What haircare product is right for you?
With so many products to choose from, it can be hard to know what your hair needs. Here’s how to choose the best haircare product for your hair type
Care and styling products can help define curl, create waves in straight hair with the help of styling tools, or smooth out the kinks in wavy hair, says Steve Shiel, director of research and development for Pantene Pro-V. The products contain conditioning ingredients such as dimethicone, guar-based polymers and fatty alcohols (e.g., cetyl alcohol). In breakage-prone curly hair, these ingredients work to help it maintain optimum moisture and protect it from damage. The polymers in these care and styling products also help to hold curls in place, and stop moisture from penetrating into the hair and destroying the style, says Shiel.
Try: Alberto European Curls & Waves Mousse ($5, 226 g); Kevin Murphy Luxury Wash Ultra Rich Smoothing Shampoo, and ?Luxury Rinse Ultra Rich Rescue Rinse, both for thick, coarse hair ($26, 250 mL each); Bain de Terre Camelina All About Curls Shampoo ?($11, 400 mL) and Conditioner ($13, 400 mL); Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Shampoo and Conditioner ($4, 355 mL); John Frieda Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Curl Perfecter ($10, 200 mL); Sally Hershberger Style Primer for Wavy Hair ($13, 200 mL); Moroccanoil Curl Control Cream ($32, 250 mL)
Shampoos and conditioners formulated for anyone wanting straighter hair are packed with compounds to smooth the hair shaft. These ingredients help banish frizz and give individual hair strands an even surface so hair is easier to style, says Shiel.
Styling products for curly hair and those for straight hair have similar formulations (both tend to have dimethicone, for example)-but with one key difference, according to Ni'Kita Wilson, vice president of Englewood Lab in Englewood, New Jersey. "More silicones may be used in straightening products to coat hair strands and make hair appear smoother and straighter." Therefore, she says, they could weigh curly hair down.
Try: Redken Align 12 Straightening Lotion ($23, 150 mL); Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Frizzy to Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner ?($6, 375 mL each); Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener ($26, 125 mL); Tresemmé So Sleek Extra Hold Defrizzing Gel ($7, 255 mL); Matrix Bio-?lage Smooththérapie Ultra-Control Deep Smoothing Masque ($23, 150 mL); Marc Anthony Style Straight Blow Straight Potion ($10, 118 mL)
Volumizing products help make thin, fine hair look thicker-or are for anyone aiming for the sleek, but "big-hair," look. Shampoos and conditioners are often light to avoid weighing hair down, and may contain polymers or fruit acids that cause hair fibres to expand. Naturally derived wheat protein in volumizing haircare and styling products also help boost hair's body.
Tip: For long-lasting lift at the root, choose mousse, which is easily directed to the roots and bonds with the hair to hold it in place. Finish with a dry fine-mist hairspray, says Shiel. "If the spray is too wet, it can collapse the volume."
Try: Sally Hershberger Plump Up Thickening Mist ($13, 150 mL); John Frieda Luxurious Volume Full Splendour Shampoo and Conditioner ($10, 250 mL each); Matrix Biolage Volumethérapie Full Lift Volumizing Shampoo ($17, 500 mL) and Conditioner ($19, 300 mL); Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray ($7, 236 mL); L'Oréal Paris Studio Line Silk & Gloss Volume Spray ($7, 250 mL); L'Oréal Profes-sionnel Tecni.Art Volume Inflator Fluid Gel ($21, 200 mL); Osis Body Me Fullifying Volume Serum ($22, 150 mL); Sally Hershberger Major Body Dry Volumizing Hair-spray ($13, 170 g)
Dry, damaged hair can be caused by chemical treatments and heat styling. Targeted products often include masques and leave-in treatments. They contain a mix of ingredients such as protective silicones (especially amino silicones), fatty alcohols and mineral oils for the highest level of conditioning, says Shiel.
Anti-aging products tap skincare ingredients such as coenzyme Q10 and peptides to treat aging hair, which can be prone to brittleness ?and thinness. "With aging, hair tends to become less full and thick, but also a little drier," Shiel explains. Thus, anti-aging products also use ingredients that are found in volumizing and dry/damaged hair formulas.
Try: L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise Total Repair 5 Shampoo and Conditioner ($6, 385 mL each); Dove Damage Therapy Daily Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner ($6, 355 mL each); Gosh Professional Treat Me! Leave-In Con-ditioner ($10, 150 mL); L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverStrong Deep Replenishing Masque ($13, 150 mL); Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment ($37, 100 mL); Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Time Restore Q10 Shampoo ($16, 250 mL), Conditioner ($17, 200 mL) and Satin Spray ($17, 200 mL)
Colour processing chemicals can remove hair's natural protective barrier (called the F-layer). When this happens, colours fade more easily and conditioners absorb less effectively. Shampoos and conditioners for colour-treated hair aim to add shine with polymers in the shampoo and amino-silicones in the conditioners.
Try: Pantene Pro-V Colour Hair Solutions Colour Preserve Shine Shampoo and Conditioner ($6, 375 mL each); Redken Color Extend Shampoo ($14, 300 mL) and Conditioner ($17, 250 mL); Kérastase Reflection Chroma Riche Masque ($55, 200 mL); L'Oreal Paris Hair Expertise EverPure UV Protect Spray ($13, ?250 mL); Garnier Fructis Colour Shield Instant Colour Sealer ($6, 177 mL); Pureology Hydrate Shine Max ($25, 75 mL)
Often free of skin-irritating fragrances and colours, sensitive-scalp products typically contain conditioners to help moisturize a dry scalp. They may include the dandruff-fighting ingredient pyrithione zinc, and are frequently synonymous with anti-dandruff shampoos, says Shiel.
Try: Moroccanoil Dry-No-More Professional Scalp Treatment ($36, 45 mL); Head & Shoulders Sensitive Scalp Care Shampoo ($7, 420 mL); Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo ($14, 300 mL) and Conditioner ($20, 250 mL)
Thermal styling products create a shield on the hair with polymers and silicones to defend against dehydration from straighteners, curling irons and hair dryers. These products help maintain shine, says Shiel.
Try: Dove Heat Defy Shampoo and Conditioner ($6, 355 mL each); Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique Leave-in Treatment ($41, 150 mL); Nexxus ProMend Heat Protexx Heat Protection Styling Spray ($13, 250 mL)