The Best Shampoo for Black Hair: Find the Right Product for Your Hair Needs

Moisturizing, defining, volumizing, lifting... the most hardworking shampoo for Black hair ensures you can have it all.

Black hair, or hair of those of African-American ethnicity, has a lot of different classifications under it, making it a highly nuanced hair type. It includes several levels of curls, the variations of which having been famously categorized into a hair chart system and spanning from 3B to 4C. This has sparked some contention on what the best shampoo for Black hair should really target, seeing as there is clearly a wide variance from one type to the next. Keep reading to re-inspire your wash and care routine:

best shampoo for black hair boxer braids
Time to find the best shampoo for your hair needs.

Finding the best shampoo for Black hair that moisturizes just right is usually a real-life Goldilocks situation, with most products either doing too much or too little. Below, we break down the most common concerns of this hair type and offer up suggestions for each:

1. Moisturizing

Hair gets its natural slip and moisture from our scalp oils, which make its way from the root down till the ends, coating the entire strand. It’s a more zigzagged process in curly hair, which means that the curlier your hair is, the harder it is to coat and the drier it can get. The best shampoo for Black hair is a shampoo that takes into consideration your curl level and adjusts accordingly. For the most part, you’ll never go wrong with a moisturizing shampoo tailored specifically for curly locks. SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo is a creamy yet fast-absorbing formula that, when used with the conditioner, revives and nourishes hair to reveal shiny, bouncy ringlets. Follow up with SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Conditioner.

2. Strengthening

A lot of Black women also opt for hair extensions, weaves, and protective styles like braids. The best shampoo for Black hair that’s been woven or otherwise heavily styled or processed (i.e. relaxed) is one that also strengthens the strand. The efficient fortifying properties in SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo, when used as a system with the conditioner, protects against damage and breakage and leaves hair 10x stronger (!) and more resilient after just one use. Pair this shampoo with the coordinating Conditioner for best results.

best shampoo for black hair after shower
Get the best definition in your strands with a shampoo designed for curls.

3. Definition

A shampoo that gently cleanses while still keeping the shape of each curl intact—not to mention shiny and well-hydrated, without losing lift—is key. Body and bounce are the cornerstones of a healthy, voluminous curly hairstyle. A shampoo that gives you both without a small sacrifice on the other is hard to come by. Keep your eye out for natural infusions, which have moisturizing oils that are more lightweight in look and feel. We love SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner, which gently cleanse then restores the shape of your ringlets after washing and conditioning.

4. Wig or Weave Care

If you have a wig or weave you probably aren’t using shampoo or washing your hair frequently, to maintain your style. While this isn’t a shampoo per se, we still highly recommend SheaMoisture Wig & Weave Tea Tree and Borage Seed Oil 2-in-1 Conditioner and Detangler. This is a great hair care product that serves as a refresher just like a shampoo, but uses lots of moisturizing ingredients to tame frizz, moisturize, detangle, and reduce flyaways.

best shampoo for black hair curly
Keep your hair shiny and tangle free with these best shampoos for Black hair. Photo credit: Arianna Sharfman

5. Frizz-Free Finish

Keep frizz a thing of the past by washing with Emerge It’s Knot Happening Sulfate-Free Shampoo. This formula is made with almond milk and shea butter, perfect for hydrating curls and banishing frizz. Don’t forget to follow with Emerge Smooth Mover Conditioner for best results.

6. Removing Product Build-Up

After a week of styling, there’s bound to be lots of product build-up in your strands that needs to be removed and replaced with hydration and nourishment. Hit the reset button by washing with Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo. This formula contains aloe, making it gentle and hydrating as it removes product build-up that’s weighing down your strands. Pair this shampoo with Dove Amplified Textures Super Slip Detangling Conditioner and your strands will be silky smooth and tangle-free… what’s not to love?

best shampoo for black hair color treated
Don’t forget to protect your color, too! Photo credit: Craig Alexander

7. Color Safe

While it’s important to keep your hair clean and nourished, those who color their strands also want to maintain that vibrancy for as long as possible. SheaMoisture Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed MiracleMulti-Benefit Shampoo and Conditioner are a color-treated gal’s hair care solution. This shampoo is completely color-safe and promises to leave hair feeling smooth and healthy-looking. It’s a salon-worthy finish you can achieve right at home.

8. Anti-Breakage

Seeing lots of breakage and split ends after brushing your hair? You need a shampoo that caters to vulnerable curls and coils. Anti-breakge shampoo Nexxus Curl Define Shampoo offers strength with its ProteinFusion blend and a gentle cleanse with silk protein and marula oil. This is the perfect shampoo, especially when paired with its conditioner, for preventing further breakage in hair and maintain healthy coils and curls.

Those are our top 8 favorite shampoos of 2021 for Black hair. While it can help to pick base don your specific hair need, all of these products are great for Natural hair and will help you maintain healthy and happy strands.

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