You may think that all shampoos are created equal, but you’d be very wrong. Using a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for your hair type is important because different hair types require different care and can benefit from different ingredients.

Fine Hair: Fine hair gets weighed down easily by heavy ingredients like oils, so look for cleansing formulas that are thinner and, while they don’t necessarily need to be oil-free, should have a minimal amount of oil. Ingredients like proteins can also help to both volumize and strengthen fine hair.

Oily Hair: To cut through oil, look for something that has a bit more cleansing power. You’ll often see these labeled “clarifying” and will often contain ingredients like tea tree oil and other astringents. Keep in mind that these can be drying, even on oily hair, so it’s recommended to always follow them with a lightweight conditioner.

Curly and Textured Hair: Curly and textured hair can get dry and frizzy easily, so these formulas are often heavy on the hydration. They tend to be thicker than other shampoos, and often don’t lather as much, which helps to curb any drying from the cleansing process. They’ll often have ingredients like cocoa and shea butters, plant-based oils, and other deeply moisturizing ingredients.

Dandruff: To treat dandruff, your best bet is a specific dandruff shampoo which will often contain ingredients like zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, both of which are clinically proven (and FDA-approved) to control dandruff. Sometimes you’ll also see ingredients like salicylic acid, which can help exfoliate away flakes.

Thinning Hair: While shampoos aren’t going to be your be-all-end-all hair-loss treatment, they can be helpful as part of a larger hair-loss treatment program. Many will contain ingredients that are shown to help block DHT (the hormone responsible for most hair loss) like saw palmetto, rosemary extract, and others. The key to these is that you need to let the shampoo sit on your scalp for a few minutes so the ingredients can penetrate before rinsing it off.

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