Best shampoo

Best shampoo for every hair type, from dry to curly, natural and fine

20th January 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

We’ve tried and tested shampoos to discover the best shampoo for dry, curly, natural and fine hair to suit all budgets


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What shampoo should I use?

What ingredients to avoid

How much shampoo to use

Best shampoo for all hair types

Recommending the best shampoo is a tricky one.

It depends on a whole host of variables – your hair type, how hard your water is, your budget, and your concerns.

There’s even a rising movement among experts who advise against using shampoo.

Instead, they’re urging people to skip straight to conditioner.

This is because they claim ingredients found in many shampoos, which do the job they’re designed to do – remove dirt and grease – can also strip the hair of natural oils.

In reality, however, it depends on what type of shampoo you’re using, how often you wash it, how you wash your hair, plus a whole host of other variables.

Below we’ve explained how to choose shampoo as well as what ingredients to avoid before we dive into our list of the best shampoo for every hair type and budget.

You can jump to each section using the links in the box to the left.

FURTHER READING: How to hair oilHow to protect your hair from pollution | Do you have combination hair?


Best shampoo

 

  1. Editor’s Pick: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
  2. Bargain Buy: OGX Biotin & Collagen pH Balanced Shampoo 
  3. Luxury Buy: Hairstory New Wash 
  4. Best shampoo bar: Lush Naked Shampoo Bars 
  5. Best shampoo scrub: Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Sea Salt Scrub
  6. Best shampoo for dry hair and frizz: Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidéliste 
  7. Best volumising shampoo: L’Oreal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo 
  8. Best shampoo for colour-treated hair: Color Wow Color Security Shampoo 
  9. Best shampoo for blonde hair: Olaplex No4.P
  10. Best cheap shampoo toner: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew 
  11. Best shampoo for curls: Only Curls Cleanser 
  12. Best for natural hair: KeraCare Hydrating and Detangling Shampoo 
  13. Best shampoo for men: Gnarly Joe £17 .99

 

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1. Editor’s Pick: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

£21 | Buy now

Pureology Hydrate ShampooPureology

We’re sorry that the best shampoo – based on our real-world tests – is on the expensive side but we promise it’s worth the money.

Not only is the Pureology Hydrate shampoo free from sulphates, but its main ingredients are also jojoba oil, green tea, and sage.

Jojoba oil works to hydrate and moisturiser the hair; green tea helps promote a healthy scalp, and sage stimulates hair follicles to prevent hair loss, and encourage more hair growth.

We love how soft and smooth this shampoo leaves our hair, and it helps our colour last noticeably longer.

We’re so enamoured of this shampoo that we’d go as far to say it’s better than some of the more expensive salon-first brands we’ve tried.


2. Bargain Buy: Aussie Miracle Moist

£4.15 | Buy now from Boots

Why we love it: When it comes to beauty, Australians do it better; from face masks to hair products, their natural, native ingredients are exactly what our heart desires.

One of the most acclaimed shampoos on the market is Aussie’s Miracle Moist Shampoo.

If you have dry or damaged hair, or a sensitive scalp, this is the one to go for.

That Australian macadamia nut oil will sort out your thirsty tresses.

It’s also less than a fiver – it’s almost too good to be true! 

Buy now from Boots

 3. Best luxury shampoo: Hairstory New Wash

From £44 | Buy now from Hairstory

Why we love it:  Inspired by the “no-poo” movement, which calls on people to ditch regular shampoos to protect their hair’s natural oils, Hairstory New Wash is a sulphate-free shampoo alternative. Instead of cleaning with a detergent, it cleanses the hair with natural ingredients. The main one being apple cider vinegar.

This wonder ingredient removes excess oil, dirt and styling products gently but effectively. This means you get all the benefits of cleaner hair without having to sacrifice natural oils or damage your hair’s protective barrier.

Hairstory New Wash is also cruelty-free, and because it can replace your shampoo and conditioner in one, it can – in theory – save you money.

The main benefit, according to Hairstory is “the softest, shiniest, healthiest hair” you’ve ever had since you were a child, which also means you can go days without washing it, it’s frizz-free and fade-resistant. It comes in three formulas, designed to suit all hair lengths and types.

