You work hard for your money and you need every tool that you use to work just as hard for you. And that includes your ‘liquid’ tools as well. Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are all essential elements needed to produce a great groom.

“The bath is the quintessential prerequisite to a perfect grooming job and a clean and healthy animal,” says Joy Nachmias, owner of B3 Salon Products. “Stylists put a lot of time and effort into completing a grooming job. If the shampoos are not doing the job they are supposed to do, you are going to have an unhappy client.”

Selecting the right shampoos to help you get the results you want can be a daunting task. There are hundreds, if not thousands of shampoos available to the professional pet stylist. How do you decide which ones are the best for you?

What is Shampoo?

“Shampoo is a liquid surfactant system with detergency ability for cleansing,” says David Campanella of Best Shot Pet Products. “It differs from soap in that it is not prepared from fats and oils, is not inactivated by hard water and minerals, and has wetting agents and will emulsify oils, holding any dirt in suspension so it rinses away easily with water without the typical scummy residue soap leaves behind.”

Exactly how does it remove dirt from the coat & skin?

“Very simply put, one end of the shampoo molecule is attracted to soil (dirt and grease) while the opposite end of the molecule chain is attracted to water,” Mr. Campanella continues. “Debris gets attracted to ‘sebum’ (the oily deposits secreted by the skin’s sebaceous glands upon each hair shaft) along with any other oily deposits. Shampoo molecules clean by removing this sebum and soil deposits, suspending them in water, to be rinsed away with fresh water.”
So, how do you find a shampoo that’s right for you?

Educate yourself. Attend seminars and learn about coat and skin care. Go to trade shows and network with other groomers. Ask them what brands they use and why they like them.

“When you select shampoos, always read the labels” adds Justin Pohl, VP of Distribution at Bio–Groom. “It’s important that groomers know what the ingredients are in the shampoo they are using.”

Talk to the manufacturers and see what they have to offer. Some manufacturers will send a sample pack to you for free or at a reduced price, so that you can try their products. Don’t just get one teeny sample bottle that you can only use on one pet, get enough of the product to really see how it performs. Shampoo performance and rinse time can be affected by your water quality. Try different brands and see what works for you.

“Know what’s inside the bottle when selecting shampoos,” advises Richard Ticktin, CEO of Synergy Labs. “It’s very simple and it boils down to the ingredients in the shampoo which are called ‘solids’. Solids provide the results the groomer wants to achieve, whether it’s wanting the animal’s coat to shine more, be cleaner, or smell better.

“In shampoo, a percentage of solids are mixed with water,” Mr. Ticktin continues. “There’s a huge difference in buying a shampoo that’s 60% water verses one that’s 95% water. It can dilute the product and the groomer’s profit. Unfortunately, there are no clear industry standards in terms of the true amount of solids to help the groomer gauge what they are buying. With a product like sunscreen, for example, there’s an SPF value—and everyone understands that the higher the SPF number, the higher the protection.”

Price is very often a determining factor when groomers buy shampoos. But, don’t let the initial cost alone decide what shampoo to purchase. Instead, you really need to calculate what shampoo costs you per bath— not per gallon.

“Manufacturers of concentrated shampoos offer suggested dilution rates on each of their products,” says Joe Zuccarello, Director of Innovation of TropiClean. “While this is a suggestion, many groomers decide how thick or thin they are going to mix any particular shampoo by trying the shampoo at various dilution levels for their desired hand–feel, amount of sudsing during the bath, speed of rinsing, and overall cleaning performance.”

“So, whether the groomer chooses to follow the manufacturer’s suggestion to the letter, or if they figure out their own dilution rate,” continues Mr. Zuccarello, “Once the amount of concentrated shampoo and water is determined, they can quickly figure out how much each bath is costing them based on how much they spent on the shampoo in the first place.”

“Keep it simple. You don’t have to have a shelf full of different shampoos,” says Joy Nachmias of B-3Salon Products. “Once you find the shampoo you like and that gives you the results you want, make it your go-to product and use it daily.”

Getting the most for your money

“Cost is certainly a factor in any business,” says Dallas Van Kempen, President of EQyss Grooming Products. “I recommend that groomers use the best product that they can afford. The cost difference in a premium shampoo is not that much and it will be worth it in customer satisfaction, which means repeat business and referrals.”

“Don’t expect great results if you use inferior quality products,” states Mr. Richard Biegan, President of Quadruped Pet Care. “You get what you pay for when it comes to most shampoos. You may mistakenly think that using economy shampoos will save you money, when in reality you may have to use double the amount or more to get the pet clean.

“Groomers know that ‘time is money’,” Mr. Biegan continues. “Using quality shampoos and conditioners can speed up the grooming process and allow stylists to become more productive.”

