There are a number of shampoos out there on the market for you to choose from. So, from everything from shampoos specializing in odor care to those rich in amino acids for a gentle wash, just which ones stand out above the rest?
Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (Amazon, Rakuten, etc.) for the most popular selling men's shampoos and put them to the test to give you our highest recommendations!
Under the supervision of a hair specialist, we inspected each shampoo for the following 5 criteria.
So, which ones stood their ground to become our choice for best buy? Take a look at our results as well as our hair specialist's "Correct Way to Shampoo" explanation for the next time you decide to buy!
Based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the top 28 best Japanese shampoos for men!
The overall ranking for each product is not an average ranking based on each criteria but based on the numerical weighting added to that average.
All of the products listed below were not tested for each effect or benefit listed in the buying guide. That being said, be sure to check for each effect or benefit when purchasing.
|Scent||Refreshing Sunny Citrus|
|Scent||Apple and Lime|
|Effect||Moisturizing, strengthens the roots|
|Scent||Refreshing and Exotic Essential Oils|
|Effect||Fights odor caused by sweat|
|Effect||Protects against dandruff and itchiness / protects against odor caused by sweat|
|Effect||Keeps hair and scalp healthy|
|Effect||Making hair young and voluminous|
|Effect||Controls oil for a clean scalp|
Chap Up Shampoo
Men's Scalp Pro
THREE for Men Gentling Shampoo
Botanical Scalp Shampoo
Botanical Scalp and Hair Shampoo
ULOS Medicated Scalp Shampoo
Men's Hair Shampoo
U-MA Premium Shampoo (Medicated)
Mongoryu Shampoo EX
THEO Scalp Shampoo - Ice Mint
Biove Scalp Aging Care for Men
Nakano Foliage Cleansing Shampoo
Scalp Care Shampoo for Men
|Features||The Best Japanese Shampoo f...||The Best Men's Shampoo for ...||The Gentlest Shampoo with a...||The Best Natural Shampoo fo...||The Gentlest Shampoo with t...||The Best Botanical Shampoo ...||A Shampoo That's Great for ...||The Best Medicated Shampoo||A High-quality Shampoo for ...||Not at All Bad but a Little...||An Extremely Cooling Shampoo||A Super Comfortable Shampoo...||An Amazingly Comfortable Sh...||A Mild Salon Shampoo||An Extremely Gentle Organic...|
|Scent||Fruity Rose||N/A||Refreshing Sunny Citrus||N/A||Apple and Lime||Refreshing and Exotic Essential Oils||N/A||Unscented||N/A||N/A||Ice Mint||N/A||N/A||Refreshing Orange||Floral Green|
|Effect||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Moisturizing, strengthens the roots||N/A||Fights odor caused by sweat||N/A||Protects against dandruff and itchiness / protects against odor caused by sweat||Keeps hair and scalp healthy||Moisturizing balance||N/A||Making hair young and voluminous||Controls oil for a clean scalp||N/A|
And why they didn't make the cut.
ARIMINO Men Scalp Shampoo (16) scored high in cleansing power but is a little too harsh on the scalp. We recommend this only for days with sweat and grease buildup. Some testers expressed concern over the cheap-smelling citrus scent and low-action foam-ability making this shampoo unreflective of the price.
Japan Gateway's Rigaos Roh Medicated Shampoo - ICE (19) has a refreshing citrus scent and excellent foaming power for a nice, clean feeling. Since it's rather harsh on the scalp, though, it's not recommended for those with sensitive skin.
Sunstar's TONIC Shampoo (26) has wonderful cleansing power, removing oils from deep within the pores. But with this powerful cleaning power comes irritation to the scalp, so this product is also not recommended for those with sensitive skin.
Mandom's LUCIDO Medicated Scalp Shampoo (27) also has great cleansing power but is irritating to the scalp. It actually received the worst rating out of all products we tested. This is definitely not for those worried about hair loss.
Pacific Products' Super Brown Shampoo MX (21) is recommended for those with fine hair or a perm. The amino acids are gentle on the scalp for a nice, clean wash. Although, we felt that it could've had better foaming action.
Storia's MARO Deo Scalp Shampoo (23) is recommended or those worried about things like dandruff or itchiness on the scalp. It leaves you with a clean, refreshing feeling but is rather harsh on the scalp. The spongy foaming action made this product really attractive for a comfortable wash you could have every day.
Angfa's Scalp D Medicated Scalp Shampoo (24) is a comfortable shampoo with great foam-ability that's easy to use yet is harsh on the scalp without proper cleaning power. If you don't lather and rinse thoroughly, you might experience buildup causing irritation to the scalp.