  • New Wash: All hair types
  • New Wash (Deep): Best suited for hair that is fine and gets greasy quickly
  • New Wash (Rich): A richer formula best suited to thick, curly, coarse, and natural/afro hair

You can read more about how much we rate this shampoo in our Hairstory New Wash review. 

Buy now from Hairstory

4. Lush Naked Shampoo Bars

£8 | Buy now from Lush 

Why we love it: A previous Editor’s Pick, and now claiming the top bar entry in our best shampoo list is Lush’s environmentally-conscious Naked Shampoo Bars.

Don’t be put off by how they look, shampoo bars resemble a bar of soap and come in different formulations designed to cater to all hair needs from volumising to moisturising.

It takes a bit of time to get used to the new way of applying, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll feel so good about cutting down that plastic packaging.

As with all Lush products, these shampoo bars smell amazing and one bar will last you for weeks.

This is largely because you’re less likely to use too much since you have to foam up the bar rather than just squeeze a bottle. The prices differ from bar to bar but are roughly £8 per piece. 

FURTHER READING: The shampoo ingredients you MUST avoid

Buy now from Lush

4. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Salt Scrub

£42 | Buy now

Save 15% with the code 15OFFXCR

Christophe Robin Salt ScrubChristophe Robin

As you can read in our guide on how to manage hair loss and make hair grow faster, the number one way to improve the look and feel of your hair is by taking care of your scalp health.

Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and dead skin cells are among the many things that can get in the way of your hair follicles and prevent new, strong hair from pushing its way through.

This debris can also be the main cause of greasy, oily hair, even if you’ve just washed it. Or it can lead to a dry scalp, depending on how your skin is normally.

If you’re looking to boost hair growth, the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Salt Scrub does exactly as it promises – it cleanses and purifies your scalp of all this debris.

It’s effectively an exfoliator for your scalp and it feels amazing. It doesn’t lather a great deal, considering it’s a shampoo, but don’t be tricked into thinking that this means it’s not working.

We also love how this smells, and a little goes a very long way so you don’t have to worry about it running out quickly.

FURTHER READING: How to get rid of greasy hair and stop it from coming back

Buy now from Christophe Robin

5. Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidéliste

£23 | Buy now

Why we love it: Kerastase is widely considered the hair brand among aficionados.

Hairdressers and hair colourists swear by it and if you’ve ever wondered how to recreate that salon feeling of healthy hair, this is it.

The Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Shampoo is enriched with a morpho-keratin complex, amino-acids, wheat protein, and ceramide-R designed to fight frizzy hair.

All these ingredients combined are especially beneficial to thick hair, especially coarse hair, leaving it smooth and free-flowing.

It also gives the appearance of thicker hair and helps brittle hair feel fuller.  

Obviously, such high-quality ingredients don’t come cheap but they’re worth it, and you can often buy them in bundles to soften the blow.


6. KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo

£14 | Buy now from Lookfantastic

Laura Mercier

Why we love it: As the name suggests, this hydrating shampoo from natural haircare experts at KeraCare is designed to detangle dry and frizzy hair. This makes it particularly great for textured hair, coily hair, and afro hair, leaving your hair smooth and shiny.

Its lightweight formula cleanses hair, but it also relaxes and conditions your locks to make them look healthier.

This is thanks to its concentrated formula of natural botanical extracts that repair damaged areas along the hair shaft leaving you with fresh hair.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

7. Color Wow Color Security Shampoo 

£19.50 | Buy now

Best shampoo for color-treated hairColor Wow

Why we love it: Color Wow has been catapulted to the upper echelons recently thanks to celebrity hairdresser and Color Wow ambassador Chris Appleton’s TikTok tutorials.

This Color Wow Security Shampoo is specifically formulated for colour-treated hair to not only hydrate it from damage but to keep the colour looking bright and fresh.

Unsurprisingly, Color Wow says it works best when followed by Color Wow conditioner, but we found it worked fine with any conditioner we paired it with.

It’s a lightweight shampoo that uses what Color Wow calls a “Japanese amino-fortified complex” to help prevent dullness.

 


8. Olaplex No.4

£28 | Buy now

Olaplex No 4P Blonde Enhancing Toning ShampooOlaplex

Why we love it: Blonde hair can be hard to keep nice and shiny, even if it’s your natural hair colour.

Purple shampoos are used to colour correct in case your locks start to look a bit dull and the Olaplex No.4 does this by neutralising brassy, orange, and yellow tones as it cleanses.

