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There’s no shortage of factors that can cause dry hair—everything from heat styling to chemical treatments to sun exposure to even washing too frequently can cause dryness, says Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. And dry hair not only doesn’t look good, but it also doesn’t feel good. Not to mention that, if left untreated, it can become even more damaged.
We’re giving top honors to Maui Moisture’s Heal + Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner, which leave parched strands instantly hydrated thanks to a blend of shea butter and aloe vera juice. For an equally affordable option, Odele’s Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner are a favorite duo, plus they’re clean and cruelty-free.
Happily, something as simple as using the right type of moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can be a great way to start quenching parched hair. Look for words such as ‘hydrate’ and ‘repair’ on the labels, suggests celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown. She adds that choosing sulfate-free formulas is also a good idea; these cleansing ingredients can strip the hair of its natural moisture.
Now, there are many shampoos and conditioners out there that claim to combat dryness and damage. To find the very best in show, we tried some of the top-rated options out there, our testers rating each formula’s texture and feel, ingredient list, and how well it hydrated and repaired their hair. Our team then combined these results with expert recommendations and our own research to create this list.
Ahead, the best shampoos—and their accompanying conditioners—for dry hair.
Best Overall: Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo
Can be a bit heavy
This sudser delivers a powerful dose of hydration thanks to ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera juice, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil, just to name a few. It’s sulfate-free and silicone-free, too, making it a great pick for all hair types, curls included. The wallet-friendly price and tropical fragrance are just bonuses.
Pair it with the Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Conditioner for the best results.
Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Odele Moisture Repair Shampoo
Clean and cruelty-free
Dispenser on bottle can get clogged
We're giving top honors to this newbie from one of our favorite haircare brands of all time. The formula is all about restoring and reviving even the driest, most damaged hair—particularly coarse and curly hair types—all while gently cleansing away oil, product buildup, and other impurities.
At work in this powerhouse shampoo are hydrating aloe and humectant glycerin, plus amino acids, rice protein, and quinoa extract, all of which make hair feel and look better after even just one wash. And, as always, the blissful citrus and melon scent is completely naturally derived.
Pair it with the Odele Moisture Repair Conditioner for best results.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean/natural | Size: 13 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Pantene Hydrating Glow with Baobab Essence Shampoo
Doesn’t weigh down fine hair
Difficult to get out of the bottle
From one of the most beloved drugstore hair care brands, this formula is amazing for anyone who needs to add some extra moisture back into their hair. The namesake ingredient is known for being deeply hydrating; the formula is also sulfate-free and loaded with good-for-your-hair antioxidants and vitamins, too. Plus, it lathers beautifully.
Pair it with Pantene Hydrating Glow with Baobab Essence Conditioner for best results.
Hair Type: Damaged, dry, curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Botanical/floral | Size: 9.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Damaged Hair: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Doesn't strip the hair
Needs to be used sparingly
Pretty much anything and everything Olaplex makes is ideal for dry, damaged hair, and this shampoo and conditioner duo is no exception. A great choice for all hair types, it’s extremely moisturizing but also helps to subsequently address split ends, frizz, dryness, weakness, and more.
Pair it with Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner for the best results.
Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Original | Size: 3.3 or 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Scalp Health: WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
Addresses both the scalp and hair
Shampoo and conditioner come as a set
Reviewers say the product doesn’t spread well
Breaking news: Good hair starts with a good scalp, and this formula is ideal for that very reason. According to the brand, apple cider vinegar helps to deep clean and purify your scalp, removing debris and build-up that can ultimately end up impeding hair growth. It’s also sulfate-free, and the conditioner contains coconut and avocado oils for moisturization purposes.
Pair it with the WOW Apple Cider Conditioner, which is included in this set.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrus | Size: 16.9 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"I was a fan of the results I got from the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo. I did pair it with the recommended conditioner, which includes coconut oil and avocado oil, and I found that my hair was shinier, smoother, and healthier-feeling the next day." — Leigh Weingus, Product Tester
“Break the daily habit of shampooing every day and shampoo every few days to ensure maximum moisture retention,” explains Abramite. “Place shampoo at the scalp and lather where oil tends to build up and skip the ends. Let the suds run over the remaining strands instead of placing it directly on the ends for a gentler cleanse.” This will help you keep more of your hair's natural oils.
Best for Fine Hair: Virtue Recovery Shampoo
Doesn’t weigh down fine hair
“This shampoo and conditioner work to repair dry, damaged hair, and formulated with keratin protein that gets deposited directly into the hair,” says Brown of one of her picks. Still, unlike so many other similarly reparative formulas that can be too thick or heavy for those with fine hair (read: can end up weighing down your hair), this is still lightweight enough that it’s still good for even those with thinner hair.
Pair it with Virtue Labs Recovery Conditioner for the best results.
Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Thick Hair: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo
Natural and clean formula
Very rich and nourishing
The bad news: Thick hair can be more prone to dryness and damage, particularly at the ends. The good news: This shampoo (which is really so moisturizing you could call it a cleansing conditioner) can help. A litany of different ingredients—think rose oil, algae extract, biotin—can help repair and hydrate, while still cleansing thoroughly and rinsing out completely cleanly.
