Just as Asian skin types have their particular traits, Asian hair, too has its own kind of needs.
Broadly speaking, Asian hair strands are round and thick. Although it’s generally quite straight, the texture can vary from fine to coarse, soft to hard. Compared to Caucasian hair, it’s less dense but relatively stronger and more resistant to breakage. However, Asians tend to have oilier scalps, which is why daily washing is needed to prevent tresses from looking flat and greasy.
“If the climate is really humid like Singapore, then it’s good to have a lighter shampoo for everyday use,” says Celia Tham, creative director of BLOC+ The Salon. “It also depends on whether you’re targeting the hair or the scalp. Scalp shampoos do more deep-cleansing and they also help to thicken fine hair, but they are usually a little more drying. Soothing scalp shampoos are gentler and more suitable for daily use.”
“Coarse and dry hair should opt for more moisturising shampoos. If you feel that makes your hair too limp or greasy, balance it with a lighter conditioner,” advises Celia.
Here, we highlight 22 shampoos that meet the needs of Asian locks.
Those with sensitive or irritable scalp will love this, which uses a blend of moisturising and soothing botanicals like tea tree essential oil, beta-glucan, aloe and quinoa protein to hydrate, relieve scalp discomfort (yes, that includes dandruff) and even boost circulation. On top of being pH-balanced so it doesn’t zap away moisture, it also contains no parabens, sulphates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances or colour.
Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo, $13.90, available at Watsons.
Extremely hydrating, this has amino acid-based cleansing ingredients and natural-origin moisturisers such as olive fruit oil, shea butter, honey and aloe, to help repair dry, brittle hair that’s been damaged by chemical processes and UV exposure.
DHC Repair & Moisturising Shampoo, $23.90, available at Watsons.
Thanks to a formula that’s rich in Honey Jelly, this shampoo gently cleanses while restoring a healthy shine to hair. Plus, it is also silicone-free so you can rest assured that it won’t weigh your hair down.
Ma Cherie Air Feel Shampoo, $16.90 (450 ml), available at Watsons.
Excess sebum build-up around the hair follicles may clog the follicles. As a result this could be a cause of thinning hair. Containing anti-bacterial agents, this shampoo helps to limit excess sebum production and to purify the scalp, yet it does not strip away the natural moisture of it.
Davines Natural Tech Rebalancing Shampoo (1000 ml), available at Lazada.
Living in high density Asian cities, it is unsurprising that both skin and air will be affected by air pollution. Add in stress to the mix, clogged hair follicles and oily scalp will follow suit. To prevent this, Klorane‘s anti-pollution detox shampoo cleanses away build-up from air pollution. What we also like is its minty cooling effect to help with blood circulation as well.
Klorane Anti-Pollution Detox Shampoo with Aquatic Mint (400ml), available at Watsons.
If you’ve got coloured hair – whether it’s a whole head of bleached hair or a simple balayage makeover – you’ll need to take care your mane with a shampoo made specially for coloured-treated hair.
Coloured hairs tend to be more brittle and will cause the scalp to feel dry and sometimes even itchy. Opt for a shampoo like this one from Aveda that not only protects your hair colour (so it lasts longer) but also helps to tackle all the other issues that bleach might potentially cause.
Aveda Color Conserve™ Shampoo, $47, available at tangs.com
Created to prevent tangling and clumping during washing, the shampoo’s strong foams prevents hair breakage while providing your locks with lots of volume. Ingredients such as Jojoba and Argan oil helps to strengthen any dry or split ends and adequately hydrates your scalp.
THREE Scalp & Hair Reinforcing Shampoo, $45. Available in tangs and Takashimaya Departmental stores.
A holy grail of Japanese women, this shampoo has been raved by over thousands of satisfied users for its extreme hydrating properties. Thanks to its patented ‘INAKARAMI’ technology, the reactive keratin interlocks to promote repair of damaged hair and soothes the scalp with its anti-inflammatory properties. A perfect multi-tasking shampoo for the busy woman.
Tokio Inkarami Head Spa Shampoo, $58. Available on Lazada.com.
Made from naturally derived plant based ingredients and amino acids, this concoction will thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp without stripping away any moisture. Botanical Moist Complex helps ensure all-day hydration, guaranteed to prevent dry and itchy heads in an air-conditioned environment.
ORBIS Natural Hair Shampoo, $23. Available in Metro.
Micellar water works wonders for whisking away makeup and grime from the skin.
It works the same way for hair by effectively cleansing off any dirt, oil and residual hair products without leaving the scalp stripped so they are great for those who struggle with a dry scalp and flakes.
Pantene’s iteration of Micellar Water also contains Pro-Vitamin B5, the brand’s iconic hydrating ingredient, and antioxidants. It’s silicone-free, paraben-free and dye-free also pH balanced, so the natural state of your hair and scalp won’t be disrupted.
