We all appreciate having choices in life, but sometimes an overabundance of choices can be overwhelming. Such is often the case when it comes to hair products, particularly shampoo.

While some women simply purchase hair care products from their hair stylist's salon, many have found that today's economy calls for a more thrifty option. The shampoo aisle of most drug stores is a colorful, pleasant-smelling maze of varying prices and big promises. It pays to know what you're in the market for before you get there.

Shampoo should be a fairly simple product. At the most basic level, it should cleanse the hair of excess dirt and oil. Most shampoos will do that job just fine; however most of us want added bonuses when it comes to our beauty routine. Hair care companies know this and have been rolling out new shampoo products to satisfy people with just about every hair type and lifestyle. The trick is finding the products that actually work for you.

When deciding on a shampoo, remember that shampoos work best when paired with conditioners and other products aimed at your hair type. It can be helpful to choose a shampoo that is a part of a specific product line.
Color Treated Hair

Most women color their hair at some point in their lives. Coloring your hair can lead to dry hair and damage to the hair shaft. Often, hair color will fade more quickly than it should because of the harshness of a shampoo. To combat these challenges, you should use a shampoo that is specifically formulated for color-treated hair. Usually these products feature a mild formula and extra moisturizers to help preserve your color and protect your hair.

L'Oreal EverPure ($5.99) gently cleanses color-treated hair as it adds softness, shine and manageability. The fresh, clean scent isn't unlike many salon varieties. In short, it's a great find for the price.

For just a couple of dollars more, you can try The John Frieda Collection (prices vary by product), a line that includes shampoos specially formulated for blondes, brunettes, and redheads. Each formula includes ingredients that keep hair looking healthy and glossy. They also contain specific ingredients that impart brilliance and highlights to natural and color-treated hair.

When it comes to mid-priced shampoos for color-treated hair, Matrix Biolage Color Care Colorcaretherapie Shampoo ($14.99) is an excellent choice. Gentle cleansing is a key element for keeping color treated hair in great shape. Products like Matrix Biolage use natural ingredients like soy protein and ginkgo biloba that nourish your hair.

Volume-Challenged Hair

Limp and flat hair is a problem for many women. People with fine hair have thinner hair shafts, which makes it hard for the hair to hold a style, and causes it to fall flat at the first sign of humidity. When it comes to purchasing shampoo for fine hair, you'll want to avoid anything that weighs the hair down. That means anything with heavy moisturizers. Volumizing shampoos are formulated to be lightweight and non-greasy; some also include ingredients that plump the hair shaft for a (temporary) thicker look.
Garnier Fructis Body Boost Shampoo ($3.97) is a good low-cost shampoo for fine hair. This formula contains natural ingredients that gently remove heavy oils in your hair without stripping it of its natural moisture.

If you like a product with a salon style and scent, Paul Mitchell's Lemon and Sage Thickening Shampoo ($12) might be the ticket. The panthenol in the formula helps plump up your hair and the energizing lemon-herb scent will help get you going on sleepy mornings.

Keratase Volumactive Shampoo ($32) isn't cheap, but if you really want to pump up the volume of your hair without excessive styling, you might be tempted to make the investment. Keratase is a well-respected international brand, known for its focus on hair health. Volumactive imparts much-needed body to flat, lifeless hair for long-lasting thickness and shine.

Hard-To-Manage Hair

Managing thick, wavy, curly and/or frizzy hair can be an all-day job. You may think you have your "do under control after your morning style session, but find yourself frantically smoothing down stray frizzies before your lunch hour even starts. Women with hard-to-manage hair spend the most money on hair products, because they're forever in search of the perfect combination of ingredients to tame a wild mane.

Overusing hair products and hair styling tools can be a big problem for this hair type, because over-styling leads to even more damage and frizz. To escape this vicious cycle, you have to find a reasonable set of hair care products that address the challenges of your specific hair type. Shampoo is the base product of any hair care system, and shampoo for hard to manage hair should be thick, creamy and full of nutrients to help heal damage and replace moisture.

Pantene's Medium to Thick hair care line features Frizzy To Smooth Shampoo ($5), a creamy formula designed to preserve your hair's natural oils and complement other hair-smoothing products in the line. Pantene shampoo sells for a great price, so it's a great place to start when looking for a shampoo to increase your hair's manageability.
Nexxus SleekTress Sumptuous Smoothing Shampoo ($10) helps keep your locks under control with its silk protein and avocado oil formula. You'll get hooked on this professional-style formula that requires no trips to the salon.

If you love your curls but not the frizz, you want products that can give you a head of healthy, defined curls. Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Shampoo ($13) is competing with the big dogs of curly hair care. Don't think a bargain brand like Suave can yield great results? Think again. This product has been proven in salons to perform as well as Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, one of the highest-rated salon formulas today, and it's less than half the price.

African-American women have hair products targeted for their hair type, and mainstream hair care products are for the most part formulated for Caucasian hair. If you're mixed race, you may find yourself with a head of uniquely textured hair and a dilemma regarding which hair products to use. Mixed Chicks Gentle Clarifying Shampoo (11.95) contains borage seed, avocado oil and panthenol to heal, tame, and define your curly locks.