While most beauty pros can wax poetic about their favorite
cheap mascaras and bargain hairsprays, they give the world of affordable shampoos and conditioners considerably less love. Don't take these products lightly, though — especially if you're on a budget. Besides cleaning and conditioning, this duo can keep your color true, your scalp healthy, and your miscellaneous woes (frizz, split ends, and so on) in check.
Ahead, we've pulled out all the stops to correct this discussion deficit: Members of our own beauty team
and a few A-list Hollywood hairstylists share the drugstore hair products they love — all of which clock in at under $15.
The Expert: Khalea Underwood, R29 beauty writer Best For: Natural hair "Pantene spent 10 years perfecting their line made for relaxed and natural textures... and in my opinion, the conditioner was well worth the wait. The rich formula clings to my coils like no other. In fact, it was thick enough for me to co-wash with — and my curls felt so silky afterward." Pantene Pro V Gold Series Moisture Boost Conditioner, $6.99, available at Pantene.
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Dehydrated, fine hair "My scalp is about as temperamental as I am when I'm hungry. If it's washed too much, it dries out. But if I use formulas filled with moisturizing properties, it's oil city. This shampoo is middle ground. It clarifies to remove all the gunk, hydrates, and adds just enough lift." OGX Anti-Gravity + Hydration O2 Shampoo, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
The Expert: Maria Del Russo, R29 beauty editor Best For: Itchy scalp "I recently went platinum, so I'm doing everything I can to keep my entire head of hair heathy. Yes To Naturals' new Tea Tree & Sage Oil shampoo and conditioner helps to calm and exfoliate your scalp, so no more flakes." Yes To Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil, $7.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Scotty Cunha, hairstylist to Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, and Lucy Hale Best For: Any hair type "It's natural, paraben-free, blah blah, but it really works! And it's great for all hair types because it's really conditioning, but not too heavy, so it won't weigh down straight hair. It's great for conditioning color-treated hair, and it will also help control frizz on curly hair."
Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner,
The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, R29 beauty writer Best For: Normal to dry hair "I'm a huge fan of this brand's body wash, so I was stoked when I discovered the shampoo. The hydrating formula didn't disappoint and left my hair feeling clean, but not deprived of moisture. It's a win-win!" The Seaweed Bath Co. Argan Shampoo, $12.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Megan McIntyre, former R29 beauty features director Best For: Fine hair "For my fine hair, I find many conditioners tend to weigh it down due to heavy moisturizers. This conditioner is lighter and allows for a more textured, beachy finish (hence the name), but still gives me the moisture my bleached-into-oblivion strands need."
Beach Blonde Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner,
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Itchy, dry scalp "When the weather gets colder my scalp inevitably gets dry, itchy, and covered in flakes. Most shampoos aren't able to hydrate, treat, and repair at the same time, but this one from Dove does the trick. The gentle lather rinses away all my scalp problems and leaves my hair feeling much softer than before." Dove DermaCare Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $4.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, R29 beauty writer Best For: Any hair type "As a beauty writer, I've had plenty of opportunities to try pricey shampoos, but I always go back to this one. Seriously, I rave about this shampoo to anyone who will listen. The scent is super-refreshing, and [it's] really pleasant to use. I wash my hair every day, which I know some people will scold me for, but this one has such a gentle-but-clarifying sulfate-free formula that it doesn't cause me any problems at all." Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo, $3.99, available in-store at Trader Joe's.
The Expert: Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director Best For: Color-treated, dry, or damaged hair "I grabbed this from my roommate's shelf the other day ( shh, don't tell!) when I ran out of my own $28 conditioner. Whoa, you guys, this stuff is legit. While I didn't love the smell (a bit too honey-sweet for my taste), I air-dried my hair and put it in a bun and when I took it out it was so smooth and shiny it looked like I had gotten a blowout. I'm seriously impressed." Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Conditioner, $5.59, available at Drugstore.com.
The Expert: Riawna Capri, hairstylist to Julianne Hough and Nina Dobrev Best For: Any hair type "I love Clear because it focuses on your scalp, instead of just the hair. Without a healthy scalp, how can you have healthy hair? They have different formulas for all different hair types." Clear Complete Scalp Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $5.49, available at Walgreens. You've never seen beauty quite like this before. Check out our
Beauty Innovator Awards for the smartest, funkiest, most fresh to death products of the year.
The Expert: Derek Yuen, hairstylist to Laverne Cox, Maggie Q, and Jaime King Best For: Curly hair "This conditioner really helps curls to fight frizz. Plus, it has olive oil in it to help keep your curls manageable and add shine."
Frizz Ease Dream Curls Conditioner,
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Heat-damaged hair "I bought this shampoo on a whim and it blew my mind. I've never experienced such a transformation with such an inexpensive product. My ends had never been softer and my shine levels are through the roof — even after air-drying." L'Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo, $4.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
The Expert: Ryan Richman, hairstylist to Lorde, Ashley Tisdale, and Sarah Hyland Best For: Dry hair "This shampoo is great for damaged and coarse hair, because it helps to strengthen it and leaves hair really smooth."
Intensive Repair Shampoo,
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Color-treated hair Colored hair doesn't have to lack the nourishment it deserves just because it's a little more sensitive to ingredients. Extend your pigment and enjoy smoother ends after just one wash with this drugstore gem. Pantene Intense Color Care Shampoo, $4.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Megan McIntyre, former R29 beauty features director Best For: Highlighted/blonde hair "Ever since going blonde, I've had a constant struggle against brassiness and color-stripping. Nothing is more devastating to bottle blonde than orange tints and faded hues. That's why I like this color-enhancing shampoo from John Frieda. It doesn't add color (something I'm a bit skeptical of in the first place), but rather fully removes the styling-product residue that can lead to your color looking flat or dull. It makes your blonde look, well, blonder, and helps add shine to your strands."
Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Enhancing Shampoo for Lighter Shades,
The Expert: Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director Best For: Fine- to medium-textured hair "When I want really clean, full roots, this always does the trick. I've been using it since high school."
24 Hour Body Salon Shampoo,
The Expert: Lexy Lebsack, R29 senior beauty editor Best For: Fine to thick hair "I was surprised how much I took to this conditioner after trying it a few months ago because I'm very critical of drugstore hair products, but it's actually become a staple in my shower. It's incredibly lightweight — I cannot stand buildup of any kind — and once rinsed, this formula feels like nothing at all. After air-drying my hair is soft, shiny, and healthy-looking. That's a win in my book." Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisturizing Conditioner, $18.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
The Expert: Derek Yuen, hairstylist to Laverne Cox, Maggie Q, and Jaime King Best For: Fine hair "This is a lightweight formula that gently cleanses — but won't weigh fine hair down."
Boost And Lift Shampoo,
The Expert: Aviva Perea, hairstylist to Brittany Snow and Beth Behrs Best For: Medium to thick hair "I call this my go-to product... The silicone-free formula gently cleanses hair, and preps it perfectly for conditioning."
Emergencee Reconstructive System Shampoo,
The Expert: Taylor Bryant, former R29 beauty news editor Best For: Textured/curly hair "I don't actually use shampoo to cleanse my hair; instead, I reach for a co-washing product, which helps do the job without stripping my hair of its necessary oils. As I Am's coconut formula has been my go-to since doing my big chop back in April. It's a no-suds moisturizing wash that's not too heavy, and it helps detangle while cleansing."
As I Am
Coconut Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner,
The Expert: Lexy Lebsack, R29 senior beauty editor Best For: Fine to thick hair "This clarifying shampoo is super -strong, so don't even think about using it every day. However, if you use it a few times per month it will cleanse every bit of buildup out of your hair. I have highlighted (and therefore, more fragile) hair, so I only use it once a month, but even so, I can immediately tell the biggest difference. It's strong, but when used correctly, it will make your hair bouncier and respond better to all your other products."
The Expert: Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director Best For: Color-treated hair "I love L'Oréal Color Vibrancy Nourishing Conditioner. It makes my hair really sleek and shiny, but not weighed down. And it's awesome for shaving your legs, too."
Color Vibrancy Nourishing Conditioner,
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Damaged hair "I'm constantly looking for shampoos that will give me instant results — and this one does the trick! I step out of the shower with hair I thought I would never feel again after too much styling and heat damage. The best part is it leaves my (normally) split ends super smooth and silky." Pantene Pro-V Repair and Protect Shampoo, $8.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Derek Yuen, hairstylist to Laverne Cox, Maggie Q, and Jaime King Best For: Fine hair "This formula is silicone-free and uses aloe vera juice to give fine hair the hydration it needs, all without weighing it down."
Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo,
The Expert: Michaela Rollings, R29 marketing coordinator Best For: Normal to fine hair "I am a fan of most Pantene shampoos and this bottle is no exception. Although it didn't give the full-on glossy finish of a traditional conditioner, it left my hair smoother than my usual shampoo does on its own. Pantene Pro-V Classic Clean 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner, $4.99, available at CVS.
The Expert: Khalea Underwood Best For: Natural hair "For a solid 10 years, Creme of Nature was all I knew. My mom and aunts used the brand's shampoos and conditioners on their relaxed hair for years. The packaging has changed, but the refreshing scent and ridiculously creamy formula remains the same. Crème of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo With Argan Oil, $4.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Lexy Lebsack, R29 West Coast beauty editor Best For: Dry hair "This rich conditioner has long been my drugstore stand-in when my hair feels parched, or just after bleaching, and I don't want to splurge on something more expensive. It makes my strands feel smooth and soft without weighing them down." Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner, $4.96, available at Walmart.
The Expert: Sunnie Brook Jones, hairstylist to Elisabeth Moss, Hailey Baldwin, and Claire Holt Best For: Damaged hair "With this product you will see benefits from first use, and then dramatically less breakage [with regular use]," Jones says of this range. [Edit note: She is a spokesperson for the brand.] Head & Shoulders Repair & Protect Anti Dandruff Shampoo, $5.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant Best For: Any hair type "I'm the kind of person who, once the weather hits below 60 degrees, immediately reaches for a fall-scented candle. So, it only makes sense that this Apple Berry scent is so alluring for me. It smells like an apple cider mill and last for days, so I get whiffs of the scent even after four days of not washing." Hair Food Renew Conditioner Infused with Apple Berry Fragrance, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
The Expert: Sheridan Ward, hairstylist to Chloë Sevigny and Lana Parrilla Best For: Dry hair "This is infused with naturally-derived cleansing extracts including seaweed. It works best at balancing the hair's moisture levels." Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo, $7.79, available at Walgreens.
The Expert: John Ruggiero, hairstylist to Chrissy Teigen and Ashley Bell Best For: Coarse curls This formula automatically transforms the most brittle hair, leaving it soft, silky, and smooth, Ruggiero says. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo, $12, available at Sephora.
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