Washing your hair seems simple – all you need to do is grab some shampoo, lather up, rinse, and repeat with conditioner. While the process is simple, there’s more to washing your hair than this. The biggest detail is getting the right shampoo for your hair type, and that’s what this article will help you determine.
Whether your hair is curly, thin, thick, oily, dry, long, short, or colored, this article will help you identify your ideal type of shampoo.
Table of Contents
- What is the purpose of shampoo?
- The best shampoo for textured or curly hair
- The best shampoo for dry hair
- The best shampoo for oily hair
- The best shampoo for color-treated hair
- The best shampoo for dandruff
- Shampoo ingredients to avoid for all hair types
- How to find your ideal shampoo
- Don’t forget the conditioner!
What is the purpose of shampoo?
You probably think of shampoo as a way to clean your hair, and that’s partially true. Technically, shampoo is for cleaning your hair and your scalp, but it’s also used to nourish and repair your hair. For instance, some shampoo contains vitamins, keratin, and protein just for this purpose.
While the main purpose of shampoo is to clean your hair and scalp, your hair type will determine which ingredients will help you accomplish this goal.
The best shampoo for textured or curly hair
To keep textured or curly hair looking and feeling great, you’ll need shampoo with whey, hydrolyzed proteins, argan oil, and shea butter. These ingredients will strengthen curls and make them appear more prominent.
Whether you have tight curls, loose curls, or just wavy hair, your hair is more likely to dry out than other hair types. Avoid sulfates because these will dry out your hair. Also, look for humectants like jojoba or avocado oil. You’ll also want to avoid silicone and parabens, since these ingredients can make your hair frizzy.
The best shampoo for dry hair
Dry hair requires hydration, and you can accomplish this with shampoo that contains argan oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. If you visit the salon, ask if they have any shampoo for dry hair. You’ll almost always find some at a professional salon, and if you get your hair washed with your cut, you may get to try it out first.
Another way to hydrate dry hair is to use a hair mask. These can be purchased at a salon or made at home. Although the hair masks from a salon are higher quality, they’re still possible to make at home. You just need to be careful enough to avoid ingredients that don’t rinse easily, or ingredients that solidify.
The best shampoo for oily hair
Oily hair requires exfoliation, and you can get that from shampoos that contain salicylic acid and glycolic acid. If you have oily hair, it’s important to really clean your scalp when you wash your hair. Dig your fingers into your scalp and really get a good scrub.
The best shampoo for color-treated hair
If you color your hair, you’ll definitely want to use special shampoo designed for color-treated hair. Using any old shampoo, even your favorite, can compromise the integrity of your color.
Typically, color-safe shampoo is free from sulfates and contains an abundance of conditioning elements, proteins, amino acids, and antioxidants that specifically support color-treated hair. If you’ve got blonde highlights, you can use a purple shampoo to keep it looking nice.
Purple shampoo has a lavender tint that stops blond hair from becoming orange and yellow from exposure to the sun, heat, and hard water.
The best shampoo for dandruff
If you suffer from dandruff, you want a shampoo that contains salicylic acid. This is commonly found in acne treatments, and it works on your scalp as well. Salicylic acid removes the scale that builds up on your scalp and ends up flaking off.
You can also try Selsun Blue, or other shampoos containing selenium sulfide. This is your ideal option if you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis. Selenium sulfide slows the growth of yeast that causes the seborrheic dermatitis infection.
Shampoo ingredients to avoid for all hair types
You may have heard that sulfates are bad in food, but they’re also bad in shampoo. The problem is, a lot of shampoos contain sulfates, but they’re not always labeled as such and it can be hard to spot them.
The most obvious ingredients to avoid include lauryl sulfates and laureth sulfates. Other sulfates include sarcodines and sulfosuccinates. These sulfates are harsh detergents that strip all the natural oil from your hair. If you already have dry hair, these ingredients will make it worse. If you don’t already have dry hair and you use shampoo with these ingredients, you might end up with dry hair.
Other ingredients to avoid include:
- Parabens. Parabens are skin irritants and are easily absorbed. They can cause redness, itching, and flaky skin.
- Silicone. Silicone will allow the shampoo to build up on your scalp and clog your hair follicles.
- Isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol can make your hair dry and brittle, and even cause it to break.
- Phthalates. Phthalates are one of the worst ingredients in shampoo because they are hormone disruptors. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of absorbing phthalates is hair loss.
- Hexachlorophene. Out of all shampoo ingredients, this is perhaps the worst. It’s a mystery why this ingredient is still used because the FDA issued a warning decades ago that this ingredient can cause brain damage. If you see this ingredient in shampoo, choose a different option.
How to find your ideal shampoo
You can find hundreds of shampoos at any drug store or department store, but they’re more likely to contain all the ingredients you should avoid. There are some shampoos on the shelves that don’t contain these ingredients, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could spend hours reading labels.
The best shampoos will come from a professional salon. However, salon shampoos can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, check out these affordable options.
Don’t forget the conditioner!
Once you get a good shampoo for your hair type, make sure you also get a great conditioner to keep your hair soft and shiny. Conditioner is just as important as shampoo, and the right product can actually help you repair dry and damaged hair.