Selecting the right shampoo is essential for healthy, beautiful hair.

October 03, 2008
Ray Kachatorian

Noticed the shampoo aisle lately? The scores of shampoo formulas to choose from may seem overwhelming, but a well-planed approach will help you find the right bottle.

For starters, pay attention to how your hair reacts to the products you currently use. If your hair becomes increasingly oily and flat, your shampoo is too moisturizing and heavy; if it's frizzy or brittle, your shampoo is too drying.

"These are the immediate signs of a product mismatch," says Sharon Morrissey, a stylist for New York City's Bumble and Bumble salon. Beyond that, she says, finding the best formula for you is a matter of trial and error. "Most brands have similar ingredients; it really comes down to how your hair reacts to them."

Here are some of her tips for making the evaluation process easier.

• Look for products without harsh chemicals (like alcohol), which can damage hair and negatively affect color treatments.

• From time to time, switch to a different formula of your favorite brand to see how the results vary. For example, if you would normally use a deep-conditioning shampoo, try the volumizing or clarifying cleanser instead.

• Try not to shampoo every day―it can strip away your hair's essential oils, causing breakage and frizziness. If skipping a day between each wash makes your hair feel too oily, rinse with plain water and apply a light conditioner to ends only―your hair will become less oily over time if you do this consistently.

• If your hair is fine and thin, never apply conditioner to your entire head, or your style will be limp. Instead, apply conditioner only to the ends of your hair.