We love this shampoo’s amazing brightening power, and it makes an instant impact. 

So much so, we don’t advise you to leave it on for longer than the advised time otherwise it can leave your hair looking silver. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, of course!

The downside is that it’s quite pricey so a cheaper alternative is John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo. It has similar brightening power as the Olaplex version, and it smells great. 

You don’t get the same bond-building benefits you do with Olaplex, but at £6 that’s to be expected. 

If you’re looking for the best purple shampoo generally, we’ve also got a whole host of other recommendations here.

FURTHER READING: What is hair toner? | K18 vs Olaplex: Is Olaplex No. 3 or the K18 hair mask better for repairing your hair?


9. Only Curls cleanser

£16 | Buy now from Only Curls

Why we love it: We love that there seems to be a trend of embracing natural curls and if you’re lucky enough to have bouncy, curly hair you’ll need a good shampoo that won’t dry your hair out.

Step up, Only Curls.

Packed with a blend of avocado and kukui oil, this shampoo deeply moisturises strands and helps to subtly define your natural texture.

The sulfate-free formula cleans without stripping your hair of its natural oils. It will moisturise your hair and scalp while helping it to detangle and reduce frizz. Curl perfection.

And if you’re looking for more of the best shampoo for curly hair as well as other curly hair products, check out our guide: Curly hair products 101: The must-have products for curly hair types to fight the frizz and tame their tousles.

FURTHER READING: The best hair masks for dry, fine, curly and natural hair types

Buy now from Boots

10. Best shampoo for men: Gnarly Joe

£17.99 | Buy now

Why we love it: Over on our sister site, MBman, we’ve started listing the best male products and this includes the best shampoo for men.

Gnarly Joe’s 100% natural shampoo took our Editor’s Pick because, in addition to being a great sulphate-free shampoo, it’s vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

It contains shea butter that is packed with nutrients, including Vitamins A and E, which add moisture to your hair.

Then there are fatty acids that help to reduce frizz and boost shine. Argan oil has lots of fatty oleic and linoleic acids that help moisturise your hair and scalp, and coconut oil has been used for centuries to soften, nourish and hydrate hair.

Plus it helps to give your hair a lasting smell after washing it out.

You can read more about the best men’s shampoo over on MBman.

Buy now from Amazon

What shampoo should I use?

Whether you wash your hair at home or go to the salon, you probably spend quite a bit of time washing your hair which means choosing the best shampoo for your hair type is a must.

Step 1 – Find your hair type

Your hair type comes down to its texture, which refers to its natural shape, as well as how porous it is. We’ve explained more about hair types and how to know which type you have here. To determine what porosity it is, you can take our hair porosity test.

Step 2 – Find your hair structure

Your hair’s structure refers to how it’s “built” – fine, medium, or thick. because oils and grease will weigh down their style. People with curly and natural hair need more moisture from their shampoos and conditioners to avoid their locks drying out.

Step 3 – Check shampoo ingredients

  • If your hair type is dry, look for words like hydrating, softening, moisturising and conditioning.
  • If your hair is thin and flat, look for thickening, volumising, clarifying and lightweight.
  • If you’ve got colour-treated hair, no matter what type it is, look for words such as colour-safe, anti-fade, colour protection, and colour security. The best shampoo for this hair type will help your hair type and protect its colour.

What ingredients to avoid in shampoo

While shampoo has become much easier to use over the years, some shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can cause damage.

There are several types of shampoos on the market that contain ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS strips away natural oils from your scalp. Others contain parabens.

You should always read the label before buying a new bottle of shampoo. Look for words like natural, organic, paraben-free, and “no SLS”. If you want to try something new, check out our top picks for the best shampoo brands.


How much shampoo to use

What’s more, shampoo isn’t actually designed to clean your hair. It’s designed to clean your scalp and remove dirt from your roots.

This means if you lather to the ends, it may cause them to dry out. Similarly, you should avoid massaging conditioner into the scalp because it can cause an increase in oil and should instead concentrate conditioner on the ends. You can read more about this in our science of shampoo and conditioner article. It’s a minefield!

With all of this in mind, below we’ve listed what we consider to be the best shampoos to suit all hair types and budgets.

READ NEXT: Best conditioner for all hair types


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