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Amazing hair can amount to an amazing amount of confidence. But nearly everyone has suffered from a bit of hair damage in their day, whether it's from going a little overboard with color, hot tools, or chemical treatments. In fact, some of the most common causes of damaged hair include heat damage from blow-drying and hot tools, chemical damage as a result of highlights or straightening, and environmental damage from sun exposure, says Tina Deeke, senior colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. The good news is that there are plenty of shampoos out there for damaged strands that'll give your hair a much-needed revival. Trust that employing these products will breathe life into weak, brittle, and dry strands
When it comes to undoing damage, look for products that contain antioxidants, protein, ceramides, lipids, and healing oils to incorporate into your wash routine. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works for you, but here, with the help of Nunzio Saviano, salon owner and NYC-based stylist and John Pulitano, salon co-owner and Sydney, Australia-based stylist, we've rounded up the very best strengthening shampoos for all types of damaged hair.
Meet the Expert
- Tina Deeke is a senior colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago with 18 years of experience. She is responsible for initiating balayage into the salon and worked 12 years as a stylist before switching over to hair color.
- Nunzio Saviano is a top, award-winning stylist in New York and owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has over 20 years of professional experience.
- John Pulitano is a stylist and the co-owner and creative director of Headcase Hair, a salon in Sydney, Australia.
Scroll down for the winner's list of the best shampoos for damaged hair.
Best Overall: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Relinks broken hair bonds
Eliminates frizz and flyaways
Leaves hair shiny and hydrated
Expensive for small bottle
If there's one shampoo for damaged hair that people unanimously agree on, it's this pick from Olaplex. Whether you're dealing with split ends or excess frizz as a result of environmental stressors, chemical treatments, or heat styling, this formula can help undo the damage. It works by re-linking broken hair bonds so your mane is stronger, more manageable, and healthier.
Hair Type: All hair types | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Editors Say
"Olaplex saved my hair. Full stop. In my mid-20s my hair texture went from healthy to extremely dry and brittle. I had been on a journey to grow it out past shoulder length, and it just wasn’t happening. So, after a fellow beauty editor recommended it, I decided to try out this miracle product. After the first use, I could feel an immediate difference in my hair. It felt softer, moisturized, and even healthier. And, after a few months of diligent application, I finally reached my hair length goals." — Madeline Hirsch, Sr. News Editor
Best Budget: OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo
Collagen and biotin strengthen and maintain hair health
Vitamin B7 and hydrolyzed wheat thicken hair
Adds volume to fine, flat hair
Slightly heavy formula
Not only does this formula infuse strands with essential vitamins with reparative and strengthening benefits, but it also helps hair look thicker and fuller, thanks to the inclusion of collagen. It's the perfect volumizing option for fine, damaged hair—and the price tag doesn't hurt either.
Hair Type: Fine, flat | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 13 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"It only takes one wash for me to feel the effects of this shampoo. As promised, my hair feels thick and full, and the formula protects against damage. With its low price, it's earned a permanent place in my rotation." — Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director
Best Sulfate-Free: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo
Biotin and panthenol repair and prevent breakage
Natural oils and extracts boost moisture
May be heavy for finer hair types
If a foamy shampoo and deep conditioning mask had a baby, the result would be this hydrating shampoo. It features a unique blend of hydrating oils and natural extracts that deliver a surge of moisture to dry, damaged hair, as well as repairing ingredients like biotin and panthenol to prevent breakage and seal up split ends.
Hair Type: All hair types | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Fresh and clean | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Runner-Up, Best Sulfate-Free: Davines Nourishing Shampoo
Nourishes and soothes dry scalp and brittle strands
Antioxidants protect hair from further damage
Increases softness and shine
This ultra-nourishing shampoo is a favorite of Faith Xue, Byrdie's former editorial director, and for good reason. It has a gentle sulfate-free formula that works wonders on dry scalp and brittle, damaged hair. Plus, the shampoo is formulated with antioxidants that protect hair from further damage. Reviewers note how soft and shiny their damaged hair feels after using this shampoo.
Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 8.45 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Nexxus Keraphix Shampoo for Damaged Hair
Keratin protein and black rice heal severe damage
Visible results after one wash
May be too heavy for finer hair types
For salon-quality results at drugstore prices, look to this protein-rich shampoo that can repair severely damaged hair. Results might be visible after just one wash if you use it with the full Keraphix system.
Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo
Jojoba, green tea, and sage strengthen and protect hair
Sunflower seed and vitamin E protect color from fading
May be too heavy for finer hair types
Coloring your hair, especially often, can wreak havoc on strands. This hydrating shampoo can work wonders to curb the level of damage. It includes jojoba, green tea, and sage to strengthen and protect hair. Since it's formulated specifically for color-treated hair, it goes a step further and protects your dye job at the same time.
Hair Type: Damaged, color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Lavender, mint, bergamot | Size: 9 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Fine Hair: Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Shampoo
Rice extract hydrates and protects
Repairs damage from heat styling and color processing
Lightweight formula doesn’t weigh down hair
Nunzio Saviano, master stylist and the owner of New York-based Nunzio Saviano Salon, had nothing but stellar things to say about this reparative shampoo: "I love that it's gently purifying while still strengthening the hair," he says. "It doesn't weigh the hair down, which typical repair products do. So you're still able to achieve your optimal style.”
