Let’s start with the basics.
Gone are the days when buying the best shampoo and conditioner was just a matter of what was on sale at the drugstore. With the myriad of options out in the market today, we’ve actually skewed the other direction—nowadays we’re actually spoilt for choice, with the process potentially becoming more and more overwhelming.
We admit it can get a little tempting to just walk out the door with just the prettiest-looking bottle. But it’s also really important to pay more attention to what we wash our hair with. A shampoo and conditioner system is, after all, the first line of defense against a bad hair day, as most hair experts agree that real styling begins in the shower.
Choosing the perfect wash and care system doesn’t have to be as boring as picking out vitamins at a drugstore. Luckily, we’ve broken down the best ones to try for each hair type or concern, so you don’t have to. Read on:
The Best Drugstore Shampoo and Conditioner
1. Normal Hair
Normal hair, or straight to wavy hair that hasn’t gone through any chemical processing or extreme bleaching, mostly just needs nourishment from everyday wear and tear. Daily heat styling from a blowdryer as well as exposure to the elements—not to mention those three hours you spent practicing that Dutch braid—can add up. A gentle shampoo and conditioner system that removes daily build-up but also moisturizes, like Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo and Dove Daily Moisture Conditioner, is a great place to start.
2. Dry to Damaged Hair
Dry, damaged, over-styled, through-hell-and-back hair has a laundry list of concerns to deal with, starting with frizz, unruliness and split ends. The goal is to look for a shampoo and conditioner system that, in tandem, works to clarify from impurities without overstripping, and then infuses your hair with as much nourishment without weighing it down (because overly moisturized locks are just as unmanageable!). A shampoo like Nexxus New York Salon Care Therappe Shampoo helps rebuild broken protein bonds and replenish nutrients into the strand, while Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Conditioner smoothens and locks it all in for major softness and shine.
3. Fine Hair
Getting volume into your hair is a tricky thing, as a lot of shampoo and conditioner systems do fluff up hair, but then leave it as is—meaning, frizz-prone and kinda-sorta rough around the edges too. In addition, since fine hair also tends to frizz out, many make the mistake of over-conditioning which leaves their thin strands looking stringy and just blah. The solution? Flip it and reverse it. A co-washing system, like TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner and Beauty-Full Volume Shampoo, pumps up fine strands without the dreaded crunchiness or poufy look. Plus, it’ll leave your hair feeling really smooth and manageable.
4. Oily Hair
Not only does overly greasy hair look dirty, it’s almost virtually unstyle-able as well. Sebum and product build-up render it nearly impossible to manipulate it into any look (except perhaps a top knot). To work around an oily hair type, remember that oily hair oftentimes comes from having a greasy scalp, so best nip it in the bud. A system that evens out your natural moisture balance, cleanses and alleviates your scalp, leaving it—and your hair—looking and feeling healthier, is the best option for your hair type.
5. Wavy Hair
What wavy-haired gals gain in body and movement, they lose in the fight against frizz. Having strands with a slight texture usually means they’re structurally vulnerable to changes in the weather. The best way to keep your strands behaved is to infuse them with moisture so they don’t resort to absorbing it externally, which can lead to frizz and the dreaded poodle-hair puff. A keratin-infused shampoo and conditioner, like the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo and the Suave Professionals Keratin Infused Smoothing Conditioner, has 48-hour frizz control that gently smoothens hair without losing your texture.
6. Curly Hair
Curly hair is thirsty hair, there’s no doubt about it. The longer it takes for sebum from your scalp to trickle down and coat the strand, the drier it is, which means that curly, natural or Afro-textured hair is the driest of the bunch. That’s also why those with these hair types find that it actually helps to not wash hair everyday, or to invest in a co-washing system. For those crucial wash days however, an über-moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, such as the creamy yet quick-absorbing Dove Absolute Curls Ultra Nourishing Shampoo and Dove Absolute Curls Ultra Nourishing Conditioner, are crucial to bouncy, shiny curls that are also super manageable.
7. Color-Treated Hair
Water is Public Enemy No. 1 for colored hair, as it swells up the shaft and allows pigments to leech out the strand. Until we live in a world where wet-cleansing is completely obsolete though, we have to make do with the next best thing: low-sulfate systems. These color-safe products help wash off build-up in the gentlest way and with as minimal friction as possible. Others, such as the Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Shampoo and the Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Conditioner, are actually sulfate- and silicone-free, and are also chock-full of botanical oils to help nourish bleached locks and impart vibrancy to dyed hair.
8. All Hair Types
Dry hair is a universal issue, whether you have fