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When it comes to choosing the best shampoo for your needs, think about the way you shop for skincare products. Just like someone with oily skin wouldn’t reach for a heavy moisturizer, someone with curls shouldn’t suds up with a shampoo for straight locks. It’s all about shopping for your hair type and condition to get the best results.
“Before choosing the best shampoo for your hair type it’s important to understand your hair type and texture,” says Jamie Wiley, Pureology Global Artistic Director. “Ask yourself if your hair strands are fine, medium or thick and then whether your texture is wavy, straight, curly, thick, dry, and/or color treated. Knowing which category you fall into will help determine what shampoo and conditioner you should take home. Choosing the right shampoo is important for everyone and figuring out what works best for your hair.”
How to find the best shampoo for your hair type
Fine hair tends to have more buildup on the scalp, so it requires a shampoo that has a deep cleansing agent, advises Wiley. Dry hair needs essential oils and the best ones contain coconut oil and avocado oil. Thick hair is prone to getting dirty very fast and so equal amounts of cleanser for thick hair is ideal. “The benefits of using targeted shampoos is that you will be able to treat the damage faster and more specific than without a targeted purpose,” Wiley says. “Hair is shinier, healthier, manageable, bouncy and has movement. Actually, if you aren’t using a targeted shampoo you could be hurting the condition rather than helping it. By using the shampoo that has been recommended for your hair, it will balance out the maximum vibrancy and shine of the hair cuticle. It will also balance the scalp’s pH levels and hair will continue to grow in strong and healthy.”
However, many of us have more than one hair concern, so don’t feel the need to limit yourself to just one bottle. “I always suggest using a few different shampoos that perhaps address a few different things,” says Jonathan Colombini, Creative Director of Style & Color at L’Oréal Paris. “It’s always great to switch it up.”
How often should you shampoo your hair?
How often you should shampoo your hair depends on a few factors. “In my opinion, a healthy scalp likes to be washed every two to three days; this depends on hair and scalp type,” says Ashley Streicher, Consulting Celebrity Stylist for Garnier. To determine how often you should wash your hair, listen to your strands and scalp. “Shampoo as needed based on your oil production,” Wiley says. “Normal oil production is three times a week, about every other day or every three days. If you have an oily scalp, then you shampoo every day. Of course, if you have curly or coily hair, then you wash based on your curls about once a week or sometimes longer.”
The best way to wash your hair with shampoo
Knowing the right way to wash your hair is also crucial to making the most out of your shampoo and boosting your hair health. “Really only focus on shampooing the roots of your hair and mainly your scalp,” Streicher advises. “The ends of your hair do not need to be the focus of shampooing and in fact avoid the ends when possible as to not dry them out. The ends don’t get the natural oils from your scalp so that hair is already extra dry and does not need to be cleansed of these oils. When washing your scalp, it’s inevitable that your ends will also get sudsed, so that is plenty for your ends.”
First, thoroughly wet your hair, as shampoos emulsify much better in water. “Apply a liberal amount in the palm of your hands and then to your scalp,” Colombini says. “In a circular motion, work the shampoo into your scalp and enjoy the lather. Work the later through the mid shafts. Depending on when you washed last you may need another round, so rinse and repeat.”
In between washes, it’s best not to overload on hair-care products. “I think that in between shampoos and styling, the best thing you can do for your hair and scalp is to just let it be,” Streicher says. “Let it breathe when possible and taking a break from products and styling tools is always encouraged.”
To help you get your healthiest, shiniest hair, shop these best shampoos for every hair type.
1. Drybar On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo
Best Professional Shampoo
When you want to get a salon-worthy blowout at home, it starts with having the best shampoo. While you probably can’t get someone to suds up your locks and give you a head massage in your bathroom, you can use On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo from Drybar. It gives your hair and scalp the clean slate it craves by tapping activated charcoal to get rid of product buildup, excess oils and impurities without overdoing it and stripping your hair. In fact, it can absorb a whopping 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities. It also contains vegetable protein to strengthen damaged hair.
2. Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo
Best Clean Shampoo Formula
“I love Garnier’s products because they have something for everyone at convenient prices,” Streicher says. “I personally love the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean line which is great for giving you that thorough clean.” True to its name, the clean formula is free of parabens and silicones. Gentle enough for daily use, it’s infused with aloe extract and vitamin E to nourish and strengthen strands.
3. Redken Extreme Length Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Hair Growth
Looking for longer locks? Then this miracle growth in a bottle is the right shampoo for you. Designed to help damaged hair grow longer and stronger, it boosts growth while preventing breakage. Biotin is the hero ingredient in Redken’s Length Care Complex, which also contains soy protein. This shampoo keeps the mid-lengths to ends of the hair strong, and when used with the entire Redken Length Care Complex, can help minimize hair breakage by 81%. It’ll be the answer to your long hair prayers.
4. Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo
Best Gentle Shampoo
Sensitive scalps will love this gentle Bumble and Bumble shampoo that’s safe for even the tenderest types. Made to work on all hair types, from straight to tightly coiled, it delivers everything hair needs without stressing it out. The super mild shampoo moisturizes and delivers high shine. It’s even safe for colored and chemically-treated hair.
5. R+Co Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo
Best Smoothing Shampoo
Even on the hottest, most humid days, this best smoothing shampoo will keep frizz in check and hair looking and feeling silky. That goes for curly and thick hair, too. You can thank the impressive ingredient list for that. There’s antioxidant artichoke extract to bring damaged hair back to life and prevent UV and free radical damage. Plum seed oil boosts the scalp environment to strengthen strands, while broccoli seed oil conditions for high shine. And okra seed extract hydrates the hair and scalp.
6. Oribe Shampoo for Brilliance & Shine
Best Shampoo for High Shine
Is that a mirror? Nope, that’s just the reflection in your hair after using Oribe’s Shampoo for Brilliance & Shine. Even the dullest locks will shine bright like a diamond. To boost hair health and sheen from within, the formula is deeply hydrating. It also strengthens strands without weighing them down. To top it all off, it’s infused with Oribe’s signature Cote d’Azur scent, so you won’t be able to stop sniffing your strands.
7. Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Damaged Hair
It doesn’t get any more repairing than Olaplex, making this the best shampoo for damaged hair. Even split ends will look smoothed. Deeply healing, it hydrates hair and repairs its bonds. Hair is left stronger and prepared to fight breakage. It’s also shinier and easier to manage, meaning it cuts down on frizz and flyaways.
8. Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Shampoo
Best Detangler Shampoo
Knot so fast! Tangle-prone hair will find solace in this bottle. Textured hair is notorious for getting tangled, but this shampoo will cut down on combing it out after you get out of the shower. Best for wavy hair to tight curls, the formula is deeply nourishing and hydrating courtesy of coconut milk, guava extract, pure aloe vera and mango butter. Curls will be left healthy and shiny.
9. Drunk Elephant Cocomino Glossing Shampoo
Best Shampoo Overall
It’s hard to think of a hair launch more heralded than Drunk Elephant’s, yet somehow the entire collection exceeded the very high expectations, especially the shampoo. Founder Tiffany Masterson has always been about skin care with clean ingredients that get the job done, so she applied her signature philosophy to the scalp. When your childhood friend is an A-list celebrity hairstylist, you tap into his expertise, so Chris McMillan weighed in on the shampoo and all of the other hair products. Suited for all hair types, from straight to coily, the shampoo washes away impurities while leaving strands so deeply hydrated that it even helps prevent breakage and split ends. The sulfate-free, color-safe formula is infused with sacha inchi seed oil to moisturize, add shine, prevent heat styling damage and sooth irritation; panthenol, aka pro-vitamin B5, to smooth, soften and strengthen the hair shaft; and a coconut amino acid blend that’s packed with fatty acids to gently rid hair of dirt and styling products while boosting body and bounce.
10. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
Best for Colored Hair
When it comes to the best shampoo for colored hair, no one does it better than Pureology. They recently revamped their line with a new look and refreshed formulas. Colored hair tends to be dry and this shampoo deeply nourishes and hydrates. The brand’s signature patented antifade complex keeps color vibrant and shiny with a blend of sunflower seed, vitamin E and a UV filter. Instead of sulfates, it relies on a mix of corn, coconut and sugar to gently cleanse while leaving color intact. Super concentrated, just one bottle has more than 70 washes, plus the packaging is 95 percent post-consumer recycled plastic that is 100% recyclable.
11. Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo
Best Purple Shampoo
Keeping blonde hair blonde is a lot harder than it looks. Throw stressors like pollution and chlorine into the mix and you have a serious challenge, but Moroccanoil is up for it. Purple shampoo is practically a necessity for fair-haired friends to keep their color looking bright and fresh. This one has violet pigments to neutralize brassy tones and color correct blonde, light and gray hair. To keep hair healthy and hydrated, the sulfate-free formula contains Moroccanoil’s signature ArganID technology to seal the cuticle.
12. Kérastase Genesis Strengthening Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Weak Hair
Sometimes the most basic things can cause major damage to fragile hair, even just brushing it. This fortifying shampoo was made to prevent hair fall and breakage from brushing and other daily stressors. Designed for normal to oily hair that’s fine, medium or thick, it deeply clarifies to thoroughly remove build-up, pollution particles and excess oils from the scalp while strengthening weak strands. After a few uses of the gentle gel shampoo you can expect to see less hair on your brush.
13. Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser
When Bread Beauty Supply founder and chief executive officer Maeva Heim didn’t see enough positive conversations about natural hair and women of color in the beauty space, she decided to create them. The new clean, vegan line focuses on 3a to 4c curls and is challenging what it means to have “good” curls by making frizz aspirational and embracing all curl types. That’s why its Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser is the best shampoo for natural texture out there, since it gives an effective yet delicate cleanse. Essentially a hybrid between a co-wash and a shampoo, it works into a mild creamy lather and contains ingredients from Heim’s native Australia, such as moisturizing Australian Kakadu Plum, which has the highest concentration of vitamin C of any fruit.
14. Leonor Greyl Paris Volumizing and Detangling Shampoo
Best Volumizing Shampoo
Get Brigitte Bardot-worthy volume with French brand Leonor Greyl’s shampoo that delivers lift and detangles. Even the finest, limpest hair will reach new heights with this volumizing shampoo. And since it’s also an excellent detangler, it eliminates the need for conditioner, which tends to weigh down hair. Made with 92 percent natural ingredients, it’s infused with hydrating seaweed extract and strengthening wheat proteins.
15. L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Long Hair
Long hair means those ends have been around for a while, which is why they need extra care. Enter the Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo, which is jam-packed with vitamins B3 and B5 and fine castor oil to help close split ends, strengthen the hair shaft and mend damage without weighing hair down. It’ll only take one wash to notice a difference and hair will be left smelling sweet and fruity.
16. RE-fresh Scalp Care Anti-Dandruff Sea Mineral + Hydrate Shampoo
Getting rid of pesky white flakes can be tough — but formulas shouldn’t be tough on your scalp. Unlike many harsh dandruff shampoos, this one is delightfully scented and gently fights flakes and reduces scalp irritation with 2 percent salicylic acid and white willow bark extract. The formula is made with more than 90 percent naturally derived ingredients — sans parabens, silicones and dyes — and it’s safe to use every day.
17. KMS Add Power Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Fine Hair
Suds up with this KMS shampoo for stronger, healthier and more resilient hair. Lactic acid, malic acid, organic white tea extract and rice protein combine forces to boost the internal reconstruction of hair, thicken it and maintain the natural protein balance. It’s never been easier to pump up locks, gaining healthier hair along the way.