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Hair Care

Should I shampoo my hair daily?

Eric Fisher of Joico Laboratories, Inc. (a professional hair care line) doesn't recommend it. "Most people tend to overshampoo, stripping their hair of its natural oils, which keep hair healthy and shiny," he says.

If your scalp looks oily when you wake up, you should shampoo every day. (Once is enough, though; shampoo and conditioner labels only advise you to repeat the process so that you'll use them up faster.) Otherwise, your hair will probably look better and stay healthier if you skip every other day and let its natural oils accumulate.

Fisher recommends switching between different shampoos every six weeks or so to avoid product buildup, which can leave hair limp. Or just use a clarifying shampoo for a few days at a time every two months to remove the residue your products leave behind.

What kind of conditioner should I use?

If you have normal or dry hair, use a standard rinse-out conditioner every time you shampoo. But if your locks tend to get greasy, you may want to condition them only a few times a week.

For fine or thin hair, look for a conditioner that adds body and reduces tangles. If your hair is super-thick or curly, try a heavier leave-in conditioner.

Combination shampoo and conditioners may seem convenient and economical, but they aren't that great for your hair. It's tough to clean and condition at the same time; what most combos do well is make your hair easy to comb.

What other hair care products should I use?

Shampoos and conditioners are just the basics. If you want to add volume or shine, you may want to look into other products, but don't overdo it. Too much "product" in your hair can make it brittle and more likely to break when you touch or comb it.

Here's a list of the most popular ones and their benefits:

  • Gel: Adds shine and helps sculpt hair; best on thick, curly hair; people with fine hair should use a spray gel, which doesn't drag hair down as much.
  • Mousse: Can be used during or after blow-drying to give hair more body.
  • Pomade: Adds texture, hold, and shine; not recommended for oily hair.
  • Sculpting lotion: Gives hair definition, makes it stiff and crunchy; great for curly hair or short spiky styles.
  • Silicone sprays: Adds polish and sheen.
  • Spray: Holds hairstyles in place.
  • Texturizer: Tames split ends and flyaway strands.
  • Volumizer: Gives hair lift; makes it look less flat.

By Jim Scott


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Adderley-Kelly B, Green PM. Health promotion for urban middle school students: a survey of learning needs. J Natl Black Nurses Assoc 2000 Dec;11(2):34-8

Davidhizar R, Eshelman J. Can stress make you lose your hair? J Pract Nurs. 2001 Winter;51(4):18-21; quiz 22-3.

Bolduc C, Shapiro J. Hair care products: waving, straightening, conditioning, and coloring. Clin Dermatol. 2001 Jul-Aug;19(4):431-6.

Truem RM. The value of hair cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Dermatology. 2001;202(4):275-82.

Gary J. Hair care and hair care products. Clin Dermatol. 2001 Mar-Apr;19(2):227-36.

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