There's something truly glamorous about curly hair. The only downside is that, as effortless as curls look, they do take quite a bit of effort to maintain. In order to keep your curls moisturized and full of elasticity, you need to take proper care of you hair, which, of course, starts with sorting your way through the best shampoos for curly hair.
To help your keep you hair healthy and soft, there are steps you can take before you hop in the shower. Because curly hair tends to be thicker, you don't need to shampoo it every day. Yes, cleansing your hair regularly is important when it comes to maintaining scalp health, but if you wash curly hair every day, it risks becoming dry and more susceptible to frizz. Instead, try washing it every other day if your curls are on the finer side, and every three to four days if your hair is thicker.
You'll also want to comb through your curls pre-shower. Using a wide-tooth comb (or even your fingers) to comb through tangles starting at the ends and working your way up is a much gentler method than using a brush. Plus, your hair is more fragile when it's wet, so combing through your hair when it's dry will help prevent breakage.
When it comes to choosing a shampoo, you'll want to look for a formula that meets your own specific needs, but the one thing all curly hair types have in common is that they require plenty of moisturizing ingredients. Since it's harder for the scalp's natural oils to travel down curls than it is for straight hair, it's important to choose a shampoo that's hydrating without being too harsh. That means, in general, curly haired folks will want to stay away from sulfates, which are known to strip your hair of the natural oils it produces. If your shampoo of choice does have sulfates, make sure it contains plenty of moisturizing ingredients to balance things out.
Scroll on for five of the best shampoos for curly hair, whether you're looking for a frizz-fighting formula, a clarifying shampoo, or a powerhouse detangler.
1. The Overall Best Shampoo For Curly Hair
Given that Miss Jessie's was founded by two curly-haired sisters (and salon owners), it's no surprise that the brand has become a favorite among people with curls of all kinds. The Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy shampoo has a nearly perfect five-star rating on Amazon for its ability to remove product buildup from the scalp while providing enough slip to detangle curls with minimal effort. Though the formula is moisturizing, it's important to note that it does contain sulfates (ammonium lauryl sulfate, which is a more mild type of sulfate), and is recommended to be used with Miss Jessie's Crème De La Crème conditioner to help further hydrate hair.
"The best detangling shampoo on the the market!" raved one reviewer. "It contains so much slip that my 4c hair detangled in 2 passes with the detangling comb while this shampoo was in my hair. My hair is 100% natural and this shampoo leaves my hair super moisturized."
Another fan says, "All the other shampoos I’ve used that said they were for curly hair, failed me. Within my first wash with this (4 months ago) my natural curl is back and not frizzy and dried out like many hair products."
2. The Best Drugstore Shampoo For Curly Hair
Get healthy, voluminous curls without breaking the bank with Garnier's Curl Nourish shampoo. Using a blend of moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil and glycerin, the sulfate-free formula works to soften hair and fight frizz for up to 24 hours. The shampoo also contains fortifying ingredients that help strengthen hair and protect it from heat-induced damage, so your curls stay healthy over time.
"I love this product! It reduces frizz, nourishes, and defines my curls. It's better than some of the salon-quality products I own. I definitely recommend this to anybody with curly hair," says one reviewer. Another wrote, "Creates a good lather and it smells nice. Leaves my hair very soft with bouncy curls afterwards."
3. The Best Shampoo For Curly, Frizzy Hair
For curly hair that turns frizzy as soon as it's dry, the solution is as simple as adding more moisture to your locks (without getting too science-y, dry hair absorbs more moisture in the air, which is why frizz gets worse when it's humid out). Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo is a sulfate-free formula that was specifically designed to tackle frizz before it even appears. Emollient ingredients like shea butter and ceramides help smooth the hair cuticle, while Ouidad's silk-derived Anti-Frizz Nano Technology seals the hair cuticle to prevent moisture in the air from penetrating the hair shaft and causing frizz. The shampoo also contains a UV filter to help protect hair from environmental aggressors that can cause damage and dryness, both of which are contributors to frizz.
"Best hair product I have found for my curly, frizzy hair," writes one Amazon user, who added, "Summer humidity is a killer on my hair [and] this keeps it under control." Another fan of the Ouidad shampoo, says, "It makes your hair feel like silk, defines curls, and does a great job [of] making your hair feel clean."
4. The Best Shampoo & Conditioner Duo
You don't need me to tell you that conditioner is a curly hair essential. But if you're looking for a beloved shampoo and conditioner duo, Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine set gets rave reviews. This sulfate-free set uses natural ingredients to cleanse, moisturize, and repair curly hair without stripping it of its natural oils. Certified-organic shea butter and coconut oil recharge dry strands, while ingredients like hibiscus flower extract, silk protein, and neem oil help reduce breakage and make hair soft.
The Shea Moisture set is also a favorite on Amazon among a range of curl types. "My 12-year-old daughter has thick and really curly [hair]," writes one reviewer, who adds, "It smells great, leaves her hair super-soft without residue, and she can actually brush her hair without tears." Another noted, "It's moisturizing and nourishing and helps define curls while minimizing frizz."
5. The Best Clarifying Shampoo For Curly Hair
Curly hair can get away with less washing, which is helpful when it comes to preventing moisture loss, but fewer shampoo days can also mean more product buildup that can eventually lead to scalp damage and weighed-down curls. DevaCurl's Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum applies the concept of using micellar water to gently cleanse your face to your hair-care routine. Instead of using harsh clarifying ingredients to deep clean your hair and scalp, this DevaCurl product uses micellar water to draw out dirt and product buildup like a magnet. The non-stripping formula also contains Abyssinian seed oil and jojoba oil for more even more moisture and shine.
"[My] curl pattern was getting tighter, stringy looking, and I had build-up on my hair from experimenting with gel products," wrote on user who stated that after using this cleanser, "My curls were revitalized." Another reviewer writes, "I struggle with dry, itchy scalp, and this has helped immensely. The nozzle helps to get through my thick, 3a/3b hair, and I noticed an immediate difference in my hair afterwards."
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