Walking down the aisles of hair products can be a bit overwhelming. Do you need more volume? How about extra moisturizing? A glaze? Why not choose a mousse over a gel? It’s really rather mind-boggling to know what to use on your head. To break it down and make shopping for hair products much easier, first you need to know what type of hair you have, then it’ll be a cinch to find the right products for you.

There are a few basic hair types – fine and thin or coarse and thick. Fine, thin hair is generally oily, while thick, coarse hair tends to be dry. However, there are certainly times when other combinations are possible. For instance, some women may have oily hair at the scalp, but their ends are dry. That’s a little trickier to treat, but not impossible. Here’s how:

Fine, thin hair

If you have this type of hair, each of your strands are on the skinny side, diameter-wise, and there are fewer actual strands on your head than someone with thicker hair. Try this: pull your hair into a ponytail. The smaller the width of your ponytail, the finer and thinner your hair is (if you can wrap your ponytail holder more than three times around the ponytail). When shopping for shampoos or conditioners, look for ones that say they’re “volumizing” or “thickening.” Look for styling products that are lightweight, like mousses, since heavier gels will weigh your hair down. Try! Tigi Bed Head Superstar Blow Dry Lotion



Thick, coarse hair

If you made a ponytail and can only wrap the elastic ponytail holder two or three times, you have thicker hair. You have more hair follicles on your scalp and each individual hair is thick. Look for shine-enhancing formulas that will coat the cuticle of the hair (the outermost layer) and make it lay flat. When the cuticle is lifted, thicker, coarse hair can look dull or frizzy. Try! Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner ($25)

Oily hair

Start with a “clarifying” shampoo that you’ll probably need to use every day to keep oil at bay. Use a lightweight condition, and be sure to completely rinse it out. Steer clear of any hair products that are oil-based. You may want to try a dry shampoo if you don’t wash your hair every day. Use a powder variety (rather than a spray) and apply it to the roots before combing it out. Keep styling products to a minimum – a light-hold hairspray may be enough to keep hair in place and make drier ends look shiner. If split ends are an issue, get regular haircuts and use a more intense moisturizer at the ends (but not at the scalp). Try! Phyto Phytoneutre Clarifying Shampoo ($10.99)

Dry hair

Your hair needs more moisture if you suffer from dry scalp conditions or hair that breaks easily. Avoid hair products that contain a lot of chemicals, fragrances, sulfates, silicone and foaming agents, which will further dry out your hair. Look for the most natural or organic versions that you can find. Natural, plant-based oils used in hair products will deliver much-needed moisture from scalp to ends. Deep-conditioning masks or oil treatments used once a week are essential for dry hair types. Try! Topganics Argan Oil from Morocco Hair Mask ($9.99)

Aging hair

As with every other biological function in our bodies, your hair follicle cell metabolism is slowing down, too. Look for products that are enriched with antioxidants like green tea and botanicals as well as proteins, which promote the health of hair’s structure (which is protein, as well). Opt for hair styling products with SPF coverage to protect aging hair from the drying effects of the sun. Try! Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging White Truffle Hair Elixir($28)