The 5 Best Shampoos for Curly Hair

By on November 24, 2013

Curly-haired girls have quite a challenge on their hands when it comes to styling their strands. Whether frizzy, thick, wavy, damaged or just plain unruly, curly hair needs special care and uniquely formulated products to help keep it healthy and manageable. Extra moisture, as well as gentle cleansing ingredients, are key for creating curls that are shiny, sleek and easy to style. Especially when the air is moist and the humidity is high—environmental elements that are both instant style killers for curly manes.

The good news is that there are tons of products out there to help tame unmanageable manes. However, it’s important to start off your regular curly hair-care routine with a good shampoo—one that’s specially designed to cleanse and care for curly tresses. Here are five of our favorite shampoos, all of which are formulated especially for coiled, kinky, curly hair.

1. Curls Unleashed Lavish in Lather Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $11

Even though it may appear thick and strong, curly hair is highly susceptible to damage (due to heat styling, tangles and rough brushing, to name just a few culprits). So while curly hair needs to be thoroughly cleansed, it’s best done with a gentle shampoo that won’t deplete the hair’s much-needed moisture. Curls Unleashed Lavish in Lather Shampoo is one such soothing cleanser. It’s sulfate-free, which means it won’t strip the hair of its hydrating natural oils or color (if you hair is color treated). Lavish in Lather is also infused with moisturizing lemon balm, rosemary and hops, which help detangle the hair so that brushing is easier and combing out knots is less harsh and damaging. The shampoo is gentle enough to use daily, which you may definitely want to do, since the smell is divine. Plus, you can purchase a bottle without guilt—the eco-friendly packaging is BPA free and recyclable. Follow with Curls Unleashed No Boundaries Leave-In Conditioner for maximum curl control.

2. DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser, $19

Unlike Curls Unleashed, DevaCurl No-Poo produces very little lather—but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective at cleansing curly hair. The lack of lather is due to its sulfate-free status, but DevaCurl doesn’t add anything extra to create suds, since they really don’t have anything to do with what makes a shampoo effective. (It’s true—lather means very little.) So don’t be fooled when you apply, rub in and don’t experience any bubbles. DevaCurl No-Poo is still working, gently ridding hair of dirt and built-up residue while moisturizing your strands and invigorating your scalp. Natural ingredients such as hops, wheat and grapeseed oil add extra moisture, as well as create smooth, soft, bouncy curls. This cleanser works best when followed by DevaCurl One Condition.

3. Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo, $19

Whether it’s raining, snowing, humid or just plain hot, the weather is no match for Ouidad’s Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo. Frizz and flyaways are kept in check with this cleanser’s exclusive Humidity Shield Complex, which creates a smooth barrier that protects your hair against humidity, heat and a host of other environmental elements. But despite this curl-saving shield, the cleanser does not weigh down your hair. Rather, Ouidad’s shampoo is lightweight, breathable and incredibly gentle, so it won’t do anything to add stress to damaged, frizz-prone strands. It’s also sulfate-free, so it’s safe for use on color-treated hair, and won’t cause fading or stripping of your hair’s natural moisture. Use it with Ouidad’s Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner for the ultimate taming of your tresses.

4. Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Smoothing Shampoo, $23

Smooth out those unruly strands with this specially formulated Curl Conscious Shampoo from Bumble and bumble. In addition to cleansing and moisturizing your hair, it also boosts volume without adding frizz. It’s great for especially kinky, out-of-control tresses, as its formula is heavily hydrating and injects your with curls with serious shape, shine and sleek definition. Shampoo twice for maximum refining results, and follow with Bumble and bumble’s Curl Conscious Smoothing Conditioner for truly gorgeous—and amazingly controlled—bouncy waves. We also recommend using the Curl Conscious Nourishing Masque once a week to maintain your hair’s moisture and keep it consistently smooth.

5. Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair Series Moisture Renewal Shampoo, $5  

If you love pretty, powefully scented shampoos, look no further than any collection from Pantene. For curly girls, Pantene Pro-V’s Curly Hair Series Moisture Renewal Shampoo smells great and tames tresses like a champ. The lightweight formula removes build up, gently cleanses and adds mega moisture without weighing hair down. It also keeps frizz exceptionally flat while adding definition to the bounciest of waves and the tightest of curls. Its formula is long lasting, keeping kinks at bay for hours on end, even in the most unfriendly of weather situations for curly-haired girls. Follow with Pantene Pro-V’s Curly Hair Series Moisture Renewal Conditioner, which is formulated to add additional hydration and fantastic frizz protection for smooth, shiny, healthy-looking hair on every beautiful, bouncy curl atop your head.