My dad is a White Rain shampoo connoisseur; he's never met a bottle on a shelf at the dollar store that he didn't take home.
And then there's me.
Being born with curly hair, and raised in Florida, might explain my infatuation with finding that just right shampoo and conditioner. Or maybe it was growing up in the '80s. One needs seriously great hair products to get big hair — and bangs — in humid weather.
Most likely, it's the fact that I've tested well over 100 brands of shampoo and conditioner that has contributed to my discerning taste.
I've rounded up the best and worst shampoos and conditioners plucked from drugstore shelves and salons.
Love It! Eufora
Eufora's Urgent Repair Shampoo helped me recover from some subpar shampoos I tested. The sulfate-free shampoo calls upon top-notch ingredients, think lychee berry and organic aloe vera, to keep locks looking lustrous. Paired with the Urgent Repair Replenishing Treatment, this duo makes even damaged hair manageable. Plus, Eufora has signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Compact, pledging not to use chemicals such as phthalates, petrochemicals, parabens and sulfates. Smart and pretty . . . just like you. About $30 per product; go to www.eufora.net to find a salon retailer near you.
Leave It: Sebastian Drench
While beauty companies are often charged with overspending on packaging, the Sebastian Drench collection goes to the other extreme. I tested the 8.4-ounce conditioner and shampoo, both in hard plastic containers that make getting the product out a real challenge. And though the products promised to nourish dry or fizzy hair, they left my hair looking frazzled.
Love It! Aveeno's Nourish and Moisturize
Aveeno's Nourish and Moisturize promised to "feed" my hair, repairing damage in just three washes. And while I'm fairly sure that I inflict more heat damage to my hair than any one shampoo or conditioner could ever hope to repair, the collection did leave my locks feeling soft and silky. Get it for $7.99 at Walgreens.
Leave it: Carita for Color Treated Hair
Carita's Intense Colour Shampoo and Daily Protective Cream ($32 and $35, respectively) didn't "boost shine, body and softness." Plus, this high-end product is shockingly full of parabens, a chemical preservative that many of us are trying to avoid.
Love it! Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Collection
This collection is so affordable ($5.99 at CVS), I'm surely making Dad proud by including it on my "love it!" list. But it's the quality and pretty scent that sold me. Housed in eco-friendly bottles, the shampoo and conditioner effectively cleanse and hydrate hair leaving it smelling oh-so-sweet.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of www.TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.