Let’s face it: curly and wavy hair can be very picky when it comes to product. Over the past couple years, I’ve been learning all about what to look for— and what to look out for— when choosing a shampoo for curly or wavy hair.
The good news is, there are a lot of great drugstore shampoos out there that can help keep your hair healthy without splurging. Today, I’ll be sharing 5 of the best drugstore shampoos for curly and wavy hair.
You may be familiar with the very popular Curly Girl Method outlined in Curly Girl: The Handbook, a book by Lorraine Massey that shares tips and routines to follow for healthy, beautiful curls. The shampoos I’m mentioning today are all Curly Girl Method approved based on their ingredients (and what’s not in them!)
(in no particular order)
Here’s a good clarifying option that will thoroughly cleanse the hair without sulfates. The Curl Quench shampoo prides itself on using aloe vera juice as the first ingredient, versus water like in many other shampoos. It’s hydrating and helps to detangle your hair, adding softness and body to your curls and waves. When using this, my hair feels so much more manageable. It’s a bit on the thicker side— if you have fine to medium hair, you may have better luck with the Maui Moisture Gentle & Lightweight Flaxseed Shampoo, which will feel lighter. Both options are vegan and cruelty-free.
The SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus line is an old favorite of mine, as it’s great for thicker curls and waves (and I have thick hair, y’all!). This sulfate-free shampoo uses natural ingredients and ethically traded certified organic Shea Butter to cleanse the hair and scalp, while improving the health of your hair with repairing Neem Oil. Silk protein gives your waves and curls a silky, frizz-free finish. For those who like products with a richer consistency, this is it! This product is certified as cruelty-free by PETA.
This is the current drugstore curly hair shampoo that’s been in my own shower for nearly 8 months now. It cleanses gently without stripping the hair, and adds moisture with jojoba oil, Vitamin B5 and aloe vera. The consistency is right down the middle– rich enough for a good lather, but not too thick that it’s hard to rinse out. It doesn’t weigh down my hair either. I find that it helps coax my curls into a more uniform pattern that can be easily refreshed throughout the week. This is a vegan formula that’s also color safe.
I’m a huge fan of the Function of Beauty custom shampoo service, but it’s definitely a splurge. So I was super stoked to find out that they launched a drugstore version of their custom formulas at Target! You design your custom routine with a base shampoo for your hair type. Use it alone or add in Booster Shots to target unique hair goals. The curly hair shampoo base uses Chia Extract to define and shape curls, and is free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, gluten, phthalates. There is also a shampoo base specifically for wavy hair, which uses Fermented Rice Water to strengthen. All of the Function of Beauty products are vegan and cruelty free.
While I haven’t tried this shampoo personally, I am a fan of the other styling products in the line and the shampoo is a top pick among the curly hair community. This is appropriate for all curl and wave types to strengthen and repair damaged hair. The blend of rice amino acids and high performing bond multiplier helps with curl definition and manageability. This formula contains protein, and is cruelty free.