“Buying cheap shampoo can actually be more expensive for the groomer than buying a premium one,” emphasizes Mary Meeks, president of Nature’s Specialties. “If you buy a gallon of shampoo for ten dollars and it makes three gallons of diluted shampoo, you are paying $3.33 per gallon. If you buy a better quality shampoo that costs twenty five dollars a gallon, but when diluted makes twenty five gallons – you are only paying one dollar a gallon for a higher quality shampoo. In the long run, a premium shampoo can be much more affordable.”

“Another thing that groomers should consider is how much cheap shampoo can cost them,” continues Mary. “Cheap shampoo often does not have conditioning ingredients and can be harsher on the pet’s (and groomer’s) skin. If a person’s pet has an adverse reaction to something in the shampoo, not only will they be angry with you as the groomer, they will also tell all of their friends about it and that could potentially cost you many clients.”
Specialty products

Most groomers routinely use specialty shampoos that are formulated to do specific jobs in their facilities. Pet’s eyes can be easily irritated, which prompts a lot of groomers to use tearless shampoo and facial products.

There are a multitude of products available that help de–mat, de–shed, or deodorize coats. There are shampoos that moisturize, intensify color, add volume, kill fleas, and much, much more. They all may have a place in your pet care arsenal.

And, many groomers feel that a bath is not complete unless you condition the freshly shampooed hair to replace the sebum that was washed away. Conditioner will keep the cuticles closed longer, retain moisture, and increase tensile strength, shine and resilience.

“To keep the skin and coat in optimal condition, it is almost always necessary to use a conditioner after shampooing. A conditioner is going to help lock in moisture and hydrate the coat,” says Shannon Moore, NCMG and Director of Grooming and Education at Espree Animal Products, Inc. “After all, keeping the skin and coat in the best condition possible will help the pet stylist put that ‘show-stopping’ groom on a dog.”

In addition, some products that you use not only help the pet, they can help protect your facility. 

“Medicated shampoo treatments by the groomer can soothe and disinfect the pet’s skin, not to mention help maintain a sanitary environment by preventing the spread of bacteria and other microorganisms throughout one’s grooming facility,” shares David Campanella. “That’s really important!”

So whether you are looking for a ‘go to’ everyday shampoo or some hair care products for specialized situations, do your research and find the ones that will enhance your business and your bottom line.

“Balancing product cost and performance will forever be a challenge for groomers as shampoo is one of the highest expenses a grooming shop owner will have,” concludes Mr. Zuccarello. “So be wise and find that perfect balance. The wrong choice could result in profit going right down the drain, literally.”

You work hard for your money and you need every tool that you use to work just as hard for you. And that includes your ‘liquid’ tools as well. Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are all essential elements needed to produce a great groom.

“The bath is the quintessential prerequisite to a perfect grooming job and a clean and healthy animal,” says Joy Nachmias, owner of B3 Salon Products. “Stylists put a lot of time and effort into completing a grooming job. If the shampoos are not doing the job they are supposed to do, you are going to have an unhappy client.”

Selecting the right shampoos to help you get the results you want can be a daunting task. There are hundreds, if not thousands of shampoos available to the professional pet stylist. How do you decide which ones are the best for you?

What is Shampoo?

“Shampoo is a liquid surfactant system with detergency ability for cleansing,” says David Campanella of Best Shot Pet Products. “It differs from soap in that it is not prepared from fats and oils, is not inactivated by hard water and minerals, and has wetting agents and will emulsify oils, holding any dirt in suspension so it rinses away easily with water without the typical scummy residue soap leaves behind.”

Exactly how does it remove dirt from the coat & skin?

“Very simply put, one end of the shampoo molecule is attracted to soil (dirt and grease) while the opposite end of the molecule chain is attracted to water,” Mr. Campanella continues. “Debris gets attracted to ‘sebum’ (the oily deposits secreted by the skin’s sebaceous glands upon each hair shaft) along with any other oily deposits. Shampoo molecules clean by removing this sebum and soil deposits, suspending them in water, to be rinsed away with fresh water.”
So, how do you find a shampoo that’s right for you?

Educate yourself. Attend seminars and learn about coat and skin care. Go to trade shows and network with other groomers. Ask them what brands they use and why they like them.

“When you select shampoos, always read the labels” adds Justin Pohl, VP of Distribution at Bio–Groom. “It’s important that groomers know what the ingredients are in the shampoo they are using.”

Talk to the manufacturers and see what they have to offer. Some manufacturers will send a sample pack to you for free or at a reduced price, so that you can try their products. Don’t just get one teeny sample bottle that you can only use on one pet, get enough of the product to really see how it performs. Shampoo performance and rinse time can be affected by your water quality. Try different brands and see what works for you.

“Know what’s inside the bottle when selecting shampoos,” advises Richard Ticktin, CEO of Synergy Labs. “It’s very simple and it boils down to the ingredients in the shampoo which are called ‘solids’. Solids provide the results the groomer wants to achieve, whether it’s wanting the animal’s coat to shine more, be cleaner, or smell better.

