Buying men’s hair products can be confusing. You are in the grocery store or drug store in the hair care aisle. You are looking for a new shampoo and conditioner to try that addresses whatever your last shampoo/conditioner did not fix and do not know where to start. Below are some tips for shopping for men’s shampoo and conditioner.
- Look for the men’s hair care section. The hair care aisle is generally split into different sections for men’s products and women’s products. There is no fundamental difference between the cleaning and conditioning of men’s and women’s hair, but there are differences in packaging, product color, and fragrance. Most men do not want to smell like they are using their girlfriend’s shampoo – they prefer more manly scents that are similar to men’s colognes. So limit your search to the hair products in the smaller men’s section, the bottles are probably less pink and more black or gray in color.
- Disregard the products on the bottom shelf altogether. Marketing plays a big part in where products are located and on which shelf. Do a little test, look for the cheapest shampoo in the aisle. Was it found on or near the bottom shelf? No I am not psychic. The cheaper products are put below “eye level” so that you see (and hopefully purchase) the more expensive products that are more easily seen. I am not in cahoots with the store trying to get you to spend more, the cheaper products are cheaper because they use cheaper ingredients that can be harsher on your hair. Look for products between about waist-high up to eye level.
- Look for hair products that match your hair type. Have fine hair that is lifeless? Look for a volumizing shampoo and light-weight conditioner. Have oily hair? Look for clarifying shampoos or products that contain Green Tea (a natural clarifier). Dry hair? Look for products that promise extra moisture. Normal hair (not too oily or too dry)? Many products are created for this type of hair as well – just stay away from the ones that say they contain added ingredients for dandruff as well (more on that later). Normal hair also requires daily conditioning, so do not skip the conditioner because you think your hair is healthy enough as it is. After a while without a conditioner and you will find your hair dry and unmanageable.
- Choose a product that matches how often you plan to wash your hair. If you plan on washing your hair every day (or several times per day) then look for products that are labeled as being sulfate free or safe for color treated hair. Sulfate free shampoos do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate nor sodium laureth sulfate, which can strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to remain healthy and manageable. If you normally wash your hair only two or three times per week then you can choose just about any product available, but I still suggest choosing a product that does not contain harsh sulfates.
- Skip anti-dandruff shampoo. Unless your doctor or dermatologist has told you have a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis – you can skip the dandruff shampoos. Most people with mild dandruff can find relief by using a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate can strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to retain a healthy and flake-free scalp.
- Stay away from 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners. These products claim to be time savers that allow you to cleanse and condition your hair in one step. 2-in-1 products are okay for infrequent use, but anything more than that may cause buildup in your hair then cause it to be dull and lifeless. Then you will need a separate clarifying shampoo to strip the buildup out and potentially cause your hair to become dry.
- Smell the product and see if the fragrance is agreeable. Most products will not be in a box or have a safety seal around the cap. Flip the cap open and have a sniff. Be careful not to squeeze the product bottle and send a stream of shampoo up your nose in the middle of the store! If you cannot live with that scent every time you wash your hair, then keep looking. Life is too short to use a product that you do not like the fragrance of and are reminded of it all day long – you are just asking for a bad day. A nice scent should be pleasant and possibly even relaxing to the senses. If you wear cologne, or other scented products, you may want to keep this in mind in case the fragrances mix into something overpowering or not pleasant.
Choosing products that fit these criteria will greatly narrow the options for a product you like and fulfills your requirements, which saves you money by not wasting it on products that go unused under the bathroom sink!