo the hair. In this article, the NY Times stated that it was best to shampoo at night and not to wash again for another month to six weeks. Six years later, the first shampoo commercial was released by Kasey Hebert.

In 1927, Schwarzkopf made a comeback by creating the first liquid shampoo and launched an international empire of hair institutes. Three years later, the first shampoo with synthetic surfactants and a pH-balanced shampoo was introduced to America. Fifteen years after this, the first detergent for basic house cleaning was made and introduced in the United States.

The 60’s and On

In 1960, chemists started to discover new ways to get rid of polymers in shampoos. Within ten years, newspaper and TV ads showcasing hair icons, Farrah Fawcett and Christie Brinkley, were used to promote the idea that it was healthy to shampoo your hair several times a week. Jumping forward to the 1980s, chemists created 2-in-1 formulas by suspending silicones in shampoos, creating a handful of new patents.

Ever since the creation of shampoo, scientists and stylists alike have been working hard to create a better formula for each hair type, color, thickness, and everything in between. The development of shampoo and other hair care-related products is still making new advancements to create a healthier, more natural experience for each hair type.

Ever since the creation of shampoo, scientists and stylists alike have been working hard to create a better formula for each hair type, color, thickness, and everything in between. The development of shampoo and other hair care-related products is still making new advancements to create a healthier, more natural experience for each hair type.

Fun Ancient cultural norm facts

Did you know that in the middle ages, places all across the world had their own perceptions about bathing? For example, in Europe, it was a priority to make sure one’s soul was cleansed, over the cleanliness of the physical body, while in Japan, it became a ritual to take daily baths. In Iceland, hot springs were used on Saturday evenings as a way to soak in warm water for cleanliness purposes, along with socialization.

Benefit claims regarding ingredients

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that shampoo containers accurately list ingredients on the product's container. The government further regulates what shampoo manufacturers can and cannot claim as any associated benefit.

Shampoo producers often use these regulations to challenge marketing claims made by competitors, helping to enforce these regulations. While the claims may be substantiated, however, the testing methods and details of such claims are not as straightforward. For example, many products are purported to protect hair from damage due to ultraviolet radiation.

While the ingredient responsible for this protection does block UV, it is not often present in a high enough concentration to be effective. The North American Hair Research Society has a program to certify functional claims based on third-party testing. Shampoos made for treating medical conditions such as dandruff or itchy scalp are regulated as OTC drugs in the US marketplace.

In the European Union, there is a requirement for the anti-dandruff claim to be substantiated as with any other advertising claim, but it is not considered to be a medical problem.

Health risks

A number of contact allergens are used as ingredients in shampoos, and contact allergy caused by shampoos is well known. Patch testing can identify ingredients to which patients are allergic, after which a physician can help the patient find a shampoo that is free of the ingredient to which they are allergic. The US bans 11 ingredients from shampoos, Canada bans 587, and the EU bans 1328.