What Is A Chelating Shampoo?

Washing your hair is part and parcel of maintaining body hygiene. The purpose of the process is to rinse your hair off dirt, sweat, and product build-up, as well as odors. Lack of hair wash for an extended time causes oil to build up on your scalp, causing dandruff and an itchy scalp and making your greasy hair pick up a sour smell. The most popular modern time method for washing your hair is using shampoo, followed by a conditioner or hair mask for extra moisture. Naturally, from gel shampoo to cream shampoo to clarifying shampoo, there are various types of shampoo to choose from depending on your hair type and preferences. 

If you frequent the personal care aisle, you may have already come across the word "chelating" on some shampoo labels. Chelating agents in shampoo, per Susteau, are a group of ingredients designed to prevent and remove built-up in your hair. This build-up might include styling products, hairsprays, and dry shampoo. What sets a chelating shampoo from a regular shampoo is that it has a higher concentration of chelating agents, which enable it to stave off and slough off build-up from your hair more effectively. Aside from dirt and residue, chelating shampoo can even dissolve minerals, such as sodium gluconate and phytic acid, which are responsible for making your hair dry and lifeless, Dr. Francesca Fusco tells InStyle. 

Simply put, chelating shampoo can accomplish more in terms of maintaining the texture and color of your hair compared to a regular or clarifying shampoo. Here's what you need to know about this powerhouse of shampoo.

Chelating shampoo is the stronger version of everyday shampoo

According to Beauty Care Choices, the most commonly found agents in a chelating shampoo include but are not limited to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), tetrasodium EDTA, or disodium EDTA. Some other chelating elements include citric acid, sodium oxalate, and ascorbic acid. When you wash your hair with a chelating-based shampoo, the chelators attach to the mineral and waxy bonds that bond your hair and dissolve them as you suds up. A good dose of chelating shampoo every month can help you get rid of product residue, chlorine from chlorinated swimming pools, salt build-up, iron from well water, and copper residues from water pipes. Safe to use for color-treated hair, chelating shampoo can also enhance highlights.

If you have a hard water problem, meaning your hair always looks frizzy, dry, and vulnerable to tangles, chelating shampoo is your next best friend. When you wash your hair with hard water, which is high in mineral content such as magnesium and calcium, the water will produce a film on your hair which makes it hard for moisture to pass through. As a result, no matter how much moisturizer and serum you slather on your hair, it's always dry and prone to breakage. When you use a chelating shampoo, chelators can attach to and break down the minerals, restore moisture into your locks, and amplify the effectiveness of conditioners and hair treatment serum, per NaturallyCurly. Chelating your hair makes it feel softer, brighter, and healthier as if you've just stepped out of a salon. However, there are some precautions to keep in mind when using chelating shampoo.

How to use chelating shampoo

The Mestiza Muse cautions that chelating shampoo is quite strong and, like clarifying shampoo, can parch your hair if used frequently. Therefore, refrain from using chelating shampoo more than two times per month, lest it irritates your scalp and dries out the natural oils in your hair. Once you've got rid of the minerals and hard-to-remove residues in your hair after a good wash with chelating shampoo, return to a regular shampoo until you feel your hair needs some extra cleansing or toning. If your hair is in good condition, there's no need to chelate it often. Since chelating shampoos can be very drying, you might want to follow up with a deep conditioner to replenish your hair with moisture, Beauty Answered advises.

Wrapping up, chelating shampoo can clean off minerals from hard water and many sorts of dirty specks, restore your scalp and hair to their natural pH balance, and keeps your hair color vibrant and shiny. Safe to use for all hair types, chelating shampoo can get to the root of your hair problem to return you to shiny and voluminous hair.