Hair Story: When was shampoo invented?

The intention story of the thing helps us clean our hair called shampoo is a story which happened less than a century ago; however, the story of washing our hair has been a thousands of years old story, or as soon as we’ve had hair to wash. Until modern science made a brand new process, hair was cared with the best inventions using various kinds of available ingredients, from animal, vegetable, to mineral. In this article, let’s find out the answer for the question “when was shampoo invented” with us.

4000 B.C.

Cosmetic routines occur from bathhouses to hairstyling, which is served for the higher class of society.
3000 B.C.

The belief grooming and adornments could make humans different from all other kinds of animals becomes so widespread and well known.

The Babylonian courts feature a lot of bathrooms which come with clean  running water, soaps that are made from animal fats then boiled with ashes stored in clay bottles

when was shampoo invented
Roman bathrooms (Source: Internet)

1500 B.C.

Egyptian cosmeticians extract natural plants, such as lotus flowers, for their natural oils, and then combine the animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts so as to form a soap-like material for skin massage and for washing purpose as well.

The Middle Ages

Meanwhile, in Europe, the purity of the soul is thought to be the mirror of the cleanliness of the outer. In Japan, having daily bath is a regular and popular custom. In Iceland, some pools with warmed water and hot springs are popular places for people to flock together on Saturday evenings.

when was shampoo inventedwhen was shampoo invented

when was shampoo invented
Bathing now is an essential part as well as a symbol of a clean soul in people’s daily life (Source: Internet)

800 A.D.

In Aleppo, Syria, people made soap with the process of combining olive oil, water, and lye, sweet bay oil, then heated the mixture and left to cool, cut, and left it for several months.

1100 A.D.

Crusaders from Europe has an encounter with caravans on the Silk Road, which are filled with Aleppo soap, so they bring back to their land a large number of soaps, then they start to explore how to make it.

1200 A.D.

when was shampoo invented
Castile soap, a popular soap among royal class in that time (Source: Internet)

The soap making of Europeans spreads with the introduction of Muslim soap from Spain and Italy. The Castile city in Italy becomes a well-known place which produces the most popular soaps among royal Spanish and European families.

See more: Why do you need to buy this 4 folliculitis shampoo immediately?

1500 A.D.

Castile soap is traded from Europe to England with a very large quantity by the sea.

Many hair stylists in England boil the soap in water then add herbs to make hair shiny and bright. However, the soap makes the eyes irritated, as well as difficult to rinse and leave a huge leftover.

1800 A.D.

The traders from colonial India discover a hair and body massage mixture which is called champo, and then they introduce to Europe with the name “Champing”.

when was shampoo invented
Despite its convenience, Castile soap give users uncomfortable feelings (Source: Internet)


Hans Schwarzkopf, the Berlin chemist opens his own drugstore with the main product on perfume and makes all of his efforts on typical products for the hair such as water-soluble, powder shampoo which, in spite of the convenience, still gives a dulling, uncomfortable alkaline reaction.


Conditioner is first invented by Frenchman Edouard Pinaud and introduced at the World Fair that it can soften mustaches and beards for gentlemen.


The New York Times makes a list of some “simple rules” on “How to Shampoo the Hair.” It is said that the best time to shampoo hair is at night, combining with a thorough combing, and singeing split ends. The Castile soap is applied on hair and then wash with a rough brush, finally rinse with water four times. Hair specialists, “Recommend you should shampoo every month to six weeks if the hair is in a fairly good condition.”


Kasey Hebert introduces the first commercial shampoo. The advertisement for Canthrox Shampoo illustrates young women on a camp washing their own hair with shampoo in a lake; the advertisement by Rexall describes Harmony Hair Beautifier and Shampoo.


Hans Schwarzkopf introduces one of the world’s first shampoos in liquid and begins his international empire of hair dressing and style

The first shampoo including synthetic surfactants is launched when Drene. Dr. John Breck introduces one of the first shampoos to America and then he invents and develops the first pH-balanced shampoos.

when was shampoo invented
Breck Shampoo invented by Dr. John Breck is one of the first PH- Balanced Shampoo in the world (Source: Internet)


The first builder detergent is introduced in the US. The surfactant is a detergent product’s basic cleaning ingredient, while the builder helps the surfactant to work more efficiently.

when was shampoo invented
The ads for Canthrox shampoo in a magazine (Source: Internet)


Chemists find out the ways to take polymers in shampoo, to fill in the holds where hair is seriously damaged by the detergent.


Chemists find the ways to add silicones in shampoo, which leave a result of “2-in-1” formulations and a variety of patents. When hair is rinsed with water and shampoo, the silicones are “triggered” by water so that they will bind to hair, this process can be hit-or-miss; therefore, a large amount of silicone is added to ensure that enough amount of silicone isleft behind.

when was shampoo invented
An ads for Drene shampoo on the magazine (Source: Internet)
when was shampoo invented
Unique advertisement for Farrah Fawcett Shampoo at that time (Source: Internet)

Therefore, it has begun the customers’ collective love affair with shampoo and the feeling of lather on their heads. Along with a lot of products which is introduced to both professionals and consumers, shampoo could successfully satisfy a number of different desires and conditions – dark, colored, ethnic, young, old thin, thick, curly, dry, oily,– and able to be sold as much of it as possible. Also, with almost every shampoo, there is always an indispensable companion: Conditioner.

The need for a better shampoo has been the Holy Grail of hairdressing, but as long as the detergent in its different modern forms is a main ingredient, or as long as our love of lather on our head keeps going, shampoo manufacturers will be essentially continuing their good job.

With our today’s shampoo, we’ve certainly had a great improvement when compared to the original formula, and now hair scientists are creating specialised shampoos (as well as conditioners) in order meet some special and specific hair needs.

Some of us are delighted in washing our hair almost every single day, but the hair specialists and many beauty experts deny and said that it’s a bad idea. They suggest shampooing two to three times a week is enough.

The invention of co-washing
It’s a kind of shampoo, but not like what you used to know. Co-washers are combining the usual shampoo and conditioner together into one product only, and only using that product in order to clean and condition their hair. The makers of this method say it’s best for curly, textured or frizzy hair, as it is able to nurtures hair and controls abundant oil.
Moreover, while we’ll always love and support the first and original spirit of the word as well as enjoy a comfortable scalp massage like anyone does, New Wash might be the most significant evolution of washing and cleaning hair in ages – and also might just be the last chapter of the world’s shampoo story.

The above is the answer for the question “when was shampoo invented” and the long history of how it was made and introduced to the world. Hopefully you have gain some interesting knowledge about this convenient and esential product. Wishing you all the best.

Leave a Comment