Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Verna Meachum
If you have curly hair, then finding the right shampoo for your tresses can be challenging. There are so many different types of shampoos that it’s hard to know which one is best suited for your locks.
To help save you time and frustration, we put together this blog post with 25 shampoos that will work great on curls!
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Shampoo
Take porosity and density into account when choosing a curly hair shampoo. Porosity affects how well your hair retains moisture. Low porosity hair doesn’t absorb moisture very well. You’ll want to look for shampoos that deliver intense hydration and enhanced manageability.
High porosity hair absorbs moisture easily but also loses it very quickly. You’ll want to look for shampoos with ingredients that will help lock in moisture and prevent frizziness.
If you need a shampoo to remove a lot of product build up, or just need to reset your mane, try a clarifying shampoo.
Density refers to how packed your curls are; coarse-haired tends to be denser than those with finer tresses so they should opt for a gentler shampoo.
High-density hair is more prone to tangles, so you’ll want a gentle formula with slip that will help to prevent breakage.
What to Look for in the Best Shampoo for Curly Hair?
When shopping for curly hair shampoo, there are a few key factors to consider. The first is your curl type. Some shampoos work better on wavy curls whereas others will be more effective on tighter ringlets or kinks and coils.
Next, determine if you have fine or coarse hair as well as how oily it tends to get throughout the day. Curly hair shampoo formulations vary in terms of the cleansing agents they contain; some are designed for fine, dry hair while others are meant for thick, oily locks.
Ingredients to Look for in a Curly Hair Shampoo
When shopping for the best shampoo for curly hair, keep an eye out for the following ingredients:
- Sulfates: Some sulfates are harsh cleansing agents that can be too stripping for curly hair. Look for sulfate-free formulas to avoid damaging your strands.
- Coconut oil: If your hair likes coconut oil then this is a great ingredient for you. It has hydrating and detangling properties that make it a great addition to curly hair shampoos.
- Silicone: Silicone coats the surface of your strands, giving them a sleek, shiny appearance. It can help combat frizziness. However, if you follow the curly girl method, then this is not for you.
- Shea butter: Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that helps to nourish and protect curls.
- Honey: Honey is a natural humectant that helps to attract and retain moisture.
- Olive oil: Olive oil helps to hydrate dry locks.
Finally, consider your scalp’s sensitivity. If it’s easily irritated, you’ll want to look for a shampoo that is sulfate-free and contains gentle cleansing agents, such as:
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Decyl glucoside
- Sodium tricedeth
Ingredients to Stay Away From in a Curly Hair Shampoo
Even though the following ingredients can be beneficial for your locks, they may irritate sensitive scalps:
Harsh sulfates: Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents so you’ll want to avoid them if you have a sensitive scalp.
Look for products that don’t contain:
- Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfates
- Ammonium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate
- Myreth Sulfate
- TEA Lauryl Sulfate
- TEA-Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate
- Sodium Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, etc.
Drying Alcohol: Alcohol can be drying for the scalp so it’s best to avoid shampoos that contain it.
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Alcohol denat
When it comes to alcohols, it gets a little tricky, as it can function as a solvent, emulsifier, antiseptic, buffer (balances the pH), stabilizer, preservative, penetration enhancer, or fragrance fixative.
Even if alcohol is listed in the top 10 ingredients, it doesn’t mean it’s drying. It depends on the formula. There might be an emollient or fatty ingredients that make the product non-drying.
Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid in a shampoo, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find the best one for your curls.
Sulfates vs Silicone: What’s the Difference?
Many shampoos contain sulfates, which help to break down oils and dirt. However, these compounds can be harsh on curly hair as they tend to strip it of its natural oils that are necessary for moisture and elasticity.
To recognize sulfates, look for these keyword ingredients ending in:
On the other hand, many formulas work great with curl types but rely heavily on silicones for their cleansing and conditioning agents.
While these ingredients can help to smooth and soften hair, they can also build up over time and make it difficult to style.
To recognize silicones, look for these keyword ingredients ending in:
No two heads are alike
Some of the shampoos listed may contain sulfates. If your hair is sensitive to sulfates or any other ingredient, then don’t use them.
