Those with beautiful curls know it takes special products like the right conditioner, curly hair tools, and frizz sprays to keep their locks shiny and bouncy. But when it comes to the best curly hair shampoos, the foundation of any curly hair routine, the end result comes secondary to the formula.
- 1 What to look for in a shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
- 2 How to use shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
- 3 Can shampoo and conditioner for curly hair expire?
- 4 Should I use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner for curly hair?
- 5 How often should I wash and condition my curls?
- 6 Can I use dry shampoo on curly hair?
- 7 What’s the best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair?
- 8 How often should you wash coarse curly hair?
- 9 Why doesn’t my hair naturally curly anymore?
- 10 How do you wake up with perfect curls?
Showing your curls the love they deserve means using gentle tools, styling your hair with care, and of course, finding the best shampoo for curly hair. It’s easier said than done, given the wide range of curly-hair products on the market, not to mention your personal preferences, hair needs, and curl type. It’s enough to make you feel both spoiled for choice and totally stuck as to which hair care product is worth trying, especially if you’ve only recently embraced your hair’s naturally curly texture.
Top 10 best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
|BEST SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR OVERALL||OUAI Thick Shampoo|
|BEST VALUE SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR||New Wash Original Hair Cleanser & Conditioner|
|BEST SHAMPOO FOR FRIZZY HAIR||Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate Free Shampoo|
|BEST SHAMPOO FOR DRY CURLY HAIR||AG Hair New collection|
|BEST SHAMPOO FOR COILY HAIR||Kerastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire Riche|
|BEST CO WASH FOR CURLY HAIR||Kinky Curly Come Clean|
|Sulphate free shampoo for curly hair||Naturally Drenched Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Hair|
|Best shampoo for wavy hair||SheaMoisture Shampoo Curl|
|Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo||Living Proof Curl Shampoo|
|BEST FOR SCALP||Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo|
1.BEST SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR OVERALL：OUAI Thick Shampoo
This rich, moisturizing shampoo strengthens and calms thick, dry hair while fighting frizz and smoothing every strand. So cancel that blowout appointment, you won’t need it.
HAIR CARE THAT SLAYS ALL DAY. Made with keratin, marshmallow root, shea butter and avocado oil to fight frizz from the start. Wet hair, lather up and rinse clean. Follow up with OUAI Thick Conditioner. Moisture all the OUAI up.
OUAI means yes in that casual, Parisian way. We believe in effortless routines and good for you ingredients. Haircare customized to your hair type to nourish, strengthen and condition. Giving you the confidence to win life your OUAI.
INGREDIENTS THAT GET THE JOB DONE. All OUAI products are carefully crafted to cut styling time and nourish your hair health. We put the good stuff in and leave the bad stuff out, without ever sacrificing quality. We are always trying to do better for the planet.
2.BEST VALUE SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR：New Wash Original Hair Cleanser & Conditioner
This new wash original, vegan conditioner helps curly hair maintain its health. The deep conditioning treatment fights frizz, prevents tangles and knots, moistures hair and scalp, smoothes curls, and helps curls look healthy. It’s perfect for dry, coarse, and medium curls.
Working as a multi-purpose hair product, you can use it as your normal daily conditioner or as a leave-in deep conditioning treatment. We love the protection it offers curls, and the brand is well known for its curl care products. It’s one of the best shampoos and conditioners for curly hair.
3.BEST SHAMPOO FOR FRIZZY HAIR：Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate Free Shampoo
- Sulfate free shampoo for dry, dull or brittle hair
- Weightlessly cleanses and restores natural moisture
- Infuses natural shine
- No Sulfates, Parabens or Artificial Colors
- Plastic in bottle, not including the pump, is made from 100% recycled material.
Good hair days start with the right balance of moisture. This color-safe, sulfate free shampoo for dry, dull or brittle hair can help. As it cleanses, it weightlessly restores your hair’s natural moisture. Hydrating Aloe Leaf Juice makes your strands softer and more manageable, while Rose Extract boosts shine. The warm and sensual Black Vanilla scent delivers a soothing fragrance experience.
4.BEST SHAMPOO FOR DRY CURLY HAIR：AG Hair New collection
Hair care for the modern minimalist. Vegan and cruelty free, this line is formulated with up to 98% plant-based and naturally-derived ingredients and featuring superfood ingredients like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, mango seed butter, rosehip oil and hydrolyzed quinoa. Plus, essential oil-based fragrances that provide more than just a wonderful smell. Natural is healthy hair from the inside out.
5.BEST SHAMPOO FOR COILY HAIR：Kerastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire Riche
- Higher Price Point
This pick is worth the splurge thanks to its luxurious lather and subtle floral scent. Manuka honey is the star ingredient in this formula, which is rich with moisture and ceramides to combat dryness. “I have naturally curly hair that I have a hard time keeping maintained and making it look good,” one of its 4.5-star Sephora reviews reads. “This shampoo worked well and helped keep my curls looking smooth and frizz-free.”
