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Conditioning Shampoos For Curly Hair: The Key Ingredients 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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As a curly head who has been on this journey for nearly a decade, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of selecting a conditioning shampoo that’s not just effective but right for maintaining the health and beauty of curls. This realization isn’t just from my personal journey but also from experiences shared with my family and friends. A conditioning shampoo with the right mix of ingredients is a cornerstone of my hair care routine.

Curly hair, with its unique texture and needs, demands a specialized approach to stay vibrant and manageable. The key lies in the formulation of the conditioning shampoo, which should ideally include a balanced blend of active surfactants, hydrating ingredients, hair softening components, natural emollients, natural extracts and proteins, and beneficial additives. Each of these components plays a vital role in nurturing and enhancing curly hair, and we’ll delve into their specific benefits in the blog.

To ensure the information provided is both accurate and cutting-edge, I’ve sought the insight of a close friend who is not only a hair scientist but also a seasoned cosmetic formulator with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. With his expertise, we aim to guide you through selecting the best conditioning shampoo for your curls. Stay tuned for our product recommendations, designed to help you unlock the full potential of your curly hair.

Understanding Curly Hair: A Guide to Specialized Care

Shampooing is a universal step in everyone’s grooming routine, serving the dual purpose of cleansing and conditioning the hair. This process is essential for preparing the hair for the day or week ahead, ensuring it looks and feels its best.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that not all shampoos are suitable for every hair type. Due to the diverse nature of hair, products must be chosen with care, especially for curly hair, which exhibits distinct characteristics necessitating specialized care. Research highlights that curly hair differs significantly from straight hair in terms of morphology, featuring a unique curl shape along the shaft. This uniqueness demands hair care solutions specifically designed to meet curly hair’s particular needs.

Curly hair is inherently different, exhibiting characteristics like higher porosity, lower moisture levels, and an increased susceptibility to breakage during grooming. 2,3 The structure of curly hair, with its specific curl pattern, also means that more effort is required when combing, as the curls have weak points where they are more likely to break.

The preservation of curly hair’s natural pattern can be challenged by physical wear and chemical treatments. For individuals dedicated to maintaining their natural curls, establishing a hair care routine with products formulated for curly hair’s unique needs is paramount.

In the following sections, we will explore the distinctive traits of curly hair more deeply and highlight the crucial ingredients to look for in a conditioning shampoo tailored for curly hair, ensuring your locks remain healthy, resilient, and beautifully defined.

Curly Hair Characteristics and Care Needs

Image showing the different ellipticity of hairs.

Curly hair stands out due to its unique structural composition within the cortex, leading to the natural formation of curls along the shaft. This distinctive arrangement of cortical cells gives curly hair an elliptical cross-section, differentiating it from the round cross-section typical of straight hair.

The curvature of curly hair makes it particularly vulnerable to breakage, especially at the points where it bends, due to the delicacy of these areas. Moreover, compared to straight hair, curly strands tend to be drier and exhibit higher porosity, which contributes to their increased need for moisture.

The degree of curliness in hair varies widely, influencing its strength, moisture balance, and porosity. The tighter the curls, the more prone the hair is to dryness and fragility. This is especially true for very curly, coiled, or kinky hair types, such as Afro-textured hair, which are more susceptible to breakage during combing due to their inherent delicacy. These hair types also tend to suffer from a lack of moisture and lipids, affecting the scalp and the hair itself. 4

Given these unique needs, curly hair benefits from a shampooing solution that is gentle and moisturizing. Such a product should effectively cleanse without stripping the hair, while also providing the hydration and care needed to maintain the health and integrity of curly hair fibers.

Key Ingredients to Look For

Image of a the ingredients label of a conditioning shampoo for curly hair.

When looking for a conditioning shampoo specifically for curly hair, it is important to consider the following ingredients.

