Hair Care Products

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Shampoo for fine, straight hair

Aug 2008

I have straight, fine, long hair - no time for hair cuts. it is brown (going grey) and pretty thick. I am looking for a good shampoo. I've tried many in the grocery store which do the job of cleaning but do nothing to add volume or character to my hair. I have tried a friend's shampoo when visiting a while ago and it worked very well. but this shampoo had no english on it, so I couldn't tell what it was or where to get it. I just know it's not hopeless. any ideas?

I have fine hair also that just lies there. Try Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner. It completely changes the charater of my hair. You probably need a leave-on spray too. If you visit a good salon they can recommend extactly the right product for your hair!

I have hair very much like yours. First of all, you need a haircut. Plain, long hair is the worst way for women with fine hair to wear it. You need it shorter with some layers to keep it from looking drab and lank. You don't need to go super-short, but the longest you should wear it is just past the shoulders or collar bone. Also, layers will blend your grey better if you're not up for dealing with hair color.

Shampoo: I have had great luck with Redken Body Full shampoo and conditioner. Also, Matrix makes a volumizer line. You can find these in some drugstores and all beauty supply. Be sure to use a conditioner, but only on the ends of your hair, not at the roots. The moisture will make your hair a little bouncier. I was always afraid it would weigh my hair down, but a light conditioner not applied to my scalp gives a ton of body. But seriously, get a haircut.

Products for Child's Hair w/ Split-Ends

Aug 2008

Hi, Do you have any recommendations for shampoo and conditioner for hair with split-end? This is for my 10-year-old daughter. I've been trying to cut off the end, but I'd like to have shampoo and conditioner that could help improve her hair. Thank you! Anonymous

A friend of mine was using giovanni walking weightless leave in treatment for her daughter's long, wavy/curly hair. I was curious so i bought it and it really is great at detangling hair. don't know that it magically fixes splits ends (i think the only cure for that is to cut them off and then condition hair well and get regular trims), but it helps make hair easy to comb and manageable. I'm sure that not tearing at hair to comb it, helps minimize damage like split ends. good luck. you can buy this at elephant pharmacy and i think i've seen it at other drugstores as well. aliza

Less expensive than Bumble & Bumble for fine hair?

June 2007

Hi- I have been using Bumble and Bumble shampoo and conditioner for several years now and although it is a great combo, the price is beginning to annoy me. Has anyone found something comparable, that doesn't leave fine hair looking lifeless, and that does not cost so much? Bumble and bummed

Like you, I have fine hair and have used Bumble & Bumble for many years. I started to alternate between Bumble & Bumble, Kerastase (not less expensive) and Paul Mitchell Lemon and Sage Thickening Shampoo and Condit. I have been pleasantly surprised with the results the Paul Mitchell products have given me. They are definitely less expensive, smell great, and leave my hair shiny. Judy

Conditioner for fine, flyaway, shoulder-length hair

Jan. 2004

I have fine, flyaway, shoulder-length hair with lots of body. Because it is colored every 10 weeks or so, it periodically looks dry and dull-looking. I'd love a recommendation for a great conditioner, possibly the type that you need to leave on for a while, and that is effective enough not to use after every shampoo. Thanks!

Hi, my hair has also been through a lot of chemical processes (straightening, dyes, etc.) and I have tried many conditioners, cheap and not so cheap. I highly recommend Terax Original Crema - it is a conditioner that can be used any way you want. You can use it a few times a week, or once a week, and leave it in your hair for as long as you like. It is a bit pricey; I paid $16 for a 5 oz. tube at a beauty supply store, but Sephora charges $20 for the same amount. Hope this helps! Annabel

I use Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner on my dry, color treated, curly hair and am very happy with it (I've tried many!). I buy it at Festoon, but don't get my hair done there any more for a variety of reasons (including the fact that everything there is very expensive, as is this product). I use it every shampoo, but you only leave it on for a couple of minutes. Occasionally, when my hair is especially stressed, I leave it on under a cap for about half an hour. Cecelia

KMS makes a product called ''Color Revitalizer'' (previously called ''color reconstructor'')that does a good job with what you want. The bottle recommends wrapping your hair for a few minutes, but I just leave it in for the duration of my shower. I also find that more frequent coloring keeps my hair looking better. If you are only coloring gray and you're not doing any fancy processes, you might try doing it yourself with professional products that are great for your hair. I use Color Charm by Wella. You can get it at the Beauty Center on Solano. All you need is the color, developer, some latex gloves, an applicator bottle and a comb. It's quicker, more convenient and MUCH MUCH cheaper than a salon. It's also very easy to do a good job. prematurely gray

