Top 7 Best Curl Shampoos, According To Beauty Experts

Anyone with curly hair knows, it takes quite a bit of work to keep those ringlets looking fresh and vibrant. Using one of the best curl shampoos can help with taming and strengthening, while protecting your hair from that dreaded frizz. Try out one of the expert-recommended options on our list and you will not be sorry.

Using a shampoo formulated for curly hair regularly, along with a curl cream or curl mousse can elevate your styling routine. Of course, the ultimate goal is to have less bad hair days. But are bad hair days actually genetic? A recent study finds a rare genetic mutation affects follicle formation and shape. 

The patterns of our hair are influenced by “whorls” – patches that grow in a circular pattern around a specific point. Scientists have now identified four genetic variants that modify their appearance. The center of the whorl is determined by the orientation of hair follicles, making these patterns distinct from one individual to another. 

If you’ve got some unruly curls and aren’t sure which shampoo to choose, StudyFinds is here to help. We’ve put together a list of the top seven products from ten expert websites, to find the best shampoos for curly hair. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

Curly hair
Curly hair (Photo by Noémie Roussel on Unsplash)

The List: Best Curl Shampoo for Defining Your Natural Hair

1. SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

Thick, curly hair has met its match with this shampoo from SheaMoisture. If you’re looking for a shampoo that can cleanse your curls without stripping away their natural moisture, then look no further than SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo. Heat World raves about its ability to cleanse impurities while simultaneously adding shine and definition thanks to its rich blend of oils and butters.

The hydrating ingredients make all the difference with this formula. Pinkvilla highlights its exceptional ability to restore oil and increase hair strength. The raw shea butter acts as a sealant, locking in moisture for soft, smooth, and frizz-free curls.

Women’s Health praises its affordability and sulfate-free formula. The inclusion of coconut oil helps reverse the damage caused by UV rays, dirt, and pollution, leaving your hair vibrantly healthy. Overall, SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo seems to be a crowd-pleaser, offering cleansing power, hydration, shine, and frizz control for all your curly hair needs.

2. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

If you need to repair your curls from heat-styling damage or breakage, check out this option from Olaplex. Calling it “best for damaged curls,” Who What Wear praises Olaplex No. 4 for its ability to heal split ends, tame frizz, and repair damage by reconnecting broken hair bonds. Daily use promises softer, stronger, and shinier locks.

The magic lies in the brand’s signature ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which, as Allure explains, helps strengthen hair bonds and smooth strands.

However, a word of caution from Cosmopolitan: while the formula helps with detangling and smoothing, the presence of silicones can lead to build-up over time if you don’t use a clarifying shampoo regularly. A monthly “reset” with a sulfate-based shampoo is recommended to remove build-up and prevent weighed-down curls.

3. Kérastase Curl Manifesto Shampoo

Kérastase Curl Manifesto Shampoo
Kérastase Curl Manifesto Shampoo

Dreaming of salon-quality curls at home? Elle hails Kérastase Curl Manifesto Shampoo as your answer, tackling the major concerns of curly hair: dryness, breakage, and lack of volume. Its secret weapon? Two “powerhouse ingredients”:

  • Manuka honey: Deeply hydrates and nourishes curls, combating dryness and frizz.
  • Ceramides: Strengthen hair strands, making them more resilient against damage and adding beautiful bounce and elasticity.

Us Weekly echoes this, highlighting the additional benefits of ceramides, which seal in moisture and improve hair’s elasticity for defined, bouncy curls. But it’s not just about performance. Heat World praises the shampoo’s ability to penetrate deep for optimal definition and bounce, without weighing down your curls. Plus, the “beautiful subtle fragrance” is a delightful bonus.

However, be prepared for a splurge. This luxurious shampoo comes with a higher price tag, making it an investment for those truly committed to achieving their best curls.

4. OGX Quenching & Coconut Curls Shampoo

OGX Quenching & Coconut Curls Shampoo
OGX Quenching & Coconut Curls Shampoo

Looking for a natural, paraben- and sulfate-free shampoo to nourish and hydrate your curls? HealthShots recommends OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Shampoo, enriched with a blend of coconut oil, citrus oil, and honey. They praise its ability to provide deep hydration for dry curls while removing scalp build-up.

Plus, it will transport you to a tropical oasis with the beachy scent of coconut. Elle echoes this sentiment, describing the shampoo as a “mini paradise.” They highlight its effectiveness in providing intense moisture to dry curls.

However, a potential downside emerges in Good Housekeeping‘s review. Some users reported feeling a lack of volume in their curls after using the shampoo. This suggests that while it might be a good choice for dry curls needing intense hydration, it might not be ideal for those seeking added volume.

5. Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Curl Care Shampoo

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Curl Care Shampoo
Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Curl Care Shampoo and Conditioner

Dreaming of perfectly defined curls without sacrificing volume? Pinkvilla hails Curl Talk as the answer, praising its ability to transform your mane into a “luscious, well-defined” masterpiece. The lightweight formula avoids weighing down your hair, allowing for natural bounce and movement.

For those with type three curls, featuring a mix of S-waves and ringlets, Women’s Health considers Curl Talk a top choice. They highlight its unique blend of rice, keratin amino acids, and enzymes that provide both hydration and a lightweight feel, perfect for this specific curl type.

But affordability comes with a caveat. While Good Housekeeping acknowledges its budget-friendly price and accessibility, they also mention that it might not be as intensely moisturizing as other options on the market. So, if you prioritize definition and volume, and have type three curls, Curl Talk could be a great choice. However, if intense hydration is your main concern, you might want to explore other options.

6. Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo

Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo, Deep Conditioner & Curl Defining Cream
Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo, Deep Conditioner & Curl Defining Cream

Latinx-founded brand Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo is winning hearts (and scalps!) with its focus on natural textures and effective solutions. Allure applauds its moisture-locking prowess, praising its ability to combat dryness, dandruff, and split ends – all while being silicone-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free. They recommend it for those with thick, dense hair who prefer in-shower detangling.

Elle highlights its exceptional dryness-fighting abilities, with shea butter hydrating and repairing dry strands, and moringa oil tackling dry, itchy scalps and banishing dandruff.

Cosmopolitan emphasizes its lightweight hydration, ensuring your curls stay bouncy and defined. They even share a reviewer tip: pair it with a deep conditioner for maximum moisture benefits.

7. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo

Rounding out our list, is a reviewer-favorite from Briogeo. Got tight curls in need of some TLC? Women’s Health recommends Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Shampoo. This low-pH, paraben-free, and color-safe formula is gentle enough for even the most sensitive scalps and won’t leave your hair tangled after rinsing.

Elle loves this shampoo’s hydrating properties, thanks to B vitamins that quench your hair’s thirst and effectively cleanse your scalp without causing irritation.

If you’re looking for an extra antioxidant boost, Allure considers this shampoo a top pick. Its gel-to-foam formula contains algae extract and rosehip oil, which work together to seal in moisture, minimize frizz, and combat the brittle feel of flyaways. However, they do caution that it’s lighter than other Briogeo conditioners, so if intense moisture is your main concern, pairing it with a deep conditioner is recommended.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

Follow on Google News

About the Author

Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer