Are you looking for a new haircare routine and just do not know where to start? With the number of haircare product out there it is easy to get confused on which is right for your hair type. One shampoo is sulfate free, one is for adding volume, one is for damaged hair and the list goes on and on. I’m Meg Ann Lee, a local hairstylist and makeup artist in the Eau Claire area and this week I’m sharing how to pick out the best hair product regimen for yourself!

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Why do we need shampoo and conditioner?

First, shampoo is formulated for your scalp and hair follicles. Focusing on getting rid of excess natural oils and exfoliating your scalp. Excess oils can weigh your hair down.  Because of this, your shampoo should be put at your scalp first, massage it in for about a minute and rinse through the rest of your hair.

Second, Conditioner is here to make our dead hair shaft (anything outside of the hair follicle is dead) soft, manageable and shiny!

How do I determine what I need?

  1. Define your hair type: Fine texture or thin, medium texture and wavey, curly ect.
  2. Determine what problems you are having: dry hair or chemical damage or too oily ect.
  3. Think about your hair goals: more volume, softer and smoother or adding strength.

Here are some different hair types, their problems and what they need:

Dry and brittle hair

Look for a sulfate free option or one focusing on adding hydration. Shampoo containing sulfates may strip away too much moisture, leaving hair dry. Focus on keeping your hair manageable with oils and leave in conditioners. Your wash cycle may need to be only 2x a week.

Thick and oily hair 

If you consistently have an oily scalp, a shampoo containing sulfates is probably what you will want. Sulfates are a hot topic, but honestly, they are key to creating that “clean” feeling on your hair. Look for shampoo that is clarifying or cleansing. You may want to wash every other day.

Dry curly hair

Curly hair naturally loses moisture due to the shape of the cuticle. So, you need extra product to keep it feeling silky smooth and manageable. If you have curly hair and you’re only washing it 1x a week or less, make sure you add exfoliating your scalp into your wash days. I love a scalp scrub or silicone brush for this!  In between washes you can still spray your hair with water to reactivate your product.

Heat or Chemically Damaged hair

The best products for damaged hair focus on helping the dry rough hair feel more manageable and provide damage prevention. Think bond builders, treatments, and moisture. You’re going to wash less and get haircuts frequently. Clients often ask, “do I need a treatment?” Honestly, the answer is ALWAYS YES if you are coloring your hair.

Do I need to spend a ton on salon products, or can I just buy at the drug store?

I always say you vote with your dollar. Supporting your local salon is always the best bet. You can see my blog post about why you should be buying your haircare from your stylist HERE.

The main difference in drugstore and professional products is the quality of high-grade ingredients and the ratio that they are mixed with “filler”. Ingredients like vitamins or oils are diluted out in less expensive options. That’s why your liter of TRESemme at Walmart is $7 and the 8oz bottle of Kevin Murphy at the salon is $35. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. So, no your hair does not NEED that $80 hydrating, color safe, tropical fruit smelling shampoo your hairstylist is recommending. Your hair also did not NEED that $350 blended, high contrast balayage but here we are.

My rule of thumb is if you are spending money on hair color you should spend money on quality haircare to maintain it. Coloring your hair in any way is changing the natural state of your hair. To keep it feeling manageable or what society deems as “healthy hair” you need to give the hair back what you have taken from it. Things like protein, vitamins, and moisture.

If you want to read a breakdown of what types of shampoo are out there and what they do, check out my previous blog post “The Perfect Shampoo For You “.

I hope this helps you pick out the best haircare regimen <3


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