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No matter whether you embrace a complex styling routine to coif your natural curls or prefer to simply wash and air dry your straight hair, the haircare space has never been more saturated with products for every hair texture and type. It can make curating a haircare routine feel slightly overwhelming—which is exactly why we decided to put together this ultimate list of the top haircare brands out there, as well as the must-try product from each one.
Meet the Expert
Keep reading to learn all about the best haircare brands, from drugstore classics to niche indie companies and splurge-worthy picks.
The brand: First launched in 2014, Olaplex started by offering a game-changing reparative in-salon treatment that colorists quickly went ga-ga for. Credit the brand's proprietary technology that focused on repairing the protein bonds that are broken when hair undergoes chemical processes. Fast forward and there’s now a whole line of at-home products that utilize the same type of bond-building technology—which in turn inspired tons of other brands to follow suit and focus on the same type of repair.
The hero product: There's a good reason why the No.3 Hair Perfector is the brand’s best-seller—it’s basically the at-home version of the OG in-salon treatment that started it all. Great for all hair types and textures, it can be used weekly as a preventative or up to three times per week to help undo some pretty serious damage. All you have to do is apply to damp hair and leave it on for 10 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as normal.
What Our Editors Say
"Since launch, I've been a devoted Olaplex fan. It is the only set of products that have made a true, real, visible difference in the length and strength of my breakage-prone hair. I use the shampoo and conditioner, bonding oil, as well as the No.2 and No.3 masks as often as I can." — Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director
The brand: Founder Nancy Twine started Briogeo out of a tiny New York City apartment, inspired by her grandmother’s recipes for homemade haircare. Despite the brand’s now-global popularity, the focus on high-quality, pure ingredients remains a priority. Fun fact: The name of the brand is a combination of "brio," the Italian word for full of life, and "geo," the Latin word meaning "of earth and nature," a testament to the fact that all of the products are 90 to 100% naturally-derived.
The hero product: No matter whether your hair is straight, wavy, curly, or coily, if it requires a little extra TLC, the Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask is the solution. Natural hydrating oils are combined with B vitamins to pack a serious punch, leaving hair healthier, shinier, and stronger.
The brand: Arguably our favorite new brand to launch in recent years, we can’t get enough of anything and everything Odele. The premise is simple: A line of totally clean, super affordable, genderless, and above all, effective formulas. The brand checks every one of these boxes, and the packaging is beyond chic to boot.
The hero product: There’s no shortage of air-dry products on the market, but in our humble opinion, none work as well as the Air Dry Styler. Just a tiny dollop of the gel-like serum adds shine and smoothness, and generally leaves your hair looking better, even if you don’t do another thing to it. Bonus points for the fresh and clean fragrance, which is completely naturally derived.
What Our Editors Say
"Both Leah Wyar and I are obsessed with Odele's shockingly affordable yet chic line of products that are genderless, gentle to hair, and hard-working. I'm personally a big fan of the Air Dry Styler, a lightweight gel-like serum that helps my just-washed hair dry into smoothed, subtle waves instead of the massive frizzy bedhead I usually get from towel-drying." — Lindsey Metrus, Editorial Project Director
The brand: The brainchild of Oribe Canales—one of the most legendary hairstylists, ever— Oribe has a long history of being a go-to brand both for professionals and beauty lovers alike. Credit high-performance formulas and plenty of options for all hair textures, and that signature Oribe scent that’s so good you don’t even have to wear perfume.
The hero product: Anyone who loves a good blowout should try the Imperial Blowout Transformative Styling Hair Cream, a must-have for helping to add softness, shine, and volume—AKA everything you want from a blowout. Also nice: It works just as well on straight hair as it does on curly, and a little bit goes a long way, meaning one bottle will last quite a while.
What Our Editors Say
“I’ve honestly never tried an Oribe product I didn’t instantly love. There’s a reason the brand is a staple in salons everywhere—it was created by one of the most respected hairstyles of all time. It’s the closest thing to professional-quality products you can find in stores, and the brand tests every formula backstage and on set to make sure it meets the standard of industry pros. The Imperial Blowout Transformative Styling Hair Cream, in particular, is a game-changer for getting salon-worthy blowouts at home.” — Karli Bendlin, Senior Editor
The brand: Wavy, curly, and coily girls, this one is for you. The female-owned brand is all about creating products specially made for all different types of curly textures, relying on natural ingredients in all of their many cleansing, conditioning, and styling formulas.
The hero product: Ideal for 4a to 4c hair types or those with thick hair, the Curl Defining Butta is the most moisturizing of all of the brand’s creams. Murumuru butter, shea butter, baobab oil, and castor seed oil are only some of the key players. It infuses plenty of moisture and helps to smooth the hair while improving elasticity. It’s also a must-have for wash-and-go or twist-out styles.
The brand: When MIT scientists are involved with a haircare brand, you know that there’s going to be some pretty amazing technology at play, and indeed that’s the case with Living Proof. Founded by a group of biotech scientists in 2005, the brand now has 20 different patents across 50 different products, creating unique ingredients and technologies.
