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How Do I Choose the Best Smoothing Shampoo?

H. Bliss
Updated May 17, 2024
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Using smoothing shampoos is a standard step in treating out of control frizzy hair. Getting the best smoothing shampoo for you is all about finding the most effective product that fits in your beauty budget. Though a good smoothing shampoo used to be expensive and generally exclusive to salon product lines, many store brands now make effective smoothing shampoo at a lower price. Many different brands of smoothing shampoo use the same smoothing ingredients to tame hair, so the best one is often the one with a pleasant scent and a good smoothing blend for your hair type. Finding the right shampoo often starts with research and ends with testing by trial and error.

The first step when choosing a smoothing shampoo is finding options with ingredients that smooth hair. Any shampoo can be labeled as an anti-frizz shampoo, but it is the ingredients that make the shampoo work. Ingredients used in shampoo designed to smooth hair include natural and synthetic gums and oils, starches and amino acids. Keratin, hydrolyzed wheat proteins and starches and silk amino acids are common ingredients in many high-end anti-frizz shampoos. Shea butter, lanolin oil and glycerin also appear on the ingredient lists of many of these products.

Smoothing shampoos can be formulated especially for different types of hair. Types of hair are generally divided into categories like curly, wavy or straight, coarse or fine, and normal, oily or dry. The right smoothing shampoo for you is most likely going to be one that is made for your type of hair. Anti-frizz shampoo for taming curly hair needs to have a heavier smoothing effect than a shampoo for smoothing straight hair, which generally needs only basic flyaway prevention. Using a heavy smoother made for curly hair on a head of fine straight hair will render it greasy, flat and limp.

Your hair is right on top of your head, touching your face and scenting the area that surrounds your nose. This makes it extra important to find a scent that you like in a formula that does not adversely affect your skin. Signs that your smoothing shampoo is not working with your skin include new breakouts along the hairline or anywhere else your hair touches your face. This can happen immediately after using the shampoo for the first time, or it can happen as a result of buildup after using the shampoo for several weeks. One way to reduce your chances of a negative reaction to a new shampoo is to seek out and avoid known irritants like chemicals, fragrances and lather boosters.

A meringue-like peak of foamy shampoo lather is a must for some people, but it is not required for the shampoo to work. Most store-bought smoothing shampoos are loaded with ingredients that provide a palpable foamy lather. Many salon brands, though they are at least as effective at smoothing and cleaning hair, do not foam when applied, which can be disappointing if you enjoy shampoos with lather.

Lather-providing ingredients commonly used in shampoos include sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate and diethanolamine (DEA). Since these ingredients are inexpensive, they tend to be found in inexpensive shampoo. Many consumers choose to avoid synthetic lather boosters in shampoos for health reasons, opting for more expensive specialty smoothing shampoo that does not contain lather-increasing ingredients.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
H. Bliss
By H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her work. With a relevant degree, she crafts compelling content that informs and inspires, showcasing her unique perspective and her commitment to making a difference.
Discussion Comments
By Raynbow — On Sep 07, 2014

A good tip for people who don't get the best results from a smoothing shampoo is to also use a leave-in conditioner. These products smooth the hair shaft and condition it as well.

By Ocelot60 — On Sep 06, 2014

This article makes a great point about shampoo lather, and how it is not necessary for hair to be clean. Many people feel that a shampoo that does not lather well is not working, but this is false. The lather may actually be causing problems, such as dry scalp, flaking skin, and frizzy hair.

Natural shampoos typically do not lather very well, but they are great for your hair and scalp. Their natural ingredients also make them great as smoothing shampoos without artificial or petroleum-based ingredients. Anyone who is looking for a smoothing shampoo should give a natural one a try.

H. Bliss
H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her...
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