Hair Care Products: Do You Need His-and-hers?

At some point, it’s a decision every couple confronts. Try to sidestep it, and you’ll risk drab-looking, damaged hair or endless arguments that begin with “Did you finish my shampoo without telling me, again?!”

We’re talking, of course, about whether or not you and your mate share shampoo, conditioner and hair styling tools, or maintain your own. Merging his-and-hers may seem like the budget-friendly, eco-smart thing to do. And it may be -- but not if you use twice as much electricity trying to dry your hair into submission because you’ve started out with the wrong cleansing and conditioning regimen.

Here’s what you should consider:

1. Shampoo and conditioner. The newest science on hair care shows that different hair types have distinctly different structures. Fine hair, for example, contains 50 percent less protein than thicker hair, and curly hair has a twisted growth pattern that creates a lot of friction between strands. Coloring or relaxing your hair weakens the strand’s protective layer, which can leave it rough and dull. Finally, long hair has been exposed to way more washes, styling products and sun damage than shorter hair, making it more vulnerable to split ends, frizz and breakage.

What this means is that, to get your healthiest and most beautiful hair, you’ll want to choose products that are created especially for your hair type. Unless you and your partner have the exact same hair type, you’ll each want to choose the hair care products that suit your own hair texture.

Eco-friendly tip: Consider a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner to cut back on hair care product clutter.

2. Hair Dryer. Ionic, ceramic, tourmaline -- with high-tech innovations, today’s dryers do a lot more than simply blow hot air. Not every technological option is best for all hair textures, however. For example, tourmaline dryers contain ground mineral crystals that can speed up drying time by 70 percent. That’s a terrific time-saver if you have thick hair. But if you hair is fine, the extra power is a disadvantage. “Your hair will dry so fast you won’t have time to style it,” says stylist Sonya Dove, co-owner of the Doves Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. What’s more, says Reeve McNamara of Atlanta’s Van Michael Salon, “if your boyfriend or husband is going to share your dryer and his hair is thinning, the intense heat might burn his scalp.”

Keep in mind that with dryers, like jeans, fit is everything. “The single most important consideration when you pick a dyer is how it feels in your hands,” says Dove. If your hands are small, you might be most comfortable with a dryer that’s light and compact, while he’ll have better control with a heftier model.

Eco-friendly tip: Save electricity and still create the style you want by letting your hair air-dry before you use your blow-dryer.

3. Brushes. For starters, there’s the ick factor with sharing brushes -- they can spread lice or ringworm of the scalp. Beyond hygienic considerations, having a brush that’s suited to your hair -- thick, thin, curly or straight -- will make styling easier. If you have fine or thin hair, a ceramic brush with a small, square barrel will let you get right up against your scalp to lift your roots for a volume boost. To get the bounce and bends of a salon blowout on thick, coarse hair, choose a large, round brush that has a combination of synthetic and boar’s hair bristles. The nylon bristles will grip your hair, while the natural ones impart shine. If you have curly hair, skip the brush and opt instead for a detangling comb with a double row of extra-long teeth.

Eco-friendly tip: Clean out dead hair and dust with a tail comb every few days, and your brush should last about five years.