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Most shampoos are effective cleansers

Contrary to popular belief, no shampoo can permanently alter the natural state of your hair. The most a product can do, experts say, is temporarily improve its appearance and manageability. Most shampoos on the market today are created from the same basic ingredients: water, cleansing and lathering agents, and a few preservatives. There are also shampoos made to treat different conditions. However, experts say in general, current shampoos fit into four basic categories: deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying), conditioning, anti-dandruff and baby.

Deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying) shampoos, are specifically designed to rid the hair and scalp of styling product buildup. These shampoos are ideal for individuals who use a lot of products (like gels and hairsprays) on their hair. Over time, these products can coat the scalp and hair shaft, leaving a residue that can reduce manageability. Unlike other shampoos, deep-cleansing products contain more cleansing agents to strip this residue off the scalp and hair. Consumers with dry or damaged hair may be interested in conditioning shampoos. These products contain ample amounts of moisturizing agents like silicone -- compounds that work to smooth and nourish the hair shaft -- resulting in a softer, sleeker appearance. Conditioning shampoos are also excellent for those with naturally frizzy or color-treated hair.

Baby shampoos contain mild, low-foaming detergents that won't irritate eyes. However, while these shampoos are gentle enough for babies and young children, they can't rid an adult's hair of dirt, oil and styling products as well as other shampoos can. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain special ingredients to control and prevent flaking. They are considered over-the-counter drugs and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dry shampoos are becoming more common. Some people use them during travel or to extend the length of time between wet shampooing. These powder or spray products, which are applied to the roots of hair, typically contain oil-absorbing ingredients like corn starch -- compounds that can make hair appear clean. Most dry shampoos also contain fragrance to give hair a fresh, clean scent. But experts say they don't clean as well as standard shampoos do.

Formula aside, experts say price has no bearing on the effectiveness of a shampoo. "There are only a handful of effective ingredients available to a hair-care chemist," says Paula Begoun, beauty expert and author of "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me." This means that there isn't much variation from one shampoo to the next -- and that drugstore shampoos are just as efficient as salon brands. Begoun says your best bet is to learn about the common ingredients used in shampoo so you can judge a product's effectiveness for yourself. At publications that use blind testing, including Good Housekeeping and Choice magazines, testers found little to no difference between expensive salon brands and store brands. Salon shampoos may have fancy packaging or come with celebrity endorsements, but in general most products work the same way and have similar -- if not identical -- active ingredients, experts say.

To find out what the best shampoos are, we turned to the book "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me" by Paula Begoun. In it, Begoun rates hundreds of shampoos based on published information and scientific testing of ingredients, and provides thorough discussion of the ingredients that make shampoo work. Although the book is out of print (though still available at some booksellers), most of the shampoos discussed are still available and their formulas unchanged, making it an excellent resource. Newer product reviews are also available on Begoun's subscription-based website, Beautypedia.com. We also read excellent articles from Good Housekeeping magazine and the Australian equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, Choice magazine. To supplement this information, we turned to ConsumerReports.org. Their information is quite dated -- the article is from 2000 -- but editors review several shampoos that are still available.

As always, consumer contributions to sites like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com are helpful in evaluating user satisfaction, as well as such characteristics as scent and texture. Beauty magazines love to recommend personal-care products, and we found editor's picks for shampoo in InStyle, Allure, Health and other magazines. However, most times, judging criteria is not clear, and editors do not make comparisons with non-recommended products.

It's important to note that some review sources that test shampoo also use the corresponding conditioner to make evaluations. This testing method, however, makes it hard to discern whether the shampoo is effective on its own or whether the conditioner is what makes the biggest difference. That said, the best sources -- including Paula Begoun, Choice magazine and ConsumerReports.org -- base their ratings solely on the performance of the shampoo.

Lastly, in the course of researching this report, we were intrigued to find that there are many untruths about shampoo commonly accepted by users. For example, analysts say there's no need to lather twice when washing your hair unless it has been a while since you last shampooed. Also, claims that some shampoos can repair split ends have little basis in fact. The FDA does not regulate these sorts of claims when it comes to shampoo companies. The only part of a shampoo label that the FDA regulates is its list of ingredients.