Shiseido's Sea Breeze Shampoo (17) is a shampoo from our well-known series of deodorants that has a cool menthol feel to it, making you feel clean and refreshed. However, we wished it was a bit more cleansing.
KAO's Success Medicated Shampoo (18) is designed to protect against dandruff, itchiness and odors caused by sweat. It's overall an excellent shampoo, especially considering its price; but it didn't make it into our top 15 because of how harsh it is on the scalp.
Henkel Japan's Schwarzkopf 3D MEN Deep Cleansing Shampoo (20) is a salon shampoo good at washing out styling agents worthy of the name Deep Cleansing. Although we can't say it's easy to use with its rigid cap that shoots out shampoo whenever you open it, we recommend it for those who regularly use hair styling products.
Mandom's GATSBY Perfect Clear Shampoo (22) has high cleansing power able to wash out even the hardest of hair waxes. Make sure you pre-rinse your hair thoroughly (3-5 minutes) if you want to get that silky smooth feeling, though.
LION's PRO TEC Scalp Stretch Shampoo (25) doesn't live up to its promises and lacks in easiness on the scalp and cleaning power. We also found the astringent menthol scent left in your hair a little too much.
Chinoshio's Men's Shampoo (28), whose packaging is sure to catch your eye, lacked strength in almost every category. Since it's made up of a soapy mixture, it's easy for residue to be left behind in your hair.
<Head of the International Research Institute for Hair and Skin Science (IRIHASS)>
In 1994, while head of R&D for hair care products, Inoue established the International Research Institute for Hair and Skin Science. Their main research themes are shampooing and hair restoration. Mr. Inoue gives lectures at cancer treatment wards all over Japan and at over 7,000 salons as well as other medical treatment seminars. Recently he has appeared on TV and in magazines.
The International Research Institute for Hair and Skin Science
We purchased the top 28 best-selling men's shampoos from Japanese websites like Amazon, Rakuten, etc. and put them to the test!
We tested each product for the following 5 points:
Test ① Comfort Level
Test ② Gentleness
Test ③ Foam-ability
Test ④ Smoothness
Test ⑤ Cleansing Power
First, we tested each product for the most vital of criteria, its comfort level. We gave out each shampoo to our mybest editors so they could put them to the test.
We didn't want what was written on the bottle to impact anyone's judgment so we put them all in clear containers to be tested.
Each shampoo was rated from 0.1 - 5.0 for scent, foam-ability, ease of rinsing, and smoothness, of which the average was taken and used to represent its overall rating for comfort level. We especially checked to see if the scent of each shampoo was accurate to what the makers were boasting.
When people think about medicated shampoos, they often wonder if they leave the hair a bit greasy or whether its foaming action is strong enough.
However, 3 out of the 6 shampoos that scored over a 4.0 in our study turned out to be medicated shampoos! They were all quite effective at protecting against dandruff and itchiness. We recommend them for those of you worried about your scalp as well as your hair in general.
Next, we tested to see how stimulating each shampoo was by conducting a 「protein degeneration test」 using egg whites.
We poured a tiny amount of diluted shampoo on our egg whites, gently mixed it, waited and then placed the cup on a sheet of black paper to observe how cloudy it became.
The more irritating a shampoo was, the cloudier the mixture of egg whites became. The cup on the left in the photo above would receive a rating of about 1.0 while the one on the right would receive a rating of 5.0.
We then checked to see what compounds were being used in each shampoo and for each one we found other than ones added for cleaning power, we would deduct 0.5 points from their score.
We found that the shampoos which exhibited the most stimulating effect were those that had "deep cleansing" or "removes dirt and sebum" written on the bottle next to the active ingredients.
Naturally, it would be nice to have your scalp feel refreshed after washing it; but if you use a deep cleansing shampoo every day, it could lead to damage which causes itchiness and dryness. Therefore, we recommend using it only on days in which you sweat more than normal.
Next, we conducted tests on each shampoo's foam-ability, which is necessary to effectively remove dirt and sweat from the scalp.
First, we put an amount of diluted shampoo in a large plastic cup.
We then used a hand mixer to mix the fluid in order to see how each foamed. We also noted how quickly each shampoo foamed up to get that feeling of effectiveness in cleansing.
To see just how much a shampoo could foam in just a short period of time, we used a ruler to measure the height of the bubbles in the cup, giving each shampoo a rating between 1.0 - 5.0.
The shampoos that foamed the most and the quickest were mostly clear with a silky texture! Those with soft textures tended to bubble up faster and more effectively when mixed with water.