Active Surfactant Blend

Surfactants are the backbone of a shampoo formulation responsible for removing excess oil, suspending debris and pollution particles, while also restoring hair’s natural texture and appearance. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are types of anionic surfactants that are commonly used. It’s important to note that these ingredients can lead to protein loss in the hair and can strip off important lipids from the hair shaft, making the hair dry and brittle. 5

For those with curly hair, it’s best to use a cleansing product that’s gentle and mild. We recommend using green, bio-sourced surfactants since they’re sustainable and gentle on the skin. Glucosides are our go-to surfactant since they’re mild, nonionic, sugar-based, and provide excellent cleansing.

The most commonly used glucosides are:

● Coco Glucoside

● Decyl Glucoside

● Lauryl Glucoside

Amino acid-derived surfactants are also mild and skin-friendly. They also act as hydrating agents boosting the moisture level of the scalp and hair fibers.

Our favorites are:

● Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate

● Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate

Other anionic surfactants can be used in shampoos for curly hair to provide effective cleansing and moisturizing benefits are:

● Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate

● Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

Both offer gentle cleansing without removing essential lipids and oils from the scalp and hair shaft. They generate a rich creamy lather and leave hair feeling soft.

To improve a shampoo’s cleaning ability, foaminess, and stability, amphoteric surfactants are included in addition to the main anionic surfactants.

Our top choice amphoteric surfactants for shampoos for curly hair are:

● Cocoamidopropyl Betaine

● Cocoamphodiacetate

● Lauramine Oxide

Hydrating Ingredients

For curly hair types, which tend to be dry and coarse, moisture is essential for hair health. To maintain balanced moisture levels, it is important to use a shampoo that contains hydrating ingredients.

In addition to using traditional humectants like Glycerin and Propylene Glycol, there are now top-rated hydrating ingredients that can help increase moisture levels in both the scalp and hair.

Our preferred ingredients are:

● Betaine – a sugar beet-extracted small molecule with extraordinary water binding capacity.

● Propanediol – a corn-derived moisturizing ingredient that does not leave a sticky or heavy feel.

These two ingredients are small molecules and make an excellent blend to hydrate curly hair fibers.

Hair Softening Ingredients

If you have curly hair, you may notice more tangles, twists, and knots in your hair. To make combing easier and get rid of those knots, you should use a shampoo specifically designed for curly hair that contains detangling ingredients. Cationic polymers with positive charges are the best choice for this purpose.

Our favorite hair-softening ingredients are:

● Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride – a type of cationic polymer derived from guar gum. It has a strong attraction to hair fibers and offers benefits such as detangling, softening, and conditioning of the hair.

Polyquaternium 10 – a cationic polymer derived from cellulose that has high fiber substantivity and can make combing and detangling easier.

Natural Emollients

To keep curly hair smooth, it is important to use a shampoo with natural oils and their hydrophilic derivatives, which can lubricate the hair shaft. This helps to reduce friction between the hair fibers.

These ingredients provide a gentle and pleasant feeling while washing and make the rinsing process easier.

Here is a list of recommended natural emollients for shampoo specifically designed for curly hair.

● Jojoba Oil & Jojoba esters

● Coconut Oil

● Argan Oil

● Wheat Germ Oil

Natural Extracts and Proteins

Using natural hydrosols or extracts in shampoo can provide many benefits for your scalp. These ingredients are rich in polyphenols, vitamins, and essential nutrients, which can stimulate the regeneration of scalp cells, enhance cellular turnover, and decrease the irritation potential from surfactants.

With these benefits, natural hydrosols or extracts can make your shampoo more gentle and friendly to your skin.

Natural extracts that work well for shampooing curly hair include:

● Green Tea Extract

● Chamomile Floral Extract

● Rosemary Leaf Extract

● Pumpkin Ferment Extract

● Coffee Seed Extract

Proteins are useful multifunctional ingredients that can improve the quality of hair by restoring mechanical strength and increasing glossiness.

Our preferred proteins for curly hair are:

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

● Hydrolyzed Keratin

● Hydrolyzed Wheat Amino acids


All shampoos contain preservatives and fragrances as additives. It is recommended that consumers carefully review these additives before using the shampoo.

