When you have curly hair, it can feel like you need to find the Holy Grail or a special cipher to figure out the right products for your hair as well as the proper routine to bring out the best in your curls. But one key step that no curly head should overlook is the right curly hair shampoo. The right shampoo should address the specific needs your hair has and serve as the foundational step in your hair care routine. We’re outlining 19 of the best shampoos for curly hair, as well as highlighting key factors to consider when shopping for one to make sure you’re giving your tresses the TLC they deserve.
In this article:
- Our Picks for the Best Shampoos for Curly and Coily Hair
- What to Look for in the Best Shampoo for Curly Hair?
Best Shampoos for Curly Hair Overview
- Best Overall: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo
- Best Nourishing: Pattern Hydration Shampoo
- Best for Color-Treated Hair: L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Sulfate Free Shampoo
- Best Cleansing Conditioner: DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser
- Best for Frizz Prevention: Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo
- Best Clean Beauty: Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo
- Best for Detangling: Bumble and Bumble Curl Moisturizing Shampoo
- Best Vegan: Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Shampoo
- Best Accessible: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
- Best Protein Treatment: Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Curl Care Shampoo
- Best for Humidity: Aveda Be Curly Shampoo
- Best for Dry Hair: OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Shampoo
- Best for Curly Kids: Fairy Tales Curly-Q Shampoo
- Best Clay-Based: Flora & Curl Coconut Mint Curl Refresh Clay Wash
- Best Hydrating: Vernon François Shampoo for Curly Hair
- Best Clarifying: Mizani True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo
- Best for Parched Strands: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
- Best for Dry Scalp: adwoa beauty Baomint Moisturizing Shampoo
- Best for Type 3s: Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo for Curly Hair
Our Picks for the Best Shampoos for Curly and Coily Hair
A leave-in cream can do wonders for parched curls. Especially fans of wash ‘n gos will love that the Briogeo shampoo is designed to provide manageability and moisture. This curly hair shampoo works to remove dirt and build-up while relying on avocado and rice amino to strengthen curls. Shop for it at Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, Dermstore, or Amazon!
If you’re not a fan of the Curly Girl Method, but you’re still leery of using traditional shampoos, then this pick from Pattern is perfect. It is packed with moisture-loving ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, coconut oil, and honey. The gentle cleanser works to remove impurities from your hair and scalp without stripping both of natural oils and essential moisture. Buy it at Ulta, Sephora, or Amazon!
Curly hair and sulfates rent a winning combination. But again, shampoo can be a dicey category since it’s usually designed to get hair squeaky clean. The L’Oreal Paris shampoo combines coconut oil with their proprietary EverCurl Hydrocharge blend to create a gentle cleanser that doesn’t leave hair stripped of necessary oils. This pick is not only sulfate-free but is also salt- and surfactant-free, making it safe for color-treated hair. Buy it on Amazon!
For people who are completely against shampoos of any kind, DevaCurl No-Poo shampoo is going to be your BFF. It’s perfect for all hair textures and is specially designed to gently cleanse wavy and curly hair. Your hair will love the grapeseed oil that works to moisturize, while invigorating peppermint stimulates blood flow in your scalp. This fan-favorite hair product is free from sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. Buy it at Sephora, Ulta, or Amazon!
Anyone with curly hair will tell you that sometimes humidity can do more than a number on their hair. The Ouidad shampoo is designed to help you press the reset button when the humidity makes your hair frizz. The sulfate-free formula uses shea butter and murumuru butter, along with ceramides, to repair your hair’s cuticle and smooth the surface. It also relies on silk proteins to seal your cuticles, lock in moisture, and block humidity. Plus, you’ll even get UV protection for your tresses. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!
If the idea of using products with questionable ingredients has you afraid, then the Kinky Curly Moisturizing Shampoo is going to be a smart choice. This sulfate-free shampoo is perfect for kinky, curly, and wavy hair types. It’s free of everything you don’t want while still working to effectively cleanse your scalp and tresses. This curly hair shampoo relies on mandarin orange extract to remove build-up, while sea kelp helps your hair maintain its moisture balance. Buy it on Amazon!
Most people wouldn’t associate a shampoo with being a good detangling product. But the Bumble and Bumble product offers plenty of slip thanks to the gentle cleansing formula that promises not to strip important oils from your hair. This pick is perfect for all hair textures and wavy, curly, and coily heads.
Thanks to the oil and butter blend with a mix of avocado, coconut, and jojoba oils, as well as shea and cocoa butter, you’ll get an ultra-hydrating shampoo that gives you plenty of slip to detangle your hair while still infusing moisture to help combat frizz and improve shine. Shop for it at Sephora, Ulta, or Amazon!
When you’re vegan, it can be hard at times to find effective products that don’t have questionable animal byproduct ingredients. The Maui curl-defining shampoo is a vegan-friendly solution that helps to tackle tangles and dryness, specifically for tightly curled or coily hair types. This pick is also silicone- and paraben-free. Coconut oil combines with pure aloe juice, plumeria, and papaya extract for a result with touchably soft hair that’ll get you compliments all day long. Buy it on Amazon or Ulta!
Not everyone lives within close distance of a Sephora or Ulta or wants to shop online for their haircare needs. Thankfully, Shea moisture is a brand that’s incredibly accessible thanks to the fact that many stores, from drugstores to big-box retailers, stock them.
The Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo is specially designed for thick curly hair and works to remove frizz while infusing moisture and shine. Along with coconut oil, neem oil helps to improve moisture balance. Plus, this product is made using ethically sourced ingredients. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!
If your hair has been a little dry or in need of a protein treatment, but you’re not sure you want to use the more traditional options, this one is a great alternative. This cleansing shampoo is also full of Rice Curl Complex, a proprietary blend of rice, enzymes, and keratin amino acids that help to improve the health of your hair. This includes hydration, conditioning, and protection, which can all result in better curl retention. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!