Those shampoos with good foam-ability could clean every nook and cranny of one's scalp and rinses easily giving you that clean, refreshing feeling.
For those of you hoping for a quick shampooing routine every day, we recommend a shampoo with good foam-ability.
We then tested each shampoo for smoothness and feel. In order to do this, we prepared 28 individual tufts of human hair.
We then washed and dried each tuft of hair 10 times with each shampoo. Then we combed each tuft to simulate the friction one's hair would go through during a normal everyday routine of shampooing and hair treatment. We then dried each tuft using the same temperature and speed setting.
After washing and drying each tuft ten times, we rated each one based on how wet they remained.
We also used a machine that measures the stress put on a comb when running it through hair. After running it through 10 times, we took the average and gave each a rating of 1.0 - 5.0.
Contrary to the predictions of our editorial department, almost every shampoo received a score of between 4.0 and 5.0 on the smoothness test!
Since men's hair tends to lose volume after the use of conditioner or treatment, it would be ideal for them to use a shampoo with good smoothness that doesn't coat the hair too much. Because of that, many shampoos with silicon compounds exist on the market.
Shampoos with silicon surely increase the smoothness of one's hair but it is also true that they tend to leave a residue after rinsing. When using a men's shampoo, wash for about 3-5 minutes and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Lastly, we tested each shampoo for their cleansing power. We focused on how well each shampoo removed dirt, etc. from the hair and scalp.
We started by diluting each shampoo to the same degree.
Next, we took stearic and oleic acids to mimic natural sebum and mixed them with an artificially-colored sebum. We then spread the formula over a glass plate.
Then, we dipped each glass plate into our diluted shampoos and gave the shampoos that removed the most sebum a rating of 5.0. Those shampoos that failed to remove a decent amount of sebum from the plate received a rating of 1.0.
Each shampoo that was able to effectively remove the artificial sebum turned out to be the ones that boasted also being able to remove hair styling products.
Men's hair styling products like wax and gel are especially strong and difficult to wash out so we recommend using shampoos that scored well in this category since they're effective in removing such products with only a single wash.
However, if a shampoo's cleaning power is too strong, it could deprive your hair and scalp of essential oils so we don't recommend using such shampoos on an everyday basis.
Here we have 3 points we would like everyone to consider when choosing their men's shampoo.
It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that all shampoos consist mainly of water and a cleansing agent. That is why you should put importance on which cleansing agent is used in each shampoo before purchasing it.
It's important to determine what kind of hair and scalp you have and make your decision based on the following points.
For those of you with an itchy scalp or think that regular men's shampoos just don't do the trick, we recommend using a shampoo rich in amino acids. Although they have low foam-ability and weak cleaning power, you'll find them easy on the scalp.
To get better results, try lathering up well and rinsing for at least 3 minutes.
There are a lot of different kinds of amino acids present in shampoos so use the list below as a reference. Spoiler: they often contain the words cocoyl- and lauroyl:
ーLow foam-ability and weak cleaning powerー
ーComparatively better foam-abilityー
High grade alcohol shampoos come with plenty of cleaning power and foam-ability at a low price. However, you'll find that they're not as comfortable to use as other composite shampoos on the market. Actually, these shampoos tend to permeate and irritate the scalp, possibly causing damage.
You'll be fine using it every day during the summer when you sweat more often, but we recommend only once in a while during winter and other dry months. Sodium laureth sulfate is the ingredient you should watch out for.
When most people think of soap, they think of it being gentle to the skin; but that is not the case when it comes to shampoos.
Soap-based shampoos are known to cling to hair and be difficult to rinse out. After using it, you'll notice that your hair is in fact smooth, but only due residue left on the hair that acts like a coating. The more you use it, the more damage you'll do to your hair and scalp so we recommend avoiding it at all costs.
Don't damage your scalp just to get a clean, refreshing wash! Choose something gentle to the hair and scalp by checking your shampoo for these harmful ingredients.
Salicylic acid just one ingredient that prevents the growth of bacteria. You can find antibacterials in some medicinal shampoos to relieve dandruff or itchiness, but salicylic acid in particular is highly irritating to your scalp.
If you continue to irritate a healthy scalp every day with a germicide, not only will dandruff and itchiness persist; if you happen to get some in your eyes while showering, it'll cause inflammation and discomfort.
We recommend those of you with healthy scalps to avoid any shampoo that contains salicylic acid. If for some reason you insist on using one, try to only use it on days you feel you have the most dirt and grease on your scalp.
