Shampoo is the start of your hair care routine. When you have curly hair, you need a product that manages texture and nourishes your locks. And the best shampoos for curly hair control frizz while they keep your curls soft and bouncy.
We know it can be a never-ending battle to find the balance that you want. But there are certain things to consider if you want to keep your luminous locks looking their best. Mild shampoos that won’t strip the natural oil from your hair are best for daily cleansing. But occasionally you may need a clarifier to remove accumulated residue. Check out the reviews below to see the top products for washing curly hair.
- Best Shampoos for Curly Hair (2021 Update)
- 1. SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Shampoo
- 2. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Moisturizing Shampoo
- 3. Devacurl No-poo
- 4. Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo
- 5. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Shampoo
- 6. TRESemmé Shampoo Smooth and Silky
- 7. Kerastase Bain Oleo Curl Shampoo
- 8. TRESemmé Curl Hydration Botanique Shampoo
- 9. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo
- 10. Mizani True Textures Unisex Moisture Replenish Shampoo
- 11. BIOLAGE Normalizing Clean Reset Shampoo
- 12. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Clumping Curl Clay Cleanser
- Tips to care for naturally curly hair
- How to deep condition curls
- One last word about shampoo
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Best Shampoos for Curly Hair (2021 Update)
1. SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Shampoo
The Curl & Shine shampoo from SheaMoisture is gentle enough to use every day because it lacks sulfates that can dry out your scalp and hair. Instead, it’s formulated with coconut oil to control frizz and enhance shine. If you have sensitive skin, you also be happy to know there are no parabens or dyes either.
Before we go further in our reviews today, let’s explain why sulfates are a problem for curly hair. You’ll find them in a variety of products, from toothpaste to shampoo. They create foamy lather that breaks down grime and oil. Unfortunately, they can strip too much of the skin’s natural oil. If you’ve ever used a shampoo that made your hair feel like straw, chances are it had sulfates in the formula.
2. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Moisturizing Shampoo
Maybe you first experienced the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Shampoo in a salon. It contains coconut oil and sea kelp to replenish moisture and repair your hair. The lovely seaside scent is appreciated by both men and women. And this is another shampoo that does not contain sulfates.
Customers report that the Beach Babe formula adds texture and volume to their hair. It manages frizz without over-doing it. And it leaves their hair soft and shiny.
3. Devacurl No-poo
The Devacurl No-poo is a great choice if you have fine to medium hair. It’s gentle enough to use every day. And it will help bring life back to dry, color-treated hair.
There are no sulfates, chlorides, or parabens in the bottle. Although it doesn’t create much lather, customers love it. They notice that their curls and waves look shiny and healthy after using the no-poo.
4. Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo
If you love it when your hair is squeaky clean and shiny, try the Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo. It’s an excellent clarifier that protects and hydrates dry and damaged hair. Instead of sulfates, it uses Mandarin orange extract and sea kelp to remove residue and moisturize your curls.
5. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Shampoo
The Totally Twisted Curl Shampoo from Herbal Essences perfumes your hair with a fresh and fruity scent. But it’s not just the fragrance that’s won over customers. The formula is one of the best for controlling frizz. Since it provides up to twenty hours of humidity control, this is the one you’ll want to reach for on a rainy day.
6. TRESemmé Shampoo Smooth and Silky
The TRESemmé Smooth and Silky is another shampoo that’s excellent to use if you’re in an environment with high humidity. It manages frizz with argan oil and silk protein, not heavy silicones that leave a residue. As a result, your hair is shiny and soft, with defined curls and bounce. It’s safe for color-treated hair and has a pleasant natural scent.
7. Kerastase Bain Oleo Curl Shampoo
The Kerastase Bain Oleo formula is a good choice if you have dry, curly hair. Users report that it revives their waves and curls, and leaves their locks soft and luminous.
8. TRESemmé Curl Hydration Botanique Shampoo
The TRESemmé Curl Hydration Shampoo is recommended by professional hairstylists because it naturally hydrates hair with hibiscus and shea butter. Although curly hair tends to be dry as a rule, heavy-duty moisturizers can make it limp. Instead, this light formula leaves hair soft and bouncy. And the shampoo is free of dyes and parabens, and safe to use on color-treated hair.
9. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo
If you struggle with unruly curls or frizz, try Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo. It comes highly recommended as a two-time winner of Allure’s Best of Beauty Award. It also scored a Coveter’s Luxury Beauty Award. Stylists like it because it cleans well without drying out either the scalp or hair, and it adds hydration so that every curl is beautifully defined.
10. Mizani True Textures Unisex Moisture Replenish Shampoo
Another moisturizing shampoo that returns bounce to your curls is this one from Mizani. It’s free from sulfates, parabens, and silicones so it won’t dry out or weigh down your hair. One celebrity hairstylist recommends it because it leaves hair smooth and silky. It also protects against environmental damage because it contains antioxidants from olive, coconut, and marula oils.
