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A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Shampoo

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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 –


9 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Shampoo”

  1. I moved from regular shampoo to a shampoo bar a few years ago and I would never go back. The price per wash comes out to about equal to that of liquid shampoo, but the shampoo bar (at least the brand I use) doesn’t have the SLS component and, due to the natural ingredients I don’t require an extra conditioner anymore. The liquid shampoos always stripped out so much of my hair’s natural oils that if I didn’t use a conditioner afterwards my hair would be very dry and unruly. The shampoo bar has fixed that and I’m happy knowing that I’m using a natural product, sans industrial chemicals and that it’s made in the USA.

  2. 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.

  3. My highschool science teacher always said he scrubbed every inch of his body (including his hair) with Lava brand soap. He was in his upper 60s and had a full head of healthy white hair. Lava soap may not be the answer for everybody but ever since I’ve been washing my hair with plain old bath soap. Let me tell you, I’ve got some thick strong hair and it is never touched by sulfates. Thanks, Mr. Sanderson!

  4. I keep a short cut these days, and use Groom & Clean for styling. I’ve found I can just simply do a warm water rinse and scalp massage in the morning and reapply G&C. Twice a week I’ll actually fully scrub my scalp with some Dr. Bronner’s. Obviously, not a routine for longer hair.

  5. Very interesting and informative post. I have oily skin and oily hair but I keep it buzzed since I am losing my hair. My problem is trying to find a balance of removing the oil without overly drying the scalp. Do you have any tips?

    1. Great question Nick! Sometimes using too harsh of a shampoo (ie. Clarifying shampoos) can dry out the scalp too much. So my suggestion would be to stick with gentler shampoos and always use a hair condioner at least 3x’s a week. The next step is to follow with a grooming cream which works similar to a face moisturizer for the scalp. Consider adopting the use of a grooming cream as a part of your daily routine. These steps should certainly produce a difference!

  6. I haven’t regularly shampooed my hair for years. All shampoos made my hair look fluffy like I had blow dried it. Now I only shampoo if my hair is actually dirty, but I use conditioner maybe once a week.

  7. If you are blessed with perfect hair and scalp, shampoo is probably great. Call me crazy, Craig, but I have had the best luck with getting rid of crazy dandruff by skipping shampoo altogether!
    Affectionately (and unfortunately) called ‘no-poo’ by its adherents, using a light solution of baking soda followed by a very diluted vinegar rinse cleared up the shoulder snow better than T-Gel, Head and Shoulders, Nizoral, etc.
    My wife thought I was nuts and the ‘ruff got bad on week two, but then it just disappeared. Just. like. that.
    I am on my third $.99 cent box of baking soda and still the first bottle of Apple Cider vinegar since New Years 2011. Cheaper than a Concord, box of Derby’s and bottle of Clubman…totally old-old-school too, my grandma said they shampooed with Vinegar and Soda in the 30’s.

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