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If you have curly hair, your shampoo has a big job. You not only want it to cleanse and moisturize your hair, you want it to do so without disrupting your springy curl pattern or drying into a shapeless frizz ball.

Why does curly hair need special treatment? For a few reasons:

  • The curl pattern makes it harder for scalp oils to make their way to the ends, so dryness is a problem.
  • Rough handling can turn all those little kinks into a tangled mess, leading to damage and breaking.
  • Excessive brushing and grooming can weaken curly hair, so products that allow for more hands-off styling will protect from damage.
  • Curly hair is more prone to surface damage which compromises shine and smoothness.

Your shampoo should work with your curly hair, not against it. Here are the best shampoo for your curls.

If you’re hitting up the beauty or drugstore in search of your perfect shampoo, there’s an overwhelming number of options. So we did the hard work for you to find what you and your curly hair actually need.

Here’s how we narrowed down our top shampoos for a better lather, rinse experience for your curls:

  • Prioritize products that moisturize. Dryness is the enemy of curly styles and can lead to tangles and damage.
  • Color safe. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice color your hair.
  • Beware of sulfates, detergents that can strip your hair.
  • Hair-type specific formulas. Consider formulas targeting your curl type: wavy, curly, or coily.
  • Strengthening ingredients: Shampoo should strengthen hair since curly hair is fragile.

You have a lot of things to consider when choosing shampoo for curly hair. Whether you want to amplify shine, remove build-up, detangle knots, or find the best bet for your budget, we’ve identified a list of solid options for your hair routine.

Pricing guide:

$ = under $10
$$ = $10-$30
$$$ = over $30

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Editor’s pick:

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Size: 8.45 ounces
  • Hair type: Wavy and curly
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Rosehip oil
  • Pros: Defining, detangling, frizz-taming
  • Cons: Some reviewers say the scent has changed in the last few years and is not their fave.

The key to lush curls is hydration. This product cleans gently while giving your hair a big dose of moisture with what they call “curl enhancing technology”. It must work because more than 6,300 Amazon users give it an average rating of 4.3 / 5 stars.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls is free of parabens and sulfates. It contains rosehip oil which is rich in fatty acids and vitamins that may improve scalp and hair health. At less than $10 it’s also one of the most affordable options on our list.

Best shampoo and conditioner set for curly hair:

Living Proof Curl Power Trio

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 12-ounce shampoo, 12-ounce conditioner, 6.4-ounce curl definer
  • Hair type: Wavy, curly, and coily
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Methiopeptide
  • Pros: Defined curls, moisturizing, beats frizz
  • Cons: Limited edition so you may have to track down the individual products.

Living Proof’s curl regimen cleans your hair without stripping moisture, detangles, and prevents damage. It contains methiopeptide, which is a conditioning amino acid that promotes hair strength and elasticity. A resin blend helps define curls and create smooth ringlets.

They’re free of ingredients you don’t want like parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, sulfates SLS & SLES, and triclosan. They are also vegan, cruelty free, and gluten free.

Best budget shampoo for curly hair:

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Size: 13 ounces
  • Hair type: Kinky, curly, wavy, natural
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Jamaican black castor oil, shea butter, peppermint, apple cider vinegar
  • Pros: Removes buildup, moisturizes, low price
  • Cons: Beware of clarifying shampoo if your hair is super dry

This refreshing peppermint-scented shampoo clarifies with apple cider vinegar while moisturizing with organic shea butter. All hair products by Shea Moisture are cruelty free and free of sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates, mineral oil, and petrolatum.

More than 15,000 Amazon users give Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo an average rating of 4.6 / 5 stars. They rate it highly for leaving hair soft and moisturized, its scent and ingredient quality, and its value for the cost.