It is recommended to choose scalp-friendly preservatives as some preservatives can cause sensitivity on the scalp. Preservatives like parabens, thiozolinones, and formaldehyde-based ones are known to be irritants and should be avoided.

Our preferred preservatives are:

● Caprylyl Glycol

● Caprylhydroxamic Acid

● Hexylene Glycol

● Sodium Benzoate

● Potassium Sorbate

It is recommended that consumers opt for natural essential oils derived from fruits as they are naturally fragrant and compatible with the skin, making them a better choice compared to synthetic fragrances.

Some examples are listed here:

● Mandarin Orange Peel Oil

● Lavender Oil

● Lemon Oil

● Eucalyptus Oil

Each one of the above has a distinct fragrance and can be used to make the shampoo smell great.

Our Top 16 Picks

In our pursuit to cater to the diverse needs of curly hair, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of conditioning shampoos that have shown great efficacy for curls. Below, you’ll find brief descriptions of each to help you pinpoint the perfect match for your hair’s specific requirements. It’s crucial to acknowledge that while these shampoos have been successful for many with curly hair, individual results can vary. The journey to finding your ideal shampoo often involves a bit of experimentation. Trust your intuition and let the response of your hair be your primary guide.

For each recommended product, we’ve included a list of ingredients to aid in your decision-making process. However, it’s important to note that these ingredient lists might not always be up to date. For the most accurate and recent information, we advise consulting the details provided on the product’s packaging. Additionally, be aware of the product sizes available, as these can differ from one retailer to another.

Now, let’s explore our top selections presented in no particular order:

#1 Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

Shea Moisture is a brand that is specifically designed for curly hair. In 1912, a mother of four named Sofi Tucker sold homemade beauty products, including Shea Butter and African Black Soap, in Sierra Leone. Today, those products are still sold under the name SheaMoisture as a tribute to her legacy.

This shampoo does not contain sulfates in its ingredients. It creates a rich lather, and its scent is pleasant as it cleanses your hair and scalp. They use natural ingredients and certified organic Shea Butter to make a gentle cleanser that enhances hair health and restores shine. Many customers have praised this Coconut & Hibiscus product as the best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair after just one use.

Ingredients: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Glycol Stearate, Fragrance, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Panthenol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Hydrolyzed Silk, Citric Acid, Stearamide AMP, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Seed Oil, Sodium Phytate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Tocopherol, Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin (Vegetable), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Triethyl Citrate, Benzoic Acid.

#2 Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

Bounce Curl is an award-winning brand owned by a family of women. They make hair and skin products that combine modern science with natural ingredients. I’ve used this brand since the beginning days of its cleansing and conditioning launch, and it is still one of my favorite products.

Each product includes its flagship ingredient – Nigella Sativa black seed oil. This clarifying shampoo contains no sulfates and is formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients to create a gentle and effective cleanser that helps remove build-up from styling products and environmental pollutants.

This particular product is their “Leve 1: Light Moisture” option, so if you have curly hair that needs some moisture, get this one.

Ingredients: Water, **Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, **Decyl Glucoside, **Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, **Glycerin **Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, **Propanediol, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Polyquaternium-10, **Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Biotin, **Vanillin, **Hydrolyzed Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Protein, *Nigella Sativa (Virgin Black Cumin) Oil, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lactic Acid, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, **Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, **Boswellia Carterii Oil, **Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, **Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, **Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, **Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, **Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, **Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, **Geranium Maculatum Oil, **Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, **Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, **Pogostemon Cablin Oil, **Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Seed Oil, ** Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Caprylyl Glycol. *Certified Organic **Plant Derived 100% Oil Scent (no synthetic fragrance).

Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
$35.00 ($4.38 / Fl Oz)

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03/19/2024 02:59 pm GMT

#3 Bounce Curl Pure Silk Moisturizing Shampoo

This shampoo is the “Level 2 Medium Moisture,” which gives you a little more moisture than their Gentle Clarifying Shampoo. This conditioning shampoo for curly hair helps control flyaways by infusing oils into the hair. It also works to detangle the hair before conditioning. It contains organic black seed oil, pro-vitamin B5, safflower oil, biotin, quinoa, nettle, lavender, olive oil, green tea, baobab seed, and other plant extracts that restore hair.

Ingredients: Water, **Decyl Glucoside, **Hybrid Safflower Oil, **Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, **Glycerin, **Propanediol, **Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Polyquaternium-10, **Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, **Vanillin, **Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Biotin, *Nigella Sativa (Virgin Black Cumin) Oil, **Euterpe Olecracea (Olive Oil) Fruit Extract, **Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, **Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, **Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, **Hydrolyzed Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Protein, **Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, **Morinda Citrifolia Extract, **Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, **Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, **Boswellia Carterii Oil, **Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, **Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, **Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Seed Oil, **Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, **Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, **Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, **Geranium Maculatum Oil, **Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, **Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, **Citric Acid. Essential Oil Blend (Scent). *Certified Organic **Plant Derived 100% Oil Scent (no synthetic fragrance).

#4 Bounce Curl Hydra Drench Cleansing Conditioner

This is Bounce Curl’s, “Level 3: Extra Moisture” cleanser. If your curls feel like it’s been through the Sahara Desert, this is the product for you. This formula both moisturizes and cleanses your hair simultaneously. It also contains conditioning ingredients that help detangle your hair more effectively.

Ingredients: *Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, **Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, **Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, **Cetearyl Alcohol, **Sucrose Cocoate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, **Propanediol, Panthenol, **Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, **Vanillin, Polyquaternium-10, Lactic Acid, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, *Nigella Sativa (Virgin Black Cumin) Oil, **Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, **Pogostemon Cablin Oil, **Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, **Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, **Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, **Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, **Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract, **Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, **Boswellia Carterii Oil, **Caryocar Brasiliense (Pequi) Oil, **Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, **Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, **Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, **Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, **Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Seed Oil, **Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, **Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin. *Certified Organic **Plant Derived 100% Natural Scent (no synthetic fragrance).

Bounce Curl Hydra Drench Cleansing Conditioner

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#5 Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo

In 1984, Ouidad opened the first salon in the US that catered specifically to curly hair and has since become a well-known brand for curly hair products.

What’s special about this particular shampoo is its Anti-Frizz Nano Technology®, which contains sericin (a protein from silk) to keep moisture in and humidity out. It also has ceramides that make hair healthier, smoother, and more elastic. Additionally, there is a UV filter to protect hair from environmental damage.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sericin, Cocamide MEA, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Orbignya Speciosa Seed Oil, Ceramide NG, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-59, Polyquaternium-7, Amodimethicone, Lauryl Laurate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycol Stearate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trideceth-12, PEI-10, C20-40 Pareth-10, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, PEG-40/PPG-8 Methylaminopropyl/Hydroxypropyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Synthetic Wax, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride, Benzoic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal.

#6 Adwoa Beauty Moisturizing Shampoo

The brand Adwoa Beauty is named after the founder, Julian Addo, whose traditional name is also Adwoa. She was born in Monrovia, Liberia to a Ghanaian father and Liberian mother, and moved to Staten Island, NY when she was 2 ½ years old. Her life, purpose, and willpower led her to become the CEO and founder of Adwoa Beauty.

This shampoo is made with a specially designed blend of essential oils that help stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth. It gently cleanses the hair without stripping it of its natural oils, thanks to the addition of aloe leaf juice and mild cleansing agents that remove product buildup. You can trust this shampoo to make your hair shiny, easy to detangle, and your scalp feel clean and soft to the touch after just one rinse.

Ingredients: water (aqua), *aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoyl isethionate, lauryl glucoside, sodium lauroyl lactylate, +glycerin, *adansonia digitata (baobab) oil, ricinus communis (jamaican black castor) seed oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, phthalates free fragrance, gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) oil, *mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, hydroxyethylcellulose, polyquaternium-10, dehydroacetic acid, benzyl alcohol, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, opuntia ficus indica (prickly pear) seed oil, *cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, *lavandula (lavender) spica oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, menthol, urtica dioica (nettle) extract, citric acid. *certified organic ingredient +kosher ingredient used.

