Finding the Best Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: Our Tests & Tips
Here at the home office in Colorado, we know dry weather. At high altitude, the humidity is often measured in the single digits—which makes a shampoo and conditioner that moisturizes more of a necessity than a luxury!
So when we tested a dozen different brands that are popular with our readers, we had no shortage of staff with dry hair that needed moisture!
How We Test
To keep things fair, we poured the shampoo and conditioner into generic bottles. That way we weren’t influenced by brands or fancy packaging!
We also tested these brands by using them for a full week to judge their moisturizing results.
Tips & Tricks: Finding Your Hair Type
One of the biggest challenges to finding the right shampoo and conditioner is determining your hair type. And while some hair types are obvious (curly after is, well, curly), other hair types take a bit of detective work.
There are three main factors that determine hair type: texture, density and porosity.
Here is the 411 on hair types, based on our interviews with salon veterans:
1. Texture. While texture and density sound like the same thing, texture is actually the size of a follicle of your hair—larger diameter hair is more coarse, small diameter is considered fine. So how do you determine the texture of your hair?
Take a strand of hair from your comb or hairbrush and feel it—if it is barely there, you most likely have fine hair. Coarse hair is like holding a strand of thread. (Of course, your hair could be somewhat in between—that is medium texture).
2. Density. This is the amount of hair you have—the less you have, the thinner your hair’s density. So how do you tell this in real life? Look at your scalp with a mirror. If you can’t see your scalp, you have thicker hair. The scalp is more visible with thinner hair, especially when your hair is parted.
3. Porosity. Have you ever noticed your hair changes when it is more humid outside? Some hair changes more with more humidity (porosity)—basically, the absorption and retention of moisture.
Some folk’s hair is simply more porous than other folks—and color-treatments can make someone’s hair more porous than it was before.
A good way to test for your hair’s porosity is to float a hair in a glass of water (try hair from different parts of your scalp, as your hair’s porosity can be different from place to place). If your hair sinks in the water, it has high porosity. If it floats, it is low.
Here are the best moisturizing shampoos and conditioners from our hands-on tests: