How To Choose The Best Shampoo For Your Hair Type

The importance of shampooing has been drilled into our brains since we were little. Having grease and grime on our scalps isn't very appealing, after all. What our moms likely didn't tell us? Which shampoo — of the many options — we should be using.
Just like not all conditioners are created equal, shampoos differ widely. While some things may be obvious (if your hair is fine and straight, don't use a product made for thick, curly strands), we also understand that the countless choices can be overwhelming.
So, we've consulted some of the top hair insiders in the biz on which cleanser is best for which strand type. Click through to see their picks for long, short, and everything in-between.
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At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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Salicylic acid zaps acne like a charm, but did you know it can also treat dandruff? The newest shampoo from Matrix is infused with 2.9% of the stuff to gently buff away dry skin and flakes. It's the perfect shampoo to add to your rotation for black-sweater weather.
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Clarifying shampoos work wonders on greasy scalps, but can often strip the rest of your strands of any moisture. But this one has activated charcoal to effectively cleanse your skin, while green coconut adds moisture through your mid-lengths and ends.
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Repairing damaged hair starts with a good shampoo. This new anti-aging option has caviar extract to improve elasticity and boost shine. The bond-enforcing technology leaves dry, stripped hair feeling silky smooth.
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Roxie Darling, a colorist at Hairstory in New York City, recommends steering clear of shampoos with detergents, which can make hair dry and frizzy. "I make sure all my clients use New Wash by Hairstory," she says. "It's 100% detergent-free, but also cleans hair very well. It uses aloe vera, a combination of essential oils, and is so good that it negates the need for a conditioner."
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If years of heat styling have left your lengths and ends begging for mercy, this restorative shampoo is the reset button you needed, like, yesterday. You'll notice silkier, softer hair after a single use — and an even bigger improvement over time.

The One by Frederic Fekkai The Ultimate One Restore Shampoo, $30, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Ryan Richman, hairstylist to the likes of Lorde, Ashley Tisdale, and Sarah Hyland recommends this less-than-$4 drugstore shampoo for dry strands. "This shampoo is great for damaged and coarse hair, because it helps to strengthen it and leaves hair really smooth," he says.

Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo,$3.48, available at Walmart.
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If you have platinum hair, you know the struggle it can be to keep that perfect tone. A great silver shampoo is crucial to help neutralize any yellow, and Sachajuan’s does just that, while adding volume and shine.

Sachajuan Silver Shampoo, $31, available at Barney's New York.
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Platinum-blonde beauties know that fighting brass is one hard battle — which is why a shampoo that helps win it is oh-so-necessary. Pureology’s Perfect 4 Platinum Shampoo has a soft-blue tint to tone, and it's sulfate-free, so it won’t damage your strands.

Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Shampoo, $28, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Too much purple shampoo can actually (temporarily) tint your hair lavender. Luckily, the R+Co version is a more subtle lilac shade that'll leave platinum ends a cool tint of blond.

R+Co Sunset BLVD Blonde Shampoo, $29, available at Birchbox.
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If you’re after bedhead waves, you need to start in the shower. Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Shampoo adds soft, touchable texture to even the finest of hair types.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Wash Shampoo, $25, available at Bumble and Bumble.
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This light cleanser is a spin on the brand's original No-Poo products. Aptly named Low-Poo, it's specifically for those with loose waves and helps cleanse the scalp while providing weightless moisture.

DevaCurl Low-Poo Delight, $22, available at DevaCurl.
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Of course, the hair wizards behind Pravana would come up with a clever blue-green shampoo and conditioner for brunettes. Similar to how purple cancels out brassy tones in blondes, this shade nixes those annoying red and orange tones that the dark-haired set deals with.

Pravana The Perfect Brunette Brunette Toning Shampoo, $19.99, available at Ulta.
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If you’re not a natural redhead, you know the struggle of trying to keep that vibrant shade after each wash. Luckily, Davines’ Alchemic Shampoo in Red contains pigments to brighten up your hue each time you wash. If you are a natural redhead, you can use this product too — it will just brighten your color.

Davines Alchemic Shampoo Red, $24.50, available at Davines.
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Another great, affordable option is John Frieda’s Radiant Red shampoo, which magnifies red hues in hair without weighing it down.

John Frieda Radiant Red, $5.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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This color-locking formula will help to minimize fading on any texture, so you don't have to rush to the salon for a gloss every few weeks.

Alterna Haircare Caviar Infinite Color Hold Shampoo, $34, available at Sephora.
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Photo: Via Kérastase.
The key to finding a great shampoo for longer hair is a product that will leave it feeling light as a feather (or close to it). Richman swears by Kérastase's Cristalliste, because it's silicone-free and "leaves lengthy hair looking smooth and beautiful."
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Photo: Via Shu Uemura.
For those with fine hair, Ryan Trygstad recommends a volumizing shampoo, like Shu Uemura's. "It does a great job [at] keeping the hair free of oil and product buildup," he says. If you're looking for a less expensive option, he suggests checking out Neutrogena's Anti-Residue Shampoo.
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Formulated to create body throughout hair while still in the shower, this shampoo will add bounce to baby-fine strands.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo, $25, available at Sephora.
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This gentle formula does an excellent job of cleansing the hair while keeping its natural oils intact. The result: hair that better retains its texture and style when it hasn’t been stripped of moisture.

Playa Every Day Shampoo, $32, available at Violet Grey.
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While this shampoo is meant for severely damaged hair, we've found that it works great on healthy, thick hair as well. It leaves it hydrated, full, and shiny — without buildup.

Kérastase Résistance Bain Force Architecte Shampoo, $41, available at Kérastase.
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Photo: Via Nexxus.
According to colorist Aura Friedman, if you have color-treated hair, you should avoid washing your hair more than twice a week, since water is one of the main culprits of fading. Using a color-safe shampoo is your best bet, she says. "Nexxus' Color Assure is sulfate-free and has three oils [almond, coconut, and argan] with moisturizing qualities, which keeps color-treated hair hydrated."

Nexxus Color Assure Shampoo, $13.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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This Redken shampoo is another good option for those with dyed strands. It has UV filters to keep the sun from fading color and ceramides that lock in moisture and prevent breakage.

Redken Color Extend Shampoo, $15.50, available at Ulta Beauty.
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This affordable formula is great for textured hair that's been colored. Why? The quinoa protein-fueled technology softens your curls and boosts your color.

Cantu Anti-Fade Color Protech Shampoo, $5.99, available at Target.
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Photo: Via Oribe.
Chuck Amos — the man behind the manes of Solange, Jordin Sparks, and Tracee Ellis Ross — likes Oribe products for those with coils. The Moisture & Control shampoo has a ton of natural ingredients, mixed with amino-acid and polymer complexes. "Amber and sunflower extracts help moisturize and stimulate the scalp, while keeping hair strengthened, from root to tip," he says.
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Everyone with curls knows that they need moisture, and this shampoo from Ouidad is the solution. Packed with shine-enhancing vitamins and nourishing ingredients like chamomile and corn oil, it’ll make over-processed curls silky and soft in no time.

Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo, $18, available at Sephora.
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Photo: Via Briogeo.
It's vital to avoid shampoo with sulfates of any kind if you have curls, as they tend to dry out hair. Amos suggests checking out the organic brand Briogeo: Its products come sans sulfates, parabens, or silicones. And, they're gluten-free and include ingredients like green-tea oxidants, and vitamins B5 and E.

He also recommends Briogeo's co-wash shampoo, which "uses sea, avocado, and quinoa extracts to help cleanse and nourish hair, and soothing aloe to help nourish the scalp."
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If you suffer from dryness, irritation, or just have a sensitive scalp, then this peony shampoo will become your new go-to. It's formulated with loads of soothing vitamins — and without the harsh silicones and parabens — that'll offer instant relief, and it smells like a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Klorane with Peony for Irritated Scalp, $20, available at Klorane.
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Bid farewell to buildup and soothe a dry, itchy scalp with this innovative new exfoliating shampoo, which contains charcoal to absorb impurities and coconut oil to leave hair deeply hydrated.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo, $42, available at Sephora.
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Curly hair is drier by nature. If you heat style those curls, they become more susceptible to dehydration and damage. So the key to not frying your hair is hydration. Mezei Jefferson, director of multicultural beauty education at L'Oréal, loves this shampoo to keep thirsty curls moisturized. It has nourishing ingredients like aloe leaf and lavender to keep strands shiny and frizz free.
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Sometimes you just need to start from square one — and that’s exactly where this heavy-duty cleanser comes in. The detoxifying claims might sound like a recipe for stripped color and dryness, but not so. Rather, it balances sensitive and oily scalps and removes the residue that can cause itchiness.

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, $53, available at Sephora.
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Emely Miranda, stylist at Nexxus New York Salon, almost always reaches for this shampoo bottle when clients with damaged hair sit down in her chair. "It smoothes out imperfections and makes the hair feel stronger and healthier," she tells us. It also works great on all hair types from bone-straight to coily.
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edited by Christopher Michael Beer; appearance by Connie Wang; appearance by Gina Marinelli; photographed by Jack Pearce; appearance by Kelly Bourdet; written by Tara Rasmus; appearance by Zooey Purdy.
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