The 17 Best Shampoos for Every Hair Type, According to Hair Experts
Shampoo isn’t just about getting hair clean. It’s about giving your locks exactly what they need so you can have a great hair day every day.
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There’s a secret to having fabulous hair, and it has nothing to do with fancy tools and styling products. Of course, those things help, but first, you have to get the basics right—and that includes finding the best shampoo for your hair type. Sure, any old shampoo may clean your hair, but it won’t give you the results you want in every other way. After all, the best shampoo for oily hair isn’t necessarily the best shampoo for curly hair or dry, damaged hair.
So, how do you go about narrowing down the many choices on the market to find the one that’s right for you? “Think about how often you’re washing your hair and what you’re trying to achieve,” advises dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD, whose expertise extends beyond skin and into hair care as well. Once you isolate your biggest concerns and hair goals, you can figure out whether the surfactants (soaps) in a specific shampoo focus on ridding your scalp of germs and bacteria or act as conditioning agents. The main difference in shampoos, Dr. Mariwalla says, boils down to the concentrations and types of surfactants used, and price has absolutely nothing to do with how effective they are.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry—we’re about to make it really simple. Read on for the best options for every hair type, and once you’ve found the best one for your needs, check out the best conditioners to round out your beauty routine and achieve super soft, truly luxurious locks.
Best shampoo for damaged hair: Amika The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo
This cruelty-free shampoo nourishes, repairs, and strengthens hair, and also prevents future breakage. Its secret? Intense hydration plus bond-enhancing proteins and plant butters that also detangle strands. Try this if you regularly use hot tools or chemical treatments that leave hair parched, or if you’re out in the sun a lot. There’s also a coordinating range of hair masks and other treatments from the line for a start-to-finish reparative approach.
Best shampoo for dandruff: Jupiter Balancing Shampoo
Kicking flakes to the curb doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your entire hair routine anymore, thanks to new sulfate-free formulas that are safe for color-treated hair. “In general, if you have a flaky scalp, you may want to look at shampoos that are medicated or have an active ingredient that will work to calm inflammation,” says Dr. Mariwalla. This Jupiter Balancing Shampoo is one of the best shampoos for flake-prone women who also treat their hair chemically. Its active ingredient, zinc pyrithione, is a known dandruff treatment powerhouse, and it doesn’t contain any of the color-killing sulfates you’ll typically find in drugstore formulas. The balancing formula is also a safe bet for mildly oily roots, dry hair, and hydration-seeking curls.
Best shampoo for curly hair: Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo
According to Dr. Mariwalla, curly hair should not be washed as frequently as straight hair. Why? “It is more susceptible to breakage and drying out,” she explains, noting the difference in follicle shape between straight and curly hair. “[Don’t] be swayed by mass media advertisements for how frequently you should be washing. For very curly hair, I would not shampoo more than once a week.” And when you do wash, she recommends using extremely hydrating formulas. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo soothes frizzy, unruly curls with natural olive oil extracts that treat thick, coarse hair with the love and respect it deserves.
Best shampoo for oily hair: Headquarters Cleansing Shampoo for Oily Roots and Scalp
It turns out all those different surfactants in shampoos and popular soaps have different purposes, and knowing which to look for in a formula can make all the difference. “If you’re someone who sweats a lot or ends up with a lot of sebum on the scalp, then you want a product with something like anionic surfactants,” Dr. Mariwalla explains. These commonly appear on shampoo labels as ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium stearte, and laureth sulfates. Sulfates in general aren’t great for colored or chemically treated hair, but they do wonders for removing excess oils and product buildup. This affordable grapefruit- and basil-infused option from Headquarters leaves hair voluminous, clean, and fresh-feeling without drying out hair.
Best shampoo for dry hair: Roux Weightless Precious Oils Luminous Shampoo
If your hair is in desperate need of hydration, you’re in the right place—and you’re in luck, because this new Roux shampoo won’t cost you as much as a dinner out, unlike some salon brands. The lightweight, oil-drenched formulation is under $10, and it works hard to draw out dirt and impurities while adding serious moisture to each strand with argan, jojoba, sunflower, and avocado oils. Safe for color-treated hair and free of added sulfates, silicones, and heavy mineral oils, it delivers the voluminous, shiny hair you’ve always wanted. These inexpensive home remedies for dry hair can also help you get soft, shiny locks.
Best shampoo for thin hair: Biolage Full Density Thickening Shampoo
This thickening, breakage-reducing suds-maker is one of the best shampoos for thinning hair that’s beginning to show signs of aging. “Our hair does age, believe it or not, and processing the hair over a lifetime with color and highlights can also cause damage,” Dr. Mariwalla says. “I remind my patients as they mature to consider periodic nourishing treatments for the hair and scalp and to make sure they are using conditioner because hair tends to become drier with age.” Biolage’s Full Density Shampoo and Conditioner are brimming with hair-helping biotin, zinc PCA, and a gluco-omega blend, all of which works to remove dirt and leave hair healthier, stronger, and thicker. Make sure to avoid these other mistakes that are aging your hair.
Best shampoo for blondes: John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo
Whether your golden locks are natural or bleached, dialing down brassy tones should be on your shampoo priority list. “Bleached hair tends to be on the drier side, so you’ll want to shampoo it with something very moisturizing,” explains Felicia Dosso, a professional colorist at the Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York. “Look for nourishing ingredients like B and E vitamins, because those will help hydrate the hair, and focus on your color.” Balancing brassy, orange-hued tones with deep blue, violet, and purple-based shampoos and conditioners can restore hair’s intended cooler blond shades. This John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo is designed to revive cool blond tones, as well as extend your color’s vibrance between salon visits if you’re on Team Bleach. Before you check out, take a look at this other $8 John Frieda frizzy-hair product that has near-perfect reviews on Amazon.