Humidity might be great for your skin, but curly heads know that it wreaks havoc on hair. The Aveda Be Curly Shampoo promises to dramatically reduce frizz by as much as 57%. This gentle shampoo for curly hair relies on a wheat protein and organic aloe blend, along with natural plant essences like organic lime, lemon, bergamot, and orange to improve shine, enhance your curls and stop frizz in its tracks. Buy it on Nordstrom or Amazon!
If it feels like you could start a fire just by touching your hair, then you need a deeply hydrating curly hair shampoo. The OGX shampoo should be on your shortlist. This cleanser combines coconut, sweet honey, and citrus oils to tackle dry, frizzy hair. Thanks to this pick, you’ll have improved shine, lush, hydrated curls, and improved definition. Shop for it at Ulta or Amazon!
Even young curly heads need a little TLC. The Fairy Tales shampoo is designed to gently wash your child’s hair while infusing it with essential moisture, thanks to the inclusion of murumuru butter. Plus, this gentle shampoo can also double as a detangler to keep knots at bay and tame frizzy hair. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!
If you prefer clay washes to traditional shampoos, then Flora & Curl is the way to go. This natural clay shampoo relies on Moroccan Lava clay and bentonite clay to gently and thoroughly cleanse the scalp and hair of all manner of build-up, including dirt, oil, and styling products. Plus, the mint oil helps to stimulate your scalp and encourage hair growth. You’ll also love the improved curl definition this product creates. Buy it at Ulta!
When you’re a curly-haired person, your curls could range from more defined S curls to ones that wind on themselves because they’re so curly. But the Vernon Francois shampoo is perfect for all manner of textured wavy, curly, coily, and thick hair. The ultra-hydrating shampoo features a trifecta of shea butter, coconut, and castor oil for serious moisture infusion. This sulfate-free pick is designed to enhance your curl pattern while helping to improve softness and shine. Buy it on Amazon!
When you’re a curly girl, there’s a good chance that you use more product than the directions recommend because you know you need more to tame those curls. But this can also contribute to excess product build-up. This shampoo is perfect for gently clarifying hair while still focusing on moisture, definition, and frizz control. Coconut, marula, and olive oil combine for an ultra-hydrating shampoo that adds shine and softness while preventing frizz from giving you a bad hair day. Buy it at Sephora or Amazon!
Coloring your hair is fun, but it can contribute to dryness that causes your hair to act like it has a mind of its own, refusing to do the things you desperately wish it would. So, it’s no secret that the key to luscious curls is getting your moisture balance under control.
The Pureology shampoo is specifically designed for thirsty hair. It’s great for all hair types and especially safe for color-treated hair. This sulfate-, paraben-, and mineral oil-free shampoo contains vitamin E and a UV filter to maintain your fresh color, while a gentle cleansing formula with corn, coconut, and sugar gently cleanses your hair without stripping color. Buy it at Sephora, Ulta, or Amazon!
When you have curly or coily hair, dryness can be a serious issue. And for some people, it’s a situation that also includes a seriously dry scalp. The Adwoa Beauty shampoo actually deposits natural oils that mimic the sebum your scalp normally produces to hydrate dry skin and hair.
This gentle curly hair shampoo cleanses and soothes dry scalps while also detangling and encouraging shine. Thanks to aloe leaf juice, baobab oil, and a trifecta of wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint oil, your scalp is invigorated and stimulated while your hair is gently moisturized and softened. Shop for it at Sephora!
If you have those stereotypical larger corkscrew curls that people imagine when they hear the phrase ‘curly hair,’ this shampoo is for you. It is designed to moisturize and strengthen your hair thanks to the inclusion of shea butter and moringa oil. Hair is gently cleansed without being stripped of essential oils. Buy it on Amazon!
What to Look for in the Best Shampoo for Curly Hair?
When it’s time to wash your hair, the hair products you use on your hair are as important as your technique. Even when you know which hair type you have, you still need to consider other factors, like density, dryness, and porosity so that you can pick the right shampoo to address your specific needs.
Take Density and Porosity Into Account
If you’re new to the world of curly hair care, porosity and density can sound like foreign concepts – but they’re not! Porosity determines how easily your hair holds onto moisture. This is based on the cuticle formation on your hair shaft and how much they overlap. Porosity is usually listed as low, normal, or high porosity.
Density references the thickness of your hair and the total number of individual hairs on each square inch of your scalp. Density can be harder to figure out, but you can figure out your hair’s porosity fairly quickly.
The next time you wash your hair, blot it so that it’s damp and feel the texture. If your hair feels rough, it has low porosity. If your hair feels wet, then it has normal porosity. And a sticky feeling like you didn’t wash all the product out means your hair has high porosity.
Pick a Shampoo for Your Hair Needs
Now that you know your hair type and porosity, also consider the specific issues that you want to address. If you struggle with frizziness, then you need a shampoo that tackles that issue. If you want to focus on definition or increased shine, look for options that prioritize those needs.
Whatever option you go for, look for hydrating ingredients in your shampoo, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, natural butters, and oils. Also, stay away from drying and harsh ingredients, including sulfates, detergents, and surfactants. Silicone-based shampoos are also bad for curly hair, as silicones build up on the hair weighing it down and making your curls lose shape.
But keep in mind, if you decide to follow the Curly Girl Method, you’ll want to skip traditional shampoos and opt for a cleanser or co-wash instead. These options are usually much gentler and are less likely to strip your hair of critical oils and moisture. Likewise, they’ll be free from harsh ingredients like sulfates and parabens.
Photos via @tondreannaesquilin, Sephora, Ulta, Amazon, Instagram