Let’s face it: curly and wavy hair can be very picky when it comes to product. As I’m on my own personal journey to nurture my natural hair texture, I’m learning all about what to look for— and what to look out for— when choosing a shampoo for curly or wavy hair. For example: curly hair tends to be dryer than other hair types. Avoiding ingredients that can dry out my hair even more or lead to breakage, like sulfates, is always a priority. I’ve also personally been trying to stray away from silicones, which can weigh my waves down and cause build up.
The good news is, contrary to popular belief, 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 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. It’s become a bible of sorts among the curly and wavy hair community, including guidelines on what types of products you should be using. The shampoos I’m mentioning today are all Curly Girl Method approved drugstore products according to CurlScan.com.
I’ve been loving scalp scrubs lately to really help clarify and remove build-up from the scalp and hair, especially since I’m using a lot of styling products post-shower to boost my waves. This product is a scrub and shampoo 2-in-1, allowing you to exfoliate and detox your hair and scalp. It contains charcoal, coconut husk, and naturally-derived menthol to deliver a cooling clean. This would be a great 1-2x a week treatment to add to your routine, safe for all hair types including color-treated hair. Using a scrub has made a big difference in my hair’s appearance and my scalp’s health. This one contains no sulfates, silicones, parabens or dyes in this formula, and it’s certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA.
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 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. When using this shampoo, I noticed that my waves looked the most uniform they’d been in a while. For those who like products with a richer consistency, this one is a great pick! The ingredients are ethically traded and sustainably produced, and this shampoo is cruelty-free. This product is certified as cruelty-free by PETA.
The Dove Amplified Textures collection is a relatively new line from Dove, specifically aimed at those with coils, curls and waves. Both my husband (who has afro-textured hair) and I have liked using the Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo, which gently cleans while adding moisture. It contains ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin and aloe, and is safe for color-treated hair being sulfate free and dye-free. This really helped me define my waves with less frizz, and is great as a daily shampoo since it won’t dry out your strands. This product is certified as cruelty-free by PETA.
While I haven’t tried this one personally, it’s a favorite among the curly hair community— the Curl Talk collection is mentioned in almost every curly/wavy hair tutorial I watch, so it’s gotta be good. Sulfate-free, silicone free, paraben free and drying alcohol free, this is appropriate for all curl types to provide a deep yet delicate wash. It contains a blend of rice (a super popular hair ingredient for 2021!), keratin amino acids and enzymes to hydrate, condition and protect the hair. This shampoo is cruelty-free.
Here’s a good clarifying option that will thoroughly cleanse the hair without sulfates. It prides itself on using aloe vera juice as the first ingredient, versus water 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 is very manageable, and I love pairing it with the curl cream from the same line for extra hydration and definition. 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.