"Curly hair needs a balance and proper distribution of hydration to help keep it healthy," explains Marilisa Sears, a stylist for Marc Anthony. That said, it's more difficult for curls to allow for proper distribution as it takes more time for hair's natural oils to wind down each tendril. This is where haircare products come into play, specifically your choice of shampoo. It needs to infuse moisture into the cuticle of each curl, all the while removing any dirt and debris. So, yes, it's complicated.
We consulted a few curly hair specialists and stalked some product reviews to give you the ultimate shampoo recommendations for your curly hair, no matter your budget. Click through to find the right shampoo for you.
Vernon François Curl~ Shampoo ($26)
Veron François—a go-to stylist for naturally curly girls like Lupita Nyong'o and Solange—created his own product line to take the guesswork out of caring for your curls. This formula is sulfate-free and "packed with ingredients that nourish and moisturize hair, like mongongo oil (known for its sun-protection properties), coconut oil to soften, baobab oil (for a dose of vitamins A, D, and E for healthy hair growth), and 'MiruStyle CP,' a styling agent that encourages curls' spring-factor," says François. "It works to repair your hair while simultaneously protecting and nourishing your curls from scalp to root."
Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Fortifying Shampoo ($3)
There are a lot of reasons to love this shampoo, and the fact that it's paraben- and sulfate-free is certainly one of them. Celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas recommends it because all of the benefits that come with the proteins and oils in its formula. "The shampoo includes citrus protein, vitamins B3 and B6, fruit and plant extracts, as well as coconut and jojoba oils to provide intense moisture to strengthen and define your curls."
Aloxxi Colourcare Hydrating Shampoo ($17)
Enriched with olive oil and 10 antioxidant extracts, this shampoo gives a luxurious lather that protects your hair from UV rays and coats each curl to restore it to its original bouncy, youthful state. "With a large dose of moisture, you can keep your frizz at bay and hair shiny for days," says Dueñas. Anyone with curly hair can attest to this—this shampoo leaves your curls in better shape than they've ever been before."
Pai Shau Replenishing Hair Cleanser Shampoo ($22)
The amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals in Pai Sau's shampoo formula are essential for healthy hair, keeping it balanced and clean. The tea complex of the shampoo seeps deep into the hair, moisturizing it from within while restoring its natural shine. An Amazon reviewer gushes "I have been using for years and my hair is in much better shape because of it."
Kérastase Nutritive Bain Oleo-Curl Shampoo ($22)
For hair that is in need of some serious detangling, Kérastase's curl-defining shampoo is ideal. Celebrity hairstylist Millie Morales explains, "It helps detangle and texturize unruly curls, while also fortifying and softening dry, damaged hair."
Mizani True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo ($32)
Curly hair is naturally drier than other textures, which is why it's so important to find a shampoo that will infuse moisture into your hair. Mizani's formula is sulfate-, paraben-, and silicone-free and contains coconut, olive, and marula oils to retain moisture and restore the natural pattern of your hair.
Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Hydrating Shampoo Coconut Milk ( $7 )
Herbal Essences' signature mix of essential antioxidants, aloe, and sea kelp makes up a formula that boasts results in less than a month. It is designed to purify hair while removing any impurities, and the added layer of moisture is what keeps your curls frizz-free and intact.
Marc Anthony Defrizzing Coconut Cream Curls Shampoo ($8)
This formula by Marc Anthony contains coconut milk and shea butter (two haircare staples for curly hair). Marilisa Sears gave us some insight about what makes this product so great: "The added benefit of avocado oil helps to strengthen hair while adding tons of shine and moisture. It's a carrier oil, which means it helps to carry other goodness into the hair cortex."
Leonor Greyl Paris Shampooing Reviviscence ($67)
Sometimes you have to just have to treat yourself (and your hair) and splurge on a great product. Such is the case with Leonor Greyl's shampoo. It repairs your hair from within, reconditioning and restructuring your curls and helping each one to strength and manageability. Dueñas says, "This will keep your curls tight and fight frizz all day."
DevaCurl Low-Poo Delight Weightless Waves Mild Lather Cleanser ($44)
DevaCurl's Low-Poo Shampoo formula is a cult favorite for curly or wavy hair. Ulta product reviewer JBR says it point blank, "This is the best product for curly hair." The mild lather of the shampoo is lightweight on hair but gives some heavy-duty moisture to not only your hair but also your scalp