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In the (seemingly never-ending) quest for good hair, it’s important not to underestimate the importance of a good shampoo. Forget extensive styling protocols consisting of multiple products, or tech-y hot tools—good, make that great, hair starts in the shower. Maybe you never pay much attention, and just grab whatever bottle of shampoo is in front of you at the drugstore. Or maybe you’ve been devoted to the same salon brand since high school, and have never tried many of the new iterations that have launched since then.
Either way, we strongly advise you to stock your shower with any of these best shampoos, which offer a little something for everyone.
There’s truly nothing that this all-star sudser, a favorite of Byrdie Senior Social Media Manager Kelly Gallagher, can’t do. It hydrates both hair and scalp (thanks to ingredients such as babassu seed oil and glycerin), imparts volume and shine, all while smoothing, softening, and strengthening your strands. In short, it leaves your locks looking shampoo commercial ready after every wash.
This is a staple for Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould, thanks to its deeply reparative prowess. Like its in-salon treatment counterpart, it contains ingredients that work to repair broken protein bonds in your hair. Translation? Hair becomes softer, smoother, and generally looks and feels better. Another plus: The formula is sulfate-free so it won’t strip much-needed moisture, and Gould points out that it’s the only sulfate-free shampoo she’s found that actually lathers well.
Got limp locks? Shampoo choice is even more crucial for you than for most. Yes, you need something that’s going to effectively clean—fine hair tends to be naturally oilier—but the last thing you want is a formula that’s going to further weight down your strands. Enter this pick.
The formula (which also happens to be 98% natural, NBD) relies on ginger, ginseng, and biotin to both immediately make hair look fuller and boost it long-term. And speaking of instant gratification, it also contains a sugar starch that thickens hair, so it looks more voluminous as soon as you step out of the shower.
You’ve seen micellar waters in the skincare aisle; this shampoo works by the same mechanism of action. Tiny micelles act like magnets to attach to and whisk away dirt and oil, yet are gentle enough to not over strip your hair. It’s a staple in our shower, leaving our mane feeling and looking completely clean every time. Plus, you can nab a big ol’ bottle of it at the drugstore for cheap.
Per the name, this is in fact a top choice to reach for if you’re fighting flakes. But it’s also a great option for anyone dealing with a generally oily, itchy scalp, even if you don’t have dandruff. Credit a two-percent concentration of oil-zapping salicylic acid, which also gently exfoliates. It’s gentle enough to use daily, or just keep it on-hand for whenever your scalp is acting up.
Combat errant flyaways with this shampoo. Equal parts creamy and foamy, it cleanses while also ensuring hair stays smooth, shiny, and totally frizz-free (credit the addition of olive extract). It amps up glossiness, too, and is an especially great option for thicker hair.
Best for Curly Hair: GIRL+HAIR CLEANSE+ Water-To-Foam Moisturizing Sulfate Free Shampoo For Curly Hair
Curly hair undoubtedly requires a little extra TLC and calls for carefully-chosen products, shampoo included. This one is a surefire pick, specially formulated for curly, kinky, coiled, and natural hair. Sulfate-, alcohol-, and paraben-free, it helps curls retain moisture, hydrates with shea butter and even has tea tree oil to help address any scalp issues.
If you color your hair, opting for a dedicated, color-safe shampoo is a must when it comes to safeguarding your shade. This is one especially great option (and it too can be found at the drugstore). It’s sulfate-free—the most important criteria since sulfates can quickly strip away color—and also touts a unique blend of protein-rich ingredients to further help keep your hue vibrant and hair super strong. Yes please on both.
Consider this a foolproof, universal crowd-pleaser. It checks all of our shampoo criteria boxes, effectively cleansing, while also strengthening strands with a vegan, botanically-derived, protein-rich caviar, and delivering protective antioxidants to boot. Happy reviewers note that it works just as well on fine, thin hair as it does kinky curls, and we’d be remiss not to mention the clean, fresh scent we can’t get enough of.
Gould vouches that this pick is worth every penny. While it starts as an oil, it quickly transforms into a luscious lather, infused with a Japanese ferment that seriously purifies both strands and scalp. It’s choice for a deep clean, though still leaves your hair hydrated and soft (even before you reach for conditioner). Not to mention that it’s also a great pick for all hair types and densities.
We know what you’re thinking—this is a shampoo story, why are we talking about skin? Well, because not only is your scalp skin, but shampoo can also be the culprit behinds all kinds of skin issues, from breakouts to weird rashes. That’s why we think this pick is so cool; the dermatologist-designed shampoo is non-comedogenic (so it won’t clog pores) and is formulated without a long list of possible skin-irritants. But don’t worry, it still does an awesome job as a shampoo File under—why didn’t we think of that?
Of course it’s important to find a shampoo that meets your hair care needs, but let’s be real—if it doesn’t smell good, you probably aren’t going to want to use it, right? At least, we aren’t. There are so many shampoos that smell amazing out there these days, but it’s this one that truly could take the place of your favorite perfume. It’s rich and just a little bit spicy, with notes of cinnamon and date. (Sounds strange but it works, trust.) Incidentally, those two ingredients also deliver conditioning benefits in this color-safe shampoo.