The hero product: To the point of unique ingredients, the Perfect Hair Day Shampoo features the brand’s patented Healthy Hair Molecule, which ensures that the formula not only soaks up excess oil (as most dry shampoos do) but then actually whisks all that grime away, too. In short, it’s the closest you can get to washing your hair without actually doing so. Plus, it imparts tons of volume and blends in nicely on all hair colors.
The brand: With a focus on offering a little something for everyone, this brand has 10 distinct collections of products for all hair types, textures, and styling preferences. (Don’t miss the AI quiz on their website that can help you determine what’s best for you.) Clean beauty fans will appreciate that all of the formulas are free from more than 1,300 questionable chemicals and that the packaging is also 100% recyclable. Oh, and don’t miss the brand's line of incredible hot tools, too.
The hero product: The Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo's talc-free formula is true to its name—it perks up and refreshes second-day hair with its sweet, clean scent.
The brand: Inspired by Sofi Tucker, who sold shea butter and African black soap-based beauty products in Sierra Leone back in 1912, this brand offers a wide range of hair, body, and skincare products. Sustainability and fair trade are a top priority, as is sourcing extremely high-quality ingredients—shea butter included, of course.
The hero product: The Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Restore Shampoo is somewhat of a haircare unicorn. It magically manages to be both a clarifying formula that's great at removing build-up (especially for those who don’t wash daily) yet is also extremely moisturizing—no small feat. While it can be used on natural hair, it’s especially ideal for chemically treated hair because it's super strengthening, as well.
The brand: "With over 30 years mastering the science of hair care and servicing clients' hair needs, Design Essentials is a great brand and go-to for many women," says hair texture expert Alicia Bailey, who adds that the line has something for every hair type. "Design Essentials is also committed to providing products with premium ingredients and educational support for women to care for their hair."
The hero product: The Peppermint and Aloe Soothing Tonic removes excess dirt and oils that contribute to skin and scalp irritation. It’s also not the least bit stripping for the scalp and hair, thanks to its nourishing ingredients.
The brand: Another staple for those with curly hair, stylist Ouidad first opened a curly hair-dedicated salon in 1984. There are now three Ouidad salons across the country, plus the line of eponymous products that are meant to complement all four different curl types: loose, classic, tight, and coily.
The hero product: As anyone with curly hair knows, a good cleansing conditioner is a non-negotiable, hence why the Curl Shaper Double Duty Weightless Cleansing Conditioner is so popular. The best-seller has a featherweight formula that magically works as either a shampoo, conditioner, or two-in-one, effectively removing dirt and oil but still defining and keeping your curl pattern intact.
The brand: Most times, a brand is created and then a signature ingredient is developed. Virtue took the opposite approach. A retired army colonel discovered that a powerful form of keratin, Alpha Keratin 60ku, could help heal skin wounds and regrow tissue. An intern decided to see if it could work on hair, and the rest is history. This proprietary ingredient is now a mainstay in Virtue's products, all of which are especially great for anyone looking to give their hair a little extra TLC.
The hero product: Combining that proprietary Alpha Keratin 60ku with a blend of natural oils, the Healing Oil works just as well as a treatment as it does a styler. No matter whether you apply it on damp or dry hair, it adds tons of softness and shine, while also strengthening hair and protecting against environmental damage.
What Our Editors Say
"Virtue was developed with the help of one of my favorite hair pros, Adir. The formulas are so luxurious, all of them are no-fail. Current favorites are the Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, staples in my shower, along with the Healing Oil and Unfrizz Cream." — Leah Wyar, SVP/GM
The brand: Back in 2001, Pureology set out to totally change up the haircare offerings available for those with colored hair. Spoiler alert: The brand succeeded. All of its high-performance formulas are professional-grade and also happen to be sulfate-free and vegan, too. And yes, while the products are perfect for color-treated hair, anyone can use them and reap the benefits.
The hero product: We know, shampoos made for color-safe hair are a dime a dozen, but the Hydrate Shampoo is truly one of the best we’ve ever used. Super creamy, it delivers a luxurious lather (impressive given that it's sulfate-free) and imparts tons of moisture, always a boon for colored hair. It also touts an anti-fade complex that will keep your hue extra vibrant and works especially well on thick hair.
The brand: The brainchild of Tracee Ellis Ross, Pattern is all about meeting the needs of those with curly, coily, and tight textures, offering a curated collection of products to do exactly that. There’s everything from cleansing products to stylers and treatments, plus unique tools and accessories specially developed to work for this subset of hair types.
The hero product: Unlike any hair product we’ve ever seen, the Scalp Serum is choice for all types of styles, from locs to curls. The targeted applicator makes it easy to deliver the formula directly onto the scalp, where it helps hydrate and refresh the skin, thanks to a combo of invigorating peppermint and rosemary oils.
The brand: This New York City-based company is all about creating high-quality, cruelty-free products that can be mixed and matched in whatever way your heart desires. It makes haircare both easier and more fun, with endless ways to combine their various formulas, no matter your hair texture or the style you’re after. Pro tip: Don’t miss the brand's line of hot tools, either.
