What Your Mother Never Told You About Shampoo

Shampoo: how much do you need?

Shampoo: When less is definitely more.

The two most common problems we hear is that their hair is either frizzy and “always does it’s own thing,” or it is great right after shampooing but is completely limp and hangs like a curtain that has seen better days by the evening.

The first problem of frizzy hair is often due to the ends of the hair being dry and damaged and, between you and me, shampoo is doing more harm than good.

And don’t you start reading to me what’s on the label of your shampoo bottle about how it is feeding your hair lovely protein or some other total lie.

Your shampoo is doing nothing of the sort.

The problem of limp hair is often associated with usually fine, straight hair.

In this case, your shampoo may be okay (I say, MAY be okay) and I would suspect the culprit is your conditioner.

Both of these problems can begin to be solved by using LESS shampoo or conditioner, LESS often.

This doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily wet your hair everyday to make it easier to style, if you find that helpful.

But it is well worth playing with not washing and conditioning your hair every time you step into the shower and seeing if this is effective for you.

In this article you will learn a little about shampoo.

What is shampoo really doing to your hair?

What is shampoo actually for and what does it really do to your hair?

First of all, shampoo and soap are two different products. Just because I say shampoo might be damaging your hair (or merely not helping the situation) does not mean you have been duped and you could have been using a good old bar of soap all these years.

The biology of hair is well known and pretty simple.

If we all wore our hair short, it would need as much care as your fingernails do – that is to say, not much care at all.

The cuticle or outside layer of your hair, as you probably know, is made up of scales that lie more or less tightly on top of each other like roof tiles.

These scales shift around as the hair swells when it is wet and then shrinks back when the hair has dried.

This is why humid or rainy days can make some hair types develop its own plan for the day – usually not in line with your plan!

These scales slide back into place harder and smoother when they have had a slightly acidic bath and all major brand shampoos have the correct acidity levels to achieve this positive effect.

This is where the classic advice to rinse your hair in dilute lemon juice or beer comes from. It really does work, but it seems like a waste of beer to me.

Soap is slightly alkaline, the opposite of acid, which leaves your hair, if you could look under a microscope, a bit spongy and stretchy. The cuticle is left not so hard and more likely to flake and break.

Plus, soap has the added disadvantage of clinging to minerals in the water, basically making soap scum, which is not doing anything good for your hair.

So don’t abandon your shampoo for soap!

Shampoo’s main job, of course, is to remove dirt, oil and all the hair styling products you put on your hair.

Now no one likes dirt, but unless you work in a fish tinning factory or a coal mine, I have news for you, your hair is probably not as dirty as you think.

But what about oil from your scalp?

What about the oil from your scalp?

If you suffer from frizzy hair, the problem is that the oil (or “sebum”) is actually your own body producing the conditioner your hair needs to stay healthy.

And the more you shampoo, you wash this sebum away and make it almost impossible for your body to do its natural job!

The old wives’ advice to brush your hair 50 or 100 times a day was how women in the past helped distribute the sebum more evenly down the entire length of the hair.

This isn’t entirely necessary and brushing damaged hair is not really a good idea (and if you have curly hair, you probably already know that you should not be brushing your hair at all. Not ever.)

But if you want to help your hair along, combing your hair when it is dry with your fingers is absolutely the most gentle way to work out snarls, groom out loose hair and spread that natural (and FREE) sebum down to the ends of your hair.

Your skin on your fingers cannot catch on the scales of your cuticle the way brush bristles do, making this the absolute kindest way you can treat your hair.

You do end up with fingers full of old hair, which isn’t terribly nice, but your hands are easier to clean than your brush.

Should you use shampoo at all?

Is it necessary to even use shampoo at all? You can certainly experiment with going shampoo-free.

Indeed many women with curly hair use shampoo maybe once or twice a year.

This is true. And their hair isn’t stinky or full of spiders. Their hair is really healthy. Their natural sebum is doing all the work for them.

If you don’t get on with the no-shampoo method, try using the tiniest dot of shampoo it is possible to squeeze out of the bottle.

Rub your hands together and only use this diluted shampoo where your scalp feels it could use a scrub.

You will not get a lovely mound of soap suds with this method but this actually means that your shampoo is dealing with dirt.

If you are shampooing and you get a nice head full of bubbly lather, your hair was actually pretty clean, so you were just using shampoo for the heck of it.

Soap lathers first, because it is just simply formulated to make bubbles (some soap formulas, such as olive oil based soap, have almost no lather but clean just as effectively), and second, because it isn’t actually encountering any dirt.

