Identifying the Best Kind of Shampoo for Your Hair Type

Shampoo is one of the most important components of your hair routine. Whether you shampoo your hair daily or every few days, you need a high-quality shampoo to get your hair squeaky-clean, protect your color and keep your locks looking and feeling fresh and healthy.

Shampoo is not always one-size-fits-all, though. Because everyone’s hair is a little bit different, the shampoo we use regularly should vary, too. Choosing the right shampoo can be daunting, since most stores today carry a wide selection of products intended to provide particular results.

The best way to pick the perfect kind of shampoo for your hair is to determine what hair type you have and other qualities your hair possesses.

Dry hair

If your hair is feeling brittle and your scalp is itchy or flaky, you’ll need to look for products that introduce more moisture to your hair and help soothe your irritated scalp. Check shampoo bottles for the words “hydrating” or “moisturizing.”

Sometimes, these moisturizing products just aren’t enough. If your scalp is severely dry and flaky, look for products that are specifically designed to combat dryness. These shampoos will probably use tea tree oil or other moisturizing ingredients to really penetrate the hair and scalp and lock in moisture.

Oily hair

If your scalp appears to go into overdrive every day, producing a ton of sebum and making your hair look greasy mere hours after a wash, you’ll want to look for a shampoo that doesn’t give you a ton of extra oil. Avoid products that are intended to be ultra-moisturizing or soothing, as these tend to have ingredients that will weigh down your hair even more.

Instead, look for products designed for volumizing or “balancing.” These won’t introduce as much extra oil and can help cut back on or mask the appearance of excess sebum on your scalp.

Frizzy, curly hair

Everyone hates frizz, and if your hair seems to get frizzy just from looking at it, managing it every day can be a challenge. The trick to fighting frizzy hair is to use a calming type of shampoo that is loaded with moisture to help smooth the cuticle of your hair and keep frizz at bay.

This is also often the case for people with curly hair, since curls tend to lack moisture and get unwieldy. Women with curly hair should look for curly hair formulas, since calming shampoos can sometimes weigh down the curls rather than give them definition.

Damaged hair

Perhaps you’ve used hot tools or harsh chemicals and products too frequently, and your hair is starting to show the signs of damage. Reversing damage can be nearly impossible, but some products are effective at improving the look and feel of damaged hair until it grows long enough to cut it off.

Pick up a shampoo that aims to “strengthen” or “fortify” your hair. These products usually have extra hydrating components to introduce more moisture, since your hair is most likely dry and brittle. They also typically have proteins that penetrate the strands and protect them from splitting and breaking off.

Normal hair

If you have hair that’s a healthy balance between dry and oily, your job is easy—you can probably get away with using any regular shampoo you want! You don’t need to hunt for products with specific ingredients. Go for a balancing shampoo for a nice, middle-of-the-road option. Or, you can purchase a few different types of products, so you have them on-hand if your hair starts to get more oily or more dry.

Consider these versatile products, too

While the shampoo you use should vary based on your hair type, other products can be used no matter what kind of hair you have.

Everyone can benefit from using a clarifying shampoo every once and a while. This type of shampoo will get your hair extra-squeaky-clean by removing all the oils, soap residues and product buildup that have accumulated over time. It’s important to not over-use clarifying shampoo, though. Once a week—or better yet, once every two weeks—is ideal to avoid stripping your hair and scalp of its natural oils and prevent your hair from becoming dry, dull and damage-prone.

Hair masks can also help just about anyone with hair rejuvenate their locks with moisture. You can buy pre-made ones at the store, which may come in different varieties for hair types, or you could make your own at home using natural ingredients like coconut oil, honey and yogurt.

Finally, a vitamin or supplement designed to help you grow healthy hair will make your locks look and feel even better, no matter what your natural hair type is.

No matter what products you’re using, try to switch them up every few months so your hair doesn’t get used to them, and try new things out if you don’t like what a particular product is doing to your hair.

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