How to pick out your ideal haircare products

Medically reviewedby Edna Skopljak M.D.
WrittenbyLiza Schermann
Last updated

While it's true that hair issues can be mitigated through haircare products, practices and techniques, the condition may get worse with improper ones. Many people don't realize how much their product choices really affect their hair quality. Some will use the wrong type of shampoo, conditioning agents, or oils - and this can lead to an increase in discomfort for their scalp and worse hair condition.

Adopting incorrect products can encourage further hair problems through diverse manifestations. By simply researching what type of product would best suit your specific needs, you can save yourself from expensive trips to salons for hair emergencies.

This blog will give you information about everything you need to know so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.



Selecting the right hair care products is crucial for maintaining healthy hair. Internal factors like hair type, shape, porosity, scalp condition, and overall health play a significant role in choosing the right products.

Scalp condition, including dry or oily scalp, is critical for hair health. Products must be chosen to address specific scalp needs. Maintaining overall hair health involves balancing protein and moisture and addressing hair thinning with appropriate products.

Different shampoos serve specific purposes, such as moisturizing, clarifying, or chelating. Water-based products are moisturizers, while oils and butters help seal in moisture. The region's climate and water quality can also impact product choices.

So understanding your hair's unique characteristics and needs, as well as interpreting product labels, is essential for selecting the right hair care products. Environmental factors and daily routines should also be considered.




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Internal Factors

Hair texture/types

Once again, we cannot stress enough the importance of understanding your own hair type. It will be a good start for the best care practices and the most appropriate products for your sake.

To get an idea of your hair texture, the thickness of the individual strand will tell. There are three main categories: fine, medium, and thick.

When you have fine hair, the care routine focuses on making it look thick. Thick or coarse hair has a lot of texture, but on the other hand, it is prone to frizz, less manageable, and often doesn't retain water well compared with others. The advantage of this type of hair is that it is more resistant to damage, breakage, and high temperatures. Given its characteristics, hydration is essential to care. Also, smoothing and anti-frizz products or hair oils can be part of your hair care routine. Meanwhile, if you have hair that falls somewhere in between, yours might be medium hair.

Hair shapes

Your hair shape can also be a factor that influences your decision when it comes to choosing hair care products. In particular, curly and wavy hair requires more attention since this type of hair can be naturally more coarse, dry, frizzy, porous, and without shine. In other words, most of the time, curly hair mainly lacks hydration and nutrition, which calls for smoothing/anti-frizz products.

Hair porosity

Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb water or chemicals through the cortex and retain moisture within hair strands. High porosity may be connected to cuticle degradations or changes. When you use a hair product, your hair soaks it up quickly, and you may find yourself applying an excessive amount every time.

The prevailing problem with porous hair is the trouble of raised cuticles; thus, if you can close the cuticle layers, even a little, you will resolve a majority of the porosity issues. In this case, low pH products and treatments that bring about cuticle closure can be a temporary resolution. In addition, an acidic rinse with apple cider vinegar, low-pH shampoos, or even a simple cleansing with a neutralizing shampoo can help correct the porosity problem by tightening and closing the cuticle layers.

Scalp conditions

If your scalp is not in good condition, neither are your locks. As a result, taking good care of your scalp isn't just a good idea - it's a necessity.

One major issue relating to the scalp is dry scalp. It leads to dry, dull, and coarse hair. Such dry condition of your scalp can originate from several improper activities, including over-processing hair, over-using hot tools, washing with harsh or low-quality shampoos, and lacking proper hair care. Last but not least, dry scalp and hair come from using products that are not suited for frequent use or improperly designed for your hair types.

On the other hand, oily scalp often happens due to “active” sebaceous glands. While there isn't a whole lot you can do to change the activity of your sebaceous glands, there are certain things that can help manage the situation. The first thing you can draw on is to use specific products for this hair type - shampoos for oily hair, weightless conditioners, or a tonic for oily scalp. Besides, avoid moisturising, nourishing, and smoothing shampoos and conditioners with an oily and too rich consistency.

Read more about The Influence Of Scalp Condition On Hair Health And Pre-mature Hair Loss.


Overall hair health

Although several factors can break hair fibres, hair breakage tends to happen as a result of moisture and protein deficiency, stemming from imbalanced, unresolved structural and elasticity conditions.

The unique relationship between protein and moisture within the hair strands is not simply a case of balancing one opposing force over the other. Instead, they work together synergistically to produce a healthy head of hair. A heavy tendency or preference toward either one of them in a hair care regimen, without a sufficient balance, more often than not results in breakage. Thus, keeping the hair balanced between these two entities is profound to maintaining your hair condition.

