The Best Shampoos for Curly Hair, According to Customer Reviews

Curly hair can be a (wonderful) handful that often requires specialized products for pretty much every hair-care step, firstly shampooing. That's because curls, unlike straight hair, require intense hydration and gentle cleansing, explains cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson. The main purpose of shampoo should be to lift build-up from the scalp without stripping curls of natural moisture. There are a slew of factors that dictate how often you should shampoo and the best shampoo to use if you have curls, but it all comes down to doing your hair homework.

Finding the right shampoo for curly hair is all about knowing what your specific curls need — be it hydration, strengthening, or smoothing. There's no list of "right" or "wrong" ingredients for everyone with curly hair. In fact, if a controversial ingredient is balanced in a well-formulated product, it could still be beneficial for curls, says Wilson. For example, mineral oil is generally thought to be a major no-no for curly hair, but it "can provide shine and smoothness without causing your curls to be dehydrated if it's formulated properly," she says.

That said, it does help to know which ingredients work when it comes to common curl concerns. If your curls are brittle and snap easily, steer clear of proteins and instead look for emollients (ingredients that soften and moisturize hair) and humectants (ingredients that lock in moisture), says Wilson. If your curls have too much stretch and elasticity, then look for proteins to strengthen the hair. If your curls don't seem to have any major issues, a good rule of thumb is to compare shampoo ingredients to ingredients that already work for you in your conditioners and curl creams. Regardless of what kind of curls you're working with, if you're lost while looking for shampoo, this list of best shampoos for curly hair can help.

The Best Shampoo for Curly Hair, According to Customer Reviews

Best Shampoo for Dry Curly Hair: Pattern Hydration Shampoo


Tracee Ellis Ross' Pattern Beauty launched in September of this year, and its hero shampoo has already racked up a 4.5-star rating based on more than 1,400 reviews on Ulta. Major fans of the shampoo had hair textures ranging between 3b curls and 4a coils. They reported revitalized curl patterns and an overall increase in softness, bounce, and smoothness. The results are most likely due to this shampoo's lack of harsh surfactants (a cleansing agent that can sometimes be drying or damaging) and its inclusion of ingredients often found in the best conditioners for curly hair, such as aloe vera leaf juice and honey, two major humectants, and coconut oil, which seals in moisture. Other all-star hydrators include shea butter, avocado oil, and glycerin.

Buy It: Pattern Hydration Shampoo, $20,

Best No-Poo Shampoo for Curly Hair: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse


Plenty of curly-haired people have quit shampoo altogether in favor of co-washing (washing with only conditioner), using cleansing conditioners, or using rinses like this from dpHUE. Instead of a traditional shampoo that uses surfactants, sulfates, and detergents to cleanse the hair, this hair rinse uses lavender extract to cleanse, aloe vera to hydrate and reduce damage, and apple cider vinegar to seal the hair cuticle, creating shine. In addition to accumulating more than 35,000 "loves" on Sephora, customers with dry and curly hair report that this rinse soothed their scalps, removed buildup, and left their curls soft and shiny. (More here: The Best Clarifying Shampoos to Remove Buildup)

Buy It: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse, $35,

Best Frizz-Fighting Shampoo for Curly Hair: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo


It's no wonder that Olaplex is appearing on a list of best shampoos for curls since so many curl troubles directly align with concerns that Olaplex addresses: dryness, lifted hair cuticles, and breakage, which are all major factors in creating frizz. This shampoo tackles it at the source by rebonding fraying in the hair cuticle. Plus, more than 1,000 customers agree that it's effective, awarding it four out of five stars on Sephora. (BTW, Camila Mendes is obsessed with another Olaplex product.)

Buy It: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, $28,

Best Shampoo for Fine Curly Hair: Not Your Mother's Sea Minerals Shampoo


Those with fine curls face an extra difficult time when selecting the right products for their hair. Not only do they face the same fragility and dryness as those with thicker curls, but also their strands can't handle the weight of heavier hydrators (such as butters and oils) that would give them the moisture they need. Luckily, fine-haired curlies agree that this shampoo hydrates their curls without weighing them down, thanks to kale and coconut water that infuse hair with nutrients while tackling build-up. (

Buy It: Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo, $9,

Best Budget Shampoo for Curly Hair: Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo


Customers agree that this under-$10 shampoo works wonders on their curls. A whopping 72 percent of its 7,000+ reviews on Amazon give this shampoo five stars. Fans reported that the shampoo for curly hair lathers nicely without stripping moisture from their hair in addition to leaving their hair softer with less frizz. The rave reviews are most likely due to this product's first ingredient, aloe vera, a powerful moisturizer, combined with shea butter and coconut and macadamia nut oils, which seal in moisture. (

Buy It: Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo, $7,

Best Exfoliating Shampoo for Curly Hair: Briogeo Scalp Scrub Shampoo


Between curl creams, gels, leave-in conditioners, oils, and all the other styling products curlies slather on their scalps, buildup is bound to happen. This much-loved scalp scrub shampoo from Briogeo — with nearly 93,000 "loves" on Sephora, to be exact — breaks up buildup without stripping hair of its natural moisture. It has more than 1,000 five-star ratings, no sulfates, and has reportedly solved reviewers' scalp troubles, both in the case of too much oil and dry and itchy flaking. A blend of essential oils including tea tree, spearmint, and peppermint cools and soothes skin while binchotan charcoal detoxifies the scalp, removing buildup and lifting out impurities. (Peep these other scalp scrubs that'll complete your hair-care routine.)

Buy It: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo, $42,

Best Shine-Boosting Shampoo for Curly Hair: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo


With an average 4.4-star rating based on 2,800 reviews, this shampoo for curly hair is adored by customers who suffer from dry, dull hair due to scalp issues and dryness. They also reported shinier curls and bouncier, more revitalized curl patterns. (The conditioner is also a favorite.) Star ingredients include coconut and neem oil for smoothness and shine, in addition to silk protein to strengthen fragile strands.

Buy It: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, $11,

Best Shampoo for Thick Curly Hair: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo


Very thick curly hair requires rich products which makes this ultra-luxe shampoo from Oribe a perfect match for thick curls. A combination of argan and maracuja oils smooth hair while a blend of amino acids and biotin repair damage and strengthen hair cuticles. The formulation, rewarded with a five-star review from 80 percent of its Amazon customers, reportedly weighs down finer hair but works wonders on thick and coarse textures.

Buy It: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo, $49,

Best Shampoo for Brittle Curly Hair: Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo


Dealing with brittle, breakage-prone curls can be incredibly stressful, especially if using traditional shampoos leaves you with clumps of hair in your hands post-shower. This ultra-gentle shampoo for curly hair mimics your hair's natural oils while cleansing without sulfates. To top it off, it has an average review of five stars. Shoppers report that the hydrating ingredients in this shampoo don't weigh down hair (if you have brittle, damaged curls you know how much this matters) and leaves curls extra bouncy and shiny. (Customers are also loving this biotin shampoo that they say stops hair loss and promotes new growth.)

Buy It: Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo, $26,

Best Shampoo for Damaged Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo


With 78 percent of customer reviews on Amazon giving this shampoo for curly hair five stars, you can trust it works. Customers agree that the Jamaican black castor oil shampoo strengthens their hair while cleansing without stripping natural oil — a must for curls. That said, customers also report that their hair, while feeling stronger, didn't necessarily feel softer after shampooing. This is actually good news for curly folks with damaged hair that can come from a moisture overload and makes it a great option as a clarifying shampoo if you co-wash regularly and shampoo infrequently.

Buy It: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo, $10,

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