A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Shampoo

How much time do we really spend on choosing the best shampoo for our hair? Apparently not much at all based on this funny graph I found on Facebook. And, for good reason! I mean, how interested are we really about getting the right shine, bounce, or texture for our hair? Usually it’s all about the right smell, at the right price!

Realistically speaking, for most of us, we really don’t see a need to hunt for a specific type of shampoo unless we notice something wrong with our hair or scalp.

That being said, here’s a breakdown of the differences for if and when you see the need to use something other than “normal” shampoos!

Clarifying shampoos are developed with a higher acid content in order to remove excess buildup of styling products in the hair. They are also a popular choice for removing harsh chemicals after swimming in pool water. Note: Due to it’s higher acid content, this shampoo type can cause dryness and also damage to the scalp so avoid using more than once per month.

Thickening shampoos are shampoos that help the hair to swell and retain water giving the appearance of fuller hair. Note: Because of the swollen state of the hair’s cuticle, it can be more vulnerable to breakage. So following with a conditioner  within the same family (thickening) is best! 

Dandruff shampoos are a formulation of ingredients that help to prevent itching and flaking that is associated with dandruff. Dandruff is best described as thick flakes and an irritated scalp. Smaller, fine white flakes are more than likely dry scalp. So make sure you recognize the difference before choosing this shampoo (see more here!). Note: Dandruff shampoos can often cause excessive dryness. So start by using every other day, alternating with a good moisturizing shampoo. 

Shampoos for:

  • Oily hair - contain cleansers designed to remove as much oil as possible from the hair and scalp. Note: Can cause excessive dryness for men with normal scalps.
  • Dry hair - designed specifically to add moisture to the hair and scalp. Note: Ideal for very dry hair (easy to break, often frizzy); can weigh down normal hair.
  • Normal hair - very gentle and won’t strip the natural oils for the hair and scalp.

*Source – About.com

Craig the Barber (19 Posts)

Craig the Barber is a licensed barber and men's grooming expert, with more than a decade of experience. He is the owner of The Grooming Concierge, and on-site grooming service in the Los Angeles area, where he works with some of Hollywood's hottest men. He is also the editor-in-chief of TheMensRoom.com, a men's grooming blog.


  1. What a great idea to use baking soda – that is so useful for so many things. Very wise too not to use shampoo given that the majority of them are still using the awful SLS for foaming purposes.

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