How about a really good, expensive shampoo full of protein and peptides and sunscreen?

This is a big topic – one of my favourites – and it is in my opinion the biggest rip off that the shampoo companies are putting over on the general public. I’ll talk about that in another article.

If you have hair that goes  limp, you have the opposite problem.

If you have hair that goes completely limp, then we’re talking about the opposite sebum distribution problem.

It isn’t necessarily that your scalp is very oily, but that your hair is probably very smooth, so the oil travels down the length of your hair very easily – too easily!

In your case you usually need a normal shampoo, with no silicone added, because this coats your hair and makes it shiny but ultimately really weighs it down.

Further, silicone does not wash out easily with shampoo and it just builds and builds with every wash.

Along the same lines are volumising shampoos. All these products do is add a film of styling product along the length of each hair.

This film may feel fine first thing in the morning, but it will ultimately weigh your hair down.

These types of products are also difficult to wash out and do build up if you use this type of shampoo repeatedly.

So if you suffer from limp hair, shampooing is a good thing using a basic shampoo for fine or normal hair, but even you may not need to wash your hair every day.

Your issue very possibly is with your conditioner.

In the next article, I explain what conditioner actually is, what it does (and doesn’t do) for your hair and how much of it you need.


Enjoying yourself? Don’t stop now.

Here are some more posts you’ll enjoy:

Struggling With Styling Slippery Hair? Tutorial Video

Living Dangerously So You Don’t Have To  Tutorial Video

Hair Clips For Fine Hair: Melissa’s Top Picks  5 Video Series

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK for some top quality hair clips you’ll simply adore.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out what our customers are saying about us …


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A French Pleat In 4 Easy Steps

Forget all that teasing, a mouthful of hair pins and half a bottle of hair spray.

The classic French pleat style is dead easy … once you know how!


Click here to order our French Handmade U Pin, or

Visit Stone Bridge for more French hair accessories

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Good news if you’ve got split ends

When I see “New!” printed thrillingly on a shampoo bottle, I usually say, “Yeah, right.”

However, this week there is something actually “New!” with an actual exclamation point worth getting excited about.

If you suffer from split ends and breakage, you will no doubt have tried the many, many, many conditioners and treatments that promise to “repair and protect” your hair. Probably with little lasting success.

All those previous treatments work more or less by coating broken cuticle edges and “gluing down” split cortex fibres with what are really pretty traditional conditioning ingredients. Slather on a bit of additional silicone for a nice touchfeel to the fingers and they’re hoping you’ll be happy.

Does it fix your split ends?

Uh, no.

It probably doesn’t even last a full day.

But in 2012, according to research released by Unilever N.V. we can be looking forward to some new formulations which use a novel ingredient made from PVM/MA Copolymer and Polyquaternium-28.


Old time conditioners work by being positively charged, clinging to the negative charge of the damaged hair surface.

But if you have two layers both coated in conditioner, the surfaces cannot easily attach to each other as they share the same charge.


What’s different about this new ingredient is that it has both positive and negative charges which means when the dangly ends of your split end get coated with this stuff, as it dries the split is drawn together and, in theory, stays together.

All is not smooth sailing from here, though. Further research is still needed to address the change in “touchfeel” this kind of formula produces in the hair. Also, the increased level of electrolytes has a knock-on effect on the product’s viscosity and shelf-stability.

However, I for one am actually looking forward seeing that big ol’ “New & Improved” on labels next year.

Stay tuned for when I get to put the product to the test …

Browse the “New!” collection of Stone Bridge hair clips

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Riding With The Top Down

Does Your Hair Give You Freedom Or Stop You From Doing Fun Stuff?

You know how I normally go on and on about hair clips? I do actually think about other things sometimes.

For instance, there is so much cool science news as the moment. From finding neutrinos that might travel faster than the speed of light to the news that coffee might lower the risk of depression in “older” (read “better”) women (Whoo hoo! I’m less depressed already! Where’s the coffee?) I’ve been having a lot of fun delving into my favourite topics of personal and pointless interest.

Daughter Number Two even gave me a theme tune in the film she just finished for her “About Me” school project: Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science”

My Theory About Fun Stuff

I am a sucker for fun stuff. I don’t like denying myself anything that sounds like it might be a good time.

