Conditioning shampoos, as you can gather from the term, are formulated to both cleanse your hair and serve as a conditioner.
Like a conditioner, these products are designed to produce a variety of aesthetic results, including softening your hair, thickening your hair, improving manageability, adding sheen, and repairing split ends.
Of course, not every conditioning shampoo will accomplish each of these fine things for you, but most will do more than one.
Combined Shampoo And Conditioner
We consumers, by the way, seem to appreciate the convenience of having our shampoo and conditioner in a single container, as evidenced by the fact that conditioning shampoos outnumber and outsell traditional cleansing shampoos by a wide margin.
This widespread popularity, however, does not necessarily equate with superior performance for every hair type.
People with normal hair, oily hair, or dandruff, for example, may find it advisable to try something stronger, while those of us with hair that tangles badly or splits easily may wish to use a separately packaged conditioner as a supplement to our conditioning shampoo.
In the end, the suitability of a given product for your hair type will depend mainly on the shampoo’s attributes (softens, adds sheen, etc.) and your specific needs (to build body, add lustre, etc.).
Protein Enriched Shampoos
Protein-enriched hair shampoos constitute a special category of conditioning shampoos, and are formulated to improve the appearance of damaged hair.
The protein in these shampoos, which may appear in the product as any one of a number of different additives, not only coats damaged hair shafts but also fills in cracks and pitted areas, resulting in hair that looks fuller, thicker, and glossier.
Proteins are utilized for this purpose because they bind well with the cuticle covering of the hair shaft, which itself is a structural protein.
Protein-enriched shampoos are particularly well suited for use on hair that has been damaged by dyes, waves, straighteners, and other chemical processes.
Just Your Type!
Now that you know a little bit about the various types of shampoo and the additives commonly used in them, the logical question to ask is: "What’s right for me?”
But as you might have guessed, we cannot provide a "one size fits all” solution.
Hair types and hair problems vary from one person to the next, and need to be considered when choosing a shampoo.
Fortunately, most modern shampoos are gentle enough that any error you might commit, aside from washing too often, won’t result in utter disaster.
As a starting point, consult the guidelines below to match your hair type with a shampoo type.
Then, once you’ve selected the general type of shampoo you want (low pH, cleansing, etc.), narrow your search by identifying any special needs or problems you have and looking for a product that contains additives that specifically address them.
Try low pH or pH-balanced hair shampoos for
- dry, brittle hair
- processed hair
- sun damaged hair
Try cleansing hair shampoos for
- oily hair
- normal, trouble-free hair
Try baby hair shampoo for
- limp hair
- thin hair
- hair that covers poorly
- exceptionally thin, wispy hair