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.
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.
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.
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.
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 of your mane with a shampoo made especially 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.
A holy grail of Japanese women, this shampoo has been raved by thousands of satisfied users for its extreme hydrating properties. Thanks to its patented ‘INAKARAMI’ technology, the reactive keratin interlocks to promote the repair of damaged hair and soothes the scalp with its anti-inflammatory properties. A perfect multi-tasking shampoo for the busy woman.
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.
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.
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.
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.
$16.90. Available in 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.
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.
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.
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.