6.BEST CO WASH FOR CURLY HAIR：John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Shampoo
John Frieda creates hair products for all hair types, including a “dream curls” range. Its grease-fighting shampoo makes use of nourishing crambe seed oil to bring wavy, looser curls back to life, and its conditioner (same price) softens, smoothes and moisturises. They both come in attractive purple squeezy tubes and have an uplifting citrus fragrance. They offer decent colour protection but aren’t sulphate or silicone-free, so may be too drying for coily hair. They foam up a treat and rinse out easily, leaving curls looking fuller and 86% of our panel feeling better about their hair.
7.Naturally Drenched Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Hair
- Small Biz
- Sustainable Packaging
- Higher Price Point
Almond oil, bamboo extract, and papaya are the key ingredients in Naturally Drenched’s Rebalance Pre-Conditioner treatment. While this isn’t *technically* a shampoo, you apply it between shampoo and conditioner to nourish your curls with extra nutrients that boost hydration and shine.
8.SheaMoisture Shampoo Curl
- Super affordable
- Strong scent
With so many five-star reviews, SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo is a cult classic. Beloved by many, the sulfate- and silicone-free formula is packed with hydrating coconut oil that will leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated, never stripped. Our Digital Beauty Director, Danielle James, raves, “Naturally, I switch up products frequently, but my 4C hair always loves when I put this on my curls. It hydrates and defines my curls, and the shampoo smells divine, but isn’t overwhelming.”
9.Living Proof Curl Shampoo
- Strengthens and shines
- Can be drying
Curls can be very fragile and prone to breakage, which is why this shampoo does everything it can to make them stronger. The formula allows curls to live their fullest life ever while providing endless hydration and shine.
Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “It’s been difficult to find a shampoo that works for my curly hair. This doesn’t over-dry my hair and doesn’t weigh it down. I get great curls and hair that isn’t dried out or too oily.”
10.Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
- Gently removes dirt and gunk
When your styling products are effectively washed away, it alleviates any heaviness that can weigh down curls. This gentle shampoo clarifies your scalp and removes old products, which will lead to bouncier, more voluminous curls.
An Amazon reviewer says: “The product is GREAT. I have oily skin and am prone to dandruff, so I needed something that I could wash my hair every day with without drying out my poor hair, and this is just right.”
Our Search for the Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
In our search for the best shampoo for curly hair, we came across tons of options that promise to be the best thing to happen to your curls. Their claims are impressive:
- More definition!
But you’ve got to look a little closer to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the shampoos that are actually designed to be a perfect fit for finicky curls.
If you’ve experimented with a lot of different curl shampoos, you know that there’s a major difference between the way your hair looks when using a $5 bottle of drugstore shampoo versus a $30 bottle of salon-quality shampoo.
The variety and quality of ingredients in professional curl shampoos simply cannot be rivaled by drugstore brands that use the cheapest and most widely-available ingredients.
What to look for in a shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
We want to arm you with the facts. Below are the most important features when it comes to selecting your top pick for shampoo and conditioner for your curls.
Curls love soaking up healthy, hydrating ingredients that help them maintain their shape and make hair feel incredible. Finding products with the right ingredients is the most important aspect of choosing a new shampoo or conditioner.
Look for moisturizing, hydrating, hair-loving ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, aloe vera, rosemary oil, and pumpkin seed oil. These types of materials can keep hair moisturized and protect curls from external damage.
Keeping harsh ingredients away from curls is essential. Curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair and shouldn’t be exposed to harsh detergents or surfactants.
Avoid harmful chemicals like sulfates, silicones, alcohol, parabens, and phthalates. These are common “filler” chemicals that get tossed into shampoo and conditioner to produce effects such as foaming or helping hair feel smooth.Folks with any curl type need to avoid shampoos or conditioners with alcohol and sulfates. They strip your hair and scalp of natural oils, which dry out the hair and can cause severe damage.
Know your hair’s porosity
Have you heard of hair porosity? Porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb moisture and then hold it. This indicates what type of products you should be using.
- Low-porosity: This hair type should always use weightless or lightweight formulas. Hair with low porosity does not readily absorb moisture, and it’s harder to satisfy hair. Avoid heavy products that sit on the hair and try to prevent product buildup on the scalp. Water-based products are a great way to hydrate hair with low porosity.
- Medium-porosity: Folks with medium porosity should use gentle shampoos and conditioners and regularly condition their hair. It’s important to keep medium porosity hair balanced. So avoid intense styling products or tools.
- High-porosity: This hair type easily absorbs water, hydration, and any liquids you throw at it. Focus on adding moisturizing and hydrating treatments that provide extra nourishment. Treatments with protein, shea butter, or natural oils are great for high-porosity hair.
Know your curl type
- Understanding your curl type can help you find the ideal shampoo and conditioner, and hair products that will help maintain happy curls.