Pair it with Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask for the best results.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Citrus | Size: 16 or 33.8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Sulfate-Free: Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo
Doesn’t have an accompanying conditioner
Babassu oil is the star of the show here, a fruit-derived oil that penetrates the hair follicle for the ultimate dose of moisture. Great for both dry and curly hair, it also touts strengthening almond protein and is color-safe as well. Just FYI, because it is sulfate-free, you may need to use quite a bit of it if you like to get lots of lather going.
Hair Type: Dry, curly | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Original | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Shampoo
Clean and cruelty-free
Only for curly hair
Fun fact: Curly hair can actually be more prone to dryness than straight hair. The elliptical shape of the hair makes it harder for natural moisturizing oils to make their way down from the scalp and throughout the length of the hair. It’s why curly hair types can definitely benefit from a moisturizing shampoo, like this one. Shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe are just a few of the many moisturizing ingredients in the sulfate formula, which is also super affordable.
Pair it with the SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Conditioner for best results.
Hair Type: Curly, thick | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 13 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Colored Hair: Unite 7Seconds Shampoo
Can be used daily
Added UV protection
“This is a great daily moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t weigh hair down but still delivers plenty of moisture and shine,” explains Brown. She also lauds it for protection from UV rays and the ensuing color fading, a major win for anyone who colors their hair. Bonus points for the fact that it’s also sodium chloride-free, so even those who get keratin treatments can use it.
Pair it with Unite 7Seconds Conditioner for best results.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 10 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Frizz: Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo
Doesn't weigh down fine hair
A quick science lesson: Frizz and dryness often go hand-in-hand. (Frizz is caused when there’s a moisture imbalance between your hair and the outside environment.) This one-stop-shop is great for addressing both. “The shampoo’s smoothing formula has a soft and creamy foam that gently cleanses and nourishes hair without weighing it down. The conditioner adds to the smoothing and frizz-fighting benefits and makes hair more hydrated and shiny,” says Brown, who is a big fan.
Pair it with Davines LOVE Conditioner for the best results.
Hair Type: Thick | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Citrus | Size: 2.5 or 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo
Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Also, yes. It has a laundry list of various ingredients that work not only to hydrate but also to strengthen the hair, add tons of oil, balance the scalp, repair damage, and much, much more. In short, it’s a great option if you have dry hair, but really it’s ideal for anyone's hair that requires some extra TLC, for whatever reason that may be. The signature Oribe scent (which is so good you’ll be able to skip perfume) is the icing on the cake.
Pair it with Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner for the best results.
Hair Type: Damaged, color-treated | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Citrus | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Look no further than these shampoos and conditioners to help revive your dry, tired hair into being healthy and hydrated. Our top picks, Maui Moisture’s Heal + Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner, instantly hydrate hair after only one wash due to its Infusion of shea butter and aloe vera juice. However, if your hair is extremely damaged, Olaplex’s No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner are your best bet. These raved-about, super-potent formulas repair broken bonds within the hair to revitalize brittle strands. Finally, if you’re after an affordable, clean, cruelty-free option, the new Odele Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner is one of our favorites.
Meet the Expert
- Alex Brown is a Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist and the owner of her private hair studio, Space by Alex Brown. She previously worked with Jen Atkin and has worked with celebrities across the globe.
- Amy Abramite is the creative director and stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She has been featured in WSJ, Vogue, Forbes, InStyle, Glamour, Allure, W, NY Mag, Nylon, Cosmo.
What to Look For in a Shampoo or Conditioner for Dry Hair
To repair dry hair, Abramite recommends shampoos and conditioners that contain coconut oil, argan oil, and shea butter. “Coconut oil moisturizes and softens dull, coarse hair and prevents protein loss by nourishing and strengthening it with vitamins,'' she explains. “Argan oil contains vitamin E for silky soft strands and shea butter locks in moisture with vitamins A and E to heal and seal the cuticle, preventing breakage.”
Avoid Sulfates and Harsh Ingredients
Sulfates and other harsh ingredients strip hair of natural oils. They can be very drying, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid. You want the shampoo to increase moisture and repair hair, not do the opposite.
How often should you shampoo and condition dry hair?
Those with dry hair generally should shampoo less frequently and have a more intense conditioning routine than those with oilier scalps. Dr. Devika Icecreamwala recommends shampooing twice a week in order to keep your hair clean without stripping it, but feel free to adjust as needed depending on your experience. When it comes to conditioning, you should seek moisturizing hair products overall, and you can condition as often as every other day and/or use leave-in products after your shower. Deep treatment masks once or twice a month can also help retain moisture.
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. As someone who highlights and often uses hot tools, she’s all about using hydrating products that help keep her hair strong and healthy; she uses a moisturizing shampoo almost every time she washes her hair.
Sousa Vieira IR, Silva Sales J, dos Santos Cerqueira-Coutinho C, et al. Development and In Vivo Evaluation of the Moisturising Potential of Cosmetic Formulations Containing Babassu (Orbignya Phalerata Martius) Oily Extract. BBR. 2017;14(2):204-219. doi: 10.19277/bbr.14.2.163