The Best Shampoos for Curly Hair
Tried and tested!
Listen in, curly haired-gals, because this shampoo story is for you. Are you searching for the best shampoo for curly hair? We’ve got you covered. Whether you have fine curls, coily locks or simply want to keep the frizz at bay, we’ve found the top shampoos on the market to enhance your natural curl pattern, keeping curls hydrated and intact all day long.
What to look for in the best shampoo for curly hair
While we love the bounce and shine of curly hair, the first step to getting it to its peak form is a good shampoo. “Using a curly hair shampoo is beneficial because it makes your hair manageable, nourished and healthy,” explains Sheron Panchoo, a stylist at JouJou Hair Studio in Etobicoke, Ont.
“By providing moisture and maintaining [balance] within the hair, the goal of a curly shampoo is to gently cleanse the hair and scalp of excess sebum and buildup without stripping the hair of its moisture.”
Before making a purchase, Aliza Esmail, owner of Toronto’s Salon August, recommends curly-haired folks evaluate both their hair and scalp. “Curly hair often leans towards dryness, as the natural oils produced by the scalp have a harder time travelling down the bends and coils of curly strands compared to straight hair,” she says.
Pancho says to prioritize sulfate-free options when you’re searching for the best formula. “Curly hair requires moisture and hydration to stay healthy, so opt for hydrating shampoos that help retain moisture.”
Additionally, “look for products with natural ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil. These add shine and nourishment, while maintaining a balanced pH for the scalp and hair.”
Esmail echoes this sentiment saying, “Creamy shampoos [have a balanced pH level to] promote elasticity, moisture and deliver weightless softness. Look for products that enhance curls, control frizz and offer hydration and shine.”
Ultimately, the benefits of curly-hair-specific shampoos are better for your locks long-term. “It can enhance your routine as beautiful hair starts with the [first] wash,” explains Panchoo. “They provide a strong foundation for healthy hair with better results.”
The best shampoo for curly hair
- Best overall: PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Hydration Shampoo
- Best for chemically-treated: The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing Shampoo
- Ideal for coils: Melanin Haircare African Black Soap Reviving Shampoo
- Best for waves: Davines Love Curl Shampoo
- Budget-friendly: Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate Free Shampoo
- Best luxury: Kérastase Curl Manifesto, Hydratation Douceur Shampoo
- For fine hair: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo
- Best for damaged: Function of Beauty PRO Bond Repair Custom Shampoo for Curly, Damaged Hair
- Best for scalp care: Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Hydration Shampoo
Tracee Ellis Ross knows curly hair. That’s why her curly haircare line is making waves — literally and figuratively. Boosted with coconut oil, jojoba oil and aloe leaf juice, bathe your curls in a moisture-rich formula that removes buildup and dirt without stripping away hydration.
With a barely-there scent, this hydrating shampoo is perfect for dry hair and sensitive scalps. Better yet, for every PATTERN formula, they’ve skipped harsh surfactants like SLS or SLES.
- Ultra-hydrating formula that’s perfect for dry hair
- Removes buildup and dirt without stripping away moisture
- Enhances curls in an instant
- Works with colour-treated hair
- Subtle scent
- Celebrity hairstylist-approved
- Not ideal for co-washing routine
Best for chemically-treated
The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing Shampoo
If you were a victim of straightening your hair sans heat protectant in the mid-2010s, chances are you’re after smoother-looking locks now. Look no further than The Body Shop’s powerful Banana Truly Nourishing Shampoo, which is a dry, frizz-prone hair’s best friend.
Made of 91% natural ingredients, it leaves parched strands looking soft and healthy from root to tip. We love the fresh, fruit scent this formula boasts.
- Gentle cleansing shampoo
- Perfect for gals with dry hair that’s prone to frizz
- Captivating scent
- Meant to be paired with other hair products from the line
- Made with 91% natural ingredients
- Registered by The Vegan Society
- Some reviewers say the price isn’t ideal for the size
Ideal for coils
Melanin Haircare African Black Soap Reviving Shampoo
For those with coils, it’s key to keep them protected. This mineral-rich clarifying shampoo is guaranteed to leave your mane and scalp visibly refreshed and hydrated after one wash.
Its superstar ingredients include charcoal powder, tea tree oil and black cumin seed, which work together to detoxify and gently exfoliate the scalp. To help moisturize and encourage healthy hair growth, oils like argan and tea tree aid in hydrating and adding shine to your locks.
