The Best Shampoos for Curly Hair



Not all hair is created equal, however, it seems that most haircare products are created equally. Those with curly or wavy hair will understand the struggle of finding a shampoo that works for your hair, as most products seem to be geared toward those who don’t have a curl pattern.

Luckily, there are some amazing shampoos on the market for curly hair, you just need to know where to look. We have curated a list of the 12 best shampoos for curly hair to help you find a product that will allow your hair to look its absolute best. 

What should I look for in a curly hair shampoo?

Curly hair is a lot less straightforward than other hair types, so there are several factors you need to take into consideration when choosing a shampoo.  Here are some tips to help you choose the right product for your hair.

Avoid sulfates

If there is one thing you do for your curly hair, it is to avoid sulfates. Sulfates are actually a very common ingredient in shampoos as they create an amazingly thick lather. However, the effect it can have on curly hair will leave your locks worse off. Sulfates are used as a cleansing agent, but they can often be too cleansing, stripping the hair of its natural oil and moisture. 

Curly hair tends to dry out faster than straight hair no matter what, so add sulfates into the mix, and you can find yourself with extremely dry and brittle hair. There are many other types of cleansing agents that are just as effective, so look out for a shampoo that specifies that it contains no sulfates. 

Look for hydrating shampoos

As we previously mentioned, curly hair tends to dry out a lot faster than other hair types. This is because the curl pattern makes it a lot harder for the scalp’s natural oils to coat the hair and reach the end of the strands. 

Because of this, we highly recommend looking for a shampoo that contains hydrating ingredients to combat this issue. Often, a shampoo will brand itself as a “hydrating shampoo” to let you know that it’s designed to prevent your hair from drying out.

Avoid parabens 

A shampoo that is paraben-free is another feature to look out for when choosing a product.  Parabens are a type of preservative that prevent mold and bacteria. They’re a good addition to some products, however, they are not the best ingredient to use in shampoo as they can cause excess dryness and can disrupt the curl pattern, causing frizz.

Figure out whether silicones are for you

Silicones are a much-debated hair care ingredient in the curly hair world. They are synthetic ingredients made of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, used to make products feel more “slippery.” Some people find that they simply coat the hair, making it seem hydrated but doing nothing to prevent dryness while causing buildup. Others find that this is not a problem at all. 

It is up to you to decide whether your hair can cope with silicones. If not, there are plenty of products on the market made without any silicone that will work well for your hair.

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo


About the product: At the top of our list of the best Shampoos for curly hair is the shampoo from Blu Atlas. This product is made with saw palmetto, vegan biotin, and jojoba proteins. It also contains aloe vera to soothe your scalp. Coconut-derived surfactants have been added for their cleansing properties, leaving hair clean and fresh after every use. It is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and made with clean ingredients.

Why it works for curly hair: There are several reasons why this shampoo works so well for curly hair. Firstly, it is sulfate-, phthalate-, and paraben-free, meaning there are no nasty chemicals that will strip your hair of its natural oils. Furthermore, the addition of vegan biotin and jojoba proteins helps to moisturize the hair and seal the newly acquired moisture into the hair strands, which is great for hydration. This increase in hydration helps to support a healthy curl pattern, leaving your curls more defined, bouncier, and shinier than before.

About the brand: Blu Atlas is aiming to change the way the health and beauty industry formulates its products. They are committed to reducing the number of chemicals people put on their bodies via their skin and beauty products by ensuring that at least 96% of all ingredients used in their products are derived from natural sources. The products are made in the USA from clean, vegan, and scientifically-backed ingredients, making them the perfect choice for a wide range of people with different health and beauty needs, as well as different lifestyles.

2. Briogeo – Curl Charisma™ Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo


About the product: The Rice Amino and Avocado shampoo from Briogeo’s Curl Charisma line is another fantastic option for those with curly hair. The formula of this shampoo contains amino acids derived from rice and avocado oil as its main ingredients. Shea butter, Vitamin E, and tomato fruit ferment also feature, making this product packed with ingredients that will leave your hair looking the best it ever has. The quality of the product is also very high, with 97% of its ingredients being naturally derived.

Why it works for curly hair:  As the title suggests, this shampoo is extremely hydrating, which leads to bouncier and more defined curls. The tomato fruit ferment enhances the amount of moisture retention your curls can have, and the rice amino acids seal the cuticle of the hair, which in turn locks in moisture and keeps frizziness away. The shea butter and avocado oil are great hydrating ingredients, and as they are so lightweight, they will give your hair the moisture it needs without weighing it down. This shampoo is also completely sulfate-free, making it an ideal product for curly hair.

