When the hair care market is saturated with brands and products promising to solve every one of your beauty woes, it's hard to know which way to turn. But experts agree that it always comes down to basics: a high-quality shampoo that cleanses (without over-cleansing) while providing nourishing ingredients that cater to your specific hair needs. "Shampoo should lather, get rid of buildup that otherwise would block pores and cause potential hair loss and scalp acne, and leave hair with a touch of softness instead of a tacky feel," says Nate Bova, senior stylist at Warren Tricomi Salon at The Plaza in New York City.
Additionally, smart and safe ingredients are paramount. "The fewer large chemical words the better," adds Bova. "Most of the time those words mean harsh surfactants and carcinogenic preservatives."
While most shampoos will do the job of cleansing your hair and scalp, not all are formulated for your hair's texture, color, length and style. We asked top hairstylists to tell us which shampoos they recommend to their clients, based on hair type.
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Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
Whether you're hoping to straighten and smooth ringlets or let them loose, finding the right shampoo is key to achieving your desired look. As a rule of thumb, Amanda Ambroise, hairstylist at Warren Tricomi in New York City, recommends seeking out a shampoo that replenishes moisture, since curly hair tends to be on the dryer side. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Moisture Shampoo, $9.99, is her go-to for girls with curls.
Another top-recommended product is Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Sulfate Free, $29.99, which is Bova's favorite. "The mixture of botanicals and argan stem cells encourage healthy hair growth," he says. "Argan oil also keeps the hair healthy and shiny, protecting the shaft from future damage."
Best Shampoo for Thinning Hair
If your hair is thinning, you're far from alone. In fact, according to statistics from the American Academy of Dermatology, 40 percent of women have visible hair loss by age 40. Thankfully, there are plenty of products on the market aimed specifically at diminishing shedding while thickening the hair follicles and strengthening strands to last longer than your next shower. Celebrity hairstylist Daniel Koye's go-to is Nioxin System 1 Cleanser Shampoo, $24.99. "This is a system that works well when used together to stimulate your scalp to grow more hair," he says. Ambroise's favorite is Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Shampoo, $9.99, which "combines biotin, keratin, zinc and more to promote healthy growing hair."
Best Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
For color-treated or highlighted hair, your primary concern is to protect your color and address any dryness or damage. In addition to using a moisturizing mask or conditioner, stylists recommend reaching for shampoos that help maintain the color and prolong the time between your next visit to the salon. For blondes, stylist Angela Kalinowski suggests Voce No Yellow Wash, $18. "It's great for canceling any yellow tint in the hair and is made with lavender, jasmine and natural proteins," she says. "It tones the color to a beautiful buttery blonde."
For blondes and all other hues, Bova's go-to is Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo, $26. "This shampoo has gentle detergent that very gently cleanses and shines," he says. "Avocado oil and nettle extract leave the hair shiny without weighing it down."
Best Shampoo for Dry, Heat-Styled Hair
Strands that are dry and brittle after years of heat styling and color processing are in dire need of serious moisture. According to Ambroise, the best shampoo for this hair type to really see a difference in texture and quality is Kerastase Bain Therapiste, $29.50. "This shampoo works to help repair weak, damaged hair and helps prevent damage before it starts."
Celebrity hairstylist Felix Fischer's favorite for hair in need of total repair is Amika Triple Rx Shampoo, $21. "The highly concentrated formula combines hydrolyzed keratin and hydrolyzed wheat protein for maximum penetration and repair," he says.