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Clarifying, Moisturizing, Revitalizing, Oh My! | Which Shampoo Is Right For You?

Clarifying, Moisturizing, Revitalizing, Oh My! | Which Shampoo Is Right For You?

Which Shampoo Is Right For You?

A huge part of your wash day routine is the type of shampoo you pick. But with a dizzying array of shampoo options available, it can be a confusing and overwhelming process to find the right one for you.

From clarifying to moisturizing to revitalizing, what's the difference? And how can you tell which one your hair needs? Turns out science holds the key. Here, we share why.

How Do You Find The Right Shampoo For Your Hair?

Not all shampoos are good for all hair types. The best way to find the right shampoo for your unique hair type is to find out exactly what it is by taking a hair test. Knowing more about your hair biology can help you build a custom routine that addresses your individual hair care needs.

When it comes to shampoo, the most important factor in determining the right formula for you is your scalp type. Using either our online Strands Test or handheld Strands Smart Scanner, you can learn about your unique hair profile in under two minutes. Your custom results include details like the texture of your strands, the humidity in your area and your scalp type.

What's Your Scalp Type?

One of the most innovative ways to determine your scalp type is via our Strands Smart Scanner. Available at select Walmart stores, it takes three simultaneous images. One image measures hair texture by identifying the edges of your hair fibers, then measuring the diameters. A second image identifies impurities in the scalp, which typically are directly proportional to scalp sebum production. A third image assesses the reflectance intensity of the scalp as a measurement of oiliness. 

Your scalp type will fall into one of the following three categories. 

Oil-Prone Scalp

You probably have an oily scalp if your hair feels greasy, or if you have dandruff or flakes that appear clumped together. An oil-prone scalp occurs when sebaceous glands produce more sebum than usual, making the strands oily and attracting dirt and other impurities to the scalp.

You may have tried everything to control the excess oil, from washing daily (even twice daily) to allowing days between shampoos, without success.

Balanced Scalp

Also known as a combination scalp, a balanced scalp is neither oily nor dry. You'll know if your scalp is combo if it gets oily two to three days after shampooing versus the day after.

A balanced scalp may have dry or oily areas throughout, but overall the scalp is well hydrated without excess oil production.  

Dry Scalp

If your scalp feels itchy, flaky, irritated or tight after washing, you probably have a dry scalp. As opposed to an oily scalp, dryness typically occurs when the sebum production is lower than average. 

Dry scalps tend to last longer between shampoos, and may also be prone to flaking. While an oily scalp will flake in clumps, drier scalps tend to have flakes that are smaller, more powder-like and tend to fall when touching or scratching the scalp. 

Once you've identified your scalp type, the next step is to find the best shampoo — and targeted hero ingredients — to meet your hair and scalp needs.

Best Shampoo for Oily Scalp: Clarifying Shampoo

If you have an oily scalp, you’ll want to avoid hydrating, moisturizing or smoothing shampoos. These formulas risk adding too much moisture to an already oil-prone scalp.

Instead, opt for a shampoo that thoroughly cleanses and removes excess scalp sebum and buildup — without stripping hair. A hero ingredient like apple cider vinegar will help re-balance your oily scalp and roots.

Best Shampoo for Balanced Scalp: Revitalizing Shampoo

The main objective for those with balanced scalps is to maintain the optimum moisture levels you already have. Your goal is to find scalp-friendly shampoos that focus on gentle cleansing.

Choose antioxidant-rich formulas with mild but effective ingredients like rice water to maintain optimal moisture levels for scalp balance, while washing away impurities.

Best Shampoo for Dry Scalp: Moisturizing Shampoo

Those with dry scalps should focus their search on shampoos that promote moisture, hydration or smoothing to encourage moisture retention. Avoid shampoos that strip your scalp of much-needed moisture, especially products formulated with sulfates.

A moisture-rich option formulated with a hero ingredient like squalane will help to soothe a dry scalp without over-drying or stripping hair.

Key Differences

Clarifying Shampoo

Moisturizing Shampoo

Revitalizing Shampoo

Best For

oil-prone scalp

dry scalp

balanced scalp

Hero Ingredient:

apple cider vinegar


rice water


The key to finding the right shampoo for your hair is understanding your scalp type. A clarifying shampoo is ideal for those with an oil-prone scalp to remove excess sebum. A revitalizing shampoo with mild cleansing agents is perfect for a balanced scalp. Similarly, people with dry scalps should pick shampoos enriched with hydrating ingredients.

A hair test will help you identify your scalp type, allowing you to choose the best shampoo for your hair needs. Take the Strands Test now or visit a select Walmart store near you for the high-tech Strands Smart Scanner experience.


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