How many of you take into consideration what shampoo and conditioner you use on your hair at home? Over the last few years, an increased number of gents have started investing more on skincare, bodycare and even hair styling products, but the majority of men still continue to use their partner’s shampoo or simply buy whatever is on offer at the supermarket.
So, is there really a noticeable difference between supermarket and salon quality shampoos/conditioners? Of course, being a hairdresser, I would say that salon shampoos are better. However, on the flip-side, ALL shampoos are designed to wash the hair and scalp, and they are all made of similar ingredients.
The Difference Between Salon & Supermarket Shampoos
The quality of the shampoo is an area I always make sure my customers understand. It’s like almost anything you buy: you can invest as much or as little as you desire but, generally, the more you spend, the higher the quality of product.
A salon shampoo is a lot more likely to be of better quality and will have been produced with higher quality ingredients. It will also be a lot more concentrated, which means it will last longer as you need to use less of it each time you shampoo your hair (essentially providing you with better value for money). Furthermore, supermarket shampoos often have a much higher percentage of water and sulphates, and less of the good stuff: vitamins, minerals and oils.
The reason supermarket shampoos are cheaper is because they aren’t actually made by dedicated cosmetics companies – they are instead manufactured by multi-faceted companies who produce a wide range of home care products, and in vast quantities. It’s similar to comparing mass-produced high street shoes to a pair of Loakes.
Men’s Shampoos & Conditioners Guide
If you buy your hair products from a salon you will not only get a professional’s advice on what type of products are best to use on your specific hair, but they will also be used on you during your visit. This means you can see, smell and touch your hair to feel any benefits or difference.
Don’t be afraid to ask your stylist for advice and to try out different products – it will prevent you from investing money on products that aren’t suitable.
In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the types of shampoos and conditioners available for men today, who they are suitable for and the benefits of each.
Natural & Organic Shampoos
As consumers, we are becoming much more aware and conscious about what we put in our bodies and what products we use on our skin. You will find that many companies have started to use more natural and organic ingredients in their hair care products, with many shampoo and conditioner ranges now paraben and sulphate free.
Parabens and sulphates are used in many shampoos and it is a good idea to keep your eye out for them – they can strip away colour from your hair, cause skin irritation, and there are even suggestions that parabens are linked to cancer [Editor note: in 2004, the Journal of Applied Toxicology published a study that linked them with breast cancer, although the validity of the study was questioned by the American Cancer Society, amongst other organisations].
Sulphates are known to be used in cheaper shampoos as it helps to create a rich lather, which many people would be fooled into thinking was a sign the shampoo was working or of better quality – this is not the case and, in fact, the complete opposite.
Other brands are strictly against animal testing, whilst many more have, over the years, become increasingly eco-friendly, with a lot of companies now using bio-degradable packaging. For more information on natural and organic grooming products, I recommend you check out Duncan’s excellent article on the subject.
Finally, it’s important to remember that many guys lose their hair as they get older. Although they are not scientifically proven to prevent hair loss, I would suggest that using products that contain gentle, natural ingredients will help look after your hair and scalp – keeping it in top condition, and the ideal environment for hair growth, for longer.
Here is a selection of my favourite natural and organic shampoos/conditioners currently on the market:
- Aveda Brilliant Shampoo 250ml
- Aveda Be Curly™ Conditioner
- Aveda Men Pure-formance™ Conditioner 300ml
- Label.m Organic Orange Blossom Shampoo 200ml
- Green People Organic Homme 10 Itch Away Shampoo 125ml
- Green People Intensive Repair Conditioner 200ml
Colour Care Shampoos
Most colour care shampoos will have ingredients that help moisturise and repair the hair, preventing colour fade. Some colour care shampoos and conditioners contain colour enhancers or toners, which are perfect for refreshing your hair colour.
If you have had highlights or your hair colour lightened, colour care shampoos can neutralise any warm (unnatural looking) tones within the hair, resulting in a more natural looking, cool ash tone.
Likewise, sometimes when guys colour their hair to blend through grey, the colour can fade – leaving the hair with a warm golden or copper tone. To combat this I would suggest using a specialist silver shampoo, which will leave the hair looking healthy and the colour clean and fresh. It should be noted that silver shampoos aren’t suitable for daily use.