Next, we have menthol shampoos, which leave your scalp feeling refreshed right after you use it. But did you know that this feeling is caused by oil? This oil coats the scalp causing a cool, refreshing feeling but leaves behind a residue that, when mixed with sweat, can leave your scalp all gross and sticky.
An excess of menthol can clog pores causing harm to your scalp, which is why we recommend avoiding shampoos that contain it. If you do find yourself using one, make sure to rinse it out thoroughly.
It's more or less okay to feel a slight cooling sensation but if you find that your shampoo is causing you pain, this would undoubtedly cause harm to your scalp and should be avoided.
Naturally, there are no problems with shampoos that don't contain additives but sometimes you find one that has artificial coloring.
To tell whether a product contains harmful pigments, just look on the list of ingredients for colors followed by a number. These impure substances are known as tar dyes which can accumulate on the scalp causing damage so you should avoid using shampoos that contain them.
There are shampoos out there that only contain a faint amount of artificial coloring but you should keep an eye out for shampoos that contain caramel, since this coloring agent is made from browned sugar, a natural ingredient.
Shampoo can give you so many more benefits with extra effects! Find one that suits your concerns.
For those of you out there concerned with odor, choose a shampoo specific for getting rid of such odors. If you can find a shampoo that contains Isopropyl Methyl-phenol, you can expect it to have a positive effect on scalp odor.
Non-silicon shampoo is recommended for those concerned with having sticky hair. These shampoos don't contain silicon, which is known for sticking to and coating hair, so you'll be able to avoid having flat hair, even if it's long! It's also good for those who color or perm their hair.
For those of you wishing to try a non-silicon shampoo, make sure it is written on the package. Also, watch out for ingredients such as silica, silyl, silane or siloxane.
Also check for these ingredients:
Parts that aren't coated can cause friction between hairs so I recommend using leave-in treatment on your hair after getting out of the shower.
However, don't apply treatment all the way down to your roots as this will cause your hair to go flat. Just apply it to the tips.
A lot of men's hair waxes have strong holding power and are difficult to wash out with just a single wash. Therefore, we recommend a shampoo especially for getting rid of excess hair product, like hard wax and the like.
Of course, these shampoos have high cleansing power in order to remove wax, so it is not recommended for everyday use - just days when you lather on the product.
Even with the right shampoo, you might not get the results you're looking for if you don't know how to shampoo properly. So we had our hair specialist, Professor Inoue, teach us the proper way to shampoo our hair!
Having a clean scalp is also vital to preventing hair loss so go ahead and try this yourself at home!
Before even applying shampoo, take about 2-3 minutes to wash the scalp with warm water. Just wetting your head does nothing. Massage the scalp while letting the water get in between every hair. By doing so, you'll be able to get rid of all the dirt and grease from the day as well as any styling product you may have used.
A lot of men's hair products are difficult to remove so make sure you wash thoroughly before shampooing.
Next, lather up your shampoo and apply it to your hair and scalp, massaging your pores for about 1-2 minutes to get rid of dirt and grease.
Be sure not to imitate the motion seen in the picture above marked with an X. By rubbing your scalp in such a manner, you could not only cause damage to your scalp but also to newly grown hair follicles.
Keep about a 2-3 centimeter gap between the fingers from both hands. Make sure to wash thoroughly from front to back. This kind of massage stimulates blood flow on the scalp and doing so every day aids in helping to prevent hair loss as well!
After thoroughly washing your scalp, it's time to start washing your hair. Most men have short hair but it's very important for even those men to make sure they get rid of all the dirt and grease. Take note of the photos above and wash in the sequence lined out for you below!
(※Photos are shown without the use of shampoo for simplicity purposes.)
This counts for 1 set! 3 sets of the above sequence is enough for any one spot. Work from front to back getting every inch and then rinse.
The simple disappearance of bubbles does not mean you have finished. In order to get all the shampoo residue that may have permeated into your hair and scalp, it is recommended to rinse for 3-5 minutes. Rinsing should take you longer than it did to shampoo your hair to begin with.
Shampooing is only the first step in what should be the best hair treatment of your life. Here are some products that will keep your locks luscious for days.
So how did you like our examination of the top 28 Japanese shampoos for men?
We had originally thought that many of the shampoos out there were too harsh on the hair and scalp but there were a number of them that we found mild that still left our hair nice and smooth.
That being said, there are still shampoos out there that may cause irritation so please read through the buying guide in this article to find the men's shampoo that's right for you!
Author: Mai Okutomi/Translation: Andrew Tinkler/Photos: Koichi Miura, Yuuki Inagaki, Saaya Iwakami
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