About the brand: Briogeo are pioneers of simplified hair care that caters to your specific hair type. They understand that hair doesn’t conform to a one-size-fits-all model and have a wide range of products aimed at many different hair types. They strive to keep their ingredients as natural as possible while still using evidence-based science to devise their formulas.

3. Kérastase Curl Manifesto Hydration Douceur Shampoo


About the product: The Curl Manifesto range of Kérastase has some of the best curly hair products in the game, and their shampoo is no exception. This creamy and rich formula will hydrate your hair while still cleansing and cleaning your scalp from any excess oil and dirt. The active ingredients are manuka honey and ceramides, which will strengthen and hydrate your hair like never before.

Why it works for curly hair: Unsurprisingly, this shampoo is sulfate-free, so it will not strip your hair of the oils it needs. However what makes this product one of the best shampoos for curly hair is the use of its active ingredients—manuka honey and ceramides. 

Ceramides act to strengthen your hair, repairing damage and fortifying the strands. This makes them stronger and more durable in the longer run, making it harder for your hair to become dry and brittle. Manuka honey is a popular beauty care ingredient, known for its soothing and hydrating properties. The honey will moisturize your hair, leaving it softer and less frizzy (both of which contribute to healthy and beautiful-looking curls).

About the brand: While you may not have used Kérastase products before, you likely have heard of them, as they are one of the biggest names in haircare right now. The French brand offers luxury haircare solutions to men, women, and salons all around the world. Their products are of professional quality, which is why they can be used both at home and in a professional hairdressing setting. Their philosophy is to heal and restore the hair from the inside out, not only leaving it looking better, but also making it stronger and more fortified against future damage. 

4. Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Conditioning Sulfate-Free Shampoo


About this product: Mielle Organics’ shampoo is an extremely lightweight formula that will add bounce and shine to your curls. It uses botanically derived surfactants to cleanse the hair, as well as moisturizing ingredients to add hydration and shine. The key ingredient is babassu oil, a palm fruit that is high in sterols and tocopherols, which work to increase the strength of your hair, making it look thicker and much healthier.

Why it works for curly hair:  There are several reasons why this shampoo works so well for curly-haired people. Firstly, It is sulfate free, and the cleansing agent that Mielle has opted for instead is decyl glucoside. Derived from corn starch glucose and natural fatty alcohol, it is a naturally derived surfactant that cleanses the hair without stripping it of moisture. This is ideal for curls that tend to dry out very easily.

Secondly, the babassu oil strengthens the hair, which allows for the curl pattern to be much more defined. Almond protein has also been included in this formula, adding even more fortification to the hair as well as increased elasticity. This allows it to become more resilient to future damage. 

Finally, hibiscus extract is incorporated to assist hair to become shiny and smooth, something that naturally curly hair sometimes struggles to achieve on its own.

About the brand: Mielle Organics wants to make healthy ingredients in hair and skin care products accessible to all. Since its inception in 2014, the brand has pushed to create products containing as natural ingredients as possible, while offering them at a reasonable price point. The result has been an incredible amount of success and accolades from users all around the world who tout the brand’s products’ ability to make a real difference to hair and skin in a short space of time.

5. Pattern Clarifying Cleansing Shampoo


About the product: Sometimes a deep clean is just needed, and if you’re finding that your curls are a little worse for wear, consider using the Pattern Clarifying Cleansing Shampoo. This shampoo is designed for curls that are not looking their best—perhaps the curl pattern isn’t as tight as it used to be, or perhaps there is excess frizz. Deeply cleansing curls that are in this state will remove any excess oil, dirt, or product buildup that is keeping them from looking their best.

Why it works for curly hair: If curls have too much buildup or residue on them, they can become weighed down, dry, or frizzy, all of which make them look less than desirable. That is why it is important to deep clean your hair every once in a while using a product like the Pattern Clarifying Cleansing Shampoo, as it will rid your hair of the buildup. 

Unlike some of the other deep cleansing shampoos on the market, this one also contains ingredients to combat any excess dryness that a deep clean might cause. It contains matcha green tea, panthenol, and aloe vera to provide moisture to your locks and seal it in, as well as fortify the hair cuticle to make it more resistant to any buildup or damage. This all leads to healthy, shiny hair with defined curls that don’t lose their shape after a few hours. 