Another critical issue that hinders the overall wellness of your hair is hair thinning. The cause of hair loss can be various and it's essential to understand the different types and reasons to boost stronger, healthier hair. Besides regular and thorough applications whose results will be visible after 3 to 4 months, one effective form of external care for thinning hair is stimulating serums and tonics in combining quality shampoos and conditioners for thinning hair.

External factors

The proper usage of products

An in-depth understanding of the functions of the diverse hair care products will support your effort in delivering effective hair maintenance and nourishment. Besides, it helps you set the right expectations and get more satisfying results.

Commonly, there are three main kinds of shampoos: moisturizing, clarifying, and chelating. The first one is for hair moisturization. However, if you find that your moisturizing shampoo no longer effectively removes buildup, it is time to use a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos have a specific formulation that can lift heavy product residues from the hair fibres.

Similar to product residues and oils, minerals dissolved in our water also bind to the hair shaft. However, the bonds that minerals maintain with the hair are tighter and are often unremovable with the simple surfactants found in moisturizing and clarifying shampoos. Therefore, specially formulated chelating shampoos are needed to deal with mineral deposits from the hair. Indeed, the ingredients in chelating shampoos chemically bind to minerals and lift them away.

Furthermore, it is essential to distinguish the products which sound similarly functional. For instance, oils and moisturizers must never be confused or used interchangeably to combat dryness. Water and water-based products are moisturizers. Using oils and butter will seal in moisture and prevent moisture loss.

If your hair already feels dry, the last thing you want is to create a moisture barrier. Make sure that you adequately moisture your hair, not simply coat it with artificial shine!

You can read more about hair hydration HERE.

The ingredients of the products

Many hair products contain complex chemicals to fulfil their offerings, e.g. making them more fragrant, pearlescent or foamy. As you become more label savvy, you can become an expert in evaluating hair products that suit your needs. Additionally, dissecting product labels will help determine the benefits such products can deliver, thus improving the efficacy of developing an appropriate hair care regimen while saving your budget on unwanted waste.

Water is still the most plentiful ingredient percentage-wise, regardless of its position in an ingredients list. After the water placement, the other things you want to look for in any product ingredients list are the presence and variety of proteins, humectants, water-attracting ingredients, emollients, oils, and silicones.

There are things you might need to notice to garner maximum benefit from regular hair hydration. Cleansing the hair with a moisturizing shampoo that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) cleansing agents is the first step toward successful, frequent cleansing. Likewise, the hair should get deep conditioned with a quality conditioner that contains as few heavy oils as possible (e.g., petrolatum).

Selecting a moisturizer is perhaps the most challenging part of the regimen-building process. It is vital to ensure that the moisturizers you use are indeed moisturizers. In most product formulations, the first three or four ingredients set the tone for the nature and quality of the hair product. Because there can be no moisture delivery without water, water is the first ingredient in the list of moisturizing products. Also, you must avoid mineral and heavy, shaft-coating oils. If you cannot find a moisturizer without them, opt for moisturizing products that contain these oils closer to the bottom of the ingredients list.


If you live in a region with seasonal changes, you may need to change your hair care products depending on the weather. Some product ingredients are good to use at certain times and not others. Glycerin, for example, will make your hair super frizzy if you use a product that contains this during humid weather, yet in other climates, it may be your best friend.

Chelating shampoos are potent and best for those who live in the hard-water areas, where dulling metal ions are present in the water. The minerals in hard water react with detergents in popular shampoos and create stubborn films that block their ability to produce a big, foamy lather. However, chelating shampoos are more advanced in cleansing ability, which is supportive for your hair when washed with hard water.

Living in high pollution environments can lead to sensitive scalp syndrome. Symptoms include itching, dandruff, oily scalp, and even pain in the hair root due to air particles like dust and smoke settling on the scalp. Over time, this can lead to critical hair damage.


There are factors you should notice before choosing the most suitable hair care products that deliver the best results.

On top of the list are internal factors, including all aspects of hair, such as types, shapes, porosity, scalp conditions, health, and styles. Please remember that understanding your hair is the first step to building up a healthy hair regimen.

Next, learning to dissect product labels will help you achieve a healthy hair care regimen. In this respect, the proper usage of products and their ingredients are critical points for your consideration. When you understand your hair and differentiate each function of each kind of hair product, your selection will be more appropriate.

Finally, you might consider your living environment: water resources and pollution, factors that can harm your hair. Your daily routines also can be another factor hindering or facilitating your hair quality.

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The information we provide is not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor.


Bornschlögl, T. (2019). Human pollution exposure correlates with accelerated ultrastructural

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Srinivasan G, Srinivas CR, Mathew AC, Duraiswami D. Effects of hard water on hair. International journal of trichology. 2013 Jul;5(3):137.