Choosing the Right Care Products for Your Hair Type
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
Your hair — has there ever been anything else that could demand so much of a woman's time, attention, and budget (well, at least as much as makeup does)? Being your crowning glory, your luxurious locks do so much to enhance your appearance and complement your chosen outfit for the day. And so you want it to look its best — shiny, bouncy, healthy, and styled just right for every occasion.
Hair, hair everywhere
The thing is, there are so many different hair types in the world — thin, thick, long, medium, short, dry, oily, straight, curly, blond, brunette, red, coloured, permed, treated, dreadlocked, and so many others. This means that there are just as many variations of hair care products available in the market, and every manufacturer will have their own formulations, secret ingredients, and promised results for gorgeous, vibrant hair. How will you ever be able to pick the right one for your own hair's particular needs?
Looking to hair care products as guides
To keep your sanity intact, it's best to keep in mind that no single product will ever completely deliver on what it promises, even for the women with the hair type that it is made for. There are simply too many factors (the different formulations, active ingredients and their impact on women with different lifestyles, health and biological makeup) that come together, and the effect will never be the same for different people, and never really as they are advertised.
The smart thing would be to allow yourself to be guided by the primary principles behind hair care products, according to hair type. Here is a basic overview of what you need to know.
For dry hair:
As the name suggests, this hair type lacks moisture and shine, and the dryness is almost always accompanied by damage. As a rule of thumb, extra moisturising shampoos or dry and damaged formulations will work best, and conditioning is an absolute must.
As for styling, dry hair responds well to heavy products likes waxes, lotions, serums, creams and oils which would have the opposite, weighing-down effect on thinner hair.
For oily hair
In this case, the scalp is producing too much oil which needs to be controlled. The problem with this, however, is that addressing the oily scalp can dry out the hair at the same time. You may want to consider dry shampoos — they absorb oil while adding volume to your hair. Choose gentle shampoos for oily hair as they can help reduce greasiness that causes hair to look limp, while still giving hair a hydrated look.
Conditioners are not advisable for oily hair, and if you do use styling products, choose lightweight ones — none of the heavy stuff that's ideal for dry hair.
For thin hair
Thin or fine hair won't give thick and heavy hair care products too much surface to cling to, so the logical move would be to use only as much product as is needed. Pick gentle shampoos, skip conditioner (or apply only to hair ends, or choose a spray-on variant). Sprays would be the recommended form for styling products for thin hair. Dry shampoo can also be used to add some volume to fine hair.
For thick hair
Thicker hair has a general tendency to become dry easily. And since it's thick, it can hold its own against creamy, intensive moisturising shampoos and conditioners and styling options.
For curly hair
Bless you if you're naturally curly! This hair type didn't earn its reputation for being the diva of all types for nothing. It is susceptible to drying out, to acting out in humid weather, and to succumbing to signs of damage like breakage and split ends.
Even if you fail to find products labelled "for curly hair," you'll do just as fine if you pick up formulations for dry and damaged hair, as that is the top hair care issue for this type.
For thinning hair
Contrary to popular belief, no shampoo or conditioner can actually cause a person to grow more hair, or to make their existing hair thicker or fuller. Your best bet would be to try products designed for fine hair as these can emphasise volume and fullness. It can also be a big help to look for the words "copolymers" or "acrylates" in the ingredients list — shampoos that contain these work to create buildup in the hair shaft, which then helps create the illusion of increased hair volume.
As often said, one hair care product that has worked wonders for one person may not yield the same results for another individual, so it’s best to make careful choices each time you visit the drugstore or your favourite salon. Test a few different products until you find one that makes your hair the shiniest, healthiest, and most vibrant it can be — only then will you know you’ve found something that works for you.