Everything You Need To Know Before Buying Your Next Bottle Of Shampoo

You are standing in the store looking for new shampoo. The bottles on the shelves are endless. There are hydrating or clarifying shampoos. There are some with sulfates and without sulfates, some for men and some for women but which one is the best for your hair??

I’m here to help!

First, what does shampoo do and why do I need it?
Shampoo is a cleanser for our scalp and hair follicles. Focus your shampoo at your scalp, massage it in for about a minute and rinse through the rest of your hair. This will get rid of excess natural oils weighing your hair down. You do not need to scrub the shampoo through your hair shaft unless you are specifically trying to remove something from your hair like a stain, product build up or if you’re like Cameron Diaz in Something about Mary. Second, conditioner. Let me just say, the amount of people I see in the salon that tell me they do not condition their hair is CRIMINAL.
Your hair is dead.That’s why it doesn’t hurt when you cut it. “Hair health” is literally a concept that consumerism has sold you. We want our hair to be “manageable” and products like conditioners make your dead ass hair look pretty and feel soft. That’s it. So, use the products or love your natural, textured, possibly dry and for sure dead hair.


Sulfates or nah?

The definition of a sulfate is: a salt or ester of sulfuric acid.
Sulfates and sulfites are in a lot of things we use and consume daily. Food, beverages, cleaning products you name it! Read more about sulfates and sulfites HERE

Shampoos that contain sulfates and silicones are the ones that create a luxurious suds and make your hair feel “clean and soft” but is that a good thing?

Yes and no. If you have thin, dry hair a shampoo containing sulfates may strip away too much moisture, leaving hair dry and brittle. However, if your natural hair is not dry and brittle and you consistently have an oily scalp a shampoo containing sulfates is probably what you will want.

Luxury brands over drugstore brands?

First of all “luxury” in itself is not needed, it is wanted. So no your hair does not NEED that $80 hydrating, color safe, tropical fruit smelling shampoo your hairstylist is recommending. Your hair also did not need that $350 blended, high contrast balayage but here we are.

My rule of thumb is if you are spending money on hair color you should spend money on quality haircare to maintain it. Coloring your hair in any way is changing the natural state of your hair. To keep it feeling manageable or what society deems as “healthy hair” you need to give the hair back what you have taken from it. Things like protein, vitamins, and moisture.

The main difference in professional brands and drugstore brands are how much the key ingredients (vitamins or oils) are diluted out. That’s why your liter of TRESemme at Walmart is $7 and the 8oz bottle of Kevin Murphy at the salon is $35. It is all about the concentration.  Drugstore brands simply create similar products and dilute them with fillers to create a less expensive version for the average shopper.


Types of shampoo and what they do:


A shampoo for you if you have no specific hair needs. Your hair is the most basic, no color, not too dry not too oily and you wash about every other day.


A milder cleanser than your regular shampoo because this is used like the name “everyday”. Some people wash every day and if you are, you better be using a MILD shampoo or you’re drying your hair out.


This is a deep cleaning shampoo. If you’re using this shampoo your main goal would be to strip your hair of excess oil, product buildup or even fade out your color faster.  A “purifying” shampoo can also fall under this category. A purifying shampoo would usually contain natural cleansing ingredients like tea tree oil.

These are not every day or every wash shampoos because they can be harsh depending on your hair needs. If you choose a clarifying shampoo follow up with a hydration mask.

Anti-breakage and bond building

These shampoos are usually designed for color treated or damaged hair. They are gentle on the hair, balance the hair’s PH level and provide extra strength to each strand to prevent breakage. This shampoo will usually leave you hair shiny and more manageable if you are dealing with damaged hair. If your hair isn’t colored or damaged, you do not need this type of product.


A lack of moisture is the most common problem leading to hair damage. If your scalp isn’t producing enough oil to lock moisture in, the result is dry, brittle hair. When in doubt this is a great type of shampoo for everybody unless you are extremely oily.


These shampoos are light weight and are perfect for people with thin fine hair who want to create volume. But as the yin and yang proves, there are always two sides. Volumizing shampoo works by slightly swelling your hair cuticle ,adding texture, and it contains ingredients that create ‘hold’ to lift hair away from the head. Creating a more 3D shape. This is my least favorite shampoo category because I think you can achieve volume better with styling products while using a gentle or moisturizing shampoo.

Color Safe

This shampoo is made specifically with your color in mind. It contains ingredients that won’t strip your hair of its hue. Most of these shampoos also fall under the moisturizing shampoo category.

Can you use “all natural” ingredients and skip the mass-produced products?


If you strive to live an all-natural lifestyle you probably still need to cleanse your hair! You can use a diluted mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. You can check out more about that method HERE. Think of the baking soda being your alkaline clarifier while the ACV is the acidic, anti-fungal rinse. EVERYTHING is about PH.

If you are doing this all-natural method, I would also assume your hair is “all natural”. You are not using hair styling products; no hot tools and you’re rocking your natural hair color. No grey coverage or blonding appointments for you.

If you are coloring your hair regularly or using hairspray this natural washing method probably will not be what your hair needs to stay “healthy” and manageable.

Who can give you the best shampoo recommendations?

Your hairstylist is the best person to start with when looking for haircare recommendations. If you’re dealing with a scalp condition or allergies see your doctor. Last but not least, YOU. Do the research before spending your dollar on products that you are going to be putting on your body daily.

At the end of the day picking out your shampoo and conditioner is really based on your hair goals and what is important to you. I always say you vote with your dollar. Check out my blog about why you should buy products from your hairstylist or local salon HERE (hint: you’re supporting local small businesses)

I hope this helps explain the differences in some shampoo categories and how to pick out the perfect shampoo for YOU! <3

Leave a Comment