- Visibly clarifies scalp product buildup
- Soothes and calms the appearance of scalp issues
- Hydrates and increases shine
- Easy-to-use applicator
- Vegan and cruelty-free formula
- Doesn’t always lather up on first wash, some reviewers say this happens on the second wash
- Not ideal for fine hair
Best for waves
Davines Love Curl Shampoo
Infused with hair-softening ingredients like almond extract, this creamy and foamy shampoo deeply cleanses your hair while promoting hydration, volume and frizz-free shine that’s soft to the touch. While working to redefine curls and give them true elasticity, get ready to embrace waves for days.
- Ideal for wavy or light curly hair
- Ultra-hydrating ingredients create manageability and shine
- Repels humidity
- Easy-to-open packaging
- Cruelty-free formula
- On the pricier side
Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate Free Shampoo
Good natural hair days start with the right balance of moisture. This moisturizing curly hair shampoo hydrates with key ingredients like shea butter, aloe and rosemary oil. so it’s softer and more manageable and gives your hair a healthy shine.
With each cleanse, the shampoo works to weightlessly restore your hair’s natural moisture. Better yet, the warm black vanilla scent delivers a soothing experience.
- Affordable price
- Works best for folks embracing their natural mane
- Ideal for people with 2A to 4A curl types
- Adds moisture and shine to the curl shaft for dry/damaged hair
- Sulfate-free shampoo cleanses without adding weight to textured hair
- The product pump isn’t the most effective
- Product consistency may be too fluid for thicker hair types
Kérastase Curl Manifesto, Hydratation Douceur Shampoo
Dealing with unruly curls? This luxe sulfate-free shampoo from professional haircare line Kérastase is a must-try. It gently cleanses your scalp and hair, providing intense hydration to remove buildup and preserve natural oils without sacrificing your curl pattern.
Even better, the floral honey scent will level up your hairwashing experience. Hair experts tend to love this one because it’s great for a variety of hair types and textures.
- Gently cleanses scalp and hair to remove product buildup
- Intensely hydrates and enhances curl pattern without weighing hair down
- Provides instant shine after washing
- Maintains natural hair oils
- Sleek and effective packaging
- Some reviewers say it doesn’t improve the look of a greasy scalp
For fine hair
Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo
Choosing a no-fuss shampoo is central to having curls that maintain their shape. With its 97% natural formula, Briogeo’s Curl Charisma shampoo is made with rich rice amino acids that seal the hair cuticles and lock out frizz-causing humidity.
Its all-star ingredients include tomato fruit ferment, which enhances moisture retention for uniform curl formation, alongside ultra-hydrating shea butter and avocado oil which enhance softness without weighing your mane down.
- Ultra-hydrating formula
- Minimizes frizz to enhance curl definition
- Provides a hydrating cleanse without stripping your hair’s natural oils
- Enhances curls within the first wash
- Easy-to-use packaging
- Define curls with good-for-strands ingredients
- Doesn’t lather
- Some reviewers say the formula is watered down
Best for damaged
Function of Beauty PRO Bond Repair Custom Shampoo for Curly, Damaged Hair
It’s time to repair your broken curly hair bond. Known for its customizable formulas, Function of Beauty’s bond repair shampoo is just what you need. Not only does it support curl definition and reduce frizz, but it maintains bounce for damaged, curly hair.
With their trusty hair goal concentrates, their innovative bonding complex is concentrated to target damaged hair — whether it’s colour-treated locks or heat damage. Say hello to stronger, resilient hair over time.
- Customizable formula (choose from nine concentrates)
- Gently cleanses without stripping
- Bonding technology works to strengthen hair
- Hydrates healthy-looking curls
- Works on a variety of hair damages
- Cruelty-free and comes in recycled packaging
- Protects and strengthens the hair shaft
- Not ideal for oily hair
Best for scalp care
Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
Treat your scalp to fresh, soothing ingredients and a thorough washing. Every so often, your curly hair needs a deep clean, and this product is perfect. Olaplex’s advanced clarifying shampoo removes scalp buildup and excess oil to give your hair airy volume, softness and shine.
The haircare brand’s new technology is designed to reveal your healthiest locks yet and optimize your hair repair results. It effortlessly maintains hydration to keep you happy after wash day.
- Refreshing formula
- Restores shine after the first wash
- Provides volume and softness
- Patented technology works to strengthen hair
- Removes a wide range of impurities which can damage hair
- Protects hair prone to breakage
- A bit pricey
- Too strong of a formula for straight and fine-haired users
This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.