Regular Shampoo vs. Neutralizing Shampoo

By Jessica Cohen

Regular shampooing is an essential part of keeping your hair healthy and shiny. Although there are different opinions in regards to the optimal frequency of shampooing, it is generally considered that washing your hair every other day is ideal for optimal hair health. Selecting a shampoo can be an overwhelming process, as there are countless products to choose from. Certain factors, such as your type and texture of hair and whether or not your hair tends to be dry or oily, will play a determining role in the kind of shampoo that is right for you.

Woman with shampoo and conditioner
credit: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
Select a conditioner to use after shampooing for thick, lustrous hair.

Regular Shampoo Overview

There are dozens of regular shampoo options available to purchase. Shampoo comes in a wide range of prices, from a few dollars to $30. Within the realm of regular shampoo, there are many different choices, depending on your personal needs and desires. If you tend to have an especially dry scalp, you may benefit from using a dandruff shampoo. For those who color or highlight their hair, consider using a shampoo designed specifically for colored hair.

Shampoo Ingredients

Many shampoos contain chemicals which can be harmful to your hair. Using too many chemical products will strip your hair of its natural, healthy oils leaving your hair looking dried out and limp. Look for a shampoo with organic and natural ingredients that does not have any artificial colors or scents. Remember, that first and foremost, your shampoo is for cleaning your hair. Unless you have hair especially prone to particular problems, other aspects such as moisturizing and shine can be satisfied with your conditioner product.

Neutralizing Shampoo Overview

The main purpose of a neutralizing shampoo is to re-balance the pH level of your hair. Hair sprays, gels and coloring products can all affect your hair's natural pH balance. Neutralizing shampoo works by neutralizing any alkali and caustic residues in your hair. Your hair should ideally be at a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5. Look for a shampoo with a listed pH of around 5. However, unless you frequently expose your hair to relaxers and other chemicals, it is unlikely that your hair pH will be off balance.

When to Use Neutralizing Shampoo

Companies will label their shampoo products with terms such as neutralizing pH clarifying as part of a marketing gimmick. You may end up paying more money for a product which is essentially the same as its regular shampoo counterpart. For optimal results, a neutralizing shampoo should be used in conjunction with a hair relaxer. Unless you are actually relaxing your hair, it is unlikely you need a neutralizing shampoo product. If you are planning on relaxing your hair, select a neutralizing product with a low pH level.