a woman choosing a shampoo for her hair

How to Choose the Perfect Shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo for your hair can be a daunting experience, especially because number of products on the shelf is overwhelming. You may find yourself thinking, "What do all of the terms on the labels mean?" The key to finding the right shampoo is arming yourself with the information you need before you head to the store.

First Things First

The first thing to know about shampoo is what it's for. When you think about shampoo, you're normally thinking about your hair and not so much your scalp. All shampoos will clean built-up products and everyday dirt from your hair. When choosing shampoo, however, it's more important that you choose based on the condition of your scalp rather than the condition of your hair. For instance, you may have dry hair and an oily scalp. If you have this problem and you choose a hydrating shampoo for your hair, you will probably end up making your scalp condition worse. Choosing the right shampoo for your scalp and the right conditioner for your hair will give you the best of both worlds: a healthy scalp and beautiful hair.

Oily Scalp

If you have an oily scalp, you should avoid products with words like hydrating, moisturizing, smoothing, or curly hair on the label. All of these words mean the shampoo will have extra oils or extracts that will make your oily scalp worse.

You should, instead, look for words like strengthening, balancing, and volumizing, which indicate that the shampoo will have a drying effect on your scalp. Don't worry about drying out your hair at this point. You will add moisture to the hair shaft by choosing the right conditioner. Also look for ingredients such as tea tree oil, rosemary, sage and citrus; all these herbs help with oil control.

If you have an excessively oily scalp, look for a clarifying shampoo. Make sure to take the time to work the shampoo well into your scalp. Don't use a clarifying shampoo too often though, as it can irritate your scalp and cause it to secrete even more oil.

Dry Scalp

For those with a dry scalp, look for products with words on the label like moisturizing, hydrating, smoothing, and for curly hair. All of these types of products will contain extra oils and ingredients that will help ease a dry scalp. Also look for extra ingredients such as shea butter, oils, aloe and vitamin E. These added ingredients help with hydrating a dry scalp. For those with extra dry scalp and flaking, look for added tea tree oil or menthol to help control flaking.

Avoid products with labels that say strengthening, volumizing, and fortifying. These products will make dry scalp even drier.

Color Treated Hair

If your hair is color treated, look for a shampoo that is formulated specifically for color-treated hair to make your color last.