#7 EVOLVh SmartCurl Hydrating Wash

Since 2009, EVOLVh has been a leader in clean haircare. They use natural and organic ingredients to provide high-performance products that deliver transformative visible results for all hair types, driven by biology and science. This was before “Clean Beauty” was even a term.

This cleanser is gentle and won’t strip your hair’s natural oils. It also adds nutrients that make your hair stronger, shinier, and softer. This reduces frizz and makes it easier to manage your curls. Amino and fatty acids in the cleanser help make your hair more pliable and elastic. The cleanser is easy to absorb and won’t leave build-up. It can also repair and prevent split ends and breakage. This cleanser is perfect for people with dry, over-processed, or frizzy hair who want to achieve maximum hydration.

Ingredients: Water, Decyl Glucoside*, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate*, Cocamidopropyl Betaine+, Lauryl Glucoside*, Coco-Glucoside, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Seed Oil+, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Seaweed Extract+, Citrus Aurantifolia Oil*, Lecithin*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract*, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Soy Amino Acids*, Rosa Mosqueta (Rose) Hip Oil*, Viola Tricolor (Wild Pansy) Extract*, Melilotus Offincialis (Sweet Clover) Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract+, Equisetum Arvense Extract*, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract*, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil*, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil*, Nasturtium Officinale (Nasturtium) Extract*, Prunus Percisa Nectarina Fruit (Nectarine) Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Fruit (Passion Flower) Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil*, Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil*, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Commiphora Guidotti, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil*, Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid*, Benzyl Alcohol*. *ECOCERT Certified Ingredient +Organic Ingredient. All Ingredients are Non-GMO.

#8 Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

In 1973, Cornell McBride, Sr., and Therman McKenzie started M&M Products Company in the health and beauty aids industry. Cornell McBride, Sr. is now the CEO and President of MRL. Their first product was Sta-Sof-Fro, which was developed as the first softening product for African-American men’s hair, making it easy to comb and manage. Sta-Sof-Fro became hugely successful, allowing M&M Products Company to introduce other globally recognized brands.

This shampoo will both cleanse and provide extra moisture. It contains the moisturizing properties of almond and avocado, along with a blend of nourishing botanicals that work to hydrate, soften, and detangle all hair types. Best of all, it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils.

This product has several benefits, including a gentle formula that cleanses hair without removing natural oils, excellent detangling properties that can save up to 30 minutes of time, and it is also free from parabens, paraffin, petrolatum, mineral oil, and sulfates.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropylhydroxysultaine, Acetamide MEA, Polyquaternium-7, Glycol Distearate (and) Laureth-4 (and) Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycereth-2 Cocoate, Fragrance (Parfum), PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate (and) PPG 2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide (and) Water, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (and) Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool.

#9 Pantene Gold Series Moisture Boost Shampoo

Pantene is a well-established hair care brand that originally originated in Europe in 1945 under the ownership of Hoffmann-La Roche of Switzerland. The brand is now owned by Procter & Gamble and features products with panthenol as a shampoo ingredient.

Developed by scientists and perfected by stylists, Pantene Gold Series Moisture Boost Shampoo gently cleanses, hydrates rough cuticles, and softens hair with its rich, creamy lather. Infused with argan oil and free of parabens, this is a conditioning shampoo for curly hair that removes impurities and product build-up, promoting true hair health while priming and moisturizing hair for styling.

