Fine hair, that delicate creature, does not respond well to just any shampoo you put on it; instead, opt for one of the best drugstore shampoos for fine hair featured ahead, which have been strictly vetted by fellow fine-haired shoppers and beauty editors alike. In addition to cutting through grease and product buildup, these budget-friendly shampoos work to strengthen your hair and boost its volume using lightweight ingredients like aloe juice, cactus water, apple cider vinegar, and plant-based proteins. And unlike heavier shampoos that tend to leave fine hair looking oily and flat, these will help make your hair look bouncier and fuller.
For the most part, shampoos for fine hair are billed as volumizing, which implies that they’re free of ingredients like silicones and polymers, or too-heavy oils and butters, that can weigh down your hair. And as a general rule, you’ll want to avoid shampoos labelled as “moisturizing," which tend to be on the heavier side.
Whether your hair is curly and fine, damaged and fine, or just blanket-statement fine, scroll on to find your new favorite drugstore shampoo from the list ahead — all of which cost well under $20. And if you’re interested in more volume-enhancing, grease-busting products, check out this guide to the best dry shampoos for fine hair.
1. Best For Flat Hair
I’ve previously expounded on the virtues of L’Oreal's EverStrong thickening shampoo for doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, and doing it well (and cheaply). So I’m happy to report that their EverPure volumizing shampoo is equally effective. (And cheap.) One wash, some leave-in conditioner spray, and an air-dry later, and my naturally fine waves looked thick, defined, and actually lifted away from my scalp, rather than laying flush against it like Crispin Glover’s character in Charlie’s Angels. (I know you know what I’m talking about.) I also love the minty-fresh smell and feel, which really gets the blood moving. Plus, the sulfate-free formula won’t strip your dye.
2. Best For Curly Hair
When in doubt, and possession of curls, go for anything from Carol’s Daughter — it’s one of the best drugstore brands designed specifically for wavy and curly hair of all types. Their cactus rose water shampoo in particular is a great choice if your curls are fine and/or feeling a little flat and dry. It’s like a drink of water for your hair: Thoroughly thirst-quenching, but weightless. In addition to hydrating cactus water, the formula contains biotin for body and strength, while rose water gently clarifies your scalp of oil and buildup. Use it alongside the accompanying conditioner for best, most bountiful results.
3. Best For Damaged Hair
Bleach? Chlorine? Split ends? A botched dye job? Whatever your damage, this OGX shampoo and conditioner can help reverse it. It contains three types of protein — biotin, collagen, and hydrolyzed wheat protein — which work to restore moisture and rebuild weakened hair from the inside out. As a result, it’ll look thicker and more voluminous. Overusing protein treatments can actually exacerbate damage and weakness over time, because science is weird sometimes, so use this duo only on an as-needed basis.
4. Best For Oily Hair
Diluted apple cider vinegar is renowned among the health food store set (and also dermatologists) for its ability to thoroughly clarify your scalp of oil, buildup, and other impurities, which can help boost volume. But if you’re hesitant to pour a salad dressing ingredient on your head, try this shampoo from Aveeno instead. It contains ACV, so it imparts all of its balancing, anti-inflammatory, and shine-enhancing benefits, but via a much more palatable vehicle. Reviewers confirm that it smells nothing like salad. And unlike straight-up ACV, this shampoo is gentle enough to use daily if your hair is very oily, or if you’re hoping to get rid of dandruff.
5. Best "Natural" Shampoo
It’s hard enough to find an organic (or partly organic) shampoo, let alone an organic shampoo from a drugstore brand, let alone all of the above that actually works. But this Acure shampoo is that rare bird. It contains 100% vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, many of which are certified organic — like aloe leaf juice, calendula, rosehip, and chamomile, to name just a few, which help with hydration, calming, and cleansing. Peppermint and echinacea (not two of the certified organic ingredients, FYI) help stimulate circulation and strengthen hair follicles, resulting in increased body and volume. This gets nearly perfect reviews on Amazon and beyond, where customers tout its aromatherapeutic scent, as well as how soft and silky it makes their hair look (and feel).