How to Buy the Right Shampoo

There are a zillion amazing shampoos on the market, so how do you find the right one?

Start by looking for a shampoo that matches your hair type and texture; then refine your findings based on your special needs, like protecting your highlights.

Hair Hype and Texture:

Thin or Fine Hair

If your hair is thin or fine, use lightweight, thickening or volumizing formulas that will add texture and plump up strands, while strengthening and reinforcing hair.

Lavender oil, lemongrass and rosemary are all known to promote hair growth, stimulate and balance the scalp and prevent hair loss. Nettle root extract helps improve scalp circulation and reduce dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone known to cause hair loss. Try Nick Chavez Plump ‘N Thick Thickening ShampooRusk Thickr Thickening Shampoo for Fine or Thin Hair, or one of our other volumzing shampoos.

Normal/Medium Hair

If you’re lucky enough to have normal (balanced) hair, just about anything works for you, so concentrate on preserving your hair health and maintaining moisture levels for manageability, softness, and shine.

Use a shampoo that cleanses gently without stripping hair. Ingredients like wheat protein, white tea and vitamins A, C and E all maintain will preserve the integrity of healthy hair. Hair expert Philip B. recommends investing in both a conditioning and clarifying shampoo and alternating every few washes. Check out GK Hair Balancing Shampoo or Theorie Grapefruit Shampoo.

Curly, Wavy Hair

Moisture is the key to curl perfection. The proper amount of hydration will tame frizz, soften your strands and maintain curl shape and elasticity. Curly needs extra moisture because the natural oils from your scalp don’t always make it down the twists and turns of your hair shaft.

The curly hair experts at DevaCurl recommend that curly haired folks avoid products with silicone, which coat the hair shaft and deter moisture absorption. Look for nourishing ingredients like glycerin, olive oil, shea butter and jojoba oil. These natural smoothers will keep hair hydrated to enhance curl retention and boost shine. Look for curl-friendly shampoos like Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo or Ouidad Clear & Gentle Essential Daily Shampoo

Coarse, Kinky, Curly Hair

Certain coarse, kinky hair types require special care to stay shiny and strong. Look for products designed for your hair with moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, panthenol or shea butter that will keep hair hydrated with natural luster. Try a nourishing formula such as MIZANI Thermasmooth Shampoo which cleanses your hair and scalp without stripping natural healthy oils.

Thick Hair

Thick hair needs to maintain balanced moisture while controlling volume levels. Abundant strands can become frizzy, unruly and look full in the wrong places (at the ends not the roots). Look for smoothing ingredients like avocado oil, soy protein and macadamia nut oil that help seal the cuticle, hydrate your hair and control unwanted volume. Try DevaCare No-Poo Cleanser or Fekkai Essential Shea Shampoo.

Hair Needs:

Oily Hair

A healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair. Contrary to what you’d expect, oily hair is caused by a dry scalp (your scalp overcompensates for dryness by producing more oil which sits on your roots). Use a mild shampoo designed to balance the scalp such as Leonor Greyl Bain TS Shampoo 7 oz.. Shampoos with tea tree oil may also help balance your scalp.

Todd DiPietro, Co-Owner of the popular diPietro Todd Salon in San Francisco, advises that you avoid scrubbing your scalp, which can over-stimulate the oil-producing sebaceous glands.

Dry, Damaged, or Chemically Treated

Hair that’s dry, weak or damaged needs an extra dose of moisture to replenish parched strands and same goes for hair that’s chemically treated. It’s also wise to avoid washing your hair every day to give your scalp a chance to produce natural strand-saving oils. Look for nourishing formulas that will hydrate, detangle hair, and smooth the cuticle while cleansing. Try Theorie Green Tea Shampoo or Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Shampoo. If you’ve had your hair relaxed or permanently straightened, look for a shampoo that will enhance your treatment and enrich your locks like Keratin Complex Care Shampoo. And make sure to find a rich conditioner to further pamper your strands.


Highlighted and color-treated strands need to be cleansed with a gentle shampoo that is intended for color-treated hair. Look for sulfate-free shampoos designed for color-treated hair such as Mitch Stone 456 Lustre Shampoo or Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo to avoid the dreaded “wash-out”.

The first time you use a sulfate-free formula, you might be surprised that it doesn’t produce a sudsy lather, but trust us, it’s doing the job. If you want to boost your color, use product designed to maintain your specific hair color such as Fekkai Technician Color Care Conditioner or Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Conditioner, which deposits color onto hair to maintain vibrancy.

Flaky Scalp

The best way to treat a flaky scalp is with a medicated shampoo designed to treat your scalp condition. Most frequently, the flakes fall because of dandruff so find a shampoo designed to clarify your scalp and prevent flakes from forming like Leonor Greyl Bain Traitant Propolis.

Hair Loss:

If you are worried about losing your locks, you can encourage growth with hair loss shampoos formulated to stimulate the scalp and hair follicle. Shampoo alone won’t stop the loss, but fortifying formulas like Revivogen Bio-Cleansing Shampoo or DS Laboratories Revita Hair Growth Shampoo will help thicken strands and promote new growth.


As our your hair’s needs change, it’s important to adapt your hair care routine to include a shampoo that will keep your locks as vibrant as your personality. Anti-aging shampoos range from gray hair care to nurturing shampoos that protect your locks from environmental factors. Try Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Seasilk Volume Shampoo to restore your hair’s radiance.

Sun and Swim Protection:

If you’re an avid swimmer or just worship the sun, make sure to protect your strands from environmental damage that can cause dry out, color fade out and overall damage. Pick a shampoo with UV filters, and ingredients like vitamins C, B-5 and E. Make sure to pick a protective shampoo like Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo.


  1. Tara says

    I have fine hair, but it’s not thin. It’s dark blonde naturally with highlights, needs volume and gets oily at the roots and dry on the ends. I need a good shampoo and conditioner and I’m also looking for a dryer and straightener. Any recs?

    • Natalie@Folica says

      Yarok feed your volume shampoo and conditioner would be a great option for you. Also try dpHue’s ACV to reset your scalp when your hair is extra greasy.

  2. raaj says

    I have hair fall with dmaged hair.which type of shampoo,conditioner to choose.

  3. Annette Engel says

    I wish there was a reasonably priced dandruff shampoo for color treated hair!

    • Hi Annette! There are many great priced shampoos that help with dandruff. For more help, please email and she will help you find the best one for you, and keep it in your budget:)

  4. carlahoustn says

    Walking into a store to choose a shampoo can be overwhelming given the sheer number of available options. Do not let the bottle design and product logo make you choose a shampoo. Choosing the right shampoo is a vital skill. A wrong shampoo can lead to damaged hair that may take months to sort. I can’t wait to try these recommendations, thanks Folica!

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