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What Types Of Shampoo Ingredients Work Best For Different Hair Needs


Shampoo ingredients for specific needs

Modern-day shampoos have gone well beyond containing simple cleaning agents. They now incorporate ingredients to target specific issues or hair types.


Hair loss and thinning hair

Hair loss or hair thinning can be caused by a variety of reasons. There are multiple shampoo ingredients to look for depending on the source of the issue.

Phyto-caffeine has been shown to help reduce hair thinning, especially for female pattern baldness.

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved ingredient for the treatment of hair loss when used as a 2 percent topical solution.

Niacin (vitamin B-3) can help improve circulation, which increases the flow of nutrients to hair follicles, and helps with hair growth and fullness.

Animal studies have suggested lavender and peppermint oil may be effective for hair growth, but more research is needed to confirm whether this works for humans.

To prevent environmental damage, the amino acid histidine absorbs excess copper from hair, which helps to shield it from UVA and UVB damage.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for thinning hair include:

  • phyto-caffeine
  • minoxidil
  • niacin
  • histidine
  • essential oils like lavender and peppermint may help, but more research is needed

Curly and wavy hair

Those with curly or wavy hair should look for shampoos that are hydrating, contain frizz-reducing ingredients, and are free from deep-cleansing surfactants, such as sulfates.

Those with voluminous strands that form compact curls, spirals, or ringlets in a zig-zagged or pleated pattern from the scalp, should aim for a shampoo that offers lots of moisture and hydration.

Glycerin is a clear natural compound that’s used widely in cosmetic products for its moisturizing qualities. It draws moisture from the air into hair and retains it, resulting in less frizz and more defined, shiny curls.

Oils and kinds of butter, such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and argan oil, can help hydrate hair and keep curls and waves smooth and glossy.

Seed oils, such as Abyssinian seed oil, grapeseed oil, and black seed oil, are another beneficial ingredient for curly and wavy locks. These are super light oils that are easily absorbed. They help to detangle strands while moisturizing.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for curly and wavy include:

  • glycerin
  • essential oils and butter
  • seed oils

Straight hair

Those with straight hair may be looking to add volume. If that’s the case, you should look for coconut, soybean, almond, and sunflower oils as well as vitamins B5, C, and E, which are all said to add volume and body.

Similarly, proteins such as anionic and cationic polymers, rice, and corn, help to bind hair and create fullness.

Another beneficial ingredient for those with straight hair is keratin, a fibrous structural protein that’s found in the makeup of hair, skin, and nails.

In hair products, keratin works by smoothing down the cells that overlap in hair strands as the hair cuticles absorb the protein, resulting in fuller, smoother, and softer hair.

The use of keratin also makes hair less frizzy and makes it appear straighter. Studies also suggest that active components of keratin can make hair stronger.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for straight hair:

  • coconut oils
  • soybean
  • almond
  • sunflower
  • vitamins B5, C, and E
  • proteins
  • keratin

Dyed or dry hair

Those with dyed or dry hair can look for shampoos with mild cleansing agents and lots of conditioning ingredients.

Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate is one sulfate-free cleansing option.

Many two-in-one shampoos for dry hair work by replacing sebum with a thin silicone coating to make the hair shaft shiny and smooth.

Shampoos with oils help to nourish and rehydrate hair. These include argan oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.

Similarly, glycerin is a deep conditioner that can help to retain moisture.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for dry hair include:

  • mild cleansing agents
  • silicone
  • oils
  • glycerin
  • two-in-one shampoos with silicone


Dandruff shampoos commonly contain fungicides that kill fungi and reduce loose dander. Fungicides include ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, and selenium disulfide.

For those looking to avoid synthetic fungicides, look for natural ingredients such as tea tree oil or herbal extracts.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for dandruff include:

  • fungicides like ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, and selenium disulfide
  • natural fungicides like tea tree oil

Oily scalp

Those with an oily scalp or hair produce excess sebum from overactive sebaceous glands.

Look for shampoos that contain lauryl sulfates or sulfosuccinates for a deep clean.

Too many conditioning agents should also be avoided, as these can contribute to an abundance of oil, even after a wash.

Shampoos with natural ingredients like tea tree oil are also worth a try. Synthetic ingredients may throw off the scalp’s natural sebum production and increase oil production.

Beneficial shampoo ingredients for oily scalps:

  • deep cleansing agents
  • natural ingredients
  • minimal conditioning agents

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