Best splurge shampoo for curly hair:

Virtue Curl Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 8 ounces
  • Hair type: Wavy, curly, coily, coarse
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Alpha Keratin 60ku, jojoba oil
  • Pros: Reduces frizz, repairs damage
  • Cons: Pricey

Virtue Curl Shampoo is hydrating to combat dryness that can lead to brittle, damaged hair. The brand claims its Alpha Keratin 60ku, a protein similar to keratin in your hair, can “heal” the keratin in damaged hair.

Reviewers say it is great for their fine, curly hair. It’s concentrated so you may not have to use as much making this pricey bottle last a little longer.

Best shampoo for thick and curly hair:

OUAI Thick Hair Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 10 ounces
  • Hair type: Wavy, curly, coily, thick
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Keratin, marshmallow root, shea butter, avocado oil
  • Pros: Smoothes frizz, color safe, paraben and sulfate free
  • Cons: Skip if you don’t like a strong rose scent

Your thick mane may be the envy of Instagram, but we know you need a special shampoo to penetrate your crown. OUAI (“way”) shampoo is cruelty free and has no parabens or sulfates. It detangles (a big job for thick hair) and leaves your curls shiny.

It also has a fancy fragrance that combines rose, lemon, jasmine, and white musk. Amazon reviewers rate it 4.4 / 5 stars, saying the scent is great and it’s a good value.

Best shampoo for dry and curly hair:

Kérastase Nutritive Shampoo for Dry Hair

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 8.5 ounces
  • Hair type: Wavy, curly, coily
  • Sulfate-free: No
  • Standout ingredients: Rhizome extract
  • Pros: Hydrates, increases shine, good for damaged hair
  • Cons: A little expensive, contains sulfates

Like we mentioned earlier, curly hair tends to be dry because all those kinks and curves make it harder for scalp oils to work their way down your follicles. Kérasrase Nutritive Shampoo uses a blend of glucose, protein, and lipids to restore moisture to dry hair.

Oils help smooth the surface for shinier hair. Moisturized hair is less likely to tangle and break.

Best shampoo for naturally Kinky, curly hair:

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 12 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, coily, kinky, wavy
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Aloe, shea butter, sweet clover, rose
  • Pros: Good for shine, dryness, and damage control
  • Cons: Watch out for counterfeits of this popular product

Founded by a Black mom in Brooklyn in 1993, Carol’s Daughter has become a popular option with curly girls and boys, with more than 13,000 Amazon ratings (average 4.6 / 5). Users say it smells good and leaves hair soft and moisturized. It’s also a good value at about $10 a bottle. Contains no sulfates, parabens, silicone, or artificial colors.

Best shampoo for detangling curly hair:

The Mane Choice Easy on the Curls Detangling Hydration Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 8 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Biotin, vitamin E
  • Pros: Detangling, no sulfates or parabens
  • Cons: Some users say it feels greasy or waxy

Ideally, any product you put on wet hair will allow strands to slip around so they don’t get knotted up. The Mane Choice hydrates so your hair feels soft and shiny and less prone to tangles or frizz.

Best cleansing conditioner for curly hair:

DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Cleanser

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, wavy, coily
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Grape seed oil, coconut oil
  • Pros: Leaves curls soft and defined, fresh rose fragrance
  • Cons: No lather, complaints about pump malfunctions

If you’ve tried a cleansing conditioner before, you probably know what to expect: this “no-poo” will not lather up like your regular shampoo. Instead you scrub the cream onto your scalp and then scrub as you rinse. This method is supposed to preserve moisture in the hair, making tangles and frizz less likely.

It’s also free of sulfates, parabens, silicone, and gluten. Ingredients like coconut oil help moisturize the scalp and hair.

Best shampoo for colored curly hair:

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 9 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, wavy, coily
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Jojoba, green tea, sage
  • Pros: Color safe, moisturizing, 100% vegan
  • Cons: Costly

Color treatment is harsh on hair. You want to protect your hair (and your investment) with products that will nourish and preserve your color. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo hydrates with jojoba oil and supports healthy scalp and hair follicles with green tea and sage.

