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about dreads

The Story of Foam

How The World's First Truly All Natural Dreadlock Shampoos Came to Be

Contrary to popular belief, the presence of foam or suds in liquid cleaners like shampoo is completely unnecessary in getting your body clean, and is often a sign that it contains harmful ingredients. In contrast, a natural soap like Knotty Boy Shampoo Bars or Liquid Shampoo simply releases surface tension on the part being scrubbed, allowing the loosened grime to be washed away - without the addition of unnecessary, often toxic ingredients creating huge amounts of foam.

Up until recently, it was not possible to manufacture a truly all natural liquid shampoo, despite the over abundance of claimed "all natural" shampoos on the market, including other liquid dreadlock shampoos. The fact is, most "all natural" shampoos still blend commercial surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) into their shampoos to boost foaming action. SLS is the most commonly used chemical surfactant in cleaning products, but deceptively, often appears as "coconut derived" or "vegetable derived" in the ingredients list. SLS is a very harsh, stripping chemical that can cause serious skin conditions and, some believe, even cancer. Unfortunately, many shampoo manufacturers do not list their ingredients fully because they don't want consumers to know their ingredients include SLS. It's easy to claim that a shampoo contains "all vegetable-derived cleansers" when the ingredients are not specifically listed.

Knotty Boy wasn't satisfied with this grey area of all natural, and withdrew our original Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo from the market in 2000, even though it was our best seller. The Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar was developed shortly thereafter, after we found a way to make a truly natural shampoo in a solid bar form. The inclusion of foaming agents is not necessary in bar form, as the pure saponified oils of Coconut, Castor bean, Palm and Hemp amazingly form suds naturally on their own! This new Dreadlock Shampoo Bar worked to clean dreadlocks the exact same way, but still honoured our commitment to the manufacturing of completely all natural products.

Then in 2005, a way was discovered by which the very same ingredients could be used to create a softer, liquid castile version of our Shampoo Bar - essentially un-hardened soap - and the Liquid Shampoo was finally back! Only change: less foam, which naturally develops in soap during the curing process. But, as you now know, foam has nothing to do with clean.

So, Knotty friends, you are now free to safely choose whichever Shampoo format you prefer, without having to resort to nasty chemical 'poos. Horray!

A Word About Shampoo Residue & Build Up

The idea that "residue" can build up in dreadlocks if a product has a fragrance is false. Scents approved by the FDA for use in hair and body products are, in fact, water-soluble: designed to break down and wash away in water. Essential Oils, which is what we at Knotty Boy use in our Dreadlock Shampoos for their healing and aromatherapeutic properties, are absorbed for use by the skin and scalp, and what little is left behind is either washed away or evaporates (what happens when scent fades from your hair). Because these are very powerful Oils, each Knotty Boy product contains only a small amount to be effective, and is not enough to leave residue of any kind in your locks.

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