- Type 2: 2a are soft, loose waves that aren’t very wavy or curly. 2b waves have a bit more wave to them than 2a, but there’s still no curling at the roots. 2c has a mix of waves and a few curls.
- Type 3: 3a curls are loose soft curls that don’t always have curl definition. 3b curls are tighter springier curls in the shape of spirals or ringlets. 3c has tighter curls in loops and is susceptible to damage and breakage.
- Type 4: 4a coils are S-shaped patterns in tight rings or circles. 4b coils are very small coils that make zigzag patterns. 4c coils are super tight strands that make a zigzag shape.
As anyone with curls will tell you, the cost of maintaining curls adds up. That’s why we recommend transitioning to a shampoo and conditioner made specifically for the needs of your curls, coils, or waves. By switching to a cost-effective cleansing and conditioning duo, you can take care of curls during your regular showering routine and then follow it up with one or maybe two hair products to create strong, hydrated curls.
How to use shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
We know you’re intelligent, and when it comes to shampoo and conditioner, you probably know what you’re doing. But we want to share with you the expert-vetted way to cleanse and condition curls to help them remain healthy and satisfied.
Cold water is best
When washing curls, it’s best to use lukewarm or cold water. This minimizes frizz, damage, and dehydration, which is especially important for curly hair.
Don’t forget the scalp
As you wash your curls, pay extra attention to the scalp. Apply the shampoo to your scalp to ensure you are clearing away buildup from dead skin cells, dirt, and hair products. The health of your scalp is one of the most important factors contributing to your curls’ health.
Best application and rinsing process
Apply shampoo to the scalp for the best-targeted removal of buildup. Massage the cleanser in a back-and-forth motion to clean the scalp and hair. The back-and-forth motion is better for curls and reduces knots and tangles. Rinse away the shampoo with lukewarm or cold water, then apply your conditioner from the middle of the hair to the ends. Gentle massage the product through the hair and ensure it’s evenly spread out. Rinse out the product and enjoy your curls.
Avoid hot styling tools
We know this might be a lot to ask when it comes to hair care, but try to avoid using heated styling tools when it’s not necessary. This can cause dryness and damage that harms the structure of curls.
Frequently asked questions
Can shampoo and conditioner for curly hair expire?
Yes. All skin and hair care products should have an expiration date stamped on the bottle or tub. If you don’t see a clearly labeled expiration date or remember the purchase date, check for signs that it has gone bad. A few easy indicators note if a product has gone bad: a change in color, a change in texture or consistency like becoming lumpy, a change in odor, or the product isn’t cleaning the hair.
Should I use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner for curly hair?
Yes, 100%. You should absolutely be using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates are damaging to your hair and cause more problems than they’re worth. It’s worth finding a sulfate-free option, so you don’t have to worry about any side effects.
How often should I wash and condition my curls?
Every curl is different, so your hair type will determine how often you should wash your hair. A general rule is to wash curly hair one to two times per week if you notice that you have an oily scalp or use many hair products. If your hair is drier or you use hot styling tools daily, wash and cleanse your hair once a week or every two weeks. Your hair washing and conditioning routine will depend on your curls and how often you use extra products or styling tools.
Can I use dry shampoo on curly hair?
It’s safe to use dry shampoo on curly hair if you don’t feel like washing your hair one day, but try not to overdo it. Make sure you wash and cleanse your scalp and clear away product build-up on a regular basis. Dry shampoo and other stuff like dirt, dead skin cells, and other hair products will build up on your scalp, and then it will cause issues for your curls. So if you’re someone who goes more than a few days between washes, make sure to double cleanse the scalp during your hair care routine. By double cleansing the scalp, you can protect your hair from buildup and still use dry shampoo when you want.
What’s the best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair?
The best shampoo and conditioners for curly hair are the curl-boosting Blu Atlas Shampoo and Blu Atlas Conditioner. It’s a curl-satisfying combo that treats all curly types with the same tender loving care they deserve. Curls are notorious for being finicky and hard to treat. Aka, sometimes it feels impossible to find the right shampoo and conditioner duo to treat hair needs, but Blu Atlas’s formula uses premium plants, minerals, and fruit to satisfy the needs of different curl types and porosity.
How often should you wash coarse curly hair?
Thick or Coarse Curly Hair
This curl type’s texture tends to be the thirstiest, so you can go longer without cleansing. Washing your hair once a week, max, will hold onto your natural oils as long as possible.
Why doesn’t my hair naturally curly anymore?
That loss of curl you’re seeing could be down to broken bonds within the hair shaft. These play a big role in the shape and structure of hair strands, but when locks are over processed, bonds can change due to chemical damage.
How do you wake up with perfect curls?
First, twist a T-shirt into a roller shape and tie the ends together to create a large DIY halo. Then, put the halo on top of your head, wrap pieces of hair around it, and pin the hair in place. Leave your hair in the halo overnight, and in the morning, you can remove all the pins to reveal soft, bouncy curls.