About the brand: In this day and age, the market seems to be over-saturated with celebrity beauty products, and it can be hard to tell which ones are worth your money. However, we can assure you that Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair care brand Pattern Beauty is 100% worth your time and your money. As a curly-haired person herself, Tracee understands that this hair type needs a different type of product than for those with straight hair. They undertake a holistic approach, using only the best quality ingredients to help your curls reach their full potential.

6. ​​SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Coconut Shampoo


About the product: SheaMoisture is a cult classic when it comes to curly hair, and their shampoo is one of the best shampoos for curly hair currently on the market. The rich coconut oil and shea butter used in this shampoo give it the most delicious scent, while still allowing the product to gently cleanse the hair. The product also contains silk proteins (a rather unusual ingredient) and neem oil, making this formula an absolute powerhouse of effective ingredients that will nourish your curls.

Why it works for curly hair: SheaMoisture products are designed for thick, curly hair, so you know they are packed with amazing ingredients targeted at curly hair problems. This shampoo utilizes coconut oil, which is known for its intense hydrating properties and the way it can seal moisture into the hair. 

This product is also intended to help the long-term management of your curly hair. It contains silk protein, which works to smooth out your hair, thus preventing frizz and undefined curls. This is furthered by the use of neem oil, which reduces flyaways and helps to prevent your hair from frizzing up after a few days of not washing it. It also adds an intense shine to make your hair look and feel the healthiest it ever has.

About the brand: SheaMoisture is well known in the curly-haired community for making high-quality products that target issues specific to those with textured hair. They use only the best ingredients to target frizz and flyaways, as well as strength and hydration.

7. ColorWow Curl Wow Hooked


About the product: Another one of the shampoos for curly hair currently available is the Color Wow Curl Wow Hooked shampoo. This formula features some impressive hair care technology that will leave your curls looking the fullest and bounciest they have ever been. It features their Proprietary Procapil® Blend as well as glycerin to help support healthy-looking hair. The formula is also 100% clean and features no parabens, formaldehyde, or sulfates. It is also gluten-free, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan, so it is suitable for all types of different lifestyles.

Why it works for curly hair: There are several ways in which Color Wow has hit the nail on the head with this shampoo. Firstly, their Procapil® Blend is a revolutionary technology that “anchors” each strand of hair to the root, thus preventing the shedding and hair loss that comes with having curly hair. This also means it prevents breakage, which helps stave off any frizz and bokeh curl patterns. The use of glycerin also makes this a great shampoo for curly hair, as this ingredient smooths and moisturizes each strand of hair. 

Despite containing these effective ingredients, the uniqueness of this product lies in the way it does not leave any residue on the hair at all. This means that users are not susceptible to buildup, which can cause curls to become weight down and unreceptive to any other styling treatments.

About the brand: Colo Wow has seen an incredible rise in popularity over the last few years thanks to their high-performance formulas. Their product range covers just about every hair problem you can think of and provides effective and scientifically backed products to target these issues. Even professional stylists love this brand, and it is the well-known favorite of Chris Appleton—a celebrity hairstylist who is most famous for styling the Kardashians’ hair.

8. L’Oréal Paris Ever Curl Sulfate-Free Coconut Oil Hydracharge Shampoo


About the product: L’Oréal Paris is here to prove quality hair care doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Their Ever Curl Sulfate-Free Coconut Oil Hydracharge Shampoo is a great option for anyone with curly hair who is looking for an affordable shampoo. The shampoo has been infused with coconut oil and is 100% free of parabens, harsh salts, and sulfates. It is also completely vegan and gluten-free, making it an accessible option for a range of lifestyles. It also has an incredible floral scent, which means that not only will your curls look amazing, they will smell great too.

Why it works for curly hair: This sulfate-free formula is extra gentle, so it won’t strip away the natural oils and hydration that your curls need to be defined and moisturized. In fact, it is so gentle that it is suitable for color-treated hair as well, so there is no need to worry when using this shampoo if you have bleached or dyed hair. The Evercurl Hydracharge system uses coconut oil to hydrate curls without weighing them down, and promises 48 hours of amazing curl definition and bounce.

About the brand: L’Oréal Paris is the world’s largest cosmetics company and has been a staple in many people’s beauty and self-care routines since the early 20th century. They use Parisian beauty secrets and research-backed ingredients to make quality skincare, cosmetics, and beauty products accessible to all.