Bad TiesFor example, when our next door neighbours (who are lovely, don’t get me wrong on this) sent round notes last year warning practically the entire village that they were planning a Black Tie garden party which would be huge, involve live music and no, we weren’t invited I immediately send round a note saying we were planning a Bad Tie garden party which would be huge, involve the neighbours’ live music and yes, everyone and their children were invited.

But no one was admitted unless they had a bad tie.

The local charity shop did a roaring trade in ties that week.

My theory about fun is you should grab every opportunity to celebrate or enjoy yourself because goodness knows life will throw a load of crap in your direction too.

You need to do your best to offset badness with goodness so you can stay in balance.

Let Your Hair Down

There’s that expression, “let your hair down” to describe the decision you make to break from the seriousness, relax a little and have a good time.

Mazda Miata Convertible

Put the top down!

However I think you’ll agree with me that once you’ve crested the age of about 30 it can be hard to have a good time socially unless you feel confident that your clothes and hair look at least presentable.

Clothes, with the exception of shoes, can be easy to manage with most outfits being able to transition these days with ease from work to dinner out to cooling your heels with friends in the garden.

But hair, especially long hair and especially where there is Weather with a Capital Dubbya like in Britain, can make you think again when someone proposes the sort of fun that might blow your hairstyle to smithereens.

Like having a quick go on the roller coaster before ducking into the charming French restaurant where you’ve got a table booked.

Or just putting the top of the convertible down on your way to the theatre because – shock, horror – it’s a rare warm evening at the end of September and Beloved Husband is in a good mood and feeling right with the world.

How positively boring to say, “No, darling. It will mess up my hair.”

How dare your hair control your life like that!

In these situations you don’t need to let your hair down. By gum, you need to put your hair up.

Fortunately, at Stone Bridge Hair Accessories, you can find a selection of hair clips that are perfect for keeping in the glove box of your car, your gym bag or you desk drawer at work.

Not only do they do the job and hold your hair properly, they actually look smart and make your hair look good.


Something For The Weekend Ma’am?

The Weather forecast predicts temperatures in the mid-20’s later this week.

So, go ahead. Let’s take the convertible out for a spin.


Hair Accessories Perfect For Taking Out Your Mazda Miata Convertible

Plage French Banana Hair Clip

Plage French Banana Hair Clip

Heather Knit French Ponytail Elastics, Set of 3

Heather Knit French Ponytail Elastics, Set of 3

French Hair Sticks, Savannah Collection

Allure French Hair Stick, Savannah Collection

Shop All New Hair Clips

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

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You Can’t Hurry A Headband

Stymied By The Smallest Details

Knitted Jumpers

Dreams About Knitting

I have a dream.

Unfortunately I’m not a big dreamer like Martin Luther King. My contribution to the improvement of society is rather more modest.

I have had a dream nonetheless about a headband which until this week has taken about three years to become a reality.

And now it’s here.

But first, I have a story for you.

A family history in wool

I come from an old Californian family. Some of the first settlers, sheriffs and “notable citizens” of Southern California are counted as my ancestors.

We’ve got photographs of these hardy folk, proud men and women standing in front of their log house newly built after the long journey from Oklahoma to start the first ranch.

But in the pictures of the women you see two themes: food and knitting.

My memories of childhood are full of images of my mother sitting with my aunts and great cousins drinking beer, laughing and always knitting together.

They knit everything. Jumpers, of course, but back in the day when they wore such things they even knit bikinis for themselves.

In the family tradition, my mother taught me to knit at a young age. I’m not very good at it because I’ve got no patience, but I have great respect for accomplished knitters.

The First Idea For A Headband

When I started Stone Bridge, I had the idea of a wool headband, but the execution was problematic.

Knit Bandeau Style Headband

The Bandeau Style Knit Headband

If you just knit a bandeau style (which you can find patterns for on the internet – or buy in bulk from China at $1 per piece … no thanks), the stitches will stretch out. This means your design will either lose its hold or lose its shape.

Given that Stone Bridge demands long-term performance out of our designs, these were unacceptable trade-offs.

You could stabilise a bandeau style by backing the design with fabric, but this introduces additional problems.

A fused backing (where the wool is sort of “glued” to the fabric) risks coming away under the stress of holding the hair, because the woolen fibre is very unstable.

If you stitched your piece of knitting to a backing, the wool is still under stress and you can get unattractive dimpling where it has been tacked.

The ideal solution really was to try and get a knitted piece attached to a rigid headband, where the knit was fully supported so that it wouldn’t lose its shape over time and was not required to do any of the actual work of holding back hair.

