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Shampoo Reviews

By: Angela Stringfellow on March 07, 2018

Editor's Note:
Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture is the best bet for anyone looking for a regular, everyday shampoo. Alterna Haircare Caviar will keep your color-treated hair looking vibrant between touch-ups. For those with fine hair, no shampoo enhances volume better than Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo, and Nizoral leads the pack when it comes to combating dandruff.

Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo Review
Best Reviewed

Best shampoo

Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo earns high marks from users as an all-around daily shampoo suitable for most hair types. Reviewers say it leaves hair feeling smooth and silky without leaving residue behind, moisturizing and nourishing hair without weighing it down. It contains no irritating fragrances or dyes. It's relatively affordable, and readily available at most drug stores and grocery stores.

Buy for $10.20
Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo
Best Reviewed

Best volumizing shampoo

Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo increases the diameter of hair more than any other volumizing shampoo in professional tests. Ideal for people with thin hair, this shampoo leaves hair feeling thick and healthy. It has a fresh scent that most users love, and some reviewers even suggest that it seems to reduce the amount of hair left in the shower drain and the hair brush.

Buy for $24.57
Alterna Haircare Caviar Review
Best Reviewed

Best shampoo for color-treated hair

With helpful ingredients such as caviar and vitamin C, Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo isn't just a solid bet for those with color-treated hair, but it also helps to restore hydration, strength, and vibrancy in aging hair. Experts say it not only keeps color intact, but also leaves hair feeling younger and healthier – and it works on hair of any texture.

Buy for $16.92
L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo
Best Reviewed

Best value shampoo for color-treated hair

If you're looking for a budget option that won't strip your hair of color between salon visits, experts say L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo is a great choice. It helps maintain the vibrancy of color-treated hair, preventing fading while leaving hair feeling clean and incredibly soft. It doesn't contain sulfates, yet it still lathers nicely, and it's also paraben-free and vegan.

Buy for $6.72
Nizoral Review
Best Reviewed

Best dandruff shampoo

No other shampoo achieves such reliable results in the battle against dandruff as Nizoral. It contains ketaconazole, an antifungal that beats dandruff when other treatments fail. Users say it also helps with other skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. However, it's pricey, smells unpleasant, and can be drying to hair -- tradeoffs that most users happily accept for a dandruff shampoo that really works.

Buy for $13.99
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Review
Best Reviewed

Best clarifying shampoo

Reviewers say Neutrogena Anti-Residue does a great job of clearing the hair and scalp of excess oil and styling products. Users say their hair comes out soft, shiny, and squeaky clean; some even find the shampoo helps with dandruff. Most users also like its woodsy, herbal scent. Be warned, however, this shampoo is strictly for weekly deep cleanings; daily use can leave the hair too dry.

Buy for $4.83

Types of Shampoo

Moisturizing Shampoos

Also called conditioning shampoos, moisturizing shampoos are the most common kind and are ideal for everyday use by most hair types. These products contain ingredients for gently, but thoroughly, cleaning your hair, as well as conditioning agents such as silicone, panthenol, and natural oils. Although virtually all shampoos contain some level of conditioning agent, they are not to be confused with those that are billed as a combined shampoo and conditioner -- those carry much higher concentrations of conditioner.

Volumizing Shampoo

Volumizing shampoos give hair more body by removing dirt and other particles that weigh down hair, which in turn makes it lighter and bouncier. Often used by people with fine hair, these shampoos contain ingredients such as panthenol and vitamin B5 to prevent breakage and brittleness and make hair more manageable.

Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair

These shampoos help to protect color-treated hair from the elements such as sunlight and from exposure to color-stripping chemicals like chlorine. Most color-safe shampoos contain gentler detergents that leave hair clean without the color-stripping effects of common sulfates in ordinary shampoo. Others actually deposit color on the hair's surface temporarily, which can make salon-colored hair richer and more vibrant. These types of shampoos are designed for a specific hair color, such as platinum, blonde, brunette, or red.

Dandruff Shampoos

Dandruff is often hard to control, so these special shampoos contain antifungal ingredients to reduce the fungi that cause dandruff. They are considered over-the-counter drugs and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many dandruff shampoos are harsh on hair and should be rotated with a regular shampoo to keep hair from becoming too dry.

