The Best Shampoos & Conditioners For Every Curl Type

No matter the texture of your strands, one thing is certain: healthy hair starts in the shower. That statement is especially true if you have natural hair. Curly hair isn't one size fits all, and customizing your routine to fit your needs is key to achieving a look you love. Some curls are parched and require nourishing oils and butters for moisture. Others are fine, and need volumizing agents to become their fullest, bounciest selves. But either way, in order to maintain the healthiest head of curls, a reliable shampoo and conditioner regimen is essential.
Here's the thing, some formulas have been packed with sulfates, parabens, and other stripping ingredients that are notorious for making curly hair — which is already naturally dry — even more brittle. To avoid this, some curly-haired folks have eliminated shampoo altogether when wash day rolls around. It's the reason why co-washing has become such a popular step many. But cleansing your scalp, and replenishing moisture back into your strands, is a key part of keeping your hair in tip-top shape — no matter your curl type.
If you have yet to discover the perfect wash-day combination for your hair — we got you. With so many formulas on the market it can be hard to sift through the clutter, so we tapped the pros for their top picks, arranged by concern, ahead.
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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Best For: Tight Coils

Tight coils, like type 4 hair, is often drier than others, so adding hydrating conditioners and shampoos into your regimen is key to retaining moisture. To help nourish your hair, Mezei Jefferson, Director of Multi Cultural Beauty Education at L'Oreal, suggests this Carol's Daughter formula. "This shampoo is nice because it won't strip 4c hair of moisture," he tells Refinery 29. It has coconut extract and mango butter, which is like a tall glass of hydration for your strands.
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Once you're done shampooing, follow up with this conditioner. "It adds nice shine and slip to curls," Jefferson says.
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Best For: A Dry Scalp

If your scalp is itchy, then you definitely don't want to strip it, but don't count out shampoo just yet. Daryce Brown, Mizani Global Artist & Educator, swears by this clarifying cleanser to relieve an irritated scalp. "This addresses two concerns at once: moisture and clarity. It has charcoal to purify your skin and coconut to add moisture," Brown says.
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As far as conditioner goes, Brown loves this mask, which is formulated with marula, olive, and coconut oil to make your dry, irritated scalp feel brand new.
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Best For: Waves

Owner and creative director of Five Salon Spa, Ona Diaz-Santin, uses this mixture on her wavy-haired clients. "This shampoo has Flexi ALG complex which creates bounce and incredible memory on curls. It's perfect if your hair is wavy and you want to enhance your pattern," she tells us.
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Follow up with the Sebastian conditioner to give your wavy strands more oopmh, says Diaz-Santin. Whether you diffuse or air-dry your curls afterwards, this combo will make them more defined.
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Best For: Heat-Damaged Curls

Emely Miranda, stylist at Nexxus New York Salon, swears by its Keraphix range when heat damaged curls hit her shampoo bowl. "I love this because it helps reconstruct the hair fiber deep down — not just on the surface," she says.
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Because heat damaged strands tend to be more fragile, using a nourishing conditioner with reparative properties will help salvage broken strands. To repair them, Miranda always follows up with Keraphix conditioner. "This formula smooths out imperfections and makes the hair feel stronger and healthier after one use," she says.
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Best For: Color-Treated Curls

Color treated curls require special care. Not only because strands are more susceptible to damage from dyeing agents, but because you want your color to to stay vibrant longer. To protect color treated curls, Koni Bennet, hairstylist and owner of Vanity Salon in Pennsylvania, reaches for this Tresemme bottle. "The shampoo gently lathers so it won't dry out your curls or fade your color," she tells us.
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"I love this conditioner because it smooths the cuticle and leaves curls bouncy and vibrant," Bennet says. "Plus it smells delicious!"
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Best For: Fine Curls

Some people have fine coils that require a bit of special care. "When styling fine hair, you want to make sure you're not using products that will weigh it down," Bennet says. Instead, opt for a lightweight, volumizing shampoo like this one. It's free of sulfates, and won't strip your hair or create frizz. Plus, it has ginseng and biotin to create natural-looking volume.
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Follow up with a lightweight volumizing conditioner to make your curls look (and feel) more full. This one will hydrate your hair without leaving behind a sticky, greasy finish. Your hair should appear more bouncy, and less limp, once it's dry.
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Best For: Brittle Curls

If your curls are damaged and experiencing breakage, you may need to add a stronger shampoo into the mix. This one is infused with biotin, rosemary, and mint to stimulate your follicles and promote hair growth (and who doesn't want that?).
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Once your follicles are energized from the shampoo, spend a few minutes with this treatment on your curls. It has the same strengthening properties and ingredients as the shampoo, but will leave your curls with nice shine and slip for detangling.

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