Most shampoos are effective cleansers

Contrary to popular belief, no shampoo can permanently alter the natural state of your hair. The most a product can do, experts say, is temporarily improve its appearance and manageability. Most shampoos on the market today are created from the same basic ingredients: water, cleansing and lathering agents, and a few preservatives. There are also shampoos made to treat different conditions. However, experts say in general, current shampoos fit into four basic categories: deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying), conditioning, anti-dandruff and baby.

Deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying) shampoos, are specifically designed to rid the hair and scalp of styling product buildup. These shampoos are ideal for individuals who use a lot of products (like gels and hairsprays) on their hair. Over time, these products can coat the scalp and hair shaft, leaving a residue that can reduce manageability. Unlike other shampoos, deep-cleansing products contain more cleansing agents to strip this residue off the scalp and hair. Consumers with dry or damaged hair may be interested in conditioning shampoos. These products contain ample amounts of moisturizing agents like silicone -- compounds that work to smooth and nourish the hair shaft -- resulting in a softer, sleeker appearance. Conditioning shampoos are also excellent for those with naturally frizzy or color-treated hair.

Baby shampoos contain mild, low-foaming detergents that won't irritate eyes. However, while these shampoos are gentle enough for babies and young children, they can't rid an adult's hair of dirt, oil and styling products as well as other shampoos can. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain special ingredients to control and prevent flaking. They are considered over-the-counter drugs and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dry shampoos are becoming more common. Some people use them during travel or to extend the length of time between wet shampooing. These powder or spray products, which are applied to the roots of hair, typically contain oil-absorbing ingredients like corn starch -- compounds that can make hair appear clean. Most dry shampoos also contain fragrance to give hair a fresh, clean scent. But experts say they don't clean as well as standard shampoos do.

Formula aside, experts say price has no bearing on the effectiveness of a shampoo. "There are only a handful of effective ingredients available to a hair-care chemist," says Paula Begoun, beauty expert and author of "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me." This means that there isn't much variation from one shampoo to the next -- and that drugstore shampoos are just as efficient as salon brands. Begoun says your best bet is to learn about the common ingredients used in shampoo so you can judge a product's effectiveness for yourself. At publications that use blind testing, including Good Housekeeping and Choice magazines, testers found little to no difference between expensive salon brands and store brands. Salon shampoos may have fancy packaging or come with celebrity endorsements, but in general most products work the same way and have similar -- if not identical -- active ingredients, experts say.

To find out what the best shampoos are, we turned to the book "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me" by Paula Begoun. In it, Begoun rates hundreds of shampoos based on published information and scientific testing of ingredients, and provides thorough discussion of the ingredients that make shampoo work. Although the book is out of print (though still available at some booksellers), most of the shampoos discussed are still available and their formulas unchanged, making it an excellent resource. Newer product reviews are also available on Begoun's subscription-based website, Beautypedia.com. We also read excellent articles from Good Housekeeping magazine and the Australian equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, Choice magazine. To supplement this information, we turned to ConsumerReports.org. Their information is quite dated -- the article is from 2000 -- but editors review several shampoos that are still available.

As always, consumer contributions to sites like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com are helpful in evaluating user satisfaction, as well as such characteristics as scent and texture. Beauty magazines love to recommend personal-care products, and we found editor's picks for shampoo in InStyle, Allure, Health and other magazines. However, most times, judging criteria is not clear, and editors do not make comparisons with non-recommended products.

It's important to note that some review sources that test shampoo also use the corresponding conditioner to make evaluations. This testing method, however, makes it hard to discern whether the shampoo is effective on its own or whether the conditioner is what makes the biggest difference. That said, the best sources -- including Paula Begoun, Choice magazine and ConsumerReports.org -- base their ratings solely on the performance of the shampoo.

Lastly, in the course of researching this report, we were intrigued to find that there are many untruths about shampoo commonly accepted by users. For example, analysts say there's no need to lather twice when washing your hair unless it has been a while since you last shampooed. Also, claims that some shampoos can repair split ends have little basis in fact. The FDA does not regulate these sorts of claims when it comes to shampoo companies. The only part of a shampoo label that the FDA regulates is its list of ingredients.

