Dealing with hair that's feeling brittle or dry? You're not alone. The good news is, since dry hair is such a common thing, there are tons of great products out there — from shampoos and conditioners to leave-in serums — that can help. Whatever form they come in, all of the best products for dry hair contain "moisturizing oils, such as coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, [and] jojoba oil," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., who spoke to Bustle for this article. "These ingredients are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants to seal the cuticle with moisture," she explains.
There are a variety of things that can cause dry hair, Dr. Engelman says. Some people experience dry hair from too-frequent shampooing, using hot tools too often, or after certain chemical treatments. Environmental factors like dry, hot climates, frequent sun and wind exposure, and exposure to chlorinated or salty water also impact your hair, as do things like age, hormonal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies. That's why Dr. Engelman suggests a well-balanced diet, to begin with. “Hair health starts internally. Keeping your intake of iron, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, and selenium at appropriate levels will help."
To further protect and nourish your hair, avoid shampoos and styling products that contain harsh detergents, like sulfates, which Dr. Engelman says can be stripping, and also steer clear of using products that contain harsh alcohols (like hairspray) too frequently, as that can contribute to hair dryness, too.
To shop some of the best products for dry, damaged hair, including two picks from Dr. Engelman, scroll on.
1. Expert’s Pick: The Best Oil For Dry Hair
“Hair oils are a great way to treat dry hair," says Dr. Engelman, who adds that you can use them as a leave-in serum, or as a nourishing treatment. "I love NatureLab's products, and [their] Perfect Smooth Hair Oil contains a blend of argan, baobab and marula oils to really moisturize the hair.” If you have thinner hair, start with a dime-size amount and apply the oil mostly to the ends of your hair, avoiding the scalp. People with thick or curly hair can be more generous with the product. Bonus points for this oil's refreshing, yuzu scent.
2. The Best Drugstore Shampoo For Dry Hair
Treating dry hair all starts with the shampoo you use in the shower — so pick one up that's nice and moisturizing, like this OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo. It's formulated with coconut milk, coconut oil, and egg whites to nourish and strengthen your hair, while it doesn't contain any potentially stripping sulfates. This $6 shampoo has a delicious, tropical scent reminiscent of peaches and coconuts.
3. The Best Prestige Shampoo For Dry Hair
Pureology's shampoos are amazing for anyone, but because they all contain the brand's patented Antifade Complex — which helps keep your hair color looking vibrant — they're an especially great choice for people who dye or highlight their hair. Their Hydrate Sheer shampoo is formulated with lightweight hydrators like jojoba, sunflower, and vitamin E, and it doesn't contain any sulfates, parabens, or silicones. Hydrate Sheer is ideal for people with fine hair that's dry, but if your hair is dry and on the thicker side, you may be better off with their Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo.
4. Expert’s Pick: The Best Conditioner For Dry Hair & A Dry Scalp
Dr. Engelman tells Bustle that “Many people with dry hair also experience dry scalps, which of course can lead to flaking and dandruff. Jupiter Nourishing Conditioner helps to soothe and nourish the scalp while adding essential moisture back into the hair.” Full of moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E, and probiotics, as well as soothing colloidal oatmeal, this is an ideal conditioner for anyone with dandruff, an itchy scalp, or generally sensitive skin — though it would really work wonderfully for anyone.
5. The Best Leave-In Conditioner For Dry Hair
Love a leave-in conditioner? Then you want the No. 6 Bond Smoother from Olaplex. Ideal for anyone dealing with severely dried-out or damaged hair, it's made with coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, and aloe, which work to restore moisture, enhance softness, smooth unwanted frizz, and strengthen hair. Run this through damp or dry hair for up to 72 hours of smoothness and hydration.
6. The Best Conditioning Mask For Dry Hair
When your hair is dry or damaged, applying a weekly hair mask or deep conditioner is one of the most helpful things you can do. Briogeo's Don't Despair, Repair mask is a modern cult-favorite — everyone seems to swear by this stuff for helping to repair, smooth, and nourish their dried-out hair. You can use it two ways: in place of conditioner in the shower, or, for hair that's heavily damaged, wear it overnight (put a processing cap on top) and wash it out in the morning. It'll make your hair look and feel super smooth and silky in the immediate, and will help strengthen it over time.
Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., F.A.C.M.S., F.A.A.D.