Finding a good shampoo that will moisturize our hair without leaving a buildup can be difficult. However, finding a quality shampoo for curly hair that will protect our curls and control frizziness is virtually impossible. To take good care of your curls, you need to invest in high-quality products that will clean it while offering all the necessary nourishment. And while the market offers a wide variety of such products, you need to know what to look for in such a shampoo. For these reasons, we’ve come up with the top choices for the best shampoos and conditioners for curly hair.
What to Look For
The most common form of sulfate – sodium lauryl sulfate is both a salt and a detergent that’s too harsh for your curls. Sulfate will damage your hair and leave your curls unruly.
Look for a 100 percent sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfate-free shampoo allows you to cleanse your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
Moisture is curl’s best friend. The best products for curly hair are specially formulated to inject moisture while controlling frizz.
Proteins – silk amino acids, soy, wheat, and keratin – will repair and reconstruct brittle hair, leaving your hair feeling a lot healthier.
Emollients– natural vegetable oils, nut butter, glycerides, and liposomes – will give your hair bounce and shine.
Humectants – Panthenol, vegetable glycerine, glycol, sorbitol, aloe vera, and essential oils – will absorb water and leave your hair full of moisture.
Textured hair requires more moisture to retain a defined shape and cut down on frizz. Choose a shampoo that is explicitly made for your hair texture – such as wavy or kinky hair. Choosing the proper shampoo and conditioner for your hair texture will help provide adequate nutrients and hydration that your curls need.
Check the porosity of your hair with a simple float test.
If your hair floats on a basin of water, it doesn’t absorb shampoo and conditioner easily. In that case, choose luxurious, creamy products.
However, if your hair sinks in water, it’s porous. Opt for lightweight products.
Use the same brand for shampoo and conditioners
For optimal results, you should always use the same brand of conditioner as your shampoo. This is because the conditioner will complement the chemical properties of the shampoo.
You don’t need to shampoo daily or as frequently as straight hair. Frequent shampooing can stretch and stress out delicate strands and dehydrate thirsty curls. However, the conditioner is your friend.
Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Curly Hair
DevaCurl No-Poo Original + DevaCurl One Condition Original
DevaCurl No-Poo Original shampoo keeps our hair hydrated and healthy. It is a non-lathering formula with a grapeseed and peppermint extract. Since it doesn’t lather, the application is much easier, and it doesn’t leave any buildup. The shampoo will moisturize our hair without stripping away any of its natural oils. None of the DevaCurl products contain any sulfates, parabens, or silicones. They are also vegan and cruelty-free. The shampoo has a floral Turkish rose scent with just a dash of peppermint.
Now, let’s talk about the conditioner. Same as the shampoo, it is a moisturizing formula that is perfect for all types of curls. It is infused with olive oil and nourishing botanicals which will leave our hair feeling soft and fresh for an extended period. Olive oil combats frizziness and makes the hair easier to comb through. Also, it helps define our curls better and makes them last longer. Moreover, it has a refreshing and lush lemongrass fragrance.
Keep in mind that, because it is infused with olive oil, it can decrease volume. Not having enough volume can be a problem for anyone with wavy hair. Also, it can be a problem if we want to straighten our hair. Finally, we wouldn’t recommend it to someone with an oily scalp. An oily scalp combined with the olive oil formula can leave our hair looking dirty or greasy.
- Controls frizziness
- Vegan formula devoid of strong chemicals
- Doesn’t leave buildup
- Decreases volume
- Strong scent
Best for Co-Washing
Aveda Be Curly Co-Wash Shampoo + Conditioner
Aveda is a fantastic company that specializes in making products for curly hair that don’t have any sulfates in them. They have a low-lather formula infused with organic babassu oil which is ideal for curly hair. Moreover, they claim their shampoos will leave our curls moisturized for up to three days. Aveda also has its unique pure-fume aroma, which is a combination of orange, lemon, bergamot, and other pure flower and herb essences.
