A Clean Foundation
Shampoos and Conditioners, for me are the basis for my styling routine. A good set of cleansers have really become the key for me to finding success in styling and id even go as far as to say my routine and style depends on them. I wash my hair everyday, sometimes twice a day and when I tell people that usually people I get a bit an eyebrow raise..everyday? isn’t that too much? Doesn’t that damage your hair? Thats usually immediate reaction I get, and always I tell people no! Washing everyday is not bad at all, in fact ive never had healthier hair than I do right now and I owe it all to the amazing cleansers I have been discovering within my Shampoo Search segment over on my channel.
The next question I always get usually is “What Shampoo Do You Recommend?” and usually I say theres really too much, and thats absolutely true. Theres a million shampoos out there and it was really hard for me to choose 3… too hard actually so what I decided to do here is break it down to 3 Shampoo types, with of course recommendations for each type. These are the 3 types of shampoos I think everyone needs to have equipped in their arsenal at all times.
These are the heavy lifters of the routine. When you have product buildup, including oil based pomades, clays, waxes etc. A heavy cleanser is your best friend. The most common thing for me is actually too much oil buildup on my hair and scalp. After one day of missed washing, my hair becomes almost greasy and a heavy cleanser is exactly what keeps me on track.
What qualifies a shampoo as a heavy cleanser? Well as we will learn in a second with Light Cleansers ( spoiler alert ), some cleansers are designed to either partially, or fully strip the hair of oils, and other things. Heavy Cleansers obviously are the latter and the easiest way to tell what you have is to just read the bottle, and or the brands website. Light Cleansers will often times be called cleansing oil, or they will have a description that discusses how they dont fully strip the hair or they might call it a “gentle cleanser”. if it doesn’t discuss anything like that then it should she a heavy cleanser. You can also make this determination by looking at ingredients ( I’m not talking about Parabens & Sulfates ) usually cleansers that contain things like Activated Charcoal are heavy cleansers, an example of this is the “Musk Have” Beard & Shampoo cleansing duo from the Groomed Man Co. They contain activated charcoal to clean the hair & beard and they also contain additional ingredients to leave the hair fully cleansed and feeling amazing. Some additional recommendations for this category would be theRUSH set from By Vilain, and the PURE set from TheSalonGuy.
These are obviously the opposite of the heavy cleansers we just discussed. When you break these all the way down, these are focused more on health than cleaning, while still cleaning of course. These are also for people who dont want to wash everyday with a full heavy cleanser, these are great for that because they keep the hair looking good enough while also enhancing the overall health. Just like heavy cleansers too these are all different, the Activated Oil Cleanser from Shehvoo, for example goes into the hair and leaves natural oils intact, while removing everything else. This allows for a very healthy presentation thats never dry, or brittle.
The downside to these that ive seen though, is some of them have trouble removing some types of product. If the product is water soluble usually its not an issue, but for other products that are harder to remove, or ones that need shampoo support to remove, these can inhibit that a bit.
There are situations sometimes that call for haircare items outside the standard maintenance products that I already discussed. Usually for me that includes those times where my scalp gets a bit flakey, or itchy and times where its feeling a bit dry (usually after I have it colored). For those dry, itchy times, a dandruff shampoo is needed to help remedy that right away. The issue here of course is theres a million dandruff shampoos and when it comes to these you really want one thats going to both work, and not destroy your hair. The ones I found that really do this, and do it well is Nizoral, and Selsun Blue. I have tried others like Head & Shoulders, and I believe when it comes to the actual problem of dandruff, it works great but when it comes to my hair, it always leave it feeling dry and crispy.
Nizoral and Selsun Blue, are a bit more forgiving on the hair. Of course conditioner and a leave in conditioner are needed here as well to help deflect any dryness and usually thats enough to work well for me. I absolutely ONLY use a shampoo like this if I need to.
The other problem I mentioned here is dryness. This usually for me occurs after I get my hair dyed at the salon, and its feeling a tiny bit dry. A hair mask or treatment here is usually the perfect remedy to this problem and its so easy to use. The Keune Bond Fusion treatment for example just calls for application to your hair before shampooing. You just run some into your hair, rinse, and then shampoo and condition as usual and really the closest thing to having a magic health reset button for your hair.
The Scary Bits
These days people will tell you to stay away from all sorts of scary ingredients, and if you noticed I didn’t mention any of this here at all. The reason for that is, I have found that most of the time Parabens, Sulfates and even things like Silicones are really just things people either dont understand, or are things they have been misled to fear. Sure, in some cases these can make the hair feel pretty bad ( I’m looking at you Head & Shoulders) but not all Paraben’s & Sulfates are the same, and each formula is different, so if you avoid these ingredients all together, all you will do in the end is leave yourself open to missing something that could potentially change your hair forever!
This is how I handle these things- I try it! I put it in my hair and just give it a try. If at the end my hair feels like it could rub together and start a fire, I stop using it right away. If it makes it feel soft, nourished and clean (clean is important) then I continue using it, no matter what the ingredients are.
In the end its all about finding the best care for your hair and no matter what you really just have to start by choosing something and testing it out. When it comes down to it, I dont really think there is a “best shampoo” out there because when you break things down all the way shampoos clean, and conditioners condition. The good ones all do it well and leave the hair soft and perfectly set up for styling and the bad ones dont. The only real recommendations I can make is by sharing with you the ones who made the cut for me, and the ones that didnt.
I hope these recommendations help you take your haircare to the next level.