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If You Have Relaxed Hair, These Shampoos Add Moisture & Strength

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While relaxed hair can be easier to manage on a day-to-day basis, it can be challenging to maintain in the long run, since hair damage and scalp irritation can begin to creep in. But the best shampoos for relaxed hair will strengthen and moisturize hair, while addressing any specific concerns like dry scalp, product buildup, or even hair thinning.

Moisture

First things first: A lot of hydration can be lost during the relaxing process, which is why all my picks contain powerful moisturizers like argan oil which is jam packed with vitamins and antioxidants that nourish hair.

Hair Concerns

  • Breakage: If your hair is weak, brittle, and prone to breakage, look for strengthening ingredients like keratin — a strengthening protein — to fortify strands and promote elasticity.
  • Dry Scalp: The chemicals found in relaxers can sometimes lead to an itchy, flaky scalp. If that's you, look for a scalp-moisturizing shampoo made to calm the scalp and reduce irritation. Many of these formulas also address dandruff caused by microbes.
  • Product Buildup: If you use a lot of styling products, you might benefit from using a clarifying shampoo several times a month to deeply cleanses and removes excess gunk and buildup.
  • Thinning Hair: A thickening shampoo made with ingredients like biotin or rosemary oil may encourage volume and promote growth.

While caring for processed hair may be intimidating at first, with the best shampoos for relaxed hair, your hair will stay healthy.

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1
The Overall Best

This deeply moisturizing shampoo quenches strands with hydrating ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E, and collagen, leaving hair shiny and frizz-free. A great shampoo for anyone with relaxed hair, the formula also contains silk proteins that seal any gaps in the hair cuticle to make it more resistant to breakage. It’s also sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free.

According to a reviewer: “This is a great shampoo, especially for my weakened hair. I started using it this week and can already tell the difference - it makes my hair soft to touch and helps it look shiny and healthy."

2
The Best Strengthening Shampoo

If you're dealing with hair breakage, this strengthening shampoo specially formulated for brittle strands is a great bet. It's made with keratin proteins to fortify hair and improve elasticity, along with a good helping of argan oil to add softness and shine. The shampoo is sulfate-, paraben-, and cruelty-free

According to a reviewer: “This stuff really works, I have very thin hair that I can never grow because it just breaks off, but not now. I love this stuff. I now have all my hair below my shoulders. I started using it 1 year ago & now I have longer, stronger hair like when I was in my teens."

3
The Best For A Dry, Flaky Scalp

It can be hard to discern whether a flaky scalp is caused by dryness or dandruff, but this soothing scalp shampoo addresses both issues at the source. The shampoo is formulated with moisturizing argan oil to nourish a dry scalp as well as tea tree oil, which can help eliminate the microbe responsible for causing dandruff.

If you like, you can opt to bundle the shampoo with an argan oil conditioner infused with delicious-smelling vanilla and lavender essential oil, which may also have growth-promoting and antimicrobial properties.

Both the shampoo and conditioner are USDA-certifed organic, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.

According to a reviewer: “Took a gamble when frustrated one night and ordered this and the healing conditioner, and I freaking LOVE IT. My hair is happier, healthier, and I no longer have dandruff unless I use a different shampoo. You definitely need to let it sit for a few minutes, but it leaves my head and hair clean but not stripped of oils."

4
The Best Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoos, by design, are extra powerful to remove excess buildup, which is great for getting rid of all the product you’ve used. This clarifying shampoo will leave your hair and scalp feeling squeaky clean, while also giving hair a good dose of moisture, thanks to ingredients like argan, avocado, and jojoba oils. The formula can be used up to twice weekly if you use a lot of products, swim often, or have hard water. But be warned: Despite hefty moisturizers, it can still leave your hair feeling stripped so you'll want to follow it up with a deep conditioning treatment. This shampoo is cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.

According to a reviewer: “I love this shampoo. I have had a buildup problem for a while and this is the ONLY product that has worked for me. It also smells amazing and does not irritate your skin as I have very sensitive skin. If you're on the fence, I highly recommend this shampoo!”

5
The Best Thickening Shampoo

This thickening shampoo is a great choice for anyone dealing with thinning hair as a result of processing. It's formulated with B vitamins that may help prevent hair loss, along with rosemary and saw palmetto, both of which may help boost hair growth. Aloe vera and coconut add hydration for soft, silky hair. Some reviews say it’s best to lather up twice, leaving it in for a few minutes on the second wash to get the best results. The shampoo is cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free.

According to a reviewer: “I have thin, wispy hair and have been looking for a shampoo that will give me some thickness without making my hair goopy. So far I'm quite pleased with this product. My hair feels fuller, and it looks thicker too. The shampoo has a pleasant smell, lathers nicely and delivers a nice experience.”

6
Also Great To Have: A Heat Protectant Spray

This heat protectant spray shields hair from damage caused by curling irons, flat irons, blow dryers, and other heat-styling tools, and it is great for both natural and relaxed hair as it fights frizz, detangles hair, and makes it more manageable. The spray penetrates the hair shaft to repair existing damage, while also coating hair to prevent split ends and breakage.

According to a reviewer: “My hair is double processed resulting from an old perm of 3 years ago, and hair color. My hair lacked luster and body and looked dull and brittle. After trying this product, I absolutely fell in love with it. My hair has so much body, softness and shine, it's unbelievable.”

Studies referenced:

Satchell, A C., Saurajen, A., & Barnetson, RS. (2002, December). Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12451368

Zempleni, J., Hassan YI., & WIjeratne, SS. (2008, November 1). Biotin and biotinidase deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19727438

Murata, K., Noguchi, K., Kondo, M., Onishi, M., Watanabe, N., Okamura, K., & Matsuda, H., (2013, February 27). Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517595

Murugusundram, S. ( 2009, January-June). Serenoa Repens: Does It have Any Role in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840915/