“In shampoo, a percentage of solids are mixed with water,” Mr. Ticktin continues. “There’s a huge difference in buying a shampoo that’s 60% water verses one that’s 95% water. It can dilute the product and the groomer’s profit. Unfortunately, there are no clear industry standards in terms of the true amount of solids to help the groomer gauge what they are buying. With a product like sunscreen, for example, there’s an SPF value—and everyone understands that the higher the SPF number, the higher the protection.”

Price is very often a determining factor when groomers buy shampoos. But, don’t let the initial cost alone decide what shampoo to purchase. Instead, you really need to calculate what shampoo costs you per bath— not per gallon.

“Manufacturers of concentrated shampoos offer suggested dilution rates on each of their products,” says Joe Zuccarello, Director of Innovation of TropiClean. “While this is a suggestion, many groomers decide how thick or thin they are going to mix any particular shampoo by trying the shampoo at various dilution levels for their desired hand–feel, amount of sudsing during the bath, speed of rinsing, and overall cleaning performance.”

“So, whether the groomer chooses to follow the manufacturer’s suggestion to the letter, or if they figure out their own dilution rate,” continues Mr. Zuccarello, “Once the amount of concentrated shampoo and water is determined, they can quickly figure out how much each bath is costing them based on how much they spent on the shampoo in the first place.”

“Keep it simple. You don’t have to have a shelf full of different shampoos,” says Joy Nachmias of B-3Salon Products. “Once you find the shampoo you like and that gives you the results you want, make it your go-to product and use it daily.”

Getting the most for your money

“Cost is certainly a factor in any business,” says Dallas Van Kempen, President of EQyss Grooming Products. “I recommend that groomers use the best product that they can afford. The cost difference in a premium shampoo is not that much and it will be worth it in customer satisfaction, which means repeat business and referrals.”

“Don’t expect great results if you use inferior quality products,” states Mr. Richard Biegan, President of Quadruped Pet Care. “You get what you pay for when it comes to most shampoos. You may mistakenly think that using economy shampoos will save you money, when in reality you may have to use double the amount or more to get the pet clean.

“Groomers know that ‘time is money’,” Mr. Biegan continues. “Using quality shampoos and conditioners can speed up the grooming process and allow stylists to become more productive.”

“Buying cheap shampoo can actually be more expensive for the groomer than buying a premium one,” emphasizes Mary Meeks, president of Nature’s Specialties. “If you buy a gallon of shampoo for ten dollars and it makes three gallons of diluted shampoo, you are paying $3.33 per gallon. If you buy a better quality shampoo that costs twenty five dollars a gallon, but when diluted makes twenty five gallons – you are only paying one dollar a gallon for a higher quality shampoo. In the long run, a premium shampoo can be much more affordable.”

“Another thing that groomers should consider is how much cheap shampoo can cost them,” continues Mary. “Cheap shampoo often does not have conditioning ingredients and can be harsher on the pet’s (and groomer’s) skin. If a person’s pet has an adverse reaction to something in the shampoo, not only will they be angry with you as the groomer, they will also tell all of their friends about it and that could potentially cost you many clients.”
Specialty products

Most groomers routinely use specialty shampoos that are formulated to do specific jobs in their facilities. Pet’s eyes can be easily irritated, which prompts a lot of groomers to use tearless shampoo and facial products.

There are a multitude of products available that help de–mat, de–shed, or deodorize coats. There are shampoos that moisturize, intensify color, add volume, kill fleas, and much, much more. They all may have a place in your pet care arsenal.

And, many groomers feel that a bath is not complete unless you condition the freshly shampooed hair to replace the sebum that was washed away. Conditioner will keep the cuticles closed longer, retain moisture, and increase tensile strength, shine and resilience.

“To keep the skin and coat in optimal condition, it is almost always necessary to use a conditioner after shampooing. A conditioner is going to help lock in moisture and hydrate the coat,” says Shannon Moore, NCMG and Director of Grooming and Education at Espree Animal Products, Inc. “After all, keeping the skin and coat in the best condition possible will help the pet stylist put that ‘show-stopping’ groom on a dog.”

In addition, some products that you use not only help the pet, they can help protect your facility. 

“Medicated shampoo treatments by the groomer can soothe and disinfect the pet’s skin, not to mention help maintain a sanitary environment by preventing the spread of bacteria and other microorganisms throughout one’s grooming facility,” shares David Campanella. “That’s really important!”

So whether you are looking for a ‘go to’ everyday shampoo or some hair care products for specialized situations, do your research and find the ones that will enhance your business and your bottom line.

“Balancing product cost and performance will forever be a challenge for groomers as shampoo is one of the highest expenses a grooming shop owner will have,” concludes Mr. Zuccarello. “So be wise and find that perfect balance. The wrong choice could result in profit going right down the drain, literally.” ✂