The scent is a relaxing blend of lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. More than 4,000 Ulta users have rated Pureology 4.5 / 5 stars, citing that it smells good, is gentle, and cleans their hair thoroughly.

Best clarifying shampoo for curly hair:

Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Clarifying Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 7.8 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, wavy, and coily
  • Sulfate-free: No
  • Standout ingredients: Rosemary, safflower seed extract, aloe
  • Pros: Defines curls, helps low-porosity hair absorb moisture
  • Cons: Not sulfate free

Clarifying shampoo removes buildup, but it can also be drying, which is bad news for curls. Pattern cleanses without stripping hair. It can be used on dry scalps and color treated hair. The scent is a blend of jasmine, bergamot, and sandalwood.

Users say it gives them a revived, healthy scalp without the stripping of other clarifying shampoos. You can use it every third shampoo and follow up with a hydrating wash.

Best shampoo for making curly hair shine:

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 8.5 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, wavy, coily
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate (to rebuild bonds)
  • Pros: Reduces breakage and frizz
  • Cons: Some users found it drying

Shiny hair has a smooth cuticle (the outer layer of the hair shaft). Olaplex No.4 claims to repair hair bonds with something called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate to improve frizz and breakage. It contains no nuts, parabens, phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, gluten, DEA, aldehydes, or formaldehyde. Users like the scent and say that it makes their hair feel soft and strong.

Best shampoo for frizz control:

Kérastase Discipline Sulfate Free Smoothing Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 8.5 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly, wavy, coily
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Morpho-Kératine™
  • Pros: Detangling, makes hair soft
  • Cons: Cost

This frizz-fighting shampoo is good for curly or straight hair. It cleans gently without using sulfates, making hair soft, smooth, and manageable. Morpho-Kératine™ coats each strand of hair to make it smooth. Reviewers use words like silky, smooth, health, soft, and light to describe their hair after using Kérastase Discipline shampoo.

Best shampoo for breakage and damaged hair:

Marc Anthony Grow Long Super Fast Strength Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Size: 8.4 ounces
  • Hair type: Curly
  • Sulfate-free: Yes
  • Standout ingredients: Biotin, vitamin E, caffeine, ginseng
  • Pros: Low price, paraben and sulfate free
  • Cons: Smallish bottle may not last long

Grow Long is aptly named, since it nourishes hair with ingredients like caffeine, ginseng, and vitamin E to discourage breakage so your hair can grow longer. More than 10,000 Amazon users give it an average rating of 4.5 / 5 stars. Reviews like the scent, the price, and the softness it gives their hair. Many reviewers confirmed they saw noticeable growth while using it.

Best natural/organic shampoo for curly hair: ​​

Klorane Repairing Shampoo with Organic Cupuacu Butter

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 13.5 ounces
  • Hair type: Wavy, curly, natural
  • Sulfate-free: No, but free of SLS and SLES
  • Standout ingredients: Cupuacu Butter
  • Pros: Made with sustainably sourced organic cupuacu butter, hydrating, gentle
  • Cons: Not sulfate free

Klorane Repairing Shampoo makes hair stronger and shinier. Ingredients are 83% natural, vegan, and biodegradable. It’s safe for natural or color-treated hair. Ulta users say it’s moisturizing, nourishing, and smells good.

Since damaging curly hair leads to tangling, breakage, and frizz, consider following these shampooing tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association for avoiding hair damage:

  • Concentrate shampoo on your scalp, there’s no need to lather up the ends of hair.
  • Use conditioner every time you shampoo.
  • Don’t rub hair with a towel, gently blot and let hair air dry.
  • Comb with a wide-toothed comb while hair is damp.
  • Limit heat styling and chemical treatments like coloring, perming, or relaxing.

Curly hair needs a gentle touch to keep it bouncy and happy. Look for a shampoo that gently cleanses without harsh ingredients, helps you avoid tangles and frizz, and leaves your curls soft and shiny. Find the price tag and scent that suits you, and you have the perfect match for wash day.