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What are your hair care essentials? If you're like most guys, they're simple. Any bottle of shampoo that doesn't have a cartoon character on it or smell like fruit. And a brush. Anything beyond that -- like hair products -- might seem confusing or fussy.

But it's never been unmanly to dab on a little something -- think of Bogart's pomade-slicked hair in Casablanca. Today, average guys are reclaiming their right to put stuff in their hair. So if you want to tame unruly hair or spiff up your look, go ahead and try a little product. You may just look better for it.

The Basics: Shampoo and Conditioner

Hair care starts with what's in your shower caddy. If these are the only products you use, make them work for you. If you also use styling products, these will lay the groundwork.

  • Shampoo. You know how bottles are labeled for dry hair or oily hair? That's not just a marketing scheme, experts say. It makes a difference. If your hair still seems too oily, shampoo more often. Too dry, shampoo less often.
  • Conditioner. While you may accept shampoo as a necessary part of living in civilized society, you may view conditioner with deep suspicion. Does it really do anything? It’s crucial in protecting your hair, experts say. Shampoo alone can dry out or damage your hair, which makes it more likely to attract oil and dirt, says Jessica Krant, MD, a dermatologist in New York.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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