11. BIOLAGE Normalizing Clean Reset Shampoo
If you have highlighted hair, try the Biolage Normalizing Clean Reset Shampoo. It adds shine without destroying color. And since it doesn’t contain sulfates, it doesn’t dry out hair or strands.
Some shampoos that lack sulfates don’t lather very well. But this one builds up plenty of foam on fine or coarse curls. And the formula helps control frizz, too.
12. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Clumping Curl Clay Cleanser
You can clump and scrunch your curls the traditional way with clay, oil, vinegar, and water. Or you can enjoy the Dark and Lovely Clumping Curl Cleanser. It replenishes moisture to curls and smoothes away frizz for perfect coils. And it doesn’t rely on mineral oil, petroleum derivatives, or parabens.
Tips to care for naturally curly hair
It’s your hair– your curls, your waves, your kinks. It’s part of your beauty. And you can manage it with some patience and the right tools. Here are some tips from the pros to help you care for your naturally curly hair.
Know your hair type
If you know what kind of hair you have, it’s easier to select the best shampoos and styling products. Take an online quiz and look at some photos to determine if you have wavy, curly, or coily locks. Then dig into the subtypes because those matter too. Your stylist can also help you decide.
Prep before you wash
Before you shampoo, pre-shampoo. This means using conditioner to detangle your hair before you wash it. Even before you wet your hair, massage the product into the dry strands. Use your fingers to separate curls. Then wait a few minutes before you step into the shower and shampoo as normal.
Co-wash or wash less
Some people with curly hair find that their locks are easier to manage if they don’t wash them every single day. Others extend the time between shampooings by washing with only water. That’s called “co-washing.”
Use mild shampoos without drying ingredients
Since curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair, be sure to use gentle shampoos. Watch out for sulfates and alcohols that can strip essential moisture from your strands and scalp.
Wash with lukewarm or cool water
If you struggle with frizz, stick to using cool or lukewarm water, not hot. You’ll lose less moisture that way. It will also make your hair shinier.
Skip the towel
Did you know that some people with curly hair don’t dry it with regular cotton towels? Instead, they use a soft T-shirt or a microfiber towel. And they don’t scrub it dry; they wrap their hair and let the fabric absorb the excess water for a while. This avoids roughing up the cuticle.
Be kind to curls when you comb
Your hair is fragile while it’s wet. Don’t brush it. Instead, use a good quality comb. Apply detangler if you need it to overcome snarls.
Avoid styling with heat
Obviously, when you blow-dry your hair, you remove moisture. The same goes for curling irons and flat irons. You’ll protect your hair from frizz and breakage if you let it dry naturally. You can also choose to use a diffuser, so the hot air is spread over the hair and not focused on one portion. No diffuser? No worries, you use a makeshift diffuser to keep your curls protected and looking great.
Sleep on silk
Silk pillowcases will prevent your curly hair from looking frizzy in the morning. If you don’t like the idea of silk or satin pillowcases, try wrapping your hair before you lay down at night.
How to deep condition curls
Someone once said that “Curly hair is thirsty hair.” So although you discovered the best shampoo for your curls, you still need to condition them.
When you apply this product, use your fingers to work it through your hair all the way to the ends. Some products work better if they are heated. Cover your hair with a shower cap, plastic wrap, or a damp T-shirt. You can turn up the heat by using a blow dryer set to low.
Wait the recommended amount of time before you wash out the product. Some products can work overnight while you sleep. And when you rinse it in the morning, be sure to seal the cuticle with cool water.
One last word about shampoo
We’ve mentioned avoiding sulfates in your shampoo. Pro stylists with a lot of experience caring for curly hair make the following recommendations.
First, if your favorite shampoo has sulfates, keep it concentrated at the scalp. Avoid working it through your hair out to the ends. That way it can do its job removing extra oil from your skin and leave your strands in peace. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most drying of all sulfates. It’s practically guaranteed to make your hair like straw.
Next, stick to the same brand that you choose for your shampoo for your other hair products, too. The shampoo and moisturizer are designed to work well together. And when you wash, use gentle back-and-forth movements. Unless you’ve been rolling in dirt, you probably don’t need to scrub to clean your scalp.
Finally, take the time to experiment with co-washing if you haven’t tried it yet. Using water to freshen up between shampooings is an easy way to keep your curls shiny and bouncy.
If you’re anxious to have well-defined curls and bouncy, luminous locks, start with one of the best shampoos for curly hair. Occasionally use a clarifier if needed, you’ll find that it’s much easier to manage. If you keep your curls moisturized, you’ll keep them happy.
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