Yes, this product contains sulfate, but don’t let that deter you as formulators know how to create a balanced product. This shampoo is designed with the technology to provide just the right amount of lather while still protecting and moisturizing your hair.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Citrate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Dimethiconol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Tea-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Tetrasodium Edta, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Trideceth-10, Polyquaternium-6, Polyquaternium-10, Trihydroxystearin, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Silica, Iron Oxides, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

Pantene Gold Series Shampoo
$30.89 $28.81 ($9.60 / Count)
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03/22/2024 09:29 am GMT

#10 Blu Atlas Shampoo

If you prioritize your health, then you probably already know about Blu Atlas. It is a clean and vegan brand that does not contain preservatives, parabens, synthetic dyes, or phthalates. Additionally, all the ingredients used in their products are obtained from natural sources like plants, fruits, and minerals.

The sulfate-free Blu Atlas Shampoo hydrates your curls and enhances their fullness and vibrancy.

It is made with saw palmetto and vegan biotin to strengthen hair, as well as jojoba protein to repair damaged strands and aloe vera to soothe the scalp. It uses coconut-derived surfactants to clean the hair and eliminate dirt and oil, leaving your hair healthy and nourished.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Glycol Distearate, Brassicyl Valinate Esylate, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Protein, Serenoa Serrulata (Saw Palmetto) Fruit Extract, Biotin (Vegan), Sodium Phytate, Natural Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

#11 Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo

Briogeo is a brand of hair care products that are thoughtfully made with clean ingredients to provide effective solutions for any hair type, texture, need, or individual.

This conditioning shampoo for curly hair is designed to enhance and hydrate them. It contains nutrients that seal the hair cuticle, preventing frizz and promoting curl formation. Despite being creamy, it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils and instead uses rich emollients to leave your curls soft and touchable. It’s also 95% naturally-derived, vegan, and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Lauramidopropyl Betaine*, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate*, Glycerin*, Glycol Distearate*, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine*, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Rice Amino Acids*, Lactobacillus/Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil*, Acanthus Mollis Leaf Extract*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Keratin Amino Acids*, Coconut Acid*, Hydrolyzed Quinoa*, Sodium Hyaluronate*, Acyl Coenzyme A Desaturase*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil*, Polyquaternium-71, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate*, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Isethionate, Polyquaternium-7, Anhydroxylitol*, Xylitylglucoside*, Xylitol*, Fragrance (Parfum), Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.

#12 L’Oréal Paris Evercurl HydraCharge Shampoo

L’Oréal Paris is a cosmetics brand that provides luxury beauty products to people worldwide. They offer a variety of products from makeup, skincare, hair care to hair color. The brand is renowned for its scientific excellence and continuous innovation.

The EverCurl Hydracharge Shampoo contains coconut oil which helps to moisturize and soften your curls, leaving them manageable and free of frizz. Additionally, your curls will maintain their definition for up to 48 hours. This shampoo is designed specifically for curly hair, so it is gentle and doesn’t contain harsh sulfates, salts, or surfactants that can damage your hair. The rich lather and pleasant fragrance add to the overall luxurious experience.

Ingredients: Aqua/​Water/​Eau, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycol Distearate, Glycereth-26, Decyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Coconut Acid, Parfum/​Fragrance, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Divinyldimethicone/​Dimethicone Copolymer, Polyquaternium-7, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Isethionate, Carbomer, Benzyl Benzoate, C11-15 Pareth-7, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Glycerin, Trideceth-12, Laureth-9, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Sodium Benzoate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3, Coumarin, Cocos Nucifera Oil/​Coconut Oil, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil/​Grape Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Hibiscus Esculentus /​ Hibiscus Esculentus Seed Extract, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid.

#13 Acure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo 

Acure is a company started by a family that focuses on creating sustainable personal care products made from plant-based materials. Their products are specially designed for skincare and hair care, and they do not contain parabens, sulfates, or any animal-derived ingredients. Additionally, they do not test their products on animals, and they are safe for use by vegans.

This shampoo is completely vegan and provides long-lasting moisture that leaves your hair soft, manageable, and ready to style. It contains argan oil and pumpkin, which provide high amounts of omega fatty acids.

