How you wash your hair can be a surprisingly divisive topic. Some say you should do it every day; some say go ahead and put it off for as long as humanly possible. For some it’s the perfect excuse for karaoke rehearsal, for others it’s a tedious task as annoying as removing makeup. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, shampoo is the first step in a quality hair-care routine, so it’s important to find one that will set you up for success. Here are 12 of our all-time favorite shampoos. There’s one for every hair texture, style struggle, and scalp issue, but they’re all so good that even the laziest among us will look forward to lathering up.
The Best Affordable Shampoo If You’re Not Sure What You Need
When your hair simply requires a hearty cleansing and you don’t have any specific issues you want to address, this is a very pleasant $5 choice. The fragrance is beachy, but not in a way that will make you feel like you’re washing your hair with sunscreen.
The Best Shampoo for Frizz-Free Hair
This rich, silicone-free shampoo not only smoothes, it lays the groundwork for a magical, humidity-proof shield on every strand. If you’re using it, you can safely live your life without worrying about looking like someone rubbed a balloon all over your head.
The Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
Curls are notoriously fickle when it comes to product, but there’s a good chance even the pickiest, high-maintenance textures will enjoy this well-rounded shampoo. It leaves curls feeling clean but not stripped, hydrated but not weighed down. It is also very lightly scented (of jasmine, bergamot, and sandalwood) but never overly perfumed, which is the last thing you want when cocktailing multiple styling products.
The Best Shampoo for Dry Hair
If touching your hair throughout the day reminds you more of straw than silk, you may need something that does a little more than cleanse. While you’re singing in the shower, this nutritive shampoo infuses each strand of hair with glucose proteins and nourishing lipids so you get that soft, slo-mo shake shine even before you move on to conditioner.
The Best Shampoo for Itchy Scalps
With its rich, whipped formula, it feels and looks like a mask, but it’s a shampoo. Massage it in thoroughly, enjoy the slight tingling sensation, then rinse off. It soothes itchy scalps, reduces flakes, and hydrates scalp and hair. And it smells sort of like a Thin Mint cookie.
The Best Shampoo for Fine Curls
If you have finer hair that happens to spiral, you’re always feeling like Goldilocks, looking for the right amount of product that keeps curls plump and hydrated but not heavy and limp. This oil-infused formula is moisturizing enough to prevent fine curls from frizzing, yet gentle enough that it won’t completely sabotage your hair by weighing it down, either.
The Best Shampoo for Natural Hair
This nourishing shampoo is the perfect companion on long and winding natural hair journeys, which can be filled with damage from heat styling, perms, dyeing, and so on. It combines the power of things you hear about in home remedies, like omega-rich Jamaican black castor oil and repairing shea butter, conveniently mixed together with a touch of peppermint to get your scalp amped for all that new hair growth that’s down the road.
The Best Shampoo for a Deep Cleanse
If you’ve ever felt the desire to shave your head and start all over again, try this first. This sea salt scrub gently and deeply deep cleans your hair, especially your roots. The granules dissolve quickly and won’t leave your scalp feeling stripped. It will be the closest your hair comes to feeling weightless, unless you decide to pick up that razor.
The Best Shampoo for Cool Blondes
A grocery basket of natural pigments (blueberries, purple sweet potatoes, purple carrots) steer blonde hair away from Brassy Land. They make up the “Violet Botanical Complex” that gives the shampoo its violet color. Meanwhile, beta carotene and collagen help keep color-treated hair resistant to breakage. Just be sure to wipe any purple residue from your shower walls and curtain.
The Best Shampoo for Brunettes
If you’re worried that your brunette hair is becoming as brassy as a doorknob, this shampoo will help with that. With each wash, it gently deposits a tiny bit of pigment using a mix of cocoa and primrose oil, deepening and making your color look more rich without staining your hands. The before-and-after reviews on Amazon offer compelling proof.
The Shampoo That Feels Weightless and Moisturizing
Shampoos that say they’re “hydrating” can be heavy and weigh hair down. This light formula is super mild, hydrates in a weightless way, and helps add shine to hair, thanks to macadamia nut oil.
The Best Shampoo for Smooth Hair
The shea oil in this creamy, pearlized shampoo formula hydrates and fights frizz, while the macadamia oil nourishes hair. Bonus: The citrusy, woodsy fragrance just oozes fanciness.
The Best Shampoo for Dandruff
Hidden inside this eye-pleasing, millennial-pink bottle is a nice dandruff shampoo. If you’re afraid of having unwashed sugar or salt granules in your hair, you’ll be pleased to hear that this formula, thanks to its 2 percent salicylic acid, gently lifts flakes so you don’t have to slough them off. The accompanying conditioner is also pleasing and very moisturizing. And it all smells very nice.
The Best for Serious Dandruff
The Best Drugstore Shampoo for Shiny Hair
This is a classic drugstore shampoo, with almost 5,000 five-star reviews on Walmart.com. Reviewers praise the shampoo for doing exactly what it says it does: moisturizing and making hair look super-shiny, all for a great price.
The Best Luxury Shampoo
The value proposition for using this very expensive shampoo, as Jean Godfrey-June once said, is to ask yourself, “Well, do I NEED to look especially good today?” If the answer is yes, consider this shampoo, which has the texture and feel of very rich honey and gives you, simply, much “better” hair. It’s been a secret favorite of beauty editors and rich ladies for years.
If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.