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Buyer Beware: Shampoo Selection Tips

By Julia Brown

How is one supposed to know which type of shampoo to choose from if there are a hundred brands all scrambling to get the attention of a million consumers? Easy. Listen to the only harbinger of wisdom that best knows what is good or bad for its health - your hair. Though the hair is - technically - a bunch of dead skin cells, they have varying characteristics. Keep reading to find out how to get the best out of shampoos being offered in today's market, and more importantly, how to avoid shampoos that may actually damage your hair, or make hair fall out.

1. First things first, know your hair.

It is best to get intimate with it. The hair is literally called one's crowning glory for a reason, it is on top of the head and is the first thing one usually touches first thing in the morning. Haven't touched your hair today? Go ahead and do so now. Does it feel thin? Is it oily? Is it dry? Full? Coarse?

Permed hair will usually need a shampoo that is specifically manufactured for regularly styled and / or chemically treated hair.

If you have colored hair (red, auburn), you will need a shampoo that is not harsh and will not take off the colors you naturally have.

There are shampoos for oily, thin, coarse and dandruff-prone hair. Work from how and what your hair really is and from there, start to search for the shampoo that caters to it.

2. Be aware, beware.

Pay attention to the list of ingredients found on the back of the shampoo bottle! The Food & Drug Administration has checked the elements manufacturers put in their shampoos, but do your own checking as well. This is as according to your own unique and personalized judgment as well as hair wisdom.

Avoid shampoos that contain waxy substances. These harm the hair more than they care for it. Most over the counter shampoos contain wax so be aware of what you purchase. Professional shampoos, though a bit more expensive than the regular ones, usually contain none of this.

Shampoos with ammonium are usually harsh to the hair. Sodium lauryl sulfate is not that gentle. Sodium laureth sulfate is mild and tender to the hair, it is a good find.

3. To feel is to believe

Do not believe claims from manufacturers that one should use their whole product line in order to get hair that is perfectly right for you!

All shampoos clean the hair just similarly as all soaps clean the face and that all moisturizers moisturize. It makes little or no difference at all for your hair if this specific brand is used more often than the other. All shampoos leave a little bit of residue on the hair when washed. This keeps the hair cuticle smooth and clean. It matters very little if one mixes and matches a brand of hair product from another. If your hair feels clean, most probably it is.

4. A lot of foam does not mean shampoo is best

When washing the hair, foam appears because surface molecules pull themselves together around air. A lot of foam means a lot of tiny bubbles. It does not necessarily mean the shampoo's cleansing ability is good, contrary to what hundreds of shampoo commercials made us think. It only means that too much shampoo was used on the hair. Foam or not, the most excellent way to know how good a shampoo performs is how the hair is after it has been lathered and rinsed by it. Does the hair fly away? Does it appear limp? Is the hair dry? The scalp itchy? Decide for yourself.

5. Ask a professional

Being sure beats the guess work that comes from determining which shampoo to purchase. The only major difference of a professional hair product from a non-professional hair product - believe it or not - is the price.

There are professional-made shampoos which cost not more than five dollars. This is the exact price one usually pays for a regular non-professional shampoo bottle. Quality counts more than being pricey. Pay attention to the contents of the bottle - that is, the ingredients, not the price tag.

Admittedly though, there are expensive shampoo products that come from professionals. But the bottom line is, if you don't want to compromise your top, go professional.


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