What each person wants to do with their hair ranges wildly, but however it's styled, minimizing damage is key. That's why the
best shampoos for healthy hair combine cleaning ability with moisturizing powers to ensure that your hair is degreased but not distressed.
To combat dryness and breakage, start with how you shampoo. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, while someone with oily hair might need to wash it daily, those with
drier or color-treated hair likely don't need to wash it as often. So if you're washing daily, consider shifting that schedule to every other day or even just two to three times a week. When you do shampoo, concentrate the lather on the scalp and always follow up with conditioner. Like with styling tools, hot water can be damaging and using cooler water can help.
When it comes to healthy hair, it all starts with a healthy scalp. If you've been noticing flakiness, itchiness, or even excessive oil on your scalp, consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo since
sulfates are cleaning agents that can cause irritation for a lot of people. If spots feel sore, though, it's a good idea to consult a dermatologist on potential causes and treatments.
Since all cleansing agents will strip hair at least a little, consider switching to a cleansing conditioner, especially if you have very dry hair. These tend to take a little extra time to wash out, but is a great way to preserve moisture, and you'll find an Amazon cult-favorite pick at the end of this list.
For shiny, healthy hair, these top-rated shampoos will moisturize while keeping it clean.
1. Top Pick: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
best-selling shampoo is packed with moisturizing ingredients like camellia seed oil, what really sets this formula apart is that it's able repair and maintain bonds in the hair and decrease the chances of breakage. It also helps with split ends. Free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, it's also unlikely to irritate delicate scalps and is suitable for most kinds of hair, including color-treated hair. No wonder it has a 4.4-star rating after more than 200 reviews. According to fans: “I was a little skeptical at first, as I have tried many shampoos and found most over-rated. This shampoo is different. First of all, even though the price may seem steep, you only need a very small amount to get coverage. I used this shampoo as the after treatment for Olaplex No. 3. It lathers very well and smells nice. I did not use any conditioner after, and my hair is soft and tangle free.” Budget Option: L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Volume Shampoo
For less than $10, this
sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo still offers plenty of moisturizing benefits. So many, in fact, some customers say it's even better than some salon brands. With botanical nourishers like lotus flower, it's a great choice for color-treated and damaged hair. According to fans: “I generally purchase nothing but salon products, however, my salon does not offer sulfate-free products. If you want a healthy alternative to chemically based shampoos that's also very rich, creamy and smells wonderful, this is your product! I was also amazed at how little of this product is required for a good, thorough shampoo! It offers lots of fragrant lather, too!” For Curly Hair: Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo
To give curls and waves some extra love, this
sulfate-free and color-safe shampoo is packed with moisturizers like silk proteins and certified-organic shea butter. Neem oil gently cleanses while adding shine and managing frizz. The more than 200 customers have given this formula a 4.4 rating. According to fans: “This shampoo does wonders (enhancing curls/waves and also improving frizz) almost immediately after wash. Post-pregnancy, my hair started thinning, lost it luster and turned extremely fine, wavy, and frizzy so I started using natural products. After turning to SLS free products, I was happy that I was giving my hair much needed TLC but none of the products made me fall in love with them because I couldn't see visible results (shiny, frizz-free, bouncy hair etc. as they usually promise) UNTIL I tried this one! This curl shampoo enhances, like a curl cream or other styling product, and makes my wavy hair curly almost immediately.” Clarifying Wash: R+Co ACV Cleansing Rinse Acid Wash
For a deep clean without stripping hair, this
clarifying wash with apple cider vinegar is a great choice. The sulfate- and paraben-free formula is safe for color and gentle on scalps. Just squirt directly to the roots and let it sit for up to 3 minutes. While some used it as a pretreatment step, some skipped the normal shampoo altogether. Customers have been particularly thrilled with how much shine this gave while removing days of dry shampoo and other buildup. The brand is also Leaping Bunny-approved for being cruelty-free and this bottle is vegan-friendly. According to fans: “This is one of my all time favorite products for hair. It doesn’t smell like ACV at all! So that’s awesome. I will get clogged pores on my scalp sometimes from shampoo, but this keeps that all away! It leaves my scalp feeling so refreshed and clean without feeling stripped. I use this once a week as a replacement for one wash of shampoo. It’s expensive so I don’t use it for every wash, but it does such a great job of rebalancing the oils and making my hair shine.” For Irritated Scalps: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Shampoo
In a clinical study, 100 percent of participants said this
exfoliating shampoo with charcoal helped reduce scalp flakiness and irritation, according to Briogeo. So whether you're dealing with dandruff or just occasional itchiness, scalps can appreciate this formula that helps maintain a healthy pH. Free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates, it's safe for color-treated hair and Leaping Bunny-approved cruelty-free. According to fans: “After the 1st wash, there was a slight difference, but after the 3rd as you can tell there was a HUGE difference. I have mild Psoriasis, eczema, and severe dandruff. I'm also suffering from hair loss. [...] I've been looking for a new product to try and I'm really happy I came across this. The smell is great, it's not super heavy and light weight on the scalp. It actually helped some of my scalp sores.” Bar Option: Peach Not Plastic Hair Shampoo Bar
Whether you’re opting for a bar shampoo because of the convenience or the eco factor,
Peach Not Plastic’s shampoo bars offer plenty of moisture without sulfates, a nice lather, and a great scent. Since each bar will last as long as two 8.5-ounce bottles, it’s also a great value. Choose from strengthening, volumizing, and moisturizing options. According to fans: “It didn’t take long to get enough of the bar shampoo on my hair to make a nice lather. [...] This shampoo has a wonderful scent. And it really cleaned my hair very well, without stripping it and drying it out.” Fan-Favorite Duo: HASK Biotin Boost Shampoo and Conditioner Set
When it comes to a two-for-one set, Amazon shoppers rave about the
Hask shampoo and conditioner line. This best-seller is sulfate-free and also skips the parabens and phthalates. The biotin formula is designed to thicken hair, but there are other formulas designed to repair (argan oil), smooth (keratin), soothe the scalp (tea tree and rosemary), and more. According to fans: “After dealing with PCOS and having COVID, my hair tends to fall out more. So I’ve changed shampoos and started washing my hair less frequently. This shampoo has helped my hair grow back, retained its original thickness, keeps my hair from falling out so much, and has had my hair smoother and shinier. It also smells really good.” Also Great: A Cult-Favorite Cleansing Conditioner
If your hair and scalp are dry, or you're just looking to change up your routine, consider switching to a
cleansing conditioner, sometimes called cowash. While some use it with a traditional shampoo at least part of the time, others have cut out the shampoo altogether. This won't lather up, but with nourishing ingredients like coconut and argan oils, it'll leave strands shiny and healthy. With 4.5 stars after more than 300 reviews, it's an Amazon fan favorite. According to fans: “This is the 4-5th time ordering this. [...] I have also gone back and forth between using this and using regular shampoo and conditioner and I always seem to come back to this. [...] This product makes my hair feel clean and moisturized and I just cannot say enough good things about it.”
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This article was originally published on
July 24, 2019