Types of Shampoo
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 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 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 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
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.
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
"25+ Top Hair-Thickening Shampoos and Conditioners"
"The Best Clarifying Shampoos, According to 5 Hair Pros"
"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
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 (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.
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.
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.
Daily Moisture Shampoo doesn't work for your hair, (Est. $7 for 25.4 oz.) is one
alternative worth considering. Editors at Allure name it -- along with (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.
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 (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, (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.
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 (Est. $10 for 13.5 oz.) is the best shampoo up to this challenging
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
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 (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
If you're looking for a bargain buy that will still leave you with
thick, voluminous hair, Real Simple's Sarah Smith recommends (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
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