Heavy may receive a commission if you purchase a product through a link on this page.

Best Shampoo for Curly Hair: 15 Awesome Options

Best shampoo for curly hair

123RF.com (Mingorance)

Curly hair-don’t-care? Not likely! If you have anything other than pin straight hair you know the dedication and extra effort it takes to keep those curls in check. There’s more to wash day than a quick shampoo-and-go routine if you’ve got an, ahem, spirited style. Curly hair tends to be dryer and frizzier and needs more smoothing, moisturizing products than straight hair does.

We’ve done the research and put together 15 of the absolute best hydrating, mane-taming, smoothing, soothing, and even clarifying haircare products for the curly-haired goddess that you are. May we also recommend a blow-dryer brush if you’re looking for more quick-start, out-the-door faster options? So check out our list of the best shampoo for curly hair, you won’t be disappointed.

What Are the Best Shampoos For Curly Hair?

R+CO caesette curl best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Well priced
  • Amazing smell
  • Great brand
Price: $32.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Ouidad best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Gentle formula
  • Moisturizing
  • Protects moisture barrier
Price: $26.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mizani best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Good price for large bottle
  • Natural oils
  • Intense moisture
Price: $29.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Davines best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Amazing smell
  • Affordable for what you get
  • Cult favorite
Price: $32.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Aveda best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Reasonable price
  • Botanical ingredients
  • Tackles Frizz
Price: $25.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
vicious curl clarifying shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Superfruit formula
  • Clarifying foam
Price: $22.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Professional strength
  • Highly moisurizing
  • Botanical ingredients
Price: $27.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Loreal Evercurl best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super afforadable
  • Vegan
  • Fights frizz
Price: $13.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Design essentials best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Helps detangle
  • Repairs damage
  • Natural oils
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
OGX dry shampoo best for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super cheap
  • Absorbs grease
  • Smells nice
Price: $7.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Moroccanoil best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Gentle formula
  • Tried and true
  • Hydrating
Price: $26.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
SexyHair best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Safe for color-treated hair
  • Helps define curls
Price: $16.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Fairy tales best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cheap
  • Kid-friendly scent
  • Plant-based
Price: $11.55 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Nexxus best shampoo for curly hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cheap
  • Uses protein blend
  • repairs hair
Price: $13.49 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Matrix best shampoo for culy hair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great deal
  • Jojoba oil
  • Anti-friz
Price: $17.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. R+Co Cassette Curl Shampoo

    • Top shelf product at mid cost
    • Botanical ingredient blend
    • Gold standard curl shampoo
    • May be too heavy for thin curls
    • Includes Dimethicone
    • Not cheap per se

    Okay, R+Co is one of my top five can’t-live-without haircare brands. They’re salon favorites with enough versions and formulas to meet absolutely anyone alive’s haircare needs. Everyone loves their results, and while they aren’t the cheapest hair products you can buy, they certainly aren’t the most expensive. I’d say they’re a mid-priced brand that delivers luxe value results.

    So without anymore buildup (should I use that word when talking about hair products?) let me just say R+Co Cassette Curl Shampoo might be my favorite product on this list and you should try it if you haven’t yet. The idea behind this fave formula is that it will gently clean without adding frizz, and it will define curls without adding weight. Double win!

    There’s a lot going on in the ingredients list, but here are the active ones you should pay attention to: flaxseed extract, chia seed extract, aloe leaf extract, aloe leaf extract, rice protein, red algae extract, and hydrogenated castor oil. Together, all these ingredients work to moisturize, smooth, nourish, repair, and clean both hair and scalp for the ultimate win in curly hair shampoo. 

  2. 2. OUIDAD Ultra-nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo

    • Rehydrates while cleansing
    • Won's strip hair
    • Uses natural oils
    • Contains demethicone
    • Might not be strong enough for all curl types
    • Contains fragrence

    You’ve probably heard of using cleansing oils for your face, instead of a soapy or foaming option when you have dry skin or want to protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Well, surprise, surprise, the same concept can apply to the way you choose the best shampoo for curly hair. Curly hair needs moisture. I’ll say it again! Curly hair really needs moisture! 

    Enter Ouidad’s Ultra-nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo. This high-ranking choice on our list of best shampoos for curly hair works by mimicking your hair’s natural oils with botanical ingredients that won’t strip your strands of the good stuff as it cleanses. We are fans of anything shampoo for curly hair that cleans enhances without eradicating natural oils.