Clarifying Shampoos

Clarifying shampoos contain extra detergents to rid the hair and scalp of buildup. The high levels of cleansing agents in clarifying shampoos clear away that residue, but they can also strip away the hair's natural oils. Experts recommend following up with a good conditioner after using a deep-cleansing shampoo to replenish any moisture that was washed away. Clarifying shampoos are often intended for periodic use, and users find that even those made for daily use can be too drying if used every day.

Cost aside, the best shampoos leave hair clean, soft, and shiny

According to our research, a shampoo's effectiveness has little, if anything, to do with its price. Because there are only a few effective ingredients used for cleaning hair, there isn't that much variation from one shampoo to the next. We found at least as many recommendations for drugstore shampoos costing less than $10 a bottle as we did for the pricey salon brands costing $20 per bottle or more. The one exception is dandruff shampoos; here, pricier products with stronger ingredients can handle tougher cases better than inexpensive brands.

One other caveat: even the top-rated shampoos have their detractors. What may work for the vast majority of users might leave your hair limp, greasy, dry or otherwise unsatisfactory in some way. Fortunately, it's easy to move on. If one shampoo doesn't work, try another until you find one that does.

Finding The Best Shampoo
Our Sources
"25+ Top Hair-Thickening Shampoos and Conditioners"
"The Best Clarifying Shampoos, According to 5 Hair Pros"
3. Allure
"41 Best Hair Products — Best of Beauty Awards 2017"

We found the best review of shampoos at Reviews.com, where editors put seven shampoos to the test. We also evaluated a number of roundups naming the best shampoos in various categories, such as shampoo for color-treated hair, volumizing shampoo, and shampoo for specific hair types from Allure, Elle, Refinery29, TotalBeauty, Real Simple, InStyle, Reader's Digest and Good Housekeeping. Some of these sites indicate that they've put recommended shampoos through hands-on testing, while others rely on opinions from hair stylists and other hair care professionals.

To gauge how closely real-world users agree with the experts' picks, we turned to user opinions on sites like Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, Sephora and Makeup Alley. This helped us to develop an overall sense of how that particular shampoo works for most people. We focused on looking for insights such as how well a shampoo performs compared to its claims, scent, how clean they leave hair feeling after washing, and other real-world use considerations.

The best shampoo

The bottom line for any shampoo is how well it cleans and whether it leaves hair feeling -- and looking -- soft and healthy. For that job, we found the most positive reviews for Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo (Est. $13 for 25.4 oz.). It earns positive feedback from thousands of users across retail sites such as Amazon, Walgreens and Walmart. Users say that it leaves their hair soft and smooth without weighing it down with residue. Dove says its Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo is designed to leave hair up to five times smoother (compared to standard, non-conditioning shampoo). Formulated with Dove's proprietary Pro-Moisture Complex, this shampoo progressively nourishes to leave your hair healthier over time.

Refinery29's Taylor Bryant says professional stylist Ryan Richmand recommends Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo for those who need a shampoo that will cleanse, but won't strip hair of its natural oils or leave your scalp feeling dry. Richmand says Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo is a great choice for daily use.

Reviewers point out that it works well on any hair type, from dry and frizzy hair to normal or curly hair. We did read a few isolated complaints from users who say this formula left their hair feeling dry or that it irritated their skin or scalp, while others say it left their hair flat with a greasy feel. The majority of reviewers, however, report excellent results. A drugstore brand, Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo is affordable and readily available at most grocery stores and drug stores.

If Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo doesn't work for your hair, Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Hydrating Shampoo (Est. $7 for 25.4 oz.) is one alternative worth considering. Editors at Allure name it -- along with Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Hydrating Conditioner (Est. $4 for 24 oz.) -- the best shampoo and conditioner for dry hair, noting that it can help to replenish the natural lipids lost due to aging. Users agree, giving it high ratings in thousands of reviews, with many saying that Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Hydrating Shampoo leaves their hair soft, smooth and shiny. Most also say it has a pleasant scent.

Some users say Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Hydrating Shampoo helps to repair hair that's dry and damaged from the use of other products, leaving hair thick and full. There are some detractors, however, as there always is, including a few who say this shampoo made their hair drier, and some who say that it's too thick and heavy for fine hair, leaving a residue that makes hair flat, greasy and sticky, if you find that to be the case you might be better served with a volumizing shampoo, which we discuss below. Many users say it's an excellent shampoo for people with thick, curly or frizzy hair, offering the moisture and smoothness needed to make these hair types more manageable.

