• Amanda Baker

How to choose "the right" shampoo and conditioner

Healthy, beautiful hair takes a bit of effort – not just at the salon, but day-to-day care too. When your stylist asks what hair products you use at home, they're not being nosy or trying to embarrass you. They're trying to understand your current hair care regime so they can see where they might be able to offer some useful advice.

What's the difference between salon shampoo and supermarket shampoo?

We hear this question a lot. The frequent perception is that in-salon products are just more expensive versions of what's on the supermarket shelves. That's not really true though…

In-salon products will likely contain fewer ingredients than store bought

Some supermarket brands are bulked up with "fillers" to give more fragrance or increased lather, which can strip away colour and condition over time. Check the ingredients' list, and, at all costs, avoid shampoo or conditioner containing sodium chloride. That's basically salt – and we all know how dry our hair feels after a swim in Hauraki Gulf.

In-salon products will probably last you longer

One of the advantages of choosing a product with fewer but higher quality ingredients is that you need to use less, so it'll last longer.

In fact, here's a couple of tips to help with this: really drench your hair before you apply any shampoo and then use slightly less than you think you'll need. Work it in well, gradually across your scalp, with your fingertip pads making gentle, circular movements. That way it's a thorough wash – and you're enjoying the benefits of a quick scalp massage at the same time. And then rinse, rinse, rinse to make sure you remove all shampoo residue.

Do I have to use a "matched" shampoo and conditioner?

Specific ranges with their shampoo, conditioner and styling combos (such as Wella Invigo Color Brilliance) are designed to work together to give optimum results. That said, hair can be complicated! You might want to protect your colour but also smooth curls, or add volume while also strengthening hair that's prone to breakage. With due care and consideration, it's okay to mix and match, and it might be an idea to ask your stylist about products that complement each other and will work well for you.

Is it okay to use a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner?

In theory, this sounds like an excellent idea. However, combining one product that's designed to cleanse your scalp and remove dirt with another that's designed to smooth and protect your hair can never give the same kind of results as using two separate products.

How about dry shampoo? How often can I use that?

Dry shampoo is a great way of occasionally extending your "do" for an extra day. It's usually alcohol or starch-based, and works by absorbing the excess oil or grease in your hair. What it doesn't do is actually cleanse your hair or your scalp. In fact, it's adding to the residual build-up. In particular, people with sensitive scalps should use dry shampoo with caution, as it can irritate the scalp.

If you've any questions about the best care for your hair, the golden rule is to ask your stylist. It's our job and our pleasure to help you to live life beautiful.

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