For those looking for specific grey hair tips, check out Robert’s article on dealing with grey hair.
- Kevin Murphy Set Of 2 Angel.wash For Fined Coloured Hair 250ml & Kevin Murphy Angel.rinse For Fine Coloured Hair 250ml
- Loréal Professionnel Série Expert Silver 250ml
- Loreal Professionnel Serie Expert Chroma Care Colour Refreshing Conditioner – 13 Beige 150ml
- Korres Sunflower & Mountain Tea Shampoo For Coloured Hair 250ml
- Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo 250ml
- Wella Sp Men Silver Shampoo – 250ml
I would suggest using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to the majority of men. On average, people wash their hair about once a day, which results in us stripping it of its natural oils; the same oils that give it a natural shine.
Using a shampoo from the ‘Hydrating Family’ regularly and a conditioner at least a couple of times a week will help moisturise the hair and scalp – keeping it looking and feeling healthy.
- Almond And Linseed Shampoo Korres
- Korres Almond & Linseed Conditioner For Dry/damaged Hair 200ml
- Hydrating Shampoo 960 Ml
- Hydrating Conditioner 960 Ml
- Shampoo By Kevin.murphy Hydrate.me.wash 250ml
- Kevin.murphy Condition Hydrate.me.rinse 250ml
- American Crew Daily Moisturising Shampoo 250ml
- American Crew Stimulating Conditioner 250ml
Curly hair is naturally drier and coarser than straight hair, so a curl specific shampoo is advised. This will pump moisture into the hair and help smooth the hair cuticles, making it much easier to manage.
People often think that your shampoo is there to just clean the hair but a specific shampoo for curly hair will lock into the hair cuticles and really produce results.
For more information, read my previous article on dealing with thick, wavy or unruly hair.
- Kérastase Bain Oléo-curl 250ml
- Bumble And Bumble Curl Conscious Duo
- Tigi Catwalk Curlesque Defining Shampoo 300ml
- Loreal Serie Expert Curl Contour Shampoo 250ml V272
- Tigi Bed Head Styleshots Hi-def Curls Shampoo 250ml
- Redken Curvaceous Cream Shampoo 300ml
Fine Hair/Thickening Shampoos
Those men with fine or thinning hair are going to be looking for a shampoo that provides the appearance of more hair. A thickening shampoo won’t actually give you more hair (or encourage hair growth) but what they will do is help bulk the hair up and create the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.
These shampoos and conditioners won’t be heavy on the hair and will generally ensure it doesn’t appear ‘fluffy’.
- Kevin Murphy Angel Wash 250ml
- Rice Proteins And Linden Shampoo Korres
- Mop Lemongrass Shampoo
- Magnesium And Wheat Proteins Hair Loss Shampoo Korres
- Kerastase Homme Capital Force Densifying Shampoo 250ml
- Bed Head Bh For Men Charge Up Thickening Shampoo
Dry Or Irritable Scalp
Most shampoos for dry or flaky scalps will contain zinc, which helps to neutralise the pH balance of the scalp. If you do have irritable scalp you could also try taking a zinc supplement tablet daily to see if it produces results for you.
These specific products can often take up to a month to produce results as it is very much dependent on your skin cycle. With this in mind, make sure you give it a chance to work and use it religiously for at least that length of time to really see the benefits.
With the modern gent becoming increasingly conscious of their appearance and personal style, no-one wants dandruff on their collar – luckily, no-one needs to suffer these days as there are some great products out there that will help tackle this often embarrassing problem once and for all:
- American Crew Anti-dandruff Shampoo 250ml
- Serie Expert By Loreal Professional Power Clear Shampoo 125ml
- Kérastase Homme Captial Force Anti-dandruff Shampoo 250ml
- Laurel And Echinacea Shampoo Korres
- Molton Brown Anti-dandruff Jackberry Hairwash
- Wella Sp Clear Scalp Duo
So there you have a quick guide as to why you should be investing money on both your styling AND hair care products. The majority of men are only interested in knowing about the latest hair styles, the products that will sculpt the perfect quiff or how to replicate the latest haircut from TOWIE – but a salon quality shampoo and conditioner will help ensure your hair is easier to style, looks its very best and feels healthier to the touch.
As usual, if you have any specific questions about shampoos or conditioners then drop them in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer as many as possible.