Faithful readers of our site know just how much we at HSD are into hair – hairstyles, hair products, even hairdressers! Our obsession with hair is so evident that some PR company once addressed their parcel of samples to “Hair Style Diary”. Let’s just say we aren’t ashamed of pampering what grows on your head, and we’ll keep on providing you with ideas on how to keep it looking good!
For the past three months, we’ve been searching and testing the best premium shampoos in the market, so guys who can afford a little luxury to give their hair a healthy treat can spend that money wisely. Here they are, organised by types of hair and specific needs, each tested by a real staffer at HSD!
What we loved: Though marketed for “parched, dry hair”, we found that this pair from New York’s Blow salon works better as a daily treat for normal to slightly dry hair – especially for those who insist on washing their hair everyday. Proteins from soy and vegetable sources work together with a phytokeratin complex to strengthen hair, which after washing and conditioning feels smooth and defined. As should be expected from a salon shampoo, we found styling our hair much easier after.
What we didn’t: You have to use the conditioner. Despite the sulfate- and chloride-free formulation which makes it safe for colored hair, the shampoo does leave your mane in need of next step hydration. It may be the strength of this duo too, since the conditioner leaves the hair with enough slickness but no weightiness – great for daily use on normal hair!
What we loved: The texture of this shampoo is light and non-abrasive. The worst you can do to oily hair is to strip it harshly – something Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oil Shampoo won’t do. Instead it balances the sebum production on your head, using an oil-vs-oil formula that’s earned a cult status amongst facial care circles. Using nourishing avocado oil and gentle surfactants like cocamidopropyl betaine (derived from coconut oil), this is a winner especially for oily and brittle hair.
What we didn’t: This shampoo is unfortunately fragranced with potential scalp irritants like limonene, linalool and citronellel. Being quite gentle, men with very oily hair might need to do a double wash for best effect.
What we loved: Instead of employing oils that moisturize but can also weigh hair down, this beautifully-textured, gently-cleansing shampoo treats dry, frizzy hair to vitamins B, C and E, as well as biotin, panthenol, and glycerin. This potent but lightweight mix draws and keeps moisture to the follicle, and gives it a boost of much-needed nourishment from the inside out.
What we didn’t: Like many, many shampoos out there, this one is fragranced with citranellol, linalool, and limonene – all potentially irritating to sensitive scalps. Even the most gentle shampoos can dry you out, so shampoo less and use sparingly!
What we loved: Argan oil is the star in Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair Silk Bloom shampoo. Known for its nourishing properties especially for hair, the ingredient is paired with ceramide and Vitamin E for even better effect on lifeless, damaged strands. Without even using the conditioner, hair becomes smooth, shiny, and manageable after the first use! Smells great too – not feminine whatsoever.
What we didn’t: The shampoo leaves behind a light layer of oil, so guys with finer hair may find it weighs you down. This formulation does contain small amounts of limonene, which is a fragrance and potential irritant on sensitive scalps.
What we loved: Colored hair has two needs – nutrients that strengthen hair made brittle by chemical processes, and gentle ingredients that protect color instead of stripping it. Good news, ColorProof’s Baobab series has both. Drawing nutrients from the African Baobab, as intriguing as the tree can be, might’ve sounded hokey, but the duo readily cleans up frizziness, fixes damage over time, and makes hair color pop. Icing on the cake: it smells wonderful.
What we didn’t: Hidden at the end of a long list of yummy ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter and soy proteins is, alas, limonene and unidentified “fragrances”. We sure liked how it smelled, but it may prove irritating to people with sensitive scalps – which is a common condition for dyed hair!
What we loved: Though it’s targeted at oily hair, PHYTO’s Phythéol Exfoliating Shampoo’s not the detergent-in-disguise you get at a drugstore. Packed into a beautiful metallic bottle are scalp-loving plant extracts like greater celandine and sophora japonica as well as naturally exfoliating ingredients like tea tree oil and pepper extract. The gentle sarcosinate cleansing agent does a good job of degreasing, so hair and scalp come out of the wash feeling lightweight, smooth, and calm – great for guys with dandruff too. No need for a conditioner!
What we didn’t: Also present in the shampoo are known skin irritants mint and rosemary oil, though the bulk of good stuff in the formulation more than compensates. While it’s not harsh at all, we suggest using this shampoo once every two days, as it can be drying on the hair with frequent use.