We produced a few versions: knit tubes with a headband inserted through, knit and fabric sleeves, and knitting which was labouriously glued to  fabric covered headbands.

None of our ideas worked very well.

Then last year, a milliner we love and work with a lot produced a cable knit headband in silk angora.

We ordered a few in, of course, very excited.

However, when they arrived, while they were beautiful they suffered from the problem we had been struggling with for years: how do you ensure the knitted design stays reliably secured to the headband so that the customer knows she will get several years of use out of it?

Knitting. The Knowledge.

Cable Knit Angora Headbands

Cable Knit Silk Angora Headband

I set them aside. My mother was due to come visit and as she is very smart as well as having deep knitting genes, I was confident she would either solve the dilemma or pronounce the knitted headband an impossible dream.

She came. She saw. She drank a few beers.

She conquered.

It wasn’t easy.

We’re talking several days hard labour on these headbands. And the results are beautiful.

My mother isn’t available all the time to make luxury quality hair accessories, so we only have a small number of these Silk Angora Cable Knit headbands for you.

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How Hair Clips Can Prepare You For The End Of The World

Rectangle large hair claws for thick hair

Hair Claws To Get You Through Armageddon

“Well that’s rubbish,” grumbled my oldest daughter in disgust at the newspaper.

“Apparently the world is going to end on 21 December next year – my birthday!”

That is rough news.

So, we might as well get ourselves prepared. And gearing up for the end of the world reminds me of one of my childhood friends, Michelle.

The End Is Nigh!

When I was a teenager, I had a best friend, Michelle, who was a Mormon. We used to spend Saturday afternoons baking trays of lemon bars and then watching horror films on television, hiding behind the throw cushions.

One thing you could count on was Michelle’s mother always having a fully stocked larder.

In our area there were lots of Mormons, so their way of life wasn’t particularly unusual, and the cupboard full of food was one feature I thought was pretty awesome.

This practice meant that the devote Mormons in our neighbourhood were fully prepared for the end of the world.

This is when the true believers all get whisked up to heaven and the heathens like me will sadly perish.

Before the whisking, however, there is a pretty awful period where access to toilet roll, fizzy drinks and breakfast cereal is seriously restricted, looking at some of the supplies Michelle’s mother had stockpiled.

I may have misunderstood this, in my adolescent brain.

Maybe Michelle’s family consumed a lot of breakfast cereal and toilet roll, and buying these in bulk, along with the prosaic bottled water and tinned peaches critical for human survival, was an economical thing to do.

Or, Michelle’s mother may given some thought to what would be the most difficult for the family to live without during Armageddon, and shopped accordingly.

I bring it up because last night I did my own bit of stockpiling, with a t-shirt from GAP.

Possibly The World’s Best T-Shirt

Let me tell you how much I love this shirt.

Melissa's T-Shirt For The End Of The World

Nice shirt!

It is so good, I went back to the store after buying my first one just a few days before, gushing to bemused sales staff like a deranged teenager (or mad old woman, maybe) about how wonderful these shirts were.

I bought not just every colour it comes in, but seconds for emergency replacements when the first lot wear out.

I’m already anticipating the heartbreak I’ll have when these shirts fade and fray at the seams, and I can’t bear it.

I mention this because Stone Bridge has some designs that have this effect on people. They try their first u pin or hair claw and then come back a week or so later and buy five more.

Stocking up for Armageddon, maybe, but at least your hair will look good.

Customers’ Favourite Hair Accessories To Stockpile

For Fine Hair:
Classic Narrow hair claw
Allegro hair forks – ClassicBrights
Super Comfy Skinny headbands
Marble Block barrette

For Thick Hair:
Stone Bridge Rectangle large hair claw
Super Comfy Double headbands
Arc Rectangle large barrette

For Pretty Much Everyone:
French Pleat medium comb 
Silk Wrapped Skinny headbands

Cadre Rectangle hair claw
Arc Oval barrette
French Handmade U pins

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

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Petit Soldat Small French Hair Pins: Perfect For Finer Hair

These new French handmade hair pins are super for making a French pleat when your hair is maybe too fine for our classic French U Pin.

These little workers have short little bowed legs that will give your hair that extra little hold that finer hair needs, without the unhelpful length that larger U pins have.

I made a little video for you so you can see them in action.


Hair Accessories Shown In This Video

Petit Soldat Small French hair pins, 3 for £27

Check out all our new hair accessories

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

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Filed under Buying the Right Hair Clips, Hair Clips for Fine Hair, Hair Styling Tutorial Videos