Choosing the right shampoo is an important part of making your hair look amazing, but it’s also one of the hardest parts of hair care. Just like with Japanese makeup, one size definitely does not fit all and finding the right one requires a lot of work. You have to read the ingredient list and test out various different products until you find the right one.It shouldn’t have to take lots of trial and error to find the right product. That's where we come in. We tested out various products and put together a comprehensive guide that can help you pick the right Japanese shampoo.
Why Japanese Shampoos?
There’s a misconception that Japanese shampoos are only good for asian hair types, but in fact it’s great for any type as long as it’s the right one.
Asian hair tends to be thick and straight and many Japanese products are great for this, but there are different shampoos that cater to various other conditions as well such as hair loss, color dyed, and curly hair.
However, the biggest difference that Japanese products have with western ones is the amount of chemicals they use. They tend to be milder and contain less chemicals, which can be great for not just your hair but for your overall health as well.
Know Your Hair Type
When looking for the right shampoo, the most important part of the process is understanding your hair type. Different products are made to work on different types of bodies and using the wrong type can lead to undesired results. Like medicine, shampoos often target specific types and there is no one size fits all (if there is, we wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn't need to read this!)
Here are some different types of hair and what type of shampoo you need for them.
For hair that’s always greasy at the end of the day, you want to avoid products with extra oil and silicon ingredients. The excessive cleaning elements will not only remove the excess oil, but also strip off natural oils as well. The ideal shampoo would be one that can remove the dirt and oil with the use of natural ingredients.
Thin hair tend to be less porous and gets oily at the roots very quickly, so just like dealing with oily hair, you want to avoid the use of silicone. Furthermore, you want a shampoo that can moisturize to prevent strands from dying out and improve volume.
Curly hair tends to get dry much faster than straight hair and has more frizz due to the lack of natural oils that travel down the strands. Therefore, the shampoo that you should look for should have high levels of conditioning agent for smoothness and has more moisturizing agent than usual.
People get dry hair for a number of reasons. Some have it naturally, some use curling and flat irons regularly, while some get it from adding color regularly. Whatever the reason may be, to combat the dryness, you want a product that hydrates without weighing it down. You also want to avoid products that use silicones, which can dry it out even more in the long run.
If you color your hair often, then choosing the right shampoo is more important than ever. With the wrong choice, all that effort can fade off just after one shower. You need one that moisturizes and protects with a conditioning agent. Having UV protection can also help the color last longer.
Babies require a product that has milder ingredients so it won't irritate the baby’s skin. Look for one that’s made for sensitive skin and use natural plant based ingredients. You also want to avoid scented products and chemicals such as parabens and sulfate.
Special Treatment for Hair Problems
If you have hair problems such as damaged, dandruff, or hair loss, then choosing the right shampoo is a crucial decision.
Here are certain things to look for for each type of problems. If your condition doesn’t improve with the use of the right products, consider getting medical attention or using prescribed shampoo for your particular condition.
Split ends, frizz, and other types of damage can be caused by a number of reasons: over brushing, weathering, coloring, heat tools, etc.
To undo damaged hair can take time and effort, but the process is much faster with a product that has moisturizing formula, conditioning ingredients, and provides nutrients such as antioxidants, healing oils, and lipids.
Itchy Scalp & Dandruff
Itchy scalp and dandruff can be caused by a number of reasons including product buildup, dry skin, or other medical issues. While some cases may require medical attention, the right product can cure most cases by maintaining natural oils and getting a deep cleanse into the scalp.
Hair loss happens to the best of us and it can depend on your age, diet, stress, or medical condition. Most cases start from the scalp, so choosing a shampoo that has great scalp care and improves hair strand volume can be a good start to improving your condition. Also avoid shampoos containing artificial fragrances and other chemicals such as parabens and sulfate.
What to Look For
When you’re choosing a shampoo, you might be overwhelmed by all the information written on the ingredient list. While you don’t need to understand everything that’s written, there are certain ingredients you need to look for.
While this list doesn't include everything, they can help you get an idea of what to look for in a shampoo
Ingredients to watch out for:
- Sulfate: Sulfates are added to shampoos to help remove dirt and oil from your hair. Sulfates have been gaining bad reputation recently, due to the fact that they can end up washing away your natural oils and irritate your scalp. However, its effects vary from person to person. For those that have sensitive skin and weak hair, you definitely want to avoid sulfates, but for normal people, it can have mild effects.
- Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that’s used frequently due to their low cost. While sulfates were an optional ingredient, parabens should be avoided as much as possible. Parabens are known to disrupt your body’s hormone cycle and can cause allergies in small children. In addition, they are easily absorbed by your skin, which can spread its effects to other parts of your body.
