Which Shampoo is for Me?

September 06, 2022

Which Shampoo is for Me?

This is probably the most frequent question we get asked and some retail studies have shown that 8 out of 10 people choose the wrong shampoo for their hair type. Not fatal. But not good for your hair and scalp either.

We didn’t have shampoo in my childhood (cue violins), but we didn’t have a bathroom either. Having hair washed in the kitchen sink under a cold tap with the sharp corner of a fresh block of soap was no fun. And that was before the water-boarding to rinse it out. Aahh.......happy days. I remember moving home at 14 and having my first experience of a bathroom and an inside loo. We’d arrived. Kids’ expectations today are a little higher.

All shampoos will clean hair to varying degrees but some will have significant beneficial biases to match different hair types. The degreasing part is easy (try ‘Fairy Liquid’ or engine cleaner), but how the hair is left afterwards takes more science and a careful blend of ingredients. Is there any point paying more than $6 for a bottle of shampoo? Emphatically yes, but it also depends if the manufacturer is playing fair.

Big global corporations will rely much more on marketing and it’s not unheard of for them to take one of their $6 supermarket shampoos, rebrand the exact formula into luxury packaging and then sell it for $25. It saves a lot of money on research and development that year, but to me it’s plain cheating. Generally, the cheaper the price – the more limited the range and quality of ingredients to choose from. In the shampoo category up to $6 retail the big manufacturers will budget for as little as 15c – 35c on the contents of the bottle.

Having spent over 40 years at the premium end of hairdressing and 20 years making my own products, I know that a formula at that price will eliminate most of the quality ingredients that can make a genuine difference. Economies of scale are not enough. Cheaper harsh cleansers and cosmetic ingredients like silicones and other plasticisers will give a glossy effect.

It would be foolish for us to try to save pennies in the Michael Van Clarke Salon on shampoo, when it negatively impacts our services which may cost $hundreds. My own feelings for quality aside, Central London hairdressing is super-competitive and we must have the absolute best equipment and products. That’s why I now make my own.

One particularly active ingredient in our own 3’’’More Inches product range is an ultra fine cashmere protein. The amino acids in this are almost identical to human hair and so are able to be absorbed into the hairshaft to fill missing links and protect the hair from further thinning. This one ingredient can account for up to a third of the formula cost, but it’s what helps our award-winning products, from shampoos and treatments, through to styling products be so extraordinarily effective.

Assessing your hair type
In the olden days most people washed their hair once a week, so oily hair was very common and shampoos tended to be categorised and sold for either Dry, Normal or Oily hair. Those descriptors seem quite retro now but are still appropriate with further qualifying categories. Oily hair is quite uncommon as it is mostly dealt with by daily shampooing.

Normal – fine to medium thickness, limp, soft, silky, flexible, uncoloured, shiny.

Dry – thicker, coarser, frizzy, coloured or chemically treated, brittle, dull.

Just to complicate matters, many people especially those with longer hair will have qualities covered in Normal at the roots, and also some qualities covered in Dry at the ends. It’s generally best to choose shampoo for scalp and root area and choose conditioner by mid lengths and ends of hair.

Often a comment from people with finer hair is that they can’t use conditioners as they are too heavy. However most conditioners on the market are laced with silicone and this will weigh hair down giving it an inert dead feeling as it builds up over time.

All our shampoos and conditioners are silicone-free and all hair types benefit from a protective, bodifying conditioner, even fine hair which is often fragile. It just needs the right conditioner. Shampooing lifts the hairshaft cuticle during cleaning and the conditioner smoothes it down for comb-ability, protection and shine.


Cashmere Protein Volumising Shampoo and Conditioner for fine to medium or soft hair will help give body without weighing the hair down.

Michael Van Clarke 3’’’More Inches
Cashmere Protein Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner
 for hair that is dry or coarse or mostly dry and washed daily. This will infuse the hair with moisture and flexibility and help protect from further damage.

Michael Van Clarke 3’’’More Inches
Cashmere Protein UV Protective Shampoo and Conditioner
 work across all hair types but particularly for coloured hair, as they have natural UV filters to protect from colour fade.

Michael Van Clarke 3’’’More Inches
Cashmere Protein Silver Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner are fortified with violet pigment, a colour correcting formula which is rich in rare cashmere proteins and UV filters. Micro protein amino-acids drive deep into the hairshaft to repair and strengthen, whilst powerful actives combat UV, pollution damage and brassy yellow tones.

Angelica Rose Shampoo and Conditioner have everything you loved, with formula updates to make them even more luxurious and hydrating. Strengthening properties of Provitamin B5 and cashmere amino acids, combine with plant extracts, minerals and essential oils to give you fresh clean vibrant hair with the lingering scent of rose.
Balancing Scalp Shampoo contains citrus oil, bio-sulphur, plant extracts and minerals which cleanse and rebalance scalp to reduce oiliness and improve blood circulation. The protective multivitamin A, B, E, F & H, herbal complex helps reduce hair loss. Cashmere amino acids build volume so your hair feels fresh, vibrant and fuller.

Cashmere Protein Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo works across all hair types to help clean flaky or itchy scalps.

Our shampoos are designed to target all different hair types. In the early 1980s a marketing team came up with a good wheeze to get people to defect to their new shampoo. They said it was important to change shampoo every now and then because they can leave a build up. It wasn’t true at the time but became more true in the decades that followed as most shampoos began using cheap inert silicones and plasticizers that weren’t soluble in water. These do build up on the hairshaft and scalp and can lead to unpleasant problems.

None of our products contain ingredients like these so it’s unnecessary to change for the sake of change.

 Michael Van Clarke





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