Another option for those with dry or damaged hair is Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Shampoo (Est. $16 for 25.4 oz.). Emily Dougherty, Elle Beauty & Fitness Director, calls it "the holy grail," noting that it's proven in lab tests "to deposit replenishing lipids INSIDE the core of each strand." It's popular with users, too, with plenty of glowing reviews for leaving hair smooth and shiny, eliminating tangles and frizz. Most users say it has a light, clean scent, although there are a few detractors who describe the scent as acidic or too overpowering. A few users who have fine hair suggest using this shampoo every other day to avoid weighed-down, flat hair while still reaping the reparative benefits of Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect.

If Pantene products don't seem to agree with your hair type, Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo (Est. $6 for 10.5 oz.) helps to remove impurities and contains seaweed extract to help restore hair's natural moisture. The result is an overall rebalancing effect, which is particularly helpful for those with oily hair. Editors at Reviews.com name Aveeno Pure Renewal the best drugstore shampoo, noting that it was one of just three drugstore brands they found that don't contain harsh surfactants. In tests, it lathered well and left users' hair shiny and manageable, benefits editors attribute to a combination of hydrating glycerin and dimethicone, a type of silicone described as "slippery." They do note that it has a strong floral scent, which they describe as "classic shampoo smell."

We evaluated hundreds of user reviews for Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo as well, most of which are positive. Several users say they turn to Aveeno products due to reactions such as breakouts or dry, itchy scalp from other brands, noting that they don't experience any adverse effects after using this shampoo. However, some point out that this shampoo is not ideal for people with dry hair, noting that it can make already-dry hair frizzy and unmanageable, with a straw-like feel. On the other hand, users with fine or oily hair rave about this shampoo, noting that it leaves their hair feeling clean and soft without leaving a residue behind.

The best volumizing shampoo

People with fine hair often suffer from flat, lifeless tresses that are unmanageable and uncooperative, due in part to a buildup of dirt and residue from shampoo, conditioner and styling products that weigh hair down. That's where volumizing shampoo comes in, adding thickness to hair strands and stripping out the dirt and residue to make fine hair lighter, bouncier, and more voluminous. Both users and experts agree that Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo (Est. $10 for 13.5 oz.) is the best shampoo up to this challenging task.

Editors at Good Housekeeping say Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo "increased the diameter of hair more than any other brand" tested in their Beauty Lab. Testers say this shampoo gave their hair both volume and body, making their hair "softer, thicker, and more manageable," sentiments echoed by readers at TotalBeauty. Users agree, with some noting that they've tried dozens of other shampoos, and none leaves their hair as strong and voluminous as Nexxus Diametress. Some users even say they've noticed a decrease in the amount of hair in the shower drain and in their hairbrush after using this shampoo.

Nexxus Diametress Luscious Volumizing Shampoo isn't the cheapest option available, but a small amount of this product goes a long way. It has a fresh scent that most users don't seem to mind, although there are a few reviewers who aren't fans of the scent -- or any scent. There are also a few who note that it may leave hair a bit more tangled than usual, and some suggest following up with a detangling product after washing with this shampoo.

Good Housekeeping also recommends OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo (Est. $6 for 13 oz.) for those with thin or flat tresses. It's paraben- and sulfate-free, and it's infused with vitamin B7 (biotin) and collagen to leave hair feeling thicker and more voluminous. Most users seem to agree, noting that it leaves their hair both soft and manageable, as well as visibly fuller. Some find that it adds substantial body to hair that's otherwise flat and lifeless, and it rinses well without leaving hair tangled. Opinions are mixed on the scent -- some love it; others hate it -- an issue we see with all scented products.

As with most shampoos, OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo doesn't work on all hair types, and a few users say that their hair actually began to feel oily after a few months of use. Others say it leaves a residue behind, and a few say that they experienced an itchy scalp after using this product.

If you're looking for a bargain buy that will still leave you with thick, voluminous hair, Real Simple's Sarah Smith recommends Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Healthy Volume Shampoo (Est. $4 for 28 oz.), noting, "thickening proteins plus moisture-resistant polymers add up to fullness that defies humidity." Users say it meets expectations and more, with some reporting that they've used this shampoo for a decade or longer. Reviewers say that their hair is more manageable, allowing them to style it more easily than before, and it offers bounce and lift that can even help to disguise thinning hair or bald spots.

As always, there are a few detractors who say that Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Healthy Volume Shampoo had the opposite effect, weighing down their hair and making it feel greasy rather than adding body and volume, but overall, most reviewers are pleased with Tresemmé's performance, particularly at its low price point.

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