9.  Moroccan Oil Hydrating Shampoo


About the product: Chances are you’ve seen Moroccan Oil’s iconic blue bottles all over social media, and we can tell you that the buzz around their products is 100% deserved. While it may not be specifically designed for curly hair, this shampoo is so hydrating and packed with quality ingredients that it works for all types of hair. As the name suggests,  it is infused with Moroccan Argan Oil, a hair care ingredient that has seen an exponential rise in popularity over the last decade thanks to its restorative and hydrating properties. The formula has also been infused with Vitamins A and E to give your hair the nutrients it needs.

Why it works for curly hair: Curly hair needs a high level of hydration due to how easily it dries out, and this shampoo is packed with moisturizing ingredients. Argan oil is known as a miracle ingredient when it comes to hydrating and restoring dry hair, working wonders on curls and leaving them soft and bouncy. Vitamins A and E also strengthen the hair cuticle, allowing it to more easily lock in moisture and be more resilient to further damage. This shampoo is also sulfate-, phosphate-, and paraben-free, so there are no nasty chemicals in there that will damage your curls.

About the brand: Founded over a decade ago, Moroccan Oil is the pioneer of the original argan oil treatment in mainstream beauty. Their products are all based on their original Moroccan Oil treatment and incorporate the antioxidant-rich argan oil to create smooth, beautiful, and manageable hair. Using only the best quality ingredients, they aim to inspire confidence among all users of their products.

10. Aveeno Almond and Avocado Oil Hydrating Shampoo


About the product: Closing our list of the best shampoos for curly hair is the Aveeno Almond and Avocado Oil Hydrating Shampoo. This shampoo is ultra-hydrating and is the perfect product to quench dried-out curls and keep the moisture locked in. It has been enriched with avocado oil and almond oil to provide your hair with the nutrients it needs. These oils work alongside the star ingredient of colloidal oatmeal extract to create the perfect formula for your curly locks.  Furthermore, this product is extremely affordable, so you don’t have to break the bank trying to maintain your curls.

Why it works for curly hair: Aveeno have created the ideal shampoo formula for curly hair, packing it full of ingredients that give curls exactly what they need and none of what they don’t need. The colloidal oatmeal extract is the key ingredient, and it helps to maintain healthy curls by soothing the scalp and hydrating the hair from the inside out. The addition of avocado and almond oils not only helps with this hydration, but they also work to ensure your curls are shiny. The formula is also paraben and sulfate free, so you can rest assured that your shampoo isn’t doing more harm than good.

About the brand: Aveeno is an extremely well-known brand thanks to their affordable but effective products. They aim to use as many naturally derived ingredients as possible to ensure that you are not using harmful chemicals on your body. Their formulas are gentle and nourishing, and they are backed by extensive scientific research to make sure you are getting the best formula possible.

Frequently asked questions

I used to have curls but now my hair is just frizzy. Will these products work for me?

If you used to have curly hair, but it is now just frizz, chances are you still have curly hair. If curls are not looked after and properly maintained, the curl pattern can become weakened, leading to frizzy-looking hair. Using curly hair-approved products on your frizzy hair, as well as a proper curl maintenance routine, will bring those curls right back to where they used to be and hopefully lose their frizziness.

A tip is to not brush your hair when it is dry, as this breaks the curl pattern. Instead, comb it while it is wet and apply curly hair products then. You will find your hair dries sleek, smooth, and in a lovely curl pattern.

My hair isn’t straight, but I don’t think it’s curly as there aren’t tight coils. Can I still use these products?

What most people don’t realize is that curly hair has a very large spectrum, and covers many hair types. If your hair isn’t in tight coils, but is not straight, then you likely fall on this spectrum, and will benefit from using these products. Even loose waves can benefit from using curly hair products, as they work to ensure the natural wave pattern will be as defined and healthy as possible. 

If you’re unsure whether your hair will respond well to the curly product, give it a go and see if it makes a difference in your hair. You might be surprised at how much curlier your hair is when you treat it properly!

How often should I be washing my curly hair?

Each person is different when it comes to how often they should wash their hair. One of the main factors to take into account is how much oil your skin and scalp produces, as a higher oil production usually means you need to wash your curls more frequently. 

However, for someone who doesn’t overproduce oil, the general guidelines are; for loose curls wash anywhere from two to four times a week, coil curls can survive with just one wash a week, and tight curls can vary from anywhere between one to four times a week. Try to push out how long you wait in between washes to get a good idea of how frequently your hair needs to be cleaned.

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