I have fine flyaway hair that I color too. I love the Kerastase products (the green line) that Festoon sells and have never found anything better for giving my limp hair body. However, Kerastase is a European company and they require their N. American distributors to double all prices. My conditioner costs $24 at Festoon (only place i know of to buy it) but I got it for half that - $13 - in London! And you can buy it at Supercuts! Whatta ripoff. I was getting around this by ordering online from a place in Europe, but Kerastase has cracked down on them now too. So I am boycotting Kerastase and my hair will just have to look like %&$#! - Looking forward to others' suggestions

Shampoo without Sodium Laureath for frizzy South Asian hair

Jan 2005

I am desperate to find a REALLY good shampoo,conditioner, hair cream?. Since having my second child, my hair has been sort of frizzy - i.e. strands don't lay down together nicely. My sister, in Australia,recommended using shampoos without sodium laureath (sp?). Any idea where o find such a shampoo? I'd also appreciate recommendations for leave in conditioners etc. I'm South Asian, so I have thick, dark, coarse, wavy hair which currently points in every direction possible. Thanks. EPA

Try the French brand Phyto --they have great hair care products. I don't know if they have Sodium Laureath, but they are plant-based andcontain mostly natural products. As a South Asian with wavy hair that does not stay in place without a lot of coaxing, I find these products work wonders. Specifically, the Phytonectar leave-in conditioning oil, and the Phytonectar shampoo. I usually alternate them with other brands. They are quite expensive and you have to buy them in salons--try Vine Street Salon in Berkeley. Also, some of the Aveda products might work--check the labels or ask your hairdresser. Another South Asian with unruly hair

I would recommend Aubrey Organics shampoos. They do not contain sulfates of any kind. The shampoos are coconut oil based. I have been using this brand for a little over two years and I love it. I also Avalon Organics Lavender Shampoo. That brand does not contain any sulfates as well. You can purchase Aubrey Organics at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy (in Berkeley). Avalon is at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy and most Trader Joes.

You can also make your own from castile soap; olive oil based (like Dr. Bonners). I have done online searches and found recipes where you mix castile soap, a vegetable oil such as olive, jojoba, avocado, etc, honey, etc. Carla ellialex [at]

Hi there! It sounds like your hair would respond really well to my friend's all-natural hair-cair products. If you want your wavy hair to look more like loose curls, less frizzy and all- around more healthy, you should try these products. I use them and love them! Go to and check it out. She makes a bunch of different products. My favorite is the Rockin' Ringlets Styling lotion. I am addicted to it! I also love her Aloeba conditioner. Let me know what you think! Erin

My hair tends more towards curly, but one thing I have found to help with frizz is to shampoo less often. I use conditioner every day, but shampoo no more than once a week. As for products, I really like Bumble and Bumble - they have a line specifically for curly hair. They aren't cheap, but are worth every penny in my mind. No shampoo, Curl Conscious conditioner, then a little Curl Cream mixed with a few drops of No Frizz, and I'm good to go. Not sure where you live, but there are 3 salons in Rockridge that carry them - GenRay, Bellissimo, and Right Angle. Frizzy no more

Believe it or not, Trader Joe's makes a shampoo (I forgot the name--it's in a clear bottle) that is made without sodium laureath. Its main ingredients are rosemary and orange extracts, and it is desigend for dry hair. My husband uses it and really likes it , and it's inexpensive.

I have fairly curly hair, and my hair got quite dry after the birth of my second child. I swear by Aveda products (shampoos, Deep-Penetrating conditioner, and Be Curly, a product that encourages curl and discourages frizz). The folks at the Aveda store on Fourth St. are quite helpful. Good luck! ANON

Congratulations on your baby. Your hair sounds a lot like mine. What really benefits me is silicone. I've had good success with L'oreal Nature's Therapy Unfrizz, which can be found at Sally's Beauty Supply. This is a deep conditioner. Another good product is Generic Matrix Biolage Shine Renewal, a spray on silicone also available at Sally's.

Silicones, oils, waxes and styling products build up on hair over time. When hair begins to get unmanageable, you need to clarify your hair. Any shampoo that does not contain conditioning or styling ingredients can clarify the hair. I use White Rain Extra Body shampoo. Cheap and effective. It also contains a chelating ingredient to remove mineral build up from hard water or swimming.

Another factor may be the weather. Dry heated air can cause static and flyaways. A humidifier can help, but don't humidify so much that mildew grows on the walls. Hormones are yet another factor that can make hair unmanageable.

I would like to give you a book recommendation, Paula Begoun's ''Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me''. She has reviewed almost every hair care product available at press time and provides lists of recommendations based on your hair type. Granted, within these lists you will still have to discover your best product by trial and error, but it really helps narrow down the choices. She also gives scientifically-based hair care advice and debunks myths, such as salon products being better or gentler for hair (they aren't). By the way, sodium laurETH sulfate is one of the gentler surfactants. It is sodium laurYL sulfate you want to avoid. Paula Begoun has a website and her own line of cosmetics:

You may also like the online Long Hair Community: Very informative, friendly and welcoming, and not just for people with long hair. J12