The hero product: Just a few pumps of the Satin Dream Smoothing Leave-In Cream is key for helping to smooth out hair for all textures and types. It melts into hair beautifully, never feels thick or heavy, and has a citrusy-woodsy fragrance that we love. Use it with the Satin Dream shampoo and conditioner to really up the effects.
What Our Editors Say
“You can tell Eva NYC’s shampoos, conditioners, hair products, and tools are thoughtfully formulated because they work. I’m a less-is-more person when it comes to my hair, but I have to be careful about what I use because I’m very prone to dryness and breakage—which is why I love that Eva NYC is cruelty-free, vegan, and non-GMO across the board. It’s a very no-frills line that gives you exactly what you need. Whatever the product promises, it delivers. Simple as that." — Madeline Hirsch, Senior News Editor
The brand: Perhaps one of the most iconic and well-known salon brands, Kérastase combines hard-hitting science with hairstylist expertise and needs. It’s a distinct pairing that makes for a wide range of highly effective products that work for all textures. In short, there's something to meet anyone and everyone’s distinct haircare needs.
The hero product: You use a night cream for your skin, so why not give your hair the same type of dedicated overnight attention? That’s the idea behind the 8H Magic Night Serum, a super nourishing formula that works while you snooze, smoothing, hydrating, and helping to detangle hair so that you wake up with anything but bedhead. There’s no need to rinse when you wake up either, just be prepared to revel in the amazing results.
The brand: Founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin (responsible for coiffing the likes of the Kardashians and Chrissy Teigen, NBD), Ouai is all about giving consumers exactly what they need and ask for. To that point, many of the products are born out of demand and user requests. We’d be remiss not to mention the brand's other calling card, too: incredible, complex fragrances that are more akin to an actual perfume than a nice-smelling shampoo.
The hero product: The Texturizing Hair Spray is a true hybrid, blending the hold of a hair spray with the texture-enhancing effects of, well, a texturizer. As if that weren’t enough, it also adds volume and is lightweight yet easily buildable, so you can customize the result exactly to fit your styling needs and wants.
The brand: Even though this salon staple has been around since 1980, it continues to reinvent itself, recently focusing on even more inclusivity and diversity among its product offerings. Because it is a pro brand first and foremost, stylists play a pivotal role in the products it releases. Also nice: The offerings are helpfully categorized across 11 different lines, each with distinct colored packaging that makes it easy to tell them apart.
The hero product: A newbie but already a total success story, the Unbreak My Blonde shampoo isn’t just for blondes; it’s a must-have for anyone who lightens their hair, no matter the shade. The sulfate-free formula reinforces broken bonds and strengthens hair from root to tip, greatly minimizing the likelihood of breakage that is so often an unavoidable part of the lightening process.
Love Beauty And Planet
The brand: We're into Love Beauty and Planet not only for the amazing hair and body care offerings but also, as the name suggests, the brand's dedicated focus on doing good things for the planet. Case in point: Sustainability is a top priority, both from the way the ingredients are sourced to the formulas themselves to the packaging. Everything is also super affordable, and the fragrance combinations are totally delicious.
The hero product: There’s no shortage of things we like about the Murumuru Butter & Rose Concentrated 2X Conditioner. Yes, it smells amazing, and yes, it leaves your hair looking and feeling super soft. But to the point of the brand’s sustainability efforts, this formula is super concentrated and comes in an oversize (completely recyclable) plastic bottle, minimizing how many bottles you need to purchase. It's also fast-rinse, so you use less water during the rinsing process.
The brand: Founded in 2003, Alaffia is a staple in the natural products space. Not only are the brand's formulas very clean (and several are fair-trade), but the company also has a strong social impact focus—its manufacturing practices are GMP-certified and it has a commitment to giving back through a wide range of charitable initiatives. There’s also really nothing the brand doesn't make. Along with haircare, Alaffia also offers skincare and body products, and even a babies and kids line—all for incredibly wallet-friendly prices.
The hero product: Fair-trade, unrefined shea butter from West Africa is the key player in the Curl Control Custard, one of the best-selling products across the entire brand. The styling cream works well on a variety of different styles and curl types and boasts a minimal ingredient list that’s free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, and more.
The brand: "Floyd’s Grooming is a complete line that starts in the shower with Revive Hair and Body Wash," says Patrick Butler, the brand's technical director of operations and education. "Floyd’s Grooming also has you covered when you step out and style your hair (grooming products as well as styling pucks). A full range of stylers for any hair texture will have you looking dapper in no time."
The hero product: "The Revive Hair and Body Wash is a multi-purpose cleanser [that] saves you time and space as you are able to shampoo and wash away a hard day's work from your body and face at the same time," Butler says. "By taking away DEA, parabens, and sulfates, you end up using a color-safe cleanser that hydrates and calms in one complete package."
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She has fine, partially color-treated hair and has personal experience with several of the brands and products on this list.