Do Men Really Need Their Own Shampoo?

Photo (cc) by joshjanssen

Marketing companies want you to believe that men need manly shampoos, but a study by the marketing firm Integer shows 50 percent of men lather up every morning with their wife’s shampoo. Are the other half missing out on a manly scalp? Or are all shampoos basically the same?

If you look closely at men’s and women’s shampoos, you’ll see they’re not much different. Both contain similar ingredients and offer similar benefits. The only real difference is the scent. Well, that and the cost.

1. Ingredients

While men’s and women’s shampoos contain a few different ingredients, those aren’t gender-specific. For example, if you compare the ingredients in L’Oreal Vive Pro for Men and L’Oreal Vive Pro for Women, you’ll see some differences. From Walgreens.com

L’Oreal Pro Vive for Men

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Methylparaben, Cocamide MIPA, Carbomer, Salicylic Acid, Polysilicone-8, Ethylparaben, Polyquaternium-16, Limonene, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Aminomethyl Propanol, Isopropanolamine, Citric Acid

L’Oreal Pro Vive for Women

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cyclodextrin, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Fragrance, Sodium Methylparaben, Carbomer, DMDM Hydantoin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Jojoba Wax PEG-120 Esters, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, CI 17200 (Red 33)

What’s the difference?

So are the different ingredients in the men’s shampoo specifically tailored toward men? Nope. They’re just common ingredients used in cosmetics – even the kind women use.

Here’s what the different ingredients used in the men’s formula actually do, according to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

  • Coco-Glucoside – a foaming cleanser
  • Glycol Distearate – a skin conditioner
  • Sodium Benzoate – a preservative
  • Cocamide MIPA – a foam booster
  • Salicylic Acid – fights dandruff
  • Polysilicone-8 – forms film
  • Ethylparaben – a preservative
  • Polyquaternium-16 – fights static
  • Aminomethyl Propanol – adjusts pH levels
  • Isopropanolamine – adjusts pH levels
  • Citric Acid – mostly just a fragrance

The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database also found those ingredients in dozens of women’s shampoos, so nothing special there.

2. Benefits

Men’s shampoos are marketed as solving men’s specific haircare problems. For example, Redken offers four different shampoos for men, but all of them mimic the women’s versions. It doesn’t matter if the bottle is pink or gray. From the Redken website…

Redken shampoo for men

  • Densify Texturing Shampoo: Strengthens hair and adds fullness
  • Mint Clean Invigorating Shampoo: Removes dirt build-up
  • Go Clean Daily Care Shampoo: Adds moisture and shine
  • Clean Spice 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner: Strengthens and nourishes hair

Redken shampoo for women

  • Body Full Shampoo: Plumps hair strands and adds body
  • Refreshing Detox Shampoo: Removes hair product and dirt build-up
  • Clear Moisture Shampoo: Replenishes hair moisture and adds shine.
  • Extreme Shampoo: Strengthens damaged hair

3. Scent

This is one area where I understand why men look for their own shampoos. Women’s shampoos often smell flowery, and the heavy perfume lasts for hours. If I were a man, I probably wouldn’t want to smell like a field of daisies either. But not all women’s shampoos have a feminine fragrance. Several shampoos exist with a unisex fragrance, or no fragrance at all….

4. Cost

How much you pay for your shampoo depends on the brand you buy, not your gender. In fact, all of the men’s and women’s shampoos I researched had the same price point. For example, Drugstore.com sells L’Oreal Pro Vive and L’Oreal Pro Vive for Men for $4.99 each.

The real difference in pricing is based on availability. Right now, there are more women’s shampoos than shampoos for men, so men who don’t mind lathering up with their wife’s shampoo have a better chance of finding one on sale. For example, in this week’s ads Walgreens has four different brands of women’s shampoos on sale, and one brand that caters to men. CVS Pharmacy has eight different women’s shampoo brands on sale – but only one men’s brand.

So men’s shampoos aren’t that different from any other shampoo. As long as men can find a fragrance they like – or one that’s fragrance-free – they really don’t need the special bottle.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors
10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors

These schools let retirement-age students study, tuition-free, while earning college credit.

What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier
12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier

These products on Amazon will ease worries and simplify your routine.

12 Easy Ways To Make Make Money Online Without Leaving Home
12 Easy Ways To Make Make Money Online Without Leaving Home

If you’re hanging around the house a lot these days — and who isn’t? — use your time to make some extra cash.

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk
Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.