Girls, it’s time to ask ourselves: how much time have we spent poring over displays in beauty stores or scouring reviews online to find the best hair products for women?
The good old days where you just had to choose a shampoo from a selection of three are long gone. In many ways that’s great news – it means that there are products specially designed for each and every one of our needs. But all that choice can be a little overwhelming.
If going down the hair aisle in your local store sends you into a cold sweat, don’t worry. Real talk: there is no one best hair product for everybody! So instead of looking for the holy grail of haircare, get to know your hair. Understanding its needs will allow you to identify the best products for it.
Step 1: Get to the root of the issue
Let’s start at the beginning. Healthy-looking hair begins with your scalp, as a scalp in good condition grows stronger hair fibers.
Scalp issues, like dandruff, can actually cause new hair to be damaged as it grows. So, product number one in your shopping basket should be a good scalp care shampoo. Think of it as essential skincare for your scalp.
Plenty of shampoos focus on visible hair only, but we’ll let you into a secret: that part of your hair is already dead. So, if you want strong, healthy-looking hair that can stand up to whatever life throws at it, start with the scalp.
Head & Shoulders is the first shampoo clinically proven to improve hair structure, and it does this by getting your scalp into tip top condition first.
Step 2: Shop for your hair’s structure
The products that will be right for you depend on your hair’s natural structure. Your best friend might swear by her deep cleansing shampoo, but if your hair isn’t prone to build-up and is actually desperate for some moisture, her recommendation won’t help. So, the next step is to identify which of these categories sounds most like your hair, and then look for our packaging buzzwords:
Limp/fine hair (goes flat when it’s humid): This type of hair often needs lightweight conditioning, and styling products that offer good hold, to keep your style from falling flat (hair sprays, gels and spray gels, for example). Clarifying shampoos help remove build-up from styling products, that can weigh hair down.
Look for: words like clarifying, deep cleansing, lightweight and volume
Thick hair (frizzes when humid): If you have this hair type, you will need heavier conditioning, and styling products that offer a lot of moisture. For extra hold when it’s humid, you can incorporate a styling product when the hair is wet (like a mousse) or dry (like a hairspray) to prevent it from frizzing.
Look for: words like moisturizing, smoothing, hydrating and anti-frizz.
Step 3: Set up your routine
If your hair is in pretty good shape and your routine is low maintenance, then less is more. You lucky ladies can stick to the classic duo of essential hair products:
- Shampoo: a good scalp care shampoo is where all great hair starts. The best dandruff shampoo will be clinically proven.
- Conditioner: rinse-out conditioner is used after shampoo, to provide additional moisturizers and hair detangling and smoothing. Check out our advice on the best conditioner for your hair type.
If your hair is dry, damaged or frizzy, you’ll need some special care. Add one of following products on top of your basic routine:
- Mask: usually a deep-conditioning treatment designed to be left on the hair for a period of time, before being rinsed out.
- Detangler: great for restyling on second-day hair and getting rid of “bed head”. Spray it liberally on dry or wet hair to lubricate and detangle each hair, before styling.
- Serum: a concentrated liquid treatment, usually for hair smoothing, shine, or repair
- Oil: an oil-based leave-in treatment, for people with dry or fragile hair
Remember, you don’t need all of them – overloading your hair with products will do more harm than good to your scalp. So instead, add one extra moisturizing product to your routine. It’ll be enough, we promise.
If you style your hair with straightening irons or other heated appliances, then you MUST add:
- Heat protecting spray. Using heated appliances can actually boil the water inside your hair, damaging it irreparably and puffing the fiber up into a strange bubble shape which is easily broken. Apply this product before beginning to blow dry or heat style your hair to protect it.
So, there you have it: our comprehensive guide to the best products for your hair type.
One final piece of advice: remember to choose your products wisely and regularly and use a deep cleansing shampoo every so often to avoid styling product build-up.
For a customized recommendation of the right shampoo and conditioner for you, try our Hair and Scalp Advisor tool.