Most shampoos are effective cleansers

Contrary to popular belief, no shampoo can permanently alter the natural state of your hair. The most a product can do, experts say, is temporarily improve its appearance and manageability. Most shampoos on the market today are created from the same basic ingredients: water, cleansing and lathering agents, and a few preservatives. There are also shampoos made to treat different conditions. However, experts say in general, current shampoos fit into four basic categories: deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying), conditioning, anti-dandruff and baby.

Deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying) shampoos, are specifically designed to rid the hair and scalp of styling product buildup. These shampoos are ideal for individuals who use a lot of products (like gels and hairsprays) on their hair. Over time, these products can coat the scalp and hair shaft, leaving a residue that can reduce manageability. Unlike other shampoos, deep-cleansing products contain more cleansing agents to strip this residue off the scalp and hair. Consumers with dry or damaged hair may be interested in conditioning shampoos. These products contain ample amounts of moisturizing agents like silicone -- compounds that work to smooth and nourish the hair shaft -- resulting in a softer, sleeker appearance. Conditioning shampoos are also excellent for those with naturally frizzy or color-treated hair.

Baby shampoos contain mild, low-foaming detergents that won't irritate eyes. However, while these shampoos are gentle enough for babies and young children, they can't rid an adult's hair of dirt, oil and styling products as well as other shampoos can. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain special ingredients to control and prevent flaking. They are considered over-the-counter drugs and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dry shampoos are becoming more common. Some people use them during travel or to extend the length of time between wet shampooing. These powder or spray products, which are applied to the roots of hair, typically contain oil-absorbing ingredients like corn starch -- compounds that can make hair appear clean. Most dry shampoos also contain fragrance to give hair a fresh, clean scent. But experts say they don't clean as well as standard shampoos do.

Formula aside, experts say price has no bearing on the effectiveness of a shampoo. "There are only a handful of effective ingredients available to a hair-care chemist," says Paula Begoun, beauty expert and author of "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me." This means that there isn't much variation from one shampoo to the next -- and that drugstore shampoos are just as efficient as salon brands. Begoun says your best bet is to learn about the common ingredients used in shampoo so you can judge a product's effectiveness for yourself. At publications that use blind testing, including Good Housekeeping and Choice magazines, testers found little to no difference between expensive salon brands and store brands. Salon shampoos may have fancy packaging or come with celebrity endorsements, but in general most products work the same way and have similar -- if not identical -- active ingredients, experts say.

To find out what the best shampoos are, we turned to the book "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me" by Paula Begoun. In it, Begoun rates hundreds of shampoos based on published information and scientific testing of ingredients, and provides thorough discussion of the ingredients that make shampoo work. Although the book is out of print (though still available at some booksellers), most of the shampoos discussed are still available and their formulas unchanged, making it an excellent resource. Newer product reviews are also available on Begoun's subscription-based website, Beautypedia.com. We also read excellent articles from Good Housekeeping magazine and the Australian equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, Choice magazine. To supplement this information, we turned to ConsumerReports.org. Their information is quite dated -- the article is from 2000 -- but editors review several shampoos that are still available.

As always, consumer contributions to sites like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com are helpful in evaluating user satisfaction, as well as such characteristics as scent and texture. Beauty magazines love to recommend personal-care products, and we found editor's picks for shampoo in InStyle, Allure, Health and other magazines. However, most times, judging criteria is not clear, and editors do not make comparisons with non-recommended products.

It's important to note that some review sources that test shampoo also use the corresponding conditioner to make evaluations. This testing method, however, makes it hard to discern whether the shampoo is effective on its own or whether the conditioner is what makes the biggest difference. That said, the best sources -- including Paula Begoun, Choice magazine and ConsumerReports.org -- base their ratings solely on the performance of the shampoo.

Lastly, in the course of researching this report, we were intrigued to find that there are many untruths about shampoo commonly accepted by users. For example, analysts say there's no need to lather twice when washing your hair unless it has been a while since you last shampooed. Also, claims that some shampoos can repair split ends have little basis in fact. The FDA does not regulate these sorts of claims when it comes to shampoo companies. The only part of a shampoo label that the FDA regulates is its list of ingredients.

