Best drugstore shampoo for curly hair

Which drugstore shampoo is best for curly hair?

Curly hair needs to be moisturized and cleaned without stripping natural oils.  Finding shampoos that won’t dry hair out while providing protection and nourishment can be difficult, especially when you’re on a budget.

Shampoo contains many ingredients, some healthier than others. For example, sulfates are harsh chemicals that dry hair out and make it frizzy. Silicones don’t dissolve water and can cause excess buildup.  Some alcohols, although mainly found in styling products, are found in some shampoos and easily dry hair.

Healthy ingredients include natural oils and fatty alcohols because they prevent frizziness and smooth hair. Proteins are another healthy ingredient because it prevents split ends and strengthens hair. 

Types of curly hair

Curls are often broken into three primary categories of wavy, curly and coily. Each category further breaks down into patterns. What curls you have determines the type of drugstore shampoo to buy and how you style them.

Wavy (Type 2A-C)

Wavy hair means your curls have an “S” shape and come in three different patterns: 2A, 2B and 2C. 

  • 2A: These are loose waves that add a little texture. 
  • 2B: These “S” shaped waves are loose and start to take shape at the middle to end of the hair.
  • 2C: Closer to the crown, these “S” shaped waves progress to the ends, with a few ringlets dispersed.

Curly (Type 3A-C)

Curly hair means your curls are consistent ringlets or spirals. The three patterns include 3A, 3B and 3C. 

  • 3A: These curls ravel from root to tip. They are wide, bouncy and spiral-shaped.
  • 3B: These provide a lot of volume and body. They are usually tighter and more springy.
  • 3C: These curls group together and are super tight corkscrew-like ringlets.

Coily (Type 4A-C)

These are the tightest curls and come in three patterns: 4A, 4B and 4C. 

  • 4A: These start at the root and maintain consistency throughout as small and tight coils.
  • 4B: These sometimes form a “Z” shape and are incredibly tight coils. They sometimes shrink and give off the appearance of a shorter length than hair actually is.
  • 4C: These form a zig-zag pattern and are the tightest of curls. They are extremely susceptible to shrinking.

What to know before you buy a shampoo for curly hair

When purchasing a drugstore shampoo for curly hair, keep formulas in mind. Depending on the type of curl you have, additional steps aside from shampoo may be required. Another feature to keep in mind is the shampoo container. Pumps are sometimes better than squeeze bottles because it evenly dispenses the product.

How much you can expect to spend on drugstore shampoos for curly hair

Drugstore brand shampoos are usually $10 or less, but their formulas differ from specialty shampoos that cost up to $30. Before purchasing a shampoo for curly hair, you want to know what curl you have to get the best results. Most shampoos for curly hair are suitable for more than one curl pattern and hair type.

What are the best drugstore store shampoos for curly hair to buy?

PURA D'OR Curl Therapy Shampoo for Healthy Curls

Pura D’or Curl Therapy Shampoo for Healthy Curls

This plant-based shampoo is perfect for curly or wavy hair. It hydrates and protects curls, providing extra definition and bounce. Additionally, chia seed and linseed Extract help reduce frizz while nourishing hair.

Sold by Amazon

JOHN FRIEDA Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Frizz Immunity Shampoo

John Frieda Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Frizz Immunity Shampoo

Infused with pure coconut oil, this shampoo repairs damaged hair, locking in moisture to prevent frizz before it starts to form. Best for curly, wavy and thick hair, its anti-humidity formula leaves hair smooth and luscious. For ultimate results, use John Frieda Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Conditioner to reduce frizz by up to 90%. 

Sold by Amazon

Aveda Be Curly Shampoo

Aveda Be Curly Shampoo

Enriched with wheat protein and an organic aloe blend, this shampoo enhances curls, softens frizz and increases shine. Best for kinky, curly and wavy hair, its formula maintains the curl shape and provides maximum hydration. The citrus aroma will have your hair smelling luscious.

Sold by Amazon

Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo

Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo

This shampoo is perfect for thick, curly hair. At an unbeatable price, this drugstore shampoo is phthalate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. Containing coconut oil, it moisturizes and enhances curls, significantly reducing frizz. It also refreshes and protects hair from damage. Hibiscus and coconut scents leave hair smelling lush.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

OUIDAD Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo

Ouidad shampoo is perfect for any climate and curl type. This shampoo gently cleanses and defines curls, keeping moisture and humidity out. Its blend of emollients nourishes hair to make it silky smooth and reduces frizz.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

Its sulfate-free, silicone-free and paraben-free formula creates volume and enhances natural movement at a very affordable price. This shampoo is perfect for high-humidity climates and protects hair from styling tools that reach up to 446 degrees.

Sold by Amazon

L'Oreal Paris EverCurl Sulfate Free Shampoo for Curly Hair

L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Sulfate Free Shampoo for Curly Hair

This sulfate-free shampoo is perfect for color-treated hair and is gentle on curls. Coconut oil nourishes and moisturizes hair for up to 48 hours. It doesn’t weigh down the hair and instead maintains the natural shape of curls, reducing frizz.

Sold by Amazon

Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

Organic blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice and chamomile extract formula ensure protection and restoration for curly hair. It’s also sulfate-free, so it will moisturize the hair all day long.

Sold by Amazon

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

This drugstore shampoo is suitable for all hair types, especially oily hair. It’s also paraben-free and protects color-treated hair. The blend of tea tree, peppermint and lavender provides a tingling sensation to refresh scalps.

Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Tessa Schaal writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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