Not all curly hair is the same, so it is important to find a shampoo that works for you and your specific hair type.
The best way to determine if a shampoo is good for your hair is to try it out first. If you don’t like the results, then move on to another one.
With so many options available. it can be difficult to find the best product for your strands.
While you might rely on ads and reviews, remember that no two heads of hair are the same. So, if a friend recommends a shampoo and you don’t like it, that doesn’t mean the product is bad—it might just not be right for you.
As I always say, let your hair be your guide!
The Best Shampoo for Curly Hair: 25 Picks
Without further ado, here are our top 25 picks for the best shampoos for curly hair:
This shampoo is perfect for those with curly hair as it helps to add moisture and shine. It also contains a conditioning agent that will help to improve the overall health of your curls.
This shampoo is perfect for those who have curly hair and want to keep it healthy. It helps to remove build-up from the scalp and is made with coconut oil.
This shampoo is perfect for those with curly hair that want to help lock in moisture. It contains a blend of oils including coconut, macadamia, and sunflower that will help to hydrate your locks.
This is a clarifying conditioning shampoo is perfect for all curl types and wants to remove any product build-up and deodorize your hair and scalp. It helps get rid of hair pollutants and helps to control dandruff. Great for all porosity levels, but especially low porosity hair.
This shampoo is perfect for those with curly hair who want to add moisture. It will gently cleanse your locks and protect against frizziness.
This shampoo is ideal for restoring moisture to your hair and scalp, as it gently cleanses your hair of daily grime and gunk.
This shampoo contains almond and avocado oils that will help to provide softness to your curls, while it nourishes and hydrates.
This shampoo is a vegan formula and freat for those following the curly girl method. It’s infused with mint oil, vitamin E, and aloe to help nourish your curls.
A rich blend of oils Avocado, Coconut, Jojoba, and butters (Shea, Cocoa) to deeply hydrate curls, add shine, and reduce frizz.
This shampoo contains lime extract and citrus oils to increase the cleaning power, while rice protein and dead sea salt promote hair growth. Also, it contains organic and wildcrafted herbs to help to strengthen the hair and scalp.
This shampoo deeply moisturizes and cleanses dry, damaged, frizzy, colored hair without damaging it.
This gentle, moisturizing shampoo deposits sebum-mimicking natural and organic oils to hydrate the scalp while preserving hair. This shampoo is also best for depositing natural oils that mimic the sebum your scalp normally produces to hydrate dry skin and hair.
This shampoo is gentle and contains hibiscus extracts to strengthen hair and improve hair elasticity.
This gentle solution leaves your curls looking more defined and eliminates frizz and creates the ideal frizz-free foundation.
This is another great clarifying shampoo that cleanses hair without stripping hair of natural oils. This formula includes ingredients like agave, aloe, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, baobab protein, biotin, castor oil, chamomile, coconut oil, flaxseed, olive oil, shea butter, squalane oil and more.
This shampoo includes natural and fresh components like honey and babassu oil to help remove dirt and oil from your hair while also retaining and sealing in moisture.
This is a lather-free gentle cleanser that adds moisture and helps hair retain moisture.
Your Hair will be refreshed and moisturized by this solution. It cleanses and moisturizes your scalp, leaving your curls and coils revived.
Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo contains a proprietary combination of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to nourish and strengthen each strand of hair.
This cleanser detoxifies your hair while drawing out impurities, which help to heal and repair damaged strands. Best for any curls who want a deep curl cleanse and detox.
This shampoo delivers deep moisture and nourishment to dry, damaged hair. It reduces frizz, increases shine and suppleness, and supports healthy hair growth.
I swear by this shampoo! This helps to rid the scalp of severe dandruff and itchy scalp. Pair it with their tea tree conditioner and you’ve got a winning combo.
Shampoo for Curly Hair #23: Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo
In my opinion, this is the best chelating shampoo on the market. It’s also a vegan formula and pairs well with other conditioner brands. If you have hard water build-up, then get this!
This shampoo nourishes and hydrates hair and scalp. Best for those who have sensitivity to fragrance, essential oils, lactose, soy, and gluten!
This shampoo will gently remove build up without stripping your hair. It will also lightly infuse moisture into your hair. Safe for weekly use.