So, you want to make your hair look better and feel healthier? Well, choosing the right shampoo is one step that either can make or break your hair (literally).

But the problem is there are countless options online and at your local drugstore. After looking for several minutes, you may be tempted to give up and just buy what you always use. But your hair deserves better than that! So let’s walk through this together and make sure you know how to choose the right one for you.

The Different Types of Hair

One way of narrowing down your shampoo choices is by choosing the right shampoo for your hair type. Why is that important? Because it’s important that your shampoo works well with the type of hair that you are trying to maintain. Hair type refers to how curly or straight your hair is, which is called your “curl pattern.” Your curl pattern is determined by the shape of your hair shaft—curly and wavy hair is oval-shaped, straight hair is round, and coily hair is flat.

The shape of your hair shaft, and therefore how curly or straight your hair is, all depends on your DNA. Hot tools and chemical treatments can temporarily change your curl pattern (and of course can even damage it), but as your hair goes through its stages of growth, your natural curl pattern will reappear. For example, if you have curly hair that tends to frizz, a regular daily shampoo is not going to provide that right amount of moisture that it needs to prevent that. And for someone who has straight or fine hair, choosing the wrong shampoo can make a hairdo look greasy instead of clean and bouncy.

Here is a list of common hair types:

  • Straight
  • Wavy
  • Curly
  • Coily (sometimes called “kinky”)

How does your hair type affect the shampoo you choose?

Now that you know your hair type, you might be wondering—how do I use this information to choose a shampoo? Different hair has different needs and not all shampoos are the same.

Everyday Shampoo

An everyday shampoo (otherwise known as a daily shampoo) is a shampoo that’s mild enough for daily use. If you have wavy or curly hair, you may experience more frizz when using just a regular daily shampoo.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoos are the extreme version of everyday shampoos. This type is meant to make sure that your hair is “squeaky clean,” so it does a much better job at cleansing away dirt and oils from your hair. This shampoo works best for straight hair.

Thickening Shampoo

Thickening shampoo can give your hair a healthier-looking appearance over time by washing away sweat, dirt, and other pollutants that can damage hair follicles. This shampoo works best for fine, thin, and thinning hair.

Volumizing Shampoo

Many guys understandably find it tough to tell the difference between shampoos that provide volume and those that promise thickening. The big difference is that volumizing shampoos aim at the roots to create more body in the hair versus thickening shampoos which affect the hair shaft itself. With that said, this shampoo also works best for fine, thin, and thinning hair.

Strengthening Shampoo

The main goal for strengthening shampoos is right there in the name. These shampoos don’t help with hair loss, but they do help with creating stronger hair strands with less breakage. This shampoo can work for all hair types.

Shampoo for Color-treated Hair

These shampoos focus on protecting the color formulas that are used to dye your hair, so the ingredients in this type of shampoo minimize the amount of dye that washes out. Because of how it’s made, it can work well with all hair types.

Shampoo for Dry and Damaged Hair

Yes, shampoos primarily aim to remove dirt and oils from hair. However, removing those oils can cause damage by overdrying the follicle and causing breakage. So for shampoos that target dry and damaged hair, the primary goal is to clean the hair while also replacing the oils that are being lost. That’s why there are products out there that contain ingredients such as moraccan oil, argan oil, or sunflower seed oil. These shampoos can work well with all hair types but they typically work best for wavy to coily hair.

Natural Shampoo

There are a ton of natural shampoos out there, but even though a label may say that it’s “natural” doesn’t mean that it is. You only need 1% natural ingredients to legally label a product “natural.” The best way to find the right shampoo is by looking for plant-based, organic, and raw ingredients like biotin, caffeine, green tea, and saw palmetto. Natural shampoos tend to be safe enough for all types of hair, but they’re especially good for people who are looking to curb their hair loss.

2-in-1 Shampoo/Conditioner

This type of shampoo seems to be a favorite for a person on the go because you get the clean you need along with some conditioning elements. But it can still dry out curly or wavy hair. so use cautiously.

Dandruff Shampoo

These shampoos, of course, work best for getting rid of dandruff and can be prescription-strength if needed. Ketoconazole is an active ingredient in many dandruff shampoos and can be purchased over-the-counter or with a prescription if you need the strongest version. This shampoo can be used for all hair types, but obviously is best for people suffering from dandruff.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos are convenient, but should not be used on a daily basis. They use alcohol or starch-based ingredients to soak up oils and moisture from your hair, which creates a cleaner appearance and usually can work for all hair types. Using dry shampoos too often can lead to buildup over time, so only use these when you need to freshen up but just don’t have time to wash your hair.


Even after you’ve picked the right shampoo, there’s one more mistake you’ll want to avoid: Overwashing our hair (yes, that’s possible, no matter how many bottles tell you to “later, rinse, repeat”). In fact, some physicians even say that only a small group of people, mostly those with very fine hair, should be washing their hair every day. Otherwise, once every two to three days should be enough.


The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash