Choosing a shampoo is a personal decision primarily dependent on the type of hair you have and your budget. Other issues such as skin sensitivity, allergies, veganism/vegetarianism and dandruff/dry scalp will also play a part in which shampoo is best for you.
- Don't let the price tag determine your choice. Rest assured shampoos don't have to cost a lot to be effective since the purpose is that they cleanse. If you look at the ingredient list on the back of a shampoo bottle you'll notice that one of the first three items listed are inexpensive suds forming cleansers that lift away dirt and oil from the hair shaft: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate,TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. After that, the rest of the ingredients are supplemental and most never have the time to make any difference in the quality of your hair. The bottom line is only spend what you can afford on shampoos and avoid the hype that hikes up cost. Since this is a product that is used nearly every day, you want something that will last and won't break the bank every time you need to buy a new bottle.
- Know when to go with designer suds. Most shampoos cost less than $10 and you can easily select from a large number of products at your local drugstore. Plenty of options start at $15 and go up to $30 or more. These "designer" suds may make that extra difference between a bad hair day and a good one, but only if you happen to have seriously traumatized tresses. While for some, there is no price too high for luxury, the jury is still out on whether or not these pricey counterparts are really better than drugstore brands.
- Be wary of product claims. Don't forget that hair is dead. Once it's dead, it's dead. No nourishing, repairing formula is going to restore it to its original state. They may, however, give it a temporary look of health and improvement.
- Read the fine print. On the front of the bottle you see, "It's 90% more effective than other shampoos." When you turn the bottle around you see the statement continues to say that it's 90% effective when combined with the full product line. That means conditioner and styling products too.
- Branch out. Brand loyalty is something manufacturers want you to get in the habit of. Since not everyone produces the best of everything, it's a good idea to avoid being brand loyal unless you have found a great product that you can't bear to not use.
- Daily is enough. Washing hair twice, as many shampoos suggest, is not necessary. In fact, it will just help dry out your hair more. Especially avoid washing hair frequently if you have dry, damaged or colored hair.
A Need for Purpose
Besides the cost, what you really want to consider is the type of shampoo and its purpose. Companies claim to give you hair like a super model overnight, whether it be with their moisturizing formula ,color-enhancement ,fade-resistance or volumizing properties. The truth though is that the majority of shampoos all contain roughly the same ingredients and those are what the FDA has approved as being safe for consumer use. That is not to say that the FDA has approved the claims of product manufacturers that chamomile really lightens hair or that anti-oxidants will help protect it from the sun. Your best arm as a consumer is simply knowing which ingredients work best with your hair type. That can make a difference in how you choose a product and how well your hair looks on a daily basis.
Most consumers stick to one shampoo type, but if you use volumizing products, whether they be conditioner, shampoo or styling products, it's important to keep a clarifying shampoo in your shower too. Using it once a week will remove buildup created by volumizing products and allow them to do their job better. See the section for oily hair to learn more about clarifying shampoos.
Oily hair should be washed daily with a clarifying shampoo that will reduce build-up.
Look for thick, creamy shampoos, preferably with mild detergent agents in them, if any. If you also get frizzies or have curly hair, consider alternating between a moisturizing and a frizz-fighting shampoo. Below you can see top picks for both types of shampoo.
There are several "color-enriching" products on the market, but hype aside, they won't actually increase the color already in your hair.
If you have dandruff, a dandruff shampoo really is something you really should have. These are some popular brands that make dandruff shampoos mentioned in the shampoo review by ConsumerSearch.com.
- Denorex : Known for its anti-dandruff formula, this is an extremely drying shampoo that combines both salicylic acid and a drying agent.
- Head and Shoulders : The dandruff shampoo is inexpensive and contains an anti-fungal element to help control mild to moderate dandruff.
- Herbal Essences : The clarifying shampoo and moisturizing formulas have shown good results, but the replenishing and dandruff-relief have proved to be less than satisfactory. The difference between the various types is minimal except for the color and fragrance.
- Neutrogena : This long standing company has consistently been a crowd pleaser. The Anti-Residue formula, produced since 1980, is still popular with consumers. The coal tar T/Gel Formula is also famous for being an anti-dandruff remedy (to be used only with severe symptoms).
- Pert Plus : This is often the first brand that comes to mind when you think of combination shampoo conditioners although many other companies have followed suit. This type of shampoo is suitable for normal and mildly dry hair that is short and of medium thickness.
Are Organics Better?
If you have allergies or sensitive skin, organics might be a better choice. They usually don't include any harsh detergents (such as sodium laureth sulfate) that can irritate the skin and most contain relatively low amounts of fragrance. Do be aware that there is lots of information on the Internet that debates the safety of using harsh cleansers in beauty products. Many claim that certain ones can cause cancer. Below are some links to articles dealing with this subject in case you are concerned about it.
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