  3. 3. MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo

    • Professional strength
    • Curl defining
    • Hydrates hair naturally
    • Contains fragrence (could be +/-)
    • Contains alcohol
    • Currently comes only in large bottle

    MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo is specially formulated to hydrate and define your natural curls, coils, and waves. And if you know your texture type, this lovely, hydrating shampoo is intended for texture types eight through six. The ingredients list includes marula oil, coconut oil, and olive oil to soothe and lock in moisture. What you won’t find on that list is parabens or sulfates, making it a great choice for those looking for a gentle product. The blend does include alcohol and fragrance, however, so you have to be aware of that if you have a particularly sensitive scalp. 


  4. 4. Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo

    • Luxe product for midrage price
    • Almond oil moisutre
    • Major hydration for curls
    • A bit pricy
    • Light lather (can be plus or minus)
    • Scent is not for everyone

    I love, love, LOVE the Davines brand. Again, it’s a top-tier salon product you can use at home for a midrange price. It’s not the cheapest line of haircare products, but it is way, way, WAY better and more effective and more lovely than the cheapest line of haircare products.

    Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo is a creamy,  lathering shampoo with a light almond scent (probably due to the almond extract). The price is actually kind of great at $3.43 per ounce because on top of being a ridiculously great shampoo, it only takes a tiny bit to lather up your entire do, so the wight and a half one bottle lasts a really long time.

    Their Amazon page is full of reviews saying it’s people’s favorite shampoo for curly hair and I can see why. Sustainably-sourced ingredients come together to deliver rich but lightweight moisture to tackle frizz, and leave all manner of curls manageable. 

  5. 5. Aveda Be Curly Shampoo

    • Defines wavy hair into curls
    • Highly rated on Amazon
    • Good for color treated hair
    • Can be drying
    • Smell can be "too much"
    • Not much later (can be +/_)

    Aveda Be Curly Shampoo is the bomb dot com and is probably the most direct market competition to Davines LOVE curl shampoo. So if you’re one of the many shoppers trying to decide between these two curly girl cult faves, I’ll do you a solid and compare some highlights for you here. 

    Both these curl-enhancer shampoos are salon products you can take home for midrange prices. At the time of this writing, an 8.5-ounce bottle of Davines LOVE curl shampoo is $29.00, and an 8.5-ounce bottle of Aveda Be Curly Shampoo is $24.98. Not a huge difference, but that’s a win for Aveda. Be Curly is made with “pure plant and flower essences,” as well as “wheat protein and organic aloe blend.” LOVE curl has sweet almond oil and limonene. 

    Both brands have a 4.6/5 rating on Amazon which is no help! But more people say the citrus, botanical scent of the Aveda stuff is a bit much. So if you’re prone to headaches or sensitive to smells, be aware. More users also found Be Curly to be a bit drying, which is not desirable since (did I mention?) curls need moisture!

  6. 6. Vicious Curl Foaming Curl Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair

    • Relatively affordable
    • Paraben, sulfate, alcohol free
    • Clarifying and lightweight
    • Pump can be unweildy
    • Can feel oily
    • Has a strong scent

    The Foaming Curl Cleanse product from the Vicious Curl brand is a clarifying shampoo for curly hair. First of all, I want to support any product saying they can help you get “vicious curls.” That sounds extremely fierce and winning. Click through to Amazon and take a look at the product videos and you can see for yourself that those curls do look vicious. And the one who’s winning is the one who uses this badass foaming curl cleanser. 

    Second of all, you’ll notice a lot of options on this best shampoos for curly hair list are paraben and sulfate-free. Yes! We as a hair product consumer society are evolving. That stuff does not help curly hair, or really any hair look and feel its best. But I’m often disappointed to find that many of these sort-of-clean beauty options still include alcohol in their products. Alcohol will dry your hair or skin out, and I recommend steering clear of it when you have another option. Here, my dears is that option, and it is a “vicious” one. No alcohol in this foaming curl cleanse!

    We’re talking a no-yuck organic “superfruit botanical blend” including a proprietary mixture of “coffee, green tea, acai, goji, and other natural botanicals,” to help wipe out buildup from other products, and let your hydrated, bouncy, natural curls cut loose again.

  7. 7. Biolage 3 Butter Control System Shampoo

    • Rich natural plant butters
    • Paraben and sulfate free
    • Works on natural or relaxed hair
    • Can cause product build-up
    • Too heavy for thin hair
    • Strong scent

    Did you ever think your curls could be smooth like butter to the touch? Don’t say it’s impossible until you’ve tried the Biolage 3 Butter Control System Shampoo. By combining three ultra-rich, skin and hair-friendly moisturizing ingredients, namely, shea, murumuru and cupuacu butters, Biolage has come up with a formula that nourishes and moisturizes unruly hair while it cleanses. 

    It’s so effective at coating curls with a lightweight moisturizing sheen, however, that some users recommend using a clarifying shampoo for curly hair every now and then to reduce the product buildup.

    This heavy-duty shampoo is great for damaged hair, or thick, coarse curls. Plus, if you’re looking for the best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair combo option, this is your salvation right here. Follow your shampooing sesh with the Biolage 3 Butter Control System Conditioner, leave it in for a few minutes, rinse, dry, and watch your curls learn to behave.



  8. 8. L’Oréal Paris EverCurl Shampoo and Conditioner Kit for Curly Hair

    • Cheap, cheap, cheap
    • Lightweight moisture
    • Defines curls
    • Strong fragrence
    • Contains alcohol
    • May strip color

    To all the girls with curly, kinky, or wavy hair who want gentle, lightweight taming moisture— this one is specially formulated for you. Even though this is a list of the best shampoos for curly hair, The L’Oréal Paris EverCurl formula works so well for such a low price point, that I want to drop the set on you as one of the best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair duos. 

    The L’Oréal Paris EverCurl Shampoo and Conditioner Kit for Curly Hair is extra gentle and made without the use of parabens, sulfates, harsh salts, or dyes. That’s not to say the ingredients list is totally chemical-free. There are some old standards meant to cause lathering. Still, Coconut oil and grape seed oil, along with other vegan, plant-derived ingredients bring on 48-hour gentle curl control. And since the price is so incredibly low, especially considering this is a 2-piece kit, it’s hard to find something big to complain about. 

  9. 9. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

    • Inexpensive
    • Avocado and almond oils
    • Pro-level detangler
    • Can feel greasy
    • Too heavy for very thin hair
    • Pump can malfunction

    Don’t worry, you don’t need to answer out loud, but has your version of pandemic hair ever ended up sort of…turning into…one giant clump? What about your curly-haired kids? Do they need a little untangling help from time to time? Ok, stop ruefully laughing, and hit that add to cart button. Because Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Shampoo is going to get you through this. 

    You can use this magic stuff on “wavy, curly, coily, and kinky textured hair with dry/brittle to normal and color-treated hair conditions.” You can even use it for “hair extensions and chemically-relaxed textures to revitalize the hairs’ natural luster.” In short, Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Shampoo doesn’t judge. She is a fixer. Get that almond oil and avocado oil goodness on your hair and let your hair be its best self. 

  10. 10. OGX Refresh Revitalize Extra Strength Dry Shampoo, Argan Oil of Morocco

    • Uses argan oil
    • Conditions while absorbing grease
    • Doesn't leave white film if you rub in
    • Strong smell
    • Leaves a residue
    • Contains chemicals

    Yeah, we definitely need a dry shampoo on this list because all my readers know that washing your hair every day is a no-no, especially when you have curly hair. Washing too much can be over-drying, and curls need their moisture. If your roots tend to look a little greasy or flat in between wash days, however, don’t cave and wash. Give them a little spritz of some dry shampoo, disperse through roots and over scalp with your fingers, and voila! Refreshed style. 

    Here’s my favorite cheap dry shampoo formulated to work with curly hair: OGX Refresh Revitalize Extra Strength Dry Shampoo, Argan Oil of Morocco. I love this option because it’s only about seven bucks, it doesn’t turn your hair white, and it doesn’t over-dry where you spray it. 

    It comes out of the can as a powdery aerosol. While that powdery stuff absorbs grease, the Morrocan argan oil adds non-greasy hydration to revitalize and reenergize strands without weighing them down. There is a fragrance, so if you’re sensitive to artificial scents you may want to stay clear. But it does add a nice perfume to your refreshed locks. 

  11. 11. Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo

    • Nourishing clean
    • Natural oils and vitamins
    • Amazing scent
    • May dry out scalp
    • Too heavy for thin hair
    • Some reported hair feeling greasy

    I remember back in 2013 or 2014 when this brand blew up and was in EVERY salon. Of course, people in-the-know had been using Morrocan Argan oil on hair forever. But This was the first time it had really gone mainstream and people loved it. Update: people still love it!

    Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo works wonders on dry, curly, and/or color-treated hair. The formula uses Morrocan argan oil, of course, as well as red algae, and vitamins A and E to moisturize and nourish as it cleans. Reviewers love the mild scent and the fact that a little goes a long way. You can complete the duo with Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner.

