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What Are the Best Hair Products for Your Hair Type?

BY: Colleen Loggins Loster | Sep 20, 2018

Smiling woman with long straight hair

If your locks look less than optimal, it may be from using hair products that were never intended for them. The diagnosis is easy. The cure is where things gets tricky. With so many different oils, pomades, and texturizing sprays out there, how do you know which ones should be added to your hair routine? And what’s the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair? We’ve created a guide to help you determine the best hair products for your mane, no matter its thickness, texture, or treatment.

How Would Your Describe Your Hair?

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Hair Type: Fine (Straight or Wavy)

Fine straight wavy hair

Fine hair refers to the narrow diameter of the hair shaft, not the amount of hair on the head. Your delicate hairs tend to get very oily quickly, and the oil weighs everything down. So it’s important to use products that cleanse and style without adding extra weight.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Seek out volumizing shampoos and conditioners. Shampoos should be clear instead of creamy, and designed to gently cleanse. Conditioners should be lightweight and applied only from the mid-shafts to the ends. Look for products with panthenol (AKA pro-vitamin B5) or biotin, which are designed to increase the diameter of the cuticle.


Styling Products

Dry shampoos are particularly great for limp, oily hair. They not only sop up excess oil, but also add soft volume at the crown. And they leave behind a refreshing scent.

Pro Tip: Even though dry shampoos were made for your hair type, make sure you still wash your hair every few days to remove product buildup and keep your scalp healthy.

Texturizing sprays
, which act a bit like dry shampoo and a bit like hair spray, add tousled volume to fine hair. For wavy hair, a lightweight mousse can enhance waves and hold hair in place without weighing it down. The best hair oil for your type isn’t too heavy.


Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Volumizing/thickening Volumizing/thickening Dry shampoo Thick, creamy hair products
Clear, not creamy Lightweight Texturizing spray Pomade
Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) Lightweight mousse Gel
 Biotin Biotin Light oils (squalane, grapeseed) Heavy oils
Recommended: Pureology Pure Volume or Clean Volume Shampoo Recommended: Pureology Pure Volume or Clean Volume Conditioner Recommended:
  1. Living Proof Dry Shampoo
  2. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Hair Type: Fine (Curly)

Fine curly hair

Your narrow, curved shafts are some of the hardest to maintain. Like thicker curls, they need products that will hydrate and tame frizz. Yet sticky, heavy formulas result in crunchy or limp strands. The key is volumizing products paired with lightweight moisturizers.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Stick to volumizing shampoos and conditioners made for fine hair. Many also have success with lather-free "no poo” or cleansing conditioners, which gently cleanse hair without stripping away moisture.


Pro Tip: If you’re going to go with a cleansing conditioner, most stylists recommend washing with regular shampoo at least once a week to remove product buildup.


Styling Products

Any products with water-based hydrators, such as lightweight hair masks, can control frizzy hair without weighing it down. You can also use light hair oils to achieve the same effect. Lightweight mousse adds soft definition, and sea-salt spray prevents curls from looking too precious. The latter is drying, however, so use it sparingly.


Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Volumizing or thickening Lightweight, traditional Light oils (marula, abyssinian) Heavy oils
Won’t strip away moisture Cleansing conditioner Masks with water-based moisturizers Products for coarse curls
Nothing too heavy "No Poo" Sea-salt spray  
Recommended: DevaCurl Low-Poo Delight Recommended: DevaCurl No-Poo Cleansing Conditioner Recommended:
  1. DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam 
  2. Davines Sea Salt Spray

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Hair Type: Thick (Straight or Wavy)

Thick straight wavy hair

Many people envy your hair type, but it takes work to control such dense, heavy locks. Sure, you have a lot of volume, but you generally can’t just wash your hair and call it a day. Thick hair needs lots of hydration and a few styling products to avoid looking like a poofy mess.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Thick-hair management starts in the shower with frizz-fighting shampoo and conditioners. These help weigh down follicles with oils and heavy hydrators, keeping fuzz in check. Keratin-based products also help fill out and smooth the hair cuticle. When used sparingly, clarifying shampoos can help get rid of product buildup on the scalp.


Pro Tip: After showering, add a tiny amount of conditioner to your ends to keep them smooth while you blow-dry.


Styling Products

How you want to style your hair determines the products you’ll need. For instance, a smoothing lotion applied to wet hair before a blowout can make it sleeker. A softball-size ball of mousse raked through wet hair and then air-dried yields soft waves. Wax creates rocker-chic pieciness on shorter hair, and pomade adds texture and shine to long layers. Thick hair benefits from nourishing hair treatments, too, including heavy hair oils.


Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Anti-frizz Anti-frizz Smoothing lotion Volumizing or thickening
Contains keratin Contains keratin Mousse, wax, pomade Lightweight products
Moisturizing Moisturizing Heavy oils (macadamia, argan)  
Recommended: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

Recommended: Pureology Hydrate Conditioner

  1. Davines Hair Smoother
  2. Kevin.Murphy Staying.Alive Leave-In Treatment 
  3. Kevin.Murphy Rough.Rider Moldable Styling Clay 

Hair Type: Thick (Curly)

Thick curly hair

If you have this hair type, you know the No. 1 thing your thick curls need is hydration. It takes a long time for the natural oils produced by the scalp to travel down a strand of curly hair, and the result is often-parched ends. That’s why you have to grab products loaded up with heavy moisturizers.

Shampoo and Conditioner

It’s best to wash thick curls as infrequently as possible—about once or twice a week—because shampoo can really dehydrate curly hair. To refresh in between washes, try lather-free "no poo" and cleasing conditioners, which were made for this hair type. When it is time for a traditional wash, reach for a creamy shampoo filled with shea butter and nut oils. And always add a thick conditioner afterward.


Pro Tip: Try not to mess with your hair too much when it’s damp. Aggressive manipulation and scrunching results in frizz.


Styling Products

In addition to nourishing thirsty curls, heavy hair oils can tamp down frizz. Thick gels define medium and large curls well, though it’s key to get an alcohol-free hair gel to avoid crispy locks the texture of fried noodles. Curl creams simultaneously hydrate and define.



Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Anti-frizz Thick, hydrating Hydrating curl creams Alcohol listed as a key ingredient or high up in the list of ingredients
Creamy "No poo" Thick hair gels Lightweight products
Shea butter, nut oils Cleansing conditioner  Heavy oils (macadamia, argan)  
Recommended: Davines Momo Shampoo

Recommended: DevaCurl Ultra Creamy Daily Conditioner

  1. DevaCurl Motion Lotion
  2. Kevin.Murphy Easy.Rider Anti-Frizz Cream 
  3. Kevin.Murphy Motion.Lotion Curl Enhanding Lotion 

Hair Type: Coarse (Textured)

Coarse textured hair

Your hair has some type of curl pattern, ranging from S- to Z-shaped strands. It also has the widest, strongest shafts, but it’s prone to dryness and breakage. Thus, it craves rich hydration. As Afrobella blogger Patrice Yursik attests, you have to learn how to love coarse hair, but it rewards you by lending itself to some of the most visually spectacular looks possible.  

Shampoo and Conditioner

Coarse, textured hair doesn’t need to be washed frequently, only about every 2–3 weeks. Anything more frequent can result in dryness. When it starts to get dirty, this hair benefits from the same "no poo" and cleasing conditioners and creamy traditional shampoos and conditioners that thick curls need. Textured hair should avoid sulfates of any kind because they can sap away moisture.


Pro Tip: In between regular washes, some people with textured hair do a “water wash,” which means they avoid all shampoo and conditioner and just massage warm water into their scalps.


Styling Products

Heavy hair oils and deep-conditioning masks infused with rich butters add a much-needed dose of hydration, as do leave-in conditioners. Many curl creams and hair custards soften coils and enhance your natural curl pattern. Edge controllers smooth down curly baby hairs.



Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Anti-frizz Thick, hydrating Curl creams, custards Sulfates
Creamy "No poo," cleansing conditioner  Edge controllers Alcohol listed as a key ingredient or high up in the list of ingredients
Shea butter, nut oils Leave-in conditioner  Heavy oils (castor), deep-conditioning masks  
Recommended: Davines NouNou Shampoo

Recommended: Davines NouNou Conditioner

  1. DevaCurl Mirror Curls
  2. SheaMoisture Sacha Inchi Oil Curl Smoothie
  3. Kevin.Murphy Motion.Lotion Curl Enhanding Lotion 

Hair Type: Color-Treated

Colored color-treated hair

Your color-treated mane has been through a lot of stress and has more damage than virgin hair. It needs to be babied a bit (particularly if you went with the color red) with specialized products designed to prevent fading and hydration.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Water is hair color’s natural enemy, washing vibrant hues and money down the drain. That’s why stylists recommend washing color-treated hair no more than 2–3 times a week. It’s also key to reach for color-protecting shampoos and conditioners while avoiding shampoos with sulfates, which may strip away color.


Pro Tip: Be wary of clarifying shampoos and dandruff shampoos not designed for color-treated hair, as they can cause locks to turn brassy and orange.


Styling Products

Deep-conditioning treatments applied once a week coddle color-treated hair. Heat protectants help prevent further damage by hot tools. Leave-in conditioners can be mixed with water in a spray bottle and spritzed onto hair to protect it from chlorine or salt while you swim.



Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products What to Avoid
Formulated for color Formulated for color Deep-conditioning treatment Sulfates
Sulfate-free Sulfate-free Heat protectant Clarifying shampoos
  Leave-in conditioner    Dandruff shampoo
Recommended: Redken Color Extend Shampoo

Recommended: Redken Color Extend Conditioner

  1. Chi Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray
  2. Chi Ionic Color Protector System Leave-In Treatment Mask

Disagree or agree with any of our suggestions? Tell us in the comments:

Guide Staff Writer
BY: Colleen Loggins Loster