Health

31 Best Shampoos for Curly Hair, According to the Pros in 2023: Ouidad, SheaMoisture, Bumble, Bumble

Salon owners and hair stylists share their best tips.

31 Best Shampoos for Curly Hair According to the Pros in 2023 Ouidad SheaMoisture Bumble Bumble

Brastock Images – stock.adobe.co

Showing your curls the love they deserve means using better tools, styling your hair with care, and of course, finding the best shampoos for curly hair. It’s easier said than done given the wide range of curly-hair products on the market, not to mention your personal preferences, hair needs, and curl type. It’s enough to make you feel both spoiled for choice and totally stuck as to which top-rated shampoo is actually worth trying.

Everyone’s curly-hair journey is bound to involve a lot of trial and error, so a little expert insight into which shampoos and hair care products might be a cut above the rest is always welcome, especially if you’ve only recently embraced your hair’s naturally curly texture. With that in mind, we curated a list of curly-hair expert-approved shampoos. We spoke with salon owners and stylists specializing in treating and styling curly hair and chose winning options from our dermatologist-approved SELF Healthy Beauty Awards to bring you the best curly-hair shampoos out there right now.

What to Look for in Curly Hair Shampoo

When you have curls, you can’t buy just any shampoo or conditioner in the aisle. From waves to coils, the range of curly hair types is wide—and there are products to match. Because of the shape of the strands, curly hair dries out faster than straight hair, so you’ll want to look for moisturizing agents and humectants (like oils). Generally, stylists encourage sulfate-free shampoos, plus ones that are silicone-free and free of parabens.

“You want to look for sulfate- and paraben-free products and shampoos, because they’re drying to the hair,” Robyn Stanley, stylist at Noordwyck Salon in Brooklyn, tells SELF. “It also adds to the issue of frizziness if it’s not counteracted with styling products.”

Read on to discover the best shampoos for curly hair, whether you prefer something nourishing, lathering, or clarifying. These picks will make your hair feel happier, healthier, and more hydrated on your next wash day.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • Amazon

    Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo

    Arlene Webber, stylist and co-owner of Salon Ciseaux, recommends Ouidad’s Curl Quencher Shampoo specifically for tight curls: “This product provides manageability for the curls, and it’s very color-safe.” If you’re getting color your curls need that extra moisture. One notable ingredient is calming chamomile, which soothes the scalp.

  • BREAD/Lisa Moses

    Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser

    Known as a “hair-wash,” this coveted cleanser from buzzy Black-owned beauty brand Bread Beauty Supply won a 2021 Healthy Beauty Award. It’s sulfate-free and made specifically for curly, textured hair. Since it includes hydrating ingredients like coconut, avocado, and argan oils, it also helps lock in moisture. “The Hair Wash smells so good! And when you find a shampoo that smells good and is also effective, I think that’s pretty amazing. I would say Bread Beauty did just that with this one,” said one tester.

  • Sephora

    DevaCurl No-Poo Decadence Zero Lather Cleanser For Ultra-Rich Moisture

    Stylist and owner of Sensa Salon Alicia Carlile’s pick for coarser hair and highly textured curl patterns is DevaCurl’s No-Poo Decadence shampoo. It contains hydrating jojoba oil, which calms frizzy hair and provides intense moisture. It has a co-wash consistency that doesn’t lather, but its nourishing ingredient blend works to enhance your curls’ natural shape.

  • Ulta

    Bumble and Bumble Curl Moisturizing Shampoo

    Multiple hairstylists recommended this Bumble and Bumble shampoo for curly hair, which is free of parabens, mineral oils, and silicone and enhanced with avocado, coconut, and jojoba oils as well as shea butter and cocoa butter. “This shampoo has a rich blend of oils and butters that are gentle while washing and moisturizing your curls,” celebrity hairstylist Derek Yuen tells SELF. Plus, it works for all wave and curl patterns, from wavy to coily. Clariss Rubenstein, celebrity hairstylist, adds: “The shampoo and conditioner are creamy and hydrating. Curls are enhanced, nourished and feel natural.”

  • Miss Jessie’s/Lisa Moses

    Miss Jessie’s Honey Harmless Gentle Wash

    A 2021 Healthy Beauty Award winner, this wash from Miss Jessie’s is suitable for waves, curls, and coils. It’s honey-tinged (which our testers couldn’t stop talking about) and uses ingredients like moringa seed oil to make hair and scalp feel “clean and clarified.” One curly-haired judge said, “I love this shampoo so much! It smells like Fruity Pebbles, which is probably my favorite thing about it. While it doesn’t lather very much, I still feel like my hair is fresh and clean after using it.”

  • Hask/Lisa Moses

    Hask Curl Care Moisturizing Shampoo

    Hask keeps parabens, sulfates, and phthalates out of their products, making them excellent choices for curly hair. This 2021 Healthy Beauty Award–winning shampoo uses a blend of moisturizing ingredients like vitamin E and argan oil to fortify curls while removing build-up from the hair and scalp. One judge said, “I loved this shampoo (and its conditioner counterpart). My hair is more wavy than curly, and this shampoo really brought out the natural shapes of my waves and noticeably helped define them, as if I had used a wavy hair product and twisted out my hair. It also felt like it got my scalp and roots super clean without drying them out or leaving oily residue, which can be an issue with moisturizing shampoos.”

  • Target

    Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo

    Made with derivatives from olive tree oils, this Davines shampoo gently cleanses without stripping it. “The Davines Love Curl line is all about moisturizing and enhancing curls, without compromising on volume and texture,” says Yuen. “You’ll get shiny, frizz-free curls that pop.”

  • John Frieda/Lisa Moses

    John Frieda Dream Curls Shampoo

    This sulfate-free and curl-friendly 2021 Healthy Beauty Award winner had our judges raving. It fights frizz while defining and detangling hair. Plus, it contains moisturizing stearyl alcohol, which works well for dry hair. “I love the scent of this shampoo—it’s so, so delicious. I consider this shampoo curly girl method-approved since it left mine feeling clean, smelling yummy, and looking great! I highly recommend it,” one judge said.

  • Target

    Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo

    Joseph Boro, stylist and founder of Curls on 5th, loves Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo in part for the fact that it’s from a small, Latinx-owned brand, but also because of its ultra-hydrating, shea-butter-based formula. Another key ingredient is nourishing moringa oil, which can help strengthen hair follicles and fight dandruff.

  • Amazon

    SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Coconut Shampoo for Curly Hair

    SheaMoisture is one of the top-rated shampoos for curls. Its ingredients include moisturizing and protective coconut oil as well as hibiscus flower extracts that boost hair elasticity.

  • Amazon

    Hairstory New Wash

    Stanley recommends this co-wash from Hairstory. “You use it like shampoo; scrub the roots of your hair with your fingertips, then run it through your ends, and rinse it well,” she explains. “It works to get rid of the oils that make your hair look greasy, while locking in the good hair oils that naturally moisturize your hair. I think it brings out the best hair texture possible for anyone with wavy or curly hair.” It’s sulfate- and paraben-free, but since it has the texture of a conditioner, it doesn’t lather.

  • Target/Morgan Johnson

    Tresemme Pro Pure Damage Recovery Sulfate-Free Shampoo

    For those with dry or damaged hair, this 2020 Healthy Beauty Award–winning strengthening shampoo helps remove oil and scalp buildup while repairing strands. In addition to it “smelling incredible,” our testers enjoyed how the product made their hair “feel lightly moisturized while washing.” This shampoo contains coconut oil, an ingredient experts recommend for natural hair. Dermatologists also recommend products containing coconut oil for some with oily hair and scalp, as it can help control the yeast that causes flakes.

  • Ulta

    Innersense Organic Beauty True Enlightenment Scalp Scrub

    Twice a month, Robin Sjoblom Wysocki, curl specialist and owner of Southern Curl, uses this scalp scrub from Innersense to remove pesky product buildup. It contains Himalayan red salt to exfoliate the scalp, plus peppermint oil to soothe the skin and prevent irritation.

  • Amazon/Morgan Johnson

    Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight

    This water-to-foam micellar shampoo from Carol’s Daughter (which won a 2020 Healthy Beauty Award) is a good choice for those with coils. It has a pointed applicator tip that’s ideal for cleansing hard-to-reach areas. The shampoo is made with soothing aloe, plus salicylic acid to exfoliate, which are two features dermatologists recommend in natural and curly hair products. “This shampoo is probably the lightest one I’ve ever tried in my life—and super gentle once it transforms into a foam! It feels extremely cooling and refreshing on my scalp, which makes me feel like it’s really being cleansed. I also don’t have to work hard to get a lather, which is great. Its micellar water formula left my hair feeling squeaky clean,” said one tester.

  • Amazon

    Luseta Curl Enhancing Coconut Oil Shampoo

    For curly hair, Laura McNamara, a Miami- and New York City–based hairstylist, recommends Luseta Curl Enhancing Shampoo, which hydrates with coconut oil—an important aspect, as curly hair tends to need more moisture. “It’s great for curls because the shampoo cleanses the hair of buildup so the bounce of hair isn’t weighed down,” McNamara says.

  • Amazon

    Ouidad Curl Shaper Good As New Moisture Restoring Shampoo

    “This particular shampoo is really good for fine to medium curls that need something to cleanse and not leave a buildup,” Webber explains. It’s an oil-based shampoo intended to mimic your hair’s natural oils to help replenish the moisture lost in washing.

  • Bounce Curl

    Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

    For a deeper clean that won’t strip your strands, Boro likes this clarifying shampoo that, true to its name, will leave your hair feeling nice and bouncy. “It gives you a nice feel—it has a little bit of a lather and a little bit of moisture.” The Bounce Curl clarifying shampoo uses pomegranate and pumpkin enzymes to exfoliate the scalp, plus botanical extracts for volume.

  • Sephora

    DevaCurl Low-Poo Mild Lather Cleanser For Lightweight Moisture

    DevaCurl’s Low-Poo cleanser is another one of Webber’s favorites for color-treated hair, and she also shouts out how thoroughly it cleanses. This lightweight shampoo offers a mild lather, compared to the brand’s non-lathering original formula.

  • Curly Hair Goodie Shop

    Earthtones Naturals Curl Cleanse Moisturizing & Conditioning Shampoo

    “I wear a lot of extensions, and I very rarely wear all of my hair out. So I need to make sure my scalp is clean and that I’m using a shampoo that’s actually going to remove excess oils and any buildup that I’m going to incur behind those extensions,” Southern Curl curl specialist Renee Easley says. With this shampoo, she’s found a product that not only cleanses effectively but moisturizes extremely well. This is a great hair-care product for oily hair because it helps clean scalp buildup.

  • Ulta

    AG Hair Natural Balance Shampoo, Apple Cider Vinegar

    “I know a lot of people think apple cider vinegar is really drying, but when it’s diluted, it really helps calm my scalp. I have a pretty itchy scalp—it gets dry and flaky, and so far this is the only one that has calmed the itchiness. But it doesn’t dry out my hair, which is always a fight for me, because I’m color-treated,” Christina Poitier, a curl specialist at Southern Curl, tells SELF. She recommends this shampoo from AG Hair for people who usually cleanse every five to seven days.

  • Target

    Design Essentials Almond Avocado Shampoo

    If you’re dealing with dry hair and looking for a seriously hydrating curl shampoo, Webber points to this option from Design Essentials, noting that it leaves hair feeling “very soft and manageable.” Despite its thick and creamy feel, it still lathers up nicely while working its moisturizing, detangling magic.

  • Carol’s Daughter/Morgan Johnson

    Carol’s Daughter Coco Crème Curl Quenching Shampoo

    Created specifically for extremely dry hair, this 2019 SELF Healthy Beauty Award–winning hydrating shampoo features a blend of coconut oil and other ingredients to help with a dry scalp. It’s formulated with coconut oil, dimethicone, glycerin, and mango seed butter, which our derms recommended you look for if you have dry, natural, or curly hair. One of our judges said, “The texture is much thicker and more luxurious than the shampoos I’ve used recently, which made it seem pretty moisturizing, which is great because my hair gets dry really easily. It also worked up a great lather with only a few dollops of product—key for me, since my hair is really thick and I hate feeling like I need half a bottle of shampoo to get a few suds.” Your hair and scalp will look and feel moisturized.

  • Ulta

    Aquage SeaExtend Silkening Shampoo

    Webber notes that people with fine curls can have a hard time finding a product that works for them, but this shampoo may be the holy grail they’ve been searching for. It’s rich yet lathering, Aquage’s Silkening shampoo mends damaged hair over time, Webber explains, while protecting it from further breakage.

  • Amazon

    Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo

    Both Samantha Acevedo, stylist at Salon Ciseaux, and Webber love this shampoo because it lathers and hydrates in equal measure, restoring luster to forlorn curls. “This shampoo helps remove all the buildup from products and restores your curls, making them soft and healthy, by using natural oils that your curls need. It is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way, giving you many uses out of the bottle,” Acevedo says.

  • Amazon

    Innersense Hydrating Hairbath Shampoo

    “I love [this shampoo] because it softens the cuticle, moisturizes the curls, and really prevents frizz,” Wysocki says. It uses coconut as a sulfate-free cleansing agent, and shea butter and tamanu oil to moisturize and protect. Plus, this shampoo is fragranced with sage and vanilla for a luxurious wash day treat.

  • Amazon

    NYC Curls The Curl Cleanser

    “I have pretty high-porosity hair, so my hair takes in all the moisture that it can get, but it also releases moisture really easily. I need to make sure that I’m layering hydration in at every step of the way, even when it comes to cleansing,” Kendra Thomas, curl specialist at Southern Curl, says. That’s why this extremely hydrating, nonlathering shampoo is her personal favorite. Although she uses NYC Curls’ cleanser once a week, she says it can be used more frequently: “I like to recommend this one for my clients who exercise often and don’t want to be using a bubble shampoo twice or three times a week, [because] that may dry their hair out. This is something that can be used every day without overdrying the hair.”

  • Pattern

    Pattern Hydration Shampoo

    “For those with more of a textured coil or tighter curl, I absolutely love Pattern Hydration Shampoo from actress and curl legend Tracee Ellis Ross,” Breaunna Parker, stylist at Mirror Mirror Salon, told SELF. The creamy shampoo is infused with natural ingredients and moisturizing oils (coconut oil, honey, and aloe vera leaf juice) that cleanse hair of buildup and hydrate. Additionally, it’s free of surfactants and sulfates.

  • Ulta

    Wella Invigo Nutri-Enrich Deep Nourishing Shampoo

    For extra-thirsty hair, Acevedo likes Wella’s Invigo Nutri-Enrich Deep Nourishing shampoo. It leaves highlighted, color-treated, and dry hair soft and manageable thanks to oleic acid and vitamin E—and, she adds, it smells incredible.

  • Sephora

    Amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Shampoo

    Professional hairstylist Candace Witherspoon calls Amika Hydro Rush a “luscious shampoo that cleanses the hair while adding ultimate moisture and hydration.” Its formula contains hair-happy ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane, and Witherspoon says it’s especially great for dryer, coarser hair types.

  • Sephora

    Adwoa Beauty Blue Tangy Clarifying Gel Shampoo

    Another favorite of Witherspoon is this blue tansy-infused shampoo for curly hair from Adwoa Beauty. She says the clarifying shampoo “strengthens and removes product buildup from hair” and recommends that it be used just once a month.

  • Sephora

    DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Cleanser For Rich Moisture

    Carlile likes DevaCurl’s whole line of products, but the No-Poo Original formula ranks as her favorite shampoo for curly hair. “It can really be used for multiple types of textures. It is considered more of a co-wash, so it has the consistency of a conditioner, which means it’s super, super hydrating,” she explains.

SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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