Hair can be a nightmare to get right. Often, it’s one of the first things another human being notices about you and it can completely transform your appearance just by altering it ever-so-slightly. It’s one of the most flexible weapons in your fashion arsenal, and yet probably your most underutilized one too!

The vast majority of men share the same problem when it comes to washing their hair. They tend to do one of three things. Firstly, they don’t use any kind of hair care product at all instead assuming that a bit of soapy water will do the job just fine. Secondly, they rely on their premium brand shower gel to do a good job, or lastly, they continually use the same generic, ‘all-in-one’ bottle that they’ve purchased since adolescence.

“Why’s this a bad idea?”

Numerous reasons. For starters, soapy water and shower gels are formulated to strip away dirt and grime. That’s fine for your stinky armpits, but your poor hair follicles will be stripped of their natural protective oils this way.

Those using a two or three-in-one product will certainly be better off: you’ll be cleansing dirt and replenishing nutrients. But still, it’s not the best way to go about doing things. These total solutions are pretty handy for when you’re in a tight spot, or haven’t got time to spare, but their multipurpose design is also their greatest flaw. Like a badly designed snack bar – it may be great when you’re on the go, but it’s hardly a smorgasbord of flavor and balanced nutrition.

Image: contrapart

These ‘super products’ don’t create the exact formulation that’s right for your hair type and scalp. They do a reasonable job at keeping things clean and healthy, but their ‘rinse, lather, repeat’ philosophy isn’t tailored to your real needs.

For example, is the ratio of shampoo to conditioner ideal for your fine, oily hair? Is it suitable for your light, cherry-blonde locks? Do you really need to use conditioner every time you shower?

Are you honestly going to achieve a suitably custom result when your ‘all-in-one’ product has been designed with everyone – regardless of hair color, style, thickness & body – in mind? I don’t think so…

“What products are right for my hair, then?”

There’s a whole host of products out there, but you need to start by identifying what kind of hair type you have. Take a look at the following examples and find those that match your own bouffant; often, you’ll be a mix of the categories, such as dry and wild or thin and oily. Keep this in mind while constructing your type:

Image: jimpetr

Normal: Roughly eighty percent of people have this type of hair. Neither dry nor oily and easy to manage. No issues with thickness and has consistent texture all around. Regular, normal shampoos and conditioners are ideal for this type.

Dry/Damaged: Hair is uncharacteristically weak, fragile and may break easily. Lacks moisture, often feeling rough and lightweight. Avoid using alcohol-based products which will dry out the follicles even more. When buying hair care products, look for moisture-enriching formulations that may help with the dryness.

Oily/Greasy: Looks wet and feels slippery to the touch. Avoid using waxy creams and artificial additives. Instead, use natural enhancers where necessary and balancing formulations designed specifically for oily or greasy hair.

Thick: Highly textured and heavy looking. Avoid using any product that adds volume and ensure you don’t overemphasize the weight by adding heavy, clumpy gels or pomades. Go easy on the conditioner too – it’s tempting to add extra but, even on thick hair, a little goes a long way!

Fine/Thin: Lacks volume – looks lifeless and limp. Avoid using moisturizing formulations that give you a flat, dull look. Instead, use regular shampoo and add separate fortifying and revitalizing agents to create a more naturally ‘full’ look.

Wild/Flyaway: Unmanageable and frizzy. Inconsistent texture and volume. Keep it under control using formulated ‘frizz removal’ sprays and gels, and avoiding volumizing agents in your hair care routine.

“What variety should I chose?”

The brand name isn’t important. What is important is making sure you chose the correct product from the same collection. Try not to “mix and match” as most shampoos and conditioners are formulated to work in conjunction with their counterpart within the range. Also, don’t think you need to spend a fortune. Most ranges don’t cost considerably more than a regular ‘all-in-one’.

What to buy?
I’d stick to the basics; just shampoo and conditioner, with an additional serum if required. Your shampoo should be based on the type you identified earlier. If you have dark, thick, greasy hair, then go for the shampoo that’s formulated for dark, thick, greasy hair. Do you have light, fine, dry hair? Guess what – go for the shampoo designed for light, fine, dry hair. It’s not rocket science, as everything you need to know is written right there on the box, including full care and usage instructions.

Should you have a particular trouble spot, you’ll want to pick up a special serum or leave-in conditioner that’s designed to target your problem area, be it dryness, volume or weakness. Again, these shouldn’t cost you the earth and will more than make up their value in great-looking, manageable hair.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

3 Responses

  1. This Guy

    I have a problem with dandruff. Should I still use the dandruff shampoo as well? (It’s a conditioner combo) And if so, how often?

    • Johnathan

      If you have dandruff, always use a shampoo designed for your hair type with anti-dandruff properties. If the shampoo is ‘medicated’ check the bottle for directions for usage – using any additional products may affect their strength.

      Assuming everything else is okay, feel free to use a separate conditioner a couple of times a week. Remember to go easy on any additional styling products (especially gels with their ‘flakey’ composition) too!