Best shampoo for keratin-treated hair: Natural Formula Keratin Intense ProStraight
“Keratin-treated hair also requires the sulfate-free label,” says Dosso. “Anything with sulfates will strip the treatment out of your hair.” While most color-safe shampoos can be used with relative safety on keratin-treated hair, some formulas go out of their way to help keratin treatments last as long as possible by also removing additional sodium additives that can cause them to fade faster. Enriched with pentanol, this $15 Natural Formula shampoo was created with the sole purpose of extending the life of keratin treatments, though it works just as hard to preserve color treatments.
Best shampoo for fine hair: Gemmist Shampoo & Conditioner Set
One of the biggest fine-hair mistakes you can make? Loading your hair with heavy oils and butters. For better hair days every day, opt for a shampoo with volume-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid. As Dosso explains, hyaluronic acid plumps the follicle, helping to prevent breakage. This can be tricky to navigate if you’re also coloring, chemically treating, or have other specific hair concerns, which is why a tailored-to-you custom shampoo and conditioner package from a brand like Gemmist could be your best bet for root-lifting volume that also hydrates, nourishes, and protects.
Best shampoo for type 3 and 4 curls: African Pride Moisture Miracle Honey & Coconut Oil Shampoo
This tall drink of hydration is just what tighter curls need to stay shiny, healthy, and full of bounce. African Pride’s sulfate-free, gentle cleansing formula removes dirt and styling-product residue without stripping hair of its natural oils. A blend of coconut oil and real honey deeply penetrates strands to fully hydrate coils and curls. Curl types 3 and 4 will find this formula especially exciting, since so few affordable shampoos exist specifically for ringlets, and this rings in at just $4.25. Yes, you read that right! Here are more Black-owned beauty products you really should own by now.
Best shampoo for fans of the no-poo movement: Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Cleansing Oil
If shampoo in general is an idea you’re over, you’re not alone. Some seriously curly girls have adopted the no-poo method, which essentially means skipping traditional shampoos and instead hydrating the driest of curls by rinsing them in cleansing conditioners and oils. This Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Cleansing Oil works on a variety of curl types ranging from type 2 all the way through loose waves, and adds hydration without stripping hair of any natural oils. Some not-so-curly locks that are just generally dry and unruly have adopted the method as an every-other-wash habit to keep their locks soft and manageable.
Best shampoo for colored hair of all types: Color WOW Color Security Shampoo
Maintaining vibrant, true-to-your-new hue can be a challenge without the right shampoo, which is why Dosso suggests always scanning labels to make sure they’re free of sulfates. “Sulfates will strip away color from the hair, leaving it looking dull while also feeling dry,” she explains, adding that using non-color-safe shampoo is one of the worst hair color mistakes you can make. This sulfate-free Color WOW formula is designed specifically for color-enhanced hair, and it offers the same 100 percent clean feeling many clarifying shampoos boast—just without the harsh chemicals that strip hair of all its colorful, shiny glory.
Best shampoo for sun worshippers: Healium Healthy Shampoo
This virtually weightless formula from Healium is good for anyone, but it’s an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, and beach lovers, thanks to built-in sunscreens that protect hair. The sulfate- and paraben-free formula offers feel-good bubbly lather and coconut-oil-based surfactants that are gentler on hair for frequent washings.
Best shampoo for dull hair: Pacifica Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo
This scalp-stimulating shampoo kicks oil residue to the curb, gently rids hair of wayward flakes and surface junk, and is gentle enough for everyday use. It’s also completely vegan and cruelty-free, and it doesn’t contain parabens, petroleum products, or drying silicones. You’ll also love the fresh rosemary and mint scent, two known aromatherapy favorites that make this a fun home spa day product, too.
Best shampoo for the whole family to share: Hairitage Outta My Hair Gentle Daily Shampoo
This ultra-affordable cleansing option is great for teens and adults, thanks to mild detangling properties and potent ingredients. It’s also safe for everyday use for curl types 1 through 4, making it a great choice for every hair texture and style in the family. Jojoba oil, B vitamins, and aloe add strength and moisture to strands, while mineral-oil-free surfactants ease impurities out of the scalp and strands. It’s color-safe, too.
Best shampoo for frequent heat styling: It’s a 10 Miracle Blow Dry Glossing Shampoo
If you’ve been known to hit the heat tools more than a couple times a week, you’ll think this hard-working shampoo truly is a miracle! Its blowout-helping additives create gorgeous shine, so you don’t have to reach for extra styling products. It also helps protect color from fading while sealing and smoothing the hair’s shaft for silky-smooth styling. By the way, if you’re thinking of coloring your hair, here’s how to find the best hair color for your skin tone.
Best shampoo for men: Bed Head Gimme Grip Texturizing Shampoo
This texturizing shampoo is great for hair that needs a little oomph, is too short to look naturally voluminous, or is starting to thin. While it’s on our list as one of the best shampoos for men, it’s definitely a great contender for women with fine, thin hair as well, thanks to subtle body and grip enhancers that give otherwise lifeless hair a bit more personality without any extra effort. Plus, the results last at least a couple days, so you won’t feel stressed about going on second-day hair anymore. Next, learn the common hair myths that are ruining your hair.
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