Nov 15

Xampu sem sal

“Shampoo” is a funny old word isn’t it? Apparently it originates from the Hindustani word ‘chāmpo‘ meaning “to press or knead the muscles”. The Portuguese word sounds pretty much the same as its English counterpart, but the spelling is quite different: Xampu (the letter ‘X’ is a bit of a tricky one in Portuguese, having 4 different sounds depending on its context).

Now normally I don’t give shampoo a lot of thought – I wash my hair in the morning and then move on with my life. But this changed recently when a friend told me something interesting. She said that since she moved to Rio, her hair had been really misbehaving, getting wispy and unmanageable. She went on to say that a carioca friend had told her that the secret was to use Xampu sem sal (shampoo without salt).

My first reaction was “They put salt in shampoo?!”. One would have to assume that they do.

Coincidentally, just a few days later Mrs Eat Rio went shopping and returned with a bottle of something called Phytoervas:


It might not have salt, but this shampoo does have omega-3, omega-6 and quinoa – delicious!


In one of those weird twists of fate, I discovered during my very next shower that my own bottle of shampoo had run out and so I was forced to give this xampu sem sal a try. Readers – my life has been transformed!

As I walked to work that morning, I realised that something was different. It was my hair! How can I describe the sensation? Sometimes words aren’t enough. I felt like this:


My coat hair felt glossy, shiny and had more body!


OK, so hopefully most of you realise that I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but in all honesty I did notice my hair felt a bit thicker and generally ‘better’ after I had used the sem-sal shampoo. In the interests of research, I read a couple of articles about this stuff and the basic message is that there’s no real scientific evidence for anything, but ‘beauty experts’ reckon the salt (which is used to help generate lather apparently) can dry your hair out.

I’m not sure if this is just a Brazilian thing or if they’re selling this saltless shampoo everywhere, but what I do know is that I’ve been getting some funny looks in the office…


Related posts:


Skip to comment form

  1. Phil

    Why did this post make me think of Fabio? :)

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha ha! Fabio! I hadn’t thought about him in ages! But yeah, I see your point… ;)

  2. The Gritty Poet

    Since you’ve decided to deviate from your regular product I wonder: have you considered horse shampoo?Supposedly some people actually use it. You could also go native and find capybara shampoo, or look into how those water buffalos from Marajó island in the Amazon keep their fur looking so glorious (they look much better than Fabio methinks). Last but not least: swan shampoo (just to class it up once in a while).

    1. tomlemes

      wow, you learn something new every day – horse shampoo! I gather the most popular brand is called “Mane and Tail”!

  3. The Gritty Poet

    I see someone is a fan of “Blades of Glory”.

  4. Saskia Ghirotti

    So funny that you posted this. I was at the supermarket today and saw this shampoo. I thought it was funny that this shampoo was sem-sal. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy it because they only had conditioner and I was a little bit skeptical. After reading your post I am convinced and will be buying this next time I run out of xampoo:)

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha! I was tempted to put a little note saying “This post was sponsored by Phytoervas™” but I thought someone might take me seriously! ;)

      Maybe I should sent them this link and they’ll send me a lifetime supply (or a free bottle at least!)

  5. Chris Wright

    Haha that dog comment and picture made me fall off the gym bike laughing. Warning! I lived in Ohio 2000-2001 and I always thought the local water was to blame for the high percentage of mullet hair styles in the male and female population.

    So if this shampoo makes you grow a mullet you were pre-warned ;)

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha! RE, growing a mullet, the chance would be a fine thing! Sadly I think that in a few years I will be more concerned about buying hats than shampoo. Either that or I’ll be trying to pull off the Jack Nicholson look ;)

  6. Andrew Francis

    I noticed all the saltless Brazilian shampoos a while back and mentioned it to my wife (who would know more about such things) and according to her, they reckon salt messes up hair that’s gone through a Brazilian blowdry treatment (keratin shock, that kind of stuff). That’s why they’re comon in Brazil but not in other places.

    There, that’s my two minutes of useless curious knowledge for today (and only seven days late to boot!).

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha! Nice one Andrew :) Now it all makes sense! All those blowdry treatments I’ve been going to at my local salon were giving me keratin shock and then I stumbled on the solution! Erm, something like that… ;)

  7. Agda

    Aren’t sulfates “salts” ?

    1. tomlemes

      Hi Agda – I think you’re right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>