Pantene Micellar Water, $16.90, Available at Guardian.
This nasties-free shampoo for fine hair gently cleanses while promising long-lasting volume with weightless finish. It is formulated with Himalayan salt, which is rich in over 80 minerals, to add texture to and protect hair against damage.
Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Pure Lightness Shampoo for Fine Hair, $131, Available on Lazada.
Infused with rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, this nourishing shampoo lathers into a rich and creamy foam.
It cleanses your scalp and tresses while nurturing scalp to give hair new strength and supple density.
It also prevents kinks in the hair, counter dullness and damage, leaving hair stronger and healthier.
Shiseido Professional The Hair Care Future Sublime Shampoo, $47.08, Available at Shunji Matsuo.
This strengthens damaged as well as coloured hair from the first wash. It contains goji, which gently cleanses fragile hair, while strengthening and repairing it, as well as defending strands against damage and daily colour aggressors.
After just a few days of using the shampoo and conditioner, you’ll notice less hair fall and a renewed smoothness to your strands. This super silky hair texture plus the refreshing scent with subtle herbal-floral notes will make you want to keep touching your hair all day.
L’Oreal Paris Shampoo – EverPure (Repair & Defend), $15.50 for 250ml, available at Guardian and Watsons.
This gentle shampoo cleanses hair and scalp without stripping or aggravating even sensitive scalps. It is enriched with natural proteins to gently yet thoroughly cleanse while providing the some nourishment to hair.
Hair is left soft, smooth and scalp feels balanced and healthy.
Himalaya Herbals Shampoo – Protein (Gentle Daily Care), $14.90 for 700ml, available at Guardian.
What this coconut shell-derived deep-cleansing shampoo has: lemon and grapefruit oils, activated charcoal, hydrolysed soy protein and vitamin B5. What it doesn’t: sulphates, parabens, phthalates, alcohol and artificial colours. It removes build-up without stripping away moisture as well, and helps in boosting hair volume. Perfect for oily, flat and fine locks.
Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo, $16.90. Available in Guardian stores.
Developed with some of Japan’s top hairstylists, this boasts a high level of hyaluronic acid and zero amount of silicone that can weigh hair down or worsen an oily scalp. Great for those with greasy roots and dry tips.
Syoss Silicone-Free Moisture Shampoo, $18.60. Available in Watsons and Guardian stores
This oil shampoo uses the power of eight nutrient-rich botanical oils – including argan, baobab and marula and mango seed – and not silicone to deliver intense shine and smoothness. Designed for those with flat, fine tresses, it removes product buildup, sebum and impurities to give you extra volume at the roots, while maintaining the natural moisture balance of hair and scalp.
Moist Diane Volume & Scalp Scalp Shampoo, $16.90. Available in Guardian and Watsons stores, and selected supermarkets.
Given how much we Asians love perms and dyes, it’s no wonder our hair is in need of some serious TLC. That’s where this comes in. Formulated without silicon, parabens or petroleum-based surfactants, it treats frizzy, fragile and fried tresses with argan oil – known as Liquid Gold to the natives of the Moroccan desert due to its high nutrient content and immense moisturising properties that can counter even the region’s harsh, dry climate.
Organist Morocco Argan Oil Repairing Shampoo, $14. Available in Watsons stores.
Combining the brand’s repair technology with anti-pollution benefits, this promises to keep dust and pollutants off your mane for up to 72-hours while strengthening hair’s inner structure so there’s less breakage. It contains no silicone, so it won’t weigh hair down or grease up the scalp.
Schwarzkopf Extra Care Purify & Protect Shampoo, $11.90. Available at Watsons and Guardian stores.
Though it contains French rose oil, this lightweight shampoo nourishes and conditions without leaving any greasy residue. Delivering all-day moisture and a gentle but effective cleanse, it removes dirt and excess sebum and seals damaged hair fibres to give you a beautifully smooth, glossy mane. Bonus marks for the lasting, feminine rose scent.
L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil Eclat Imperial High Shine Shampoo, $16.90. Available in Guardian and Watsons stores, and selected supermarkets.
Made for rough, dry Asian hair, its moisturising-retaining ingredients like honey, aloe and pomegranate are said to fill and plump up hollowed hair shafts, delivering all-day hydration and maintaining a healthy shine.
Asience Moisture Rich Shampoo, $14.90. Available in Watsons and Guardian stores
Like all of the brand’s offerings, this shampoo designed for flat hair and oily scalp is enriched with camellia oil – known for its strong moisturising, antioxidant and hair-conditioning benefits. Here, it helps to soften and hydrate the scalp and locks while lending a loose, airy finish to the ends.
Tsubaki Volume Touch Shampoo, $16.90. Available in Guardian and Watsons stores