Hair Type: All hair types | Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 10 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Protection: Living proof Restore Shampoo
Patented molecule repairs and protects damaged cuticles
Amino-acid derived surfactant smoothes and softens while gently cleansing
Vegetable protein strengthens
May not be hydrating enough for dry hair
Trust us—this shampoo will leave your hair healthier, shinier, and more prepared to withstand the elements. The star of its formula is Living Proof's patented healthy hair molecule, a compound designed by MIT scientists that repairs damaged cuticles and helps protect against future stressors. (It also helps repel dirt and oil, which we love.) Also, if you dye your hair, no problem—this shampoo is color-safe.
Hair Type: Damaged, color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrus, fresh | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Thick Hair: R+Co Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo
Vitamin B5 intensely hydrates
Prickly pear stem extract repairs and nourishes
Leaves hair silky and smooth
Very thick texture
If you have thick hair and your strands have seen better days, you're in luck—this R+Co shampoo is designed just for you. Vitamin B5 delivers a major dose of hydration while prickly pear stem extract (which contains lots of vitamin E, minerals, and antioxidants) repairs and nourishes. Basically, you'll have silkier hair in no time.
Hair Type: Thick, dry | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Split Ends: Kerastase Resistance Bain Force Architecte Reconstructing Shampoo
Pro-keratin repairs and rebuilds hair’s structure
Ceramides and resurrection sap smooth hair’s surface
Prevents future breakage
May not be hydrating enough for dry hair
Think of this as a hair pick-me-up in a bottle because of the combination of pro-keratin, which is made to rebuild broken strands, and resurrection sap, which repairs the hair fiber.
"This is a great everyday shampoo that works to reconstruct weak, brittle hair with ingredients that rebuild and strengthen," says Saviano. "Plus, it works on all hair textures."
Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Curly Hair: Mizani True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo
Infused with hydrating coconut, marula, and olive oils
Controls frizzy waves, curls, and coils
Restores natural curl pattern
Somewhat heavy formula—a little goes a long way!
Formulated specifically for wavy, curly, and coily hair, this shampoo delivers maximum moisture, controls frizz, and restores the natural pattern of your hair—all thanks to hero ingredients like coconut, marula, and olive oils. An added bonus: It's free of sulfates, parabens, and silicone.
Hair Type: Curly, coily | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 16.9 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Keratin: Virtue Recovery Shampoo
Hydrolyzed quinoa enhances color, moisturizes, and increases shine
Emollient baobab seed oil deeply hydrates
Loaded with antioxidants
Thick formula doesn’t spread easily
This award-winning shampoo is what your stressed-out strands have been looking for. Why? It's loaded with nutrients to reform dry, brittle, and weak strands.
Hair Type: Color-treated, dry, damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo
Cypress, argan, and maracuja extracts nourish and repair
Balances the scalp
Safe for keratin and color-treated hair
May not be hydrating enough for dry hair
If your color-treated or damaged hair needs a little love, invest in this gorgeous bottle that will provide equally gorgeous results. Natural oils and a restorative complex unique to the brand will breathe life back into your hair.
"This is an iconic, reparative shampoo that's super gentle yet extremely rejuvenating," says Saviano. "The natural oils deeply penetrate for optimal results."
Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo
11 amino acids and silk, wheat, and soy proteins repair hair at a cellular level
Panthenol and phytantriol deeply nourish and moisturize
Protects color-treated hair
Packaged in a jar rather than a bottle or tube
Before you turn your nose up at the thought of spending this much on shampoo, trust that this stuff is seriously next-level. Dubbed "the fountain of youth for your hair," the rectifying formula will make your previously damaged strands feel good as new.
Hair Type: All hair types | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Amber | Size: 3 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Look no further than these shampoos to bring life back to your dry, brittle, damaged hair. Our top choice, Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, repairs broken hair bonds for stronger, smoother, healthier hair, no matter what’s caused your damage. If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo, which is loaded with reparative and strengthening vitamins. Finally, if you have color-treated hair that’s also damaged, Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo deeply nourishes hair while also protecting your dye job.
What to Look For in a Shampoo for Damaged Hair
Damaged hair often feels very dry, so it’s important to look for a shampoo that has moisturizing and smoothing properties, says Deeke. Some of the best moisturizing ingredients to look for in a shampoo for damaged hair include hydrating oils such as coconut, jojoba, and olive. They’ll help keep hair feeling soft and looking shiny.
Because damaged hair also tends to be brittle, keep your eye out for a strengthening formula when shopping for shampoo, says Deeke. Look for reparative ingredients like keratin and biotin on the label. These ingredients will help minimize breakage so you can transform your damaged hair back into a healthy mane.
Deeke also suggests looking for a shampoo that’s safe for color-treated hair. This will help keep your damaged hair looking vibrant. Choosing a sulfate-free formula is a good bet for damaged, color-treated hair since it will be gentle on your strands and won’t strip your hue.
How often should you shampoo damaged hair?
According to Pulitano, those with dry, damaged, and processed hair should shampoo up to twice a week, at most. “More than this can irritate the scalp and unbalance its natural oils,” he says. He also adds that the product you use is equally as important as how often you use it, and recommends looking for nourishing products that contain reparative ingredients like keratin protein.
Is dry shampoo safe for damaged hair?
Pulitano says it's safe for those with damaged hair to use dry shampoo. “The key is to use a good quality one,” he says. “You’ll also need to shampoo your hair properly to remove product buildup.”