Ingredients: Water (Eau), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Betaine, Glycerin, Cocoglucosides Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract*, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract*, Punica Granatum Extract*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Oil, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Benzaldehyde, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

Acure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo
$13.19 $12.00 ($1.50 / Fl Oz)
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03/24/2024 01:41 pm GMT

#14 Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Shampoo

This conditioning shampoo is suitable for all hair types that fall under type 4. It does not contain sulfates and uses natural nutrients and moisturizers to cleanse and pamper hair. The shampoo contains honey, which has antioxidant properties, and Mafura Oil, which provides deep conditioning specifically for curly and coily hair.

This is formulated to provide intense moisture and nourishing nutrients to hair, while effectively cleaning it. It leaves enough moisture for easy management after shampooing.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Glycol Stearate, Glycerin (Vegetable), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Panthenol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Ficus Carica (Fig) Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearamide Amp, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopherol, Honey.

#15 Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Tracee Ellis Ross spent a decade advocating for a brand that would celebrate Black and textured hair. As the founder and CEO of Pattern Beauty, she achieved her goal.

Consider including this moisturizing shampoo as part of your natural hair care routine. This shampoo is creamy, luxurious, and enriched with a blend of nourishing oils. It can help enhance curls and coils, by providing them with moisture. This gentle formula can also effectively remove build-up and dirt from your hair and scalp while preserving your hair’s moisture.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propanediol, Glycol Distearate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Mel (Honey, Miel), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Biotin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Glycolipids, Glycerin, Phospholipids, Amodimethicone, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lauryl Lactyl Lactate, Hydroxyacetophenone, PEG-150 Distearate, Parfum (Fragrance), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Celluose, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, PEG-150 Stearate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-1M, Stearic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Linalool.

Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo
$21.00 ($2.14 / Fl Oz)
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03/19/2024 05:04 pm GMT

#16 Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo 

Giovanni has been formulating gentle and high-performing products for 40 years since its establishment by Arthur Guidotti in 1979.

This Vegan-friendly shampoo is designed specifically for damaged hair and contains Apple and Aloe extracts that offer antioxidant protection and improved moisturization for a smoother hair texture.

This product can be used to calm unruly hair, reducing frizz and improving shine. It is especially helpful for smoothing dry or damaged hair and does not contain lauryl or laureth sulfates.

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, *Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Leaf Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Valencia Orange) Extract, *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Extract, *Echinacea Purpurea Extract, *Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, *Macrocystis Pyrifera (Sea Kelp) Extract, *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Extract, *Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Glycol Distearate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Natural Fragrance. *USDA Certified Organic.


Curly hair requires specialized hair care products due to its unique morphology and physicochemical properties.

Use a conditioning shampoo for curly hair that is gentle, mild, and hydrating to improve moisture levels. Carefully examining the ingredient list can give insight into the science behind product formulation.

It’s highly recommended that consumers analyze the ingredients before using any shampoo.


1. Corbett, J. F., The Chemistry of Hair-care Products. Journal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists 1976, 92 (8), 285-303.

2. Porter, C. E.; Dixon, F.; Khine, C. C.; Pistorio, B.; Bryant, H.; de la Mettrie, R., The behavior of hair from different countries. J. Cosmet. Sci. 2009, 60 (2), 97-109.

3. Syed, A. N.; Syed, M. In Curly Hair: Structure, Properties, and Care, Society of Cosmetics Chemists, 75th, NY, USA, NY, USA, 2021.

4. Kreplak, L.; Briki, F.; Duvault, Y.; Doucet, J.; Merigoux, C.; Leroy, F.; Lévêque, J. L.; Miller, L.; Carr, G. L.; Williams, G. P.; Dumas, P., Profiling lipids across Caucasian and Afro-American hair transverse cuts, using synchrotron infrared microspectrometry. Inter. J. of Cosmet. Sci 2001, 23 (6), 369-374.

5. Wagner, R. D. C.; Joekes, I., Hair protein removal by sodium dodecyl sulfate. Colloid Surf. B-Biointerfaces 2005, 41 (1), 7-14.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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Great hair goes beyond using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Shop my favorite must-haves.

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Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.

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