Most shampoos are effective cleansers

Contrary to popular belief, no shampoo can permanently alter the natural state of your hair. The most a product can do, experts say, is temporarily improve its appearance and manageability. Most shampoos on the market today are created from the same basic ingredients: water, cleansing and lathering agents, and a few preservatives. There are also shampoos made to treat different conditions. However, experts say in general, current shampoos fit into four basic categories: deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying), conditioning, anti-dandruff and baby.

Deep-cleansing (also known as clarifying) shampoos, are specifically designed to rid the hair and scalp of styling product buildup. These shampoos are ideal for individuals who use a lot of products (like gels and hairsprays) on their hair. Over time, these products can coat the scalp and hair shaft, leaving a residue that can reduce manageability. Unlike other shampoos, deep-cleansing products contain more cleansing agents to strip this residue off the scalp and hair. Consumers with dry or damaged hair may be interested in conditioning shampoos. These products contain ample amounts of moisturizing agents like silicone -- compounds that work to smooth and nourish the hair shaft -- resulting in a softer, sleeker appearance. Conditioning shampoos are also excellent for those with naturally frizzy or color-treated hair.

Baby shampoos contain mild, low-foaming detergents that won't irritate eyes. However, while these shampoos are gentle enough for babies and young children, they can't rid an adult's hair of dirt, oil and styling products as well as other shampoos can. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain special ingredients to control and prevent flaking. They are considered over-the-counter drugs and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dry shampoos are becoming more common. Some people use them during travel or to extend the length of time between wet shampooing. These powder or spray products, which are applied to the roots of hair, typically contain oil-absorbing ingredients like corn starch -- compounds that can make hair appear clean. Most dry shampoos also contain fragrance to give hair a fresh, clean scent. But experts say they don't clean as well as standard shampoos do.

Formula aside, experts say price has no bearing on the effectiveness of a shampoo. "There are only a handful of effective ingredients available to a hair-care chemist," says Paula Begoun, beauty expert and author of "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me." This means that there isn't much variation from one shampoo to the next -- and that drugstore shampoos are just as efficient as salon brands. Begoun says your best bet is to learn about the common ingredients used in shampoo so you can judge a product's effectiveness for yourself. At publications that use blind testing, including Good Housekeeping and Choice magazines, testers found little to no difference between expensive salon brands and store brands. Salon shampoos may have fancy packaging or come with celebrity endorsements, but in general most products work the same way and have similar -- if not identical -- active ingredients, experts say.

To find out what the best shampoos are, we turned to the book "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me" by Paula Begoun. In it, Begoun rates hundreds of shampoos based on published information and scientific testing of ingredients, and provides thorough discussion of the ingredients that make shampoo work. Although the book is out of print (though still available at some booksellers), most of the shampoos discussed are still available and their formulas unchanged, making it an excellent resource. Newer product reviews are also available on Begoun's subscription-based website, Beautypedia.com. We also read excellent articles from Good Housekeeping magazine and the Australian equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, Choice magazine. To supplement this information, we turned to ConsumerReports.org. Their information is quite dated -- the article is from 2000 -- but editors review several shampoos that are still available.

As always, consumer contributions to sites like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com are helpful in evaluating user satisfaction, as well as such characteristics as scent and texture. Beauty magazines love to recommend personal-care products, and we found editor's picks for shampoo in InStyle, Allure, Health and other magazines. However, most times, judging criteria is not clear, and editors do not make comparisons with non-recommended products.

It's important to note that some review sources that test shampoo also use the corresponding conditioner to make evaluations. This testing method, however, makes it hard to discern whether the shampoo is effective on its own or whether the conditioner is what makes the biggest difference. That said, the best sources -- including Paula Begoun, Choice magazine and ConsumerReports.org -- base their ratings solely on the performance of the shampoo.

Lastly, in the course of researching this report, we were intrigued to find that there are many untruths about shampoo commonly accepted by users. For example, analysts say there's no need to lather twice when washing your hair unless it has been a while since you last shampooed. Also, claims that some shampoos can repair split ends have little basis in fact. The FDA does not regulate these sorts of claims when it comes to shampoo companies. The only part of a shampoo label that the FDA regulates is its list of ingredients.

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