Shampoo Basics I: Types of Shampoo

We are living in the age of options on top of options. Sometimes its hard to know how to maneuver thru so many choices for different types of shampoo. Finding a shampoo sounds simple, after all. its just soap right? But it can be really difficult. Deciding what cleansing product you should purchase depends on several factors such as what is the right shampoo for your hair type, so you need a shampoo for colored hair and whether you gravitate more towards organic shampoo or prefer heavily scented products, Perhaps you specifically need a medicated shampoo because you are looking for a “fixer” product to address a condition or disorder. Lets not forget an important factor  for most people – how much does it cost? The main factor to consider is what works for you. Do not pick a product based on glowing reviews or beautiful packaging. What works for someone else may not work for you. Do your research and always ask your stylist for a recommendation.

Oribe Ultra Gentle Shampoo

Oribe Ultra Gentle Shampoo is sulfate free and used in the finest salons.

A good shampoo should thoroughly cleanse the scalp of dirt, sweat, oils and products while leaving the hair looking healthy, shiny and soft. While I will discuss in greater detail the properties of different ingredients found in shampoos in another article, this particular article will be dealing solely with understanding what are the different types of shampoos, and how and when to use them. Below I have compiled a list of all the categories of shampoos available on the market, their individual uses and even a few product recommendations and links in each category.  If you are confused by the all the brands and fancy labels on the market, then you must read this article. Please be advised that this article should merely serve as a general guide. Always follow manufacturer directions for proper usage.

These are shampoos used for deep cleansing if for example, you use a lot of product to maintain your hairstyle.  Often these shampoos are used before getting a chemical process such as Keratin or Straightening treatments. Clarifying shampoos are not recommended for use if you wash your hair every couple of days. These are better used once per week or even every two weeks. Using too often can really strip the hair of its natural oils and can be a bit harsh. Apple cider vinegar is often a main ingredient in clarifying shampoo.
Recommended Products: 
Peppermint & Avocado Clarifying Shampoo
Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo
Philip B Lavender Hair & Body Shampoo
Rene Furterer Curbicia Lightness Regulating Shampoo

An acid balanced shampoo should be used after any chemical process. These process contain active agents which are highly alkaline and the hair must be brought down to its natural level of 4.5-5.5 ph. An acid balanced shampoo will smooth the cuticle and prevent additional loss of moisture.

Medicated Shampoo

Babo Botanicals Rosemary & Tea Tree Lice Repelling Shampoo

Babo Botanicals is a children’s line of organic hair care products with eco-friendly ingredients.

Medocated shampoos can be sold over the counter, prescribed by a doctor or recommended by a cosmetologist. Medicated shampoos are used to relieve excessive itching, flaking or other condition of the scalp like bacteria and fungal infections. Medicated shampoos are also needed to combat lice, scabies, mites or other vermin. Often the active ingredient is an anti -microbial such as some form of zinc or selenium. Botanical oils such as peppermint tea tree, eucalyptus may be an ingredient to soothe itching.
Recommended Products: 
Philip B Anti Flake II Relief Shampoo
Babo Botanicals Rosemary Tea Tree Lice Repel Shampoo
Opalis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Also known as a moisturizing shampoo, these contain humectant and emollient agents for hydration and protein to promote elasticity. Conditioning shampoos are vital to hair which has been subjected to chemical processing like bleaching, color, relaxers or perms have had protein and moisture stripped from the hair. Moisturizing shampoos can bring life and volume back to the hair. However, take caution with heavy conditioners so that the hair is not weighed down and becomes lifeless.
Recommended Products: 
A good color shampoo can brighten or refresh color treated hair. Some may tone color or add color to the hair in between color retouches, or minimize unwanted tones in bleached or color treated hair. These shampoos are gentle and sulfate free with a conditioning agent to smooth the porous cuticles of color treated hair. Hair with high porosity will not only absorb color, chemicals or moisture much faster but will also release it much faster. This category should not be confused for a color safe shampoo which is really a very moisturizing, gentle shampoo that while it will also hydrate the hair and smooth the cuticle to keep the color molecules from escaping, there is no color added.
Recommended Products: 

Davines Alchemic Color Shampoo can help to keep your color fresh in between salon visits. Choose from 4 options: Silver Fox, Chocolate Brunette, Golden Blonde and Red. Alchemic shampoo a fave of celebrity hair goddesses Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston.

Lately Dry Shampoo has become very popular. It has become a go to styling product to add volume and texture to fine hair. Traditionally, it had been used to cleanse the hair of the elderly or bedridden who were unable to do a proper shampoo at the sink. Dry Shampoo can be used to refresh the hair between your normal shampoo routine, without water and absorb excess oils. To use this type of shampoo you simply apply the product and after a few minutes brush it out.
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Apani Smith is a professional licensed cosmetologist, avid beauty junkie, also a revered Indie Hip-Hop Icon, sleep deprived mom and foodie extraordinaire.  Get social with  @apaniclassic on Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest  to book a hair or makeup consultation/appointment, see more original work and life imitating art.