- Artificial Fragrance: Artificial fragrances can have various negative impacts on your health. It’s not always clear what types of chemicals are used to make these fragrances and some are known to cause cancer, asthma, and organ failure.
Ingredients to look for:
Overall, you want to look for a shampoo that’s plant-based and organic. Natural products won’t rely on chemicals and will use natural ingredients for cleaning agents and scents. Try to avoid the word “fragrance" and look for fruit oils such as coconut, apple, and olive.
Best Japanese Shampoos
Awarded as Amazon’s Choice, the ICHIKAMI Soft Moisture Shampoo is the perfect item for dry and damaged hair. It’s non-silicone based and cleanses with natural ingredients such as plant-derived amino acids. It’s perfect for dried and damaged hair since it uses natural oils to repair and reduce friction damage. It also lathers well and you walk out of the shower with smooth and soft hair. Since it does add incredible amounts of moisture, it may not be the best choice for those that have oily, thin, or naturally curly hair.
Moisturizes really well
Non-silicone and sulfate-free
plant-derived, amino-based cleansing ingredient
- Strong lingering scent
Shiseido is a top tier company in the cosmetics industry and their shampoo is no different.
The Tsubaki Volume Touch Shampoo does exactly what its name says. Tsubaki is Japanese for camelia extract, which is what this product is made of, and gives your hair that nice soft and silky feeling while enhancing its volume. It washes while also taking care of your scalp, so it’s great for those with dandruff and sensitive scalp. It also has a pH balance of 5, which is the ideal level..
pH balance of 5
Uses natural camelia extract
- May cause dandruff for dry hair types
- Sensitive scalp
The Komenuke Bijin Moisturizing Shampoo is a gentle product with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, rice bran extract, and seaweed extract. It also uses no sulfates and parabens, so it’s safe to use on sensitive skin.
It’s not the cheapest on the market, but it does give you a deep scalp cleanse, which can be great for getting rid of dandruff and preventing split ends.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend washing with this once or twice a week while using another product regularly.
If you have colored hair, it might not be a good idea using this one since there have been cases where the color faded quickly after use.
No sulfates and parabens
Deep scalp cleanse
Not color safe
The Shiseido Super Mild Hair Care Shampoo is another product that’s achieved the title of Amazon’s Choice. This product coats with vitamin E which contains antioxidants that can improve hair growth and improve scalp conditions. It also protects from frizzing out and drying. This one is a great mild choice for almost any type. For best effects, massage your scalp while applying this product before rinsing it out.
- Protects with vitamin E
- Controls dandruff
- Low chemical use
- Scent isn’t for everyone
If you have dry hair and you’re looking for a shampoo that moisturizes with natural ingredients, Kracie Naive Shampoo may be your choice. This product uses 100% plant derived ingredients such as hydrolyzed oat protein and peach leaf extract to moisturize both your hair and your scalp. It also uses Rosehip oil to help repair damaged hair.
The formula's creamy texture is great in reaching the scalp and removing the impurities that other light textured products can’t. Because the Kracie Naive is packed with moisturizing ingredients, using too much can leave it feeling a bit greasy. It’s best to use a moderate amount and wash for a whole minute before rinsing it out with warm water.
- Uses natural plant derived ingredients
- Repairs damages
- Leaves thin hair greasy
- Sensitive skin
The Kaminomoto Charge Shampoo is Amazon’s Choice for medicated shampoo for tackling hair loss. This product contains two main ingredients. It contains β-Glycyrrhetinic Acid which is a great short term relief for dandruff and itching by suppressing inflammations. The other ingredient Piroctone Olamine acts as an antiseptic for harmful germs, preventing further itching and dandruff. It also contains other medicated hair growth supplements that help prevent hair loss and thicken your hair.
The product's effects won’t work unless it can reach your scalp, so make sure to massage your scalp with your fingertips when applying. Use warm water when rinsing it out and rinse thoroughly to prevent product buildup. Since this item is medicated, it’s best to avoid using it unless you are suffering from itchy scalp and/or hair loss.
Effective against dandruff and itchy scalp
Promotes hair growth and thickens
- Occasional reports of no change in itchy scalp
- Tackling hair loss and thinning
The Botanist Botanical Shampoo is one of Japan’s most popular shampoos, having sold more than 200 million bottles in just Rakuten’s online market and winning various awards around Asia and Europe.
From the first time of use, we noticed tremendous changes to our hair. It doesn't foam up like what usually happens, but it still cleans the way that it should. After use, it brings back volume and leaves it shiny and smooth. The scent lasts for a whole day and it feels like you don't need to wash your hair everyday.
It’s definitely a must pick for oily hair, but it does have a strong smell, which can be subjectively good or bad.
- Plant-based organic shampoo
Cases of leaks during shipping