Your Guide to Shampoo & Conditioner Labels

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What kind of hair do you have and what shampoo and conditioner do you actually need?

Before I became a professional hairstylist, I was obsessed with buying everything that said “moisture” for my hair. I thought it would give me Selena Gomez hair. But without knowing what type of hair I actually had (fine), I was doing absolutely nothing for it. What it actually needed was a volumizing line.

By the way, it’s so very common for women to choose moisturizing/hydrating/conditioning hair care when in doubt.

So to make your life easier, I’ve made a list of all the labels hair care companies use so you can choose the best one for your hair type!

Strengthening/Fortifying

Made for hair that is weak and may have damage. Great if you lighten your hair (ie. blonde, highlights, balayage) and are experiencing breakage. Even if you don’t have breakage (yet) this is the line for you to prevent future breakage.

This is haircare that is packed with protein. Our hair is made up for 90% protein, and we lose that strength from heat and/or lightening damage. Using protein-based, or strengthening, haircare, restructures the hair back to health.

I love using a strengthening line for anyone with fine hair, including myself. It makes the hair stronger, protects it from heat damage, and ends up making it feel fuller, too.

Smoothing

Made for hair that is coarse and frizzy. If you’re fighting with the frizzies on a daily basis, you’ll want to try this line. Great for curly, unruly hair, too.

A “smoothing” haircare usually has creamier, heavier ingredients like butters or oils to help calm the cuticle, add shine, and make the strands more pliable and easier to manage when styling.

Hydrating/Conditioning/Moisturizing

This is the big kahoona that everyone loves. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s because we love a good moisturizer on the face and body.

Anything that says it’s “hydrating”, “conditioning” or “moisturizing” is made for dry hair.

If your hair feels a bit crunchy on the ends, but doesn’t have any split ends, it’s dry. If you see split ends, that’s considered damage (see strengthening).

A lot of us end up with dry hair after we come back from vacation. Swimming, sunshine, and hotel hairdryers can wreak havoc on our hair.

The harsh winter months can also hurt our hair because we have the heaters on all the time, and we use hot water to shower, which can cause our hair (and skin!) to become super dry and eventually break. This is when you want to use a hydrating line.

Bodifying/Volumizing

If your hair is fine, lacks fullness, lacks density, and tends to go flat the next day after you wash it, you want to go with a line that is volumizing to give you fullness and body.

You definitely, surely, do NOT want to use anything moisturizing, especially around the scalp.

A volumizing line doesn’t mean it won’t moisturize the hair; that’s what the conditioner is for. The conditioner is created to be light enough to moisturize the ends and create texture and fullness at the roots. Always ask your stylist for the best line for you.

Detoxifying/Clarifying

I love this shampoo for anyone who uses product regularly, swims, or has an oily or dry scalp.

This shampoo does what it says. It “detoxes” or “clarifies” the hair by removing absolutely everything off the hair so it can accept the next treatment, shampoo, or conditioner.

If you swim, a detox shampoo is a must because you need something to remove the chlorine build-up from your hair.

Think of it as an exfoliant — use it the same way you would use an exfoliant for your skin.

I personally love it because I have an oily scalp and a good clarifying scalp scrub ensures my follicles are happy and new hair is welcome to grow.

** Remember to stick with the same brand of shampoo and conditioner if you can. They’re created to work together. **