Be Curly shampoo was designed to reduce frizziness and increase shine. It contains wheat proteins and organic aloe to help define our curls better. Moreover, while we’re washing our hair, it will expand, and once it’s dry, it will retract. We recommend using it in combination with the Be Curly conditioner. Another great thing we saw on their website is their auto-replenishment feature. We can have them deliver our hair products every 30 days up to four months. By doing so, we will get a 10% discount on refills.
The conditioner is a co-wash product, which means we can use it on its own or with the shampoo. Same as the shampoo, the conditioner doesn’t have any sulfates and features their trademark pure-fume scent. Moreover, we recommend using a dime-sized amount and leaving it in for three to five minutes. Doing so will enhance the look of wavy hair and curls. Also, we recommend using only fingers when combing the hair, and not a brush.
- Low-lather, sulfate-free formula
- Reduces frizziness and increases shine
- Auto-replenishment feature
- Strong scent
Best for Smooth Hair
Shu UemuraShusu Sleek Shampoo + Shu Uemura Sleek Conditioner
Shu Uemura specializes in making fantastic hair products for all types of hair.
Moreover, none of their products have any silicone or parabens in them. They are also cruelty-free and vegan. Their shampoo line for coarse hair is infused with black cumin oil and antioxidants. Black cumin oil is a fantastic ingredient which helps tame frizzy hair and contains over 100 actives. The oil will smooth the hair’s cuticle and tame the hair fibers.
Also, it has omega-3, 6, and nine fatty acids and nigellone. Nigellone is a powerful herbal antioxidant. Also, all of their products are color-safe and can be used on processed hair.
When it comes to application, we recommend taking a quarter-size amount of the shampoo and massaging it into the scalp with fingertips. Once we’ve done that, we can rinse off the shampoo thoroughly. For those with an oilier scalp, we recommend applying the same amount again and washing it off.
In their Sleek Shampoo line for coarse hair, they also have a mask and conditioner. The conditioner will deeply nourish our hair and leave it looking shiny and moisturized. It has an earthy and spicy scent. All products in this line work great for both curly and wavy hair. Moreover, with the Shusu shampoo, our hair will look fantastic even if we want to blow dry it or straighten it.
- Free of silicones and parabens
- Has Omega 3, 6, 9 acids and nigellone
- Safe for colored hair
- Overpowering fragrance
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo + Conditioner
Ouidad is an expert on all curly hair products. They make shampoos, conditioners, and treatments — all of which are designed to reduce frizziness and increase shine. Depending on our needs, we can buy the anti-frizz, repair, hydration, or ultra hydration line. All of their products are sulfate-free and help protect the hair’s natural oils. Also, on their website, they sell amazing detangling brushes for curly and textured hair.
The Ouidad Defrizzing shampoo formula keeps the hair cuticles locked in place. It nourishes the hair and leaves it shiny and moisturized. The shampoo is a unique blend of different emollients such as shea and murumuru butter. Ouidad believes that the battle against frizziness starts in the shower. That is why they created this unique shampoo formula for coarse and unruly hair prone to frizzing. Also, their anti-frizz shampoo features protein derived from silk, which helps provide a barrier against frizz and seals in our cuticles. Moreover, they’ve put in a UV filter in their shampoo, which will protect our hair against environmental aggressors.
We recommend using the shampoo combined with the conditioner for the maximum anti-frizz effect. Also, mixing in the conditioner with the shampoo in a 2:1 ratio will give our hair more volume and shine. Finally, we recommend using it only a couple of times a week. Using it every day might destroy our curls and create buildup.
- Creates an anti-frizz barrier
- Sulfate-free with a UV filter
- Nourishing and moisturizing
- Strong scent
Best for Thick Curls
Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo + Conditioner
Next, let’s talk about a shampoo that is so good — it has won prizes. The Love collection from Davines is one of the best on the market for thick and unruly hair. None of their products have any sulfates or parabens in them. They are a cruelty-free company. Also, while they aren’t certified as a vegan brand, the majority of their products don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
The Love Smoothing shampoo is infused with olive oil, which helps combat frizziness and adds shine to the hair. The oil used for the shampoos comes from Messina, Italy, where it is picked and processed. Moreover, the olive oil extract is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E. All of these acids, along with vitamin E, will keep our hair nourished and soft. Moreover, we would recommend the shampoo to anyone who has platinum blonde or silver hair. The ingredients of the shampoo will help fight off any yellow pigments in the hair.
Our main issue with the shampoo was its size. It only comes in two sizes — 75ml (2.5fl oz) and 250ml (8.4fl oz). While the size makes it easier to travel with, it can be inconvenient to have to run to the store every two weeks for a new bottle. Another issue we had was the scent; while it is faint, it smells a bit like chemicals.
- Free of sulfates and parabens
- Nourishing formula
- Combats frizziness
- Small bottle sizes
- Faint chemical smell
Best for Wavy Hair
Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino
The Briogeo Curl Charisma products are free from silicones, sulfates, and parabens. These ingredients can be especially damaging for curly hair due to its drier nature. The rice amino acids help to seal the hair cuticle to lock out humidity that can cause curls to frizz. Natural ingredients such as shea butter and avocado oils also keep the curls soft, hydrated, and shiny. The tomato fruit ferment – which is the secret ingredient – helps to add definition to curls, boosting the curl pattern and vibrancy.
Those with wavy and curly hair texture will benefit from Briogeo’s Curl Charisma Shampoo and Conditioner. This powerful combo nourishes and defines, wavy and curly hair without striping curls of much-needed natural oils. It’s safe for chemically-treated, color-treated, keratin-treated, and relaxed hair.
The Briogeo Curl Charisma Crème is a nourishing and moisturizing formula perfect for wavy hair. It provides control and definition while maintaining excellent movement and shine. Another great thing about the cream is that it is safe to use for anyone with colored or keratin-treated hair.
The cream doesn’t contain any sulfates, parabens, or silicone. Moreover, it is gluten and cruelty-free. The amino acids in the rice will seal our cuticles and help combat any frizziness. On the other hand, the avocado extract will help nourish our hair and increase elasticity to protect it from any damage. We also recommend using the Curl Charisma Gel to create a more defined look that will last for days.
Keep in mind that this is a leave-in cream, which means we shouldn’t rinse it off. We need a one or two-quarter amount to run through wet, freshly washed hair. Next, we leave it in for 60 seconds and scrunch up our hair to get that more defined look. Once we’ve finished, we can let it air dry or use a diffuser setting to blow dry our hair.
One thing to note about this product is the smell. The fragrance of the cream can be pungent and overpowering. Also, we’ve seen some reviews online which claim that their cream went bad after only a few weeks.
- Easy to use
- Free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and gluten
- Gives definition
- Overpowering scent
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine
Nowadays, thinning hair is like a mysterious epidemic, especially since we’re all always on the road, exposed to pollutants and extreme heat. Fortunately, the SheaMoisture Coconut &Hibiscus Curl & Shine shampoo and conditioner are here to change that.
This shampoo and conditioner combo make hair softer, silkier, and smoother within weeks. You’ll find it difficult to stop yourself from touching your hair all the time. Also, the shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free, which means they won’t strip your hair of its natural oils.
It works on 3A curly hair like magic. But it doesn’t stop there! It also works on 2C and 3B curls. What’s more, it can detangle hair and allow you to create a hairstyle that will last all day long. All you have to do is detangle your hair after taking a shower and then condition the ends one more time.
Nevertheless, since the shampoo is sulfate-free, it doesn’t lather up nicely. Also, it won’t be able to remove silicone and general product buildup in our hair.
The product isn’t absurdly pricey, AND it does a good job.