We Bet You Didn't Know There Were Three Types Of Shampoos

Naaila Khan

Which kind do you need?

Chances are you haven't considered the different types of shampoo while picking one out - a shampoo's a shampoo, right? Not so much - there's more than one kind for different hair needs. So what are they? 


You’re probably familiar with this one already if you like your styling products – clarifying shampoo clears out product buildup from hairsprays and heavy duty formulas that tend to settle on your scalp over time. They usually contain stronger detergents so it’s a good idea to use them only once in a while to ‘reset’ your hair.

How do you know you need a dose? You'll know to hit the stuff when your hair starts to feel limp, lacks movement and your regular shampoo doesn’t lather too much. A clarifying shampoo will take care of this exfoliating the cuticles and disintegrating product buildup.

What to look for on the bottle: the ingredients sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. 

Point to note: if you see ingredients like Dimethicone, Polyquaternium-7 or Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride on the label, it probably means there’s some conditioner in there that you don’t want when you want to clarify. However, always follow up with conditioner because squeaky clean is great but you don’t want to strip your hair of moisture.


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Listen up swimmers; add a chelating shampoo to your hair care rotation and you'll notice softer hair in no time. Stronger than a clarifying shampoo, this one is for hair that’s exposed to hard water on a regular basis and washes out mineral, metal, and chlorine buildups that can cause hair breakage and colour fading.

What to look for on the bottle: the ingredient EDTA.

Again, don’t use it too frequently lest you dry your hair out – once a week is good if you shower in hard water everyday – and always follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.



Is your hair chemically straightened or smoothed? Your stylist has probably recommended a neutralizing shampoo to er, straighten that issue out. When high pH hair relaxers are used to soften bonds – which, as you can imagine, is a sure shot recipe for breakage – true neutralizing shampoos are used to balance out the high alkalinity. In other words, they don’t get rid of the chemicals in your hair, but will temporarily stop the process from working overtime.

What to look for on the bottle: a listed pH between 4 - 5.5

A final tip: Marketing nomenclature can be misleading, so try figuring out the type of shampoo you need by looking at the ingredients.

Image courtesy The Coveteur. 


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