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Ask Men's Fitness: Does It Really Matter What Kind of Shampoo I Buy?

Skip the cheap 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners and antidandruff shampoos.

I’m a guy with short hair. Does it really matter what kind of shampoo I buy? -Darren T., Macon, GA

The short answer to that is: yes. When you’re using shampoo, you’re not just cleaning your hair, you’re cleaning your scalp. And cheap shampoo can make your hair harder to manage, even if it’s short.

A lot of the drug-store shampoos contain wax-based fillers—the same stuff that goes into floor waxes and antibacterial cleaners. These can clog up your hair follicles and leave a waxy coat on your scalp. Often the cheap “antidandruff” stuff actually promotes buildup by coating your scalp. You have to continually use the product to “treat” the problem. The worst, though, are the two-in-one shampoo and conditioners. Using them is like washing your car with soap and wax together—it just makes no f-ing sense. But if you need some cheap drugstore shampoo, don’t pick anything that “adds more shine” or “makes your hair thicker and fuller.” Just get some simple, ordinary shampoo, like a TRESemmé. And don’t forget the conditioner.

Shorty Maniace is the proprietor of J.P. Kempt Barber & Social in San Francisco. Send your questions to

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