  12. 12. SexyHair Curly Curl Enhancing Shampoo

    • Enhance curls with Sea Algae and Cacay Oil
    • Good price
    • Fights frizz
    • Contains parabens
    • Lemongrass scent doesn't work for everyone
    • Left a few reviewers with itchy scalp

    You’ve probably seen SexyHair products on the shelf in both specialty beauty stores and regular drugstores for years. Their products first became famous as a way to create big, voluminous, sexy curl looks. Sort of a the higher the hair, the closer to God kind of thing. Well, whatever the reason they became so popular, we are the winners. Their affordable prices and their ubiquitous availability online and in stores means you never have to look too hard to find solid products for your curls. 

    SexyHair Curly Curl Enhancing Shampoo is a great product to grab if you have wavy hair you’d like to twist into more shapely curls, firstly. And secondly, it’s a smart buy if you have a sort of poofed-out ball of frizz and you need some help defining your floof back into recognizable curls. This lightly lemongrass scented daily shampoo is hydrating, formulated with sea algae and cacay oil, and will work on all types of curls without stripping color-treated hair. If you love it, try combining it with the SexyHair Curly Curl Enhancing Conditioner for a hardworking but affordable entry in the best shampoo and conditioner set for curly hair race. 

  13. 13. Fairy Tales Curly-Q Hydrating Shampoo for Kids

    • Climate pledge friendly
    • Botanical and gentle
    • Super high reviews
    • Not "tear free"
    • Made on shared equipment with nuts
    • Too greasy for very fine hair

    This one’s for the kids, but no one’s going to tell if you use it on your whole family. If you need divine intervention to help you get the tangles out of your kids’ curly hair you are so not alone. Fairy Tales Curly-Q Hydrating Shampoo for Kids may not be an instant fix but this hydrating shampoo, especially combined with the conditioner is an excellent start. 

    With ridiculously high ratings on Amazon, this nourishing shampoo uses a plant-based approach to hydrate and nourish hair while it cleans. This is a clarifying shampoo using amino acids from quinoa and rice to “help define curls and improve manageability.” With a sweet pear and basil scent that kids love, the formula also uses “avocado and murumuru butters to add shine and tame frizz.”

  14. 14. Nexxus Curl Define Shampoo

    • Nice scent
    • Sulfate free
    • Uses marula oil
    • Not fully moisturizing without conditioner
    • Scent could be a drawback to some
    • Bottle shape wastes plastic

    Ok, so you want to treat your damaged coily or curly hair but you don’t want to spend your whole paycheck doing it? No problem, just try the Nexxus Curl Define Shampoo. The Nexxus propriety blend of silk protein and marula oil “delivers stronger, more defined curls.” And when you pair the shampoo with the corresponding conditioner, you can see restored strength in your hair shafts in just one day. 

    Reviewers love the scent and how little it takes to get a good lather going. It’s lightweight and doesn’t weigh down curls. It’s an incredibly cost-effective choice. But at this price point you might not be surprised that you won’t find incredibly curl-defining moisture unless you pair the shampoo with the conditioner. 


  15. 15. Matrix Total Results Curl Please Shampoo

    • Makes even rough curls feel soft
    • Jojoba oil nourishes without extra weight
    • Great bang for your buck
    • Contails alcohol
    • Contains sulfates
    • Scent not for everyone

    Do I love a product with a pun in the name? Yes. Is that the only reason this amazing pick is going on my best shampoo for curly hair list? No. Matrix is a great haircare brand to begin with, and recently they’ve made a name for themselves with their curl-friendly line, Curl Please. Matrix

    Total Results Curl Please Shampoo is the first step in the regimen, and it works with natural curls (or even perms). Jojoba oil is one of the secrets to its naturally effective way of cleaning the hair while smoothing frizz instead of inviting more to the party. It does contain chemicals that increase the shampoo’s lathering effect, which not everyone will love, but it does mean a little goes a long way. 

What makes hair curly or straight?

It's in our DNA before we're ever born. Will your hair be curly or will it be straight? Scientists from Northwestern University say we can look to two places to determine the "root" of our hair texture.

The hair shaft is the actual length of a strand of hair or the part you can see. The follicle is the part that's still under the skin of our scalp, anchoring the strand of hair to our heads. The shape of the follicle and the way it tunnels into the scalp accounts for most of what makes our hair curly, straight, or something in between.

How do I care for my curly hair?

Curly hair tends to be dry hair and needs extra moisture. Choose hydrating products to counteract that. Ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and other heavy natural conditioners will help define your curls.

Read More
, ,