The 12 Different Types Of Shampoo: Which Type Is Right For You?

Written by Ramona Sinha

Ever wondered why that perfect shampoo your friend suggested never worked for your hair? It’s because that shampoo was not meant for your hair type! Just like knowing your hair type is essential to pick the right shampoo, understanding the different types of shampoo is equally important.

Once you decode that, picking one as per your hair needs will be easy. Scroll down to clarify your understanding of the different types of shampoos and which one to pick for your hair type.

Can The Hair Type Influence The Shampoo You Choose?

Yes. Not all shampoos work on all hair types. While dry scalp can go days in-between hair washing, oily strands and scalp may require frequent shampooing. Shampoos contain cleansing and conditioning ingredients. The percentage of each ingredient differs according to the hair type. Let us understand how your hair type may influence your choice of shampoo.

  • Shampoo For Fine Hair

If you have fine hair, avoid shampoos with more percentage of conditioning ingredients as they may weigh it down. Shampoos containing more cleansing ingredients are suitable for fine hair.

  • Shampoo For Thick Hair

Thick, coarse, and rough hair should avoid shampoos with cleansing ingredients (like SLS). Such ingredients can raise the hair cuticles, making the hair dry and frizzy. Use shampoos with more percentage of conditioning ingredients, like nourishing oils and plant butters, to keep the hair soft and smooth.

  • Shampoo For Greasy Hair

A greasy scalp produces excess oil, causing buildup. Use shampoos with surfactants and oil-absorbing ingredients like clay to prevent excess oil and sebum buildup.

Now, let’s take a look at all the different types of shampoo available on the market.

12 Different Types Of Shampoos For Different Hair Types

Take a look at some of the different types of shampoo that might be right for your hair. With an understanding of different types of shampoo, you can help choose the right shampoo that meets your hair needs.

1. Regular Shampoo

This is a daily use shampoo suitable for people who do not have any specific hair needs. It is mild and contains a low percentage of cleansing agents. Regular shampoos suit all hair types.

2. Clarifying Shampoo

Hairstyling products like sprays and creams cause residue buildup. A clarifying shampoo contains a high percentage of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) that helps remove product buildup. It is best for oily and greasy scalp and for people who use hair styling products. However, use clarifying shampoo once in two weeks to avoid damaging your hair. Always follow up with a conditioner.

3. Protein Shampoo (Anti-Breakage Shampoo)

Keratin (hair protein) is essential for maintaining the hair structure, and protein loss can cause damaged hair. Such hair is breakage-prone, rough, and extremely fragile. Protein shampoos contain hydrolyzed keratin or plant proteins that strengthen damaged hair and add a healthy shine to it.

4. Volumizing Shampoo

A volumizing shampoos is best for fine and limp hair. It has a lightweight formula that does not weigh the hair down. Volumizing shampoos lift the roots to give a fuller and bouncy look to your hair.

5. Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars contain less amount of water compared to the traditional liquid shampoos and have a soap-like appearance. They often contain natural ingredients and are best for those who travel a lot. Depending on the formula, shampoo bars may or may not lather.

6. Color-Safe Shampoo

Color-safe shampoos contain ingredients that will not fade your hair dye. These shampoos can keep your colored hair moisturized, protected, and hydrated. They are suitable for all hair types.

7. Moisturizing Shampoo

If you have dry and frizzy hair, this type of shampoo is suitable for you. Moisturizing shampoos contain a high percentage of moisturizing ingredients like oils, shea or cocoa butter, and silicones that moisturize the hair and retain moisture.

8. Natural Or Organic Shampoo

Natural shampoos contain plant-based ingredients and are devoid of any artificial preservatives like parabens and PEG and other harsh ingredients like alcohol, sulfates, phthalates, and silicones. These shampoos are suitable for all hair types, especially those who have a sensitive scalp.

9. Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Anti-dandruff shampoos soothe itchy scalp and prevent flaking and dandruff. They are formulated with ketoconazole that treats dandruff and helps condition the hair and minimize hair fall.

10. Chlorine Removal Shampoo Or Swimmers Shampoo

This shampoo is specially designed for swimmers. Chlorine exposure strips the moisture from your hair. A chlorine removal shampoo removes chlorine residue and odor while replenishing the lost moisture. It contains protective conditioners that keep your hair nourished and soft.

11. Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos are for refreshing your hair between washes. They are available in liquid, powder, and aerosol spray forms. You can spread the product through the roots and let it absorb grease and oil. Comb your hair and ta-da! Dry shampoo is best for all hair types, especially oily and greasy hair.

12. Curl-Defining Shampoo

Natural hair tends to be dry and frizzy. Curl-defining shampoos contain hydrating ingredients, amino acids, and hydrolyzed protein that moisturize the hair and define your curls.

You may pick any of the shampoos as per your hair type or use a mix of them. Find out which shampoos might suit your hair in the next section.

Which Shampoo Type Is Right For You?

Always pick a shampoo that has the right ingredients and addresses your hair needs.

For Oily Hair

  • Use a volumizing shampoo if you have fine hair. Avoid moisturizing shampoos.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo once a week.

For Dry Hair

  • Use shampoos that contain moisturizing ingredients.
  • Avoid shampoos with sulfates and alcohol.

For Natural Hair

  • Use a mix of protein, moisturizing, and curl-defining shampoos.
  • Pick a shampoo-type that addresses your hair needs.

For Combination Hair

  • Use a regular shampoo as this will not weigh your hair down or dry it out.
  • Use a combination of different shampoos as per the results you want.

Before picking a shampoo, ensure it has the right ingredients. Avoid any shampoo that contains any of the ingredients mentioned below.

Shampoo Ingredients You Should Avoid

  • Sulfates

Sulfates are common surfactants found in most commercially available shampoos. Regular use of sulfates causes dryness and breakage. Avoid shampoos containing SLS and SLES if you intend to use them regularly.

However, there is an exception. Clarifying shampoos contain high levels of sulfates and can remove product buildup. Such shampoos should be used not more than once or twice in two weeks.

  • Silicones

Silicones can make your hair smoother but cause product buildup. Avoid buildup-causing silicones like dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, dimethiconol, cetearyl methicone, cyclomethicone, amodimethicone, stearyl dimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone, and cyclopentasiloxane.

However, not all silicones cause buildup. You may use products containing water-soluble silicones like stearoxy dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, and behenoxy dimethicone.

  • Quaternary Ammonium

This is also known as quats and is used as a conditioning agent in shampoos. It may cause skin irritation. Hence, it is better to avoid it.

  • Artificial Fragrances

Avoid shampoos that contain artificial fragrances. They may irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions like rashes and hives.

  • Polyethylene Glycol Or PEG

This petroleum-based compound is used as a softener and thickener in shampoos and may irritate sensitive skin.

  • Phthalates

Phthalates are chemicals that soften plastic. They are widely used in personal care products like shampoos, soap, moisturizers, and food. There is not much research regarding the side effects of phthalates. However, it is suspected that they interact with other chemicals and cause chronic health issues and birth defects (1).

  • Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in shampoos and other cosmetic products. Studies regarding the health implications of parabens are conflicting. Parabens have estrogenic properties, and researchers hypothesized that they might play some role in breast cancer development (2).


There are different types of shampoos, and each has a different purpose, formulation, and set of benefits. You can pick any, depending on specific hair needs. We hope by the time you finish reading this article, you know which type is perfect for your hair. The next time you walk down the shampoo aisle, you will feel less overwhelmed by the choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a medicated shampoo?

Medicated shampoos contain one or more agents that can treat specific scalp conditions like rashes and itching. For instance, they contain ZPTO or ketoconazole for dandruff, keratin and caffeine for hair fall, salicylic acid or coal tar for seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.

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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.