Best shampoo for curly hair

Hair Products

Lots of shampoos for curly hair don’t produce a lather. Resist the temptation to use more shampoo and keep in mind that lather isn’t important for effective cleansing.

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Which shampoo for curly hair is best?

If you have curly hair, you’re in luck. There are now whole product lines dedicated just to curly hair types. This is because curly hair can dry out and frizz from conventional hair-care products that are formulated with harsh ingredients. While some with curly hair skip shampoo altogether, we don’t recommend doing so because dirt and product buildup can weigh down your curls. Instead opt for a shampoo for curly hair.

Here’s a shopping guide on all you need to know about these relatively new hair-care products. Plus, we’ve included our top picks, like Pura D’Or Curl Therapy Shampoo for Healthy Curls.  This organic natural shampoo is gently formulated, so your curls stay bouncy and defined.

What to know before you buy shampoo for curly hair

Ingredients to avoid

Shampoos designed for curly hair will maintain your curls’ bounce, definition, and volume while also providing ample moisture. Because curls have a tendency to frizz and dry out, most of these shampoos avoid harsh detergents called surfactants. These are used in conventional formulas to cleanse hair, but they can also strip hair of its natural oils.

When shopping for a shampoo for curly hair, avoid these three ingredients that are detrimental to your curls:

  • Sulfates are a commonly used surfactant in shampoos. While sulfates create the sudsy lather we associate with shampoo, they can be harsh and drying on curls. You’ll find that the majority of shampoos for curly hair are sulfate-free.
  • Silicones may add shine to the hair, but they also add buildup that only sulfate-containing shampoo can effectively remove. Throughout time, products containing silicone will dull and weigh down curls, so many curly hair shampoos are formulated without them.
  • Alcohol: A common ingredient in styling products, some shampoos also contain this drying ingredient. If you’re serious about keeping your curls nourished, avoid all hair products containing alcohol, including shampoo.

Types of curly hair shampoos

  • No-poo shampoos for curly hair have a water-and-oil-based formula to cleanse hair without stripping it of moisture. Be aware that no-poos don’t create suds, so opt for a regular curly hair shampoo if you prefer a shampoo that lathers a little. Be aware that no-poos need to be followed by a conditioner for curly hair.
  • Cleansing conditioners, also called co-washes, are all-in-one formulas that combine shampoo and conditioner. “Co-wash” is short for “condition wash” and refers to the method of washing your hair with conditioner. In general, conditioners contain surfactants, but they are much milder ones than the surfactants in regular shampoo. While cleansing conditioners will gently clean your curls, don’t expect the product to lather much. We also recommend leaving it on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

What to look for in a quality shampoo for curly hair

Color-treated hair

If your curly hair is also colored or dyed, you want to be extra careful with the product you choose in order to maintain your color. Be sure to select a curly hair shampoo with a color-safe formula.

UV protection

UVA and UVB rays from the sun can damage and dry out curly hair. Select a shampoo with UV protection, especially if you have color-treated hair that can fade or dull with sun exposure.

Natural/clean ingredients

Some shampoos for curly hair are formulated with more natural plant-based ingredients. They also may have “clean” formulas that don’t contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to the body, such as sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. 

How much you can expect to spend on a shampoo for curly hair

Curly hair shampoos range in price from $10-$30. You can find drugstore brands for less than $10, but we would highly recommend splurging on a specialty brand that’s formulated without harsh chemicals.

Shampoo for curly hair FAQ

Q. What ingredients are commonly found in shampoos for curly hair?

A. Curly hair shampoos often contain oil-based emollients and fatty alcohols to do the job of smoothing and cleansing your curly hair. They also contain proteins, like keratin and collagen, to help strengthen hair.

Q. What else should I look for in a curly hair shampoo?

A. Don’t forget to pick out a product with a scent that appeals to your olfactory organs. No matter how well a shampoo works for your curls, if it smells offensive, you’re not going to want its scent lingering on your hair all day long. 

What are the best shampoos for curly hair to buy?

Top shampoo for curly hair

Pura D’Or Curl Therapy Shampoo for Healthy Curls

Pura D’Or Curl Therapy Shampoo for Healthy Curls

What you should know: A plant-based shampoo for natural and gentle cleansing of curly hair.

Whatv you’ll love: Ingredients are 80% organic and earth-friendly. Ultra nourishing and hydrating to dry frizzy hair. Nice scent. Packed with botanical ingredients instead of chemicals.

What you should consider: Disappoints consumers who expect their shampoo to lather.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top shampoo for curly hair for the money

Devacurl No-Poo Zero-Lather Original Cleanser

Devacurl No-Poo Zero-Lather Original Cleanser

What you should know: A highly popular no-poo from a trusted brand synonymous with curly hair.

What you’ll love: Free of sulfates, parabens and silicone. Hydrating and detergent-free. UV protection. Formulated for chemically treated hair. Good value.

What you should consider: Not a co-wash and needs to be followed by conditioner.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

L'Oreal Paris EverCurl Shampoo and Conditioner Kit

L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Shampoo and Conditioner Kit

What you should know: A bargain-priced set of shampoo and conditioner for curly hair types.

What you’ll love: Includes both a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Also free of silicones and parabens. Nice botanical scent. Repairing formula. Affordable.

What you should consider: Dries out some users’ curls.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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

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