Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type is the first step in getting beautiful hair. After all, these products form a regular part of your hair care routine even if you do nothing else to maintain your tresses.
The cosmetics market is overflowing with shampoos and conditioners. It can be hard deciding which one to buy. Most people just throw in any old shampoo into their shopping carts and grab a conditioner on the way to the checkout kiosk. Who can blame them? The so-called variety on display can intimidate anyone. However, if you take a closer look at the ingredients on the bottle, you will notice that most, if not all, of them contain the very same things! So what you’re presented with is not really a variety of shampoos but a variety of brands.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Your Hair Type
Now, if you could become the discerning consumer and identify which ingredients are right for your hair type, you’d be winning more than half the battle in your quest for better hair. So we’re going to look at what ingredients you should be on the lookout for based on your hair type.
It’s not just the type of product that makes a difference. Sometimes, how you apply it and how often you use it matters greatly too. We’ll also briefly cover that where applicable.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Oily Hair
Those with oily hair have a tricky problem on their hands. In the first place, the scalp gets oily on a daily basis and it feels so icky that you are simply itching to wash it. On the other hand, washing it too much can dry the scalp out and make it produce even more oils which means you end up exacerbating the problem you’re trying to fix.
Another problem with oily hair is that it can be quite fine, which makes it just as prone to thinning and damage as dry hair. So the priority is to search for ingredients that make hair thicker and gently clean it without over-drying the scalp. Be on the lookout for hair products that contain panthenol, wheat protein and keratins.
Oily hair sufferers are often tempted to try out anything which says ‘clarifying’ on the label. While it is true that clarifying shampoos do a thorough cleaning job the downside is that they can be quite harsh and damage your hair even further. So limit your use of the clarifying ones to once or twice a month tops.
Conditioners are crucial for oily hair. However, ensure that you never apply conditioner to your scalp or too close to it. As a rule, apply it to your ends only if you have medium-length hair (till your shoulder) or only half your tresses if they fall below your shoulders. Applying conditioner on the scalp can make it even greasier. If your hair is short, apply only on the ends.
The most important tip for those with oily hair – whatever shampoo or conditioner you use – is to rinse it off thoroughly. Product that’s left in your hair will attract dirt and stimulate your scalp to produce more oil than ever. Also avoid shampooing hair daily, alternate days is better. If your hair gets really oily and you feel you absolutely must shampoo every day, try using a dry shampoo a few days a week.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Dry Hair
You have to be really careful if you have dry hair as it is the type more prone to breakage and damage. Avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain sodium laureth sulphate (sometimes abbreviated to SLS). Since almost all cosmetic cleaners contain this ingredient, you may find it difficult to locate a shampoo without it. Natural shampoos – the ones that are really natural not the ones that just have a label that says so – will work quite well for dry hair as they do not contain ingredients which strip your scalp of its natural oils.
While avoiding drying ingredients, it is also important to look for those that will provide your hair with the rich moisture and the nourishment it needs to repair damage. Look for shampoos and conditioners that contain lanolin, shea butter and oils.
With dry hair, it’s best to wash only once or twice a week. Do, however, use a good leave-in conditioner to strengthen and protect your tresses.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Dandruff
One of the most annoying hair problems to deal with, dandruff is only exacerbated if you use the wrong shampoo and conditioner. Look for healing products with menthol, tea tree or aloe vera and others that deal particularly with flaky scalp like coal tar, sulphur, ketoconazole, zinc, selenium sulfide and salicylic acid.
A dandruff shampoo should be gently massaged into the scalp for one or two minutes and then be left on for another 30 seconds to a minute before being washed off. Make sure you use your fingertips to massage the shampoo, not your nails. The nails could cause scratches and make flaky scalp flakier.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Colored Hair
If you’re not going to take care of your hair after you color it, you may as well not color it at all. Firstly, colored hair is exposed to harsh chemicals in the dye and so needs to be nourished to prevent those chemicals from doing their worst. And secondly, your color will only really shine if your hair is healthy.
Soothing, hydrating and nourishing ingredients for colored hair include sea kelp, algae, oil (especially emu and jojoba which are both good for dry hair too). Also look for conditioners with UV protection as these will slow down the fading of your color.
Another option to clean colored hair is to use baby shampoo. These usually have fewer chemical ingredients, are gentler on your hair in general while at the same time doing a pretty good job of cleaning your tresses and making them shine.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Normal Hair
Lucky you! If your hair is neither dry not oily, not damaged and you don’t have dandruff, yours is the easiest choice of all. You can basically decide what you want to fix with your hair (more shine, more volume, etc.) and handpick any conditioner and shampoo that you want. Still though, it pays to be aware of how each product affects your hair and make discretionary choices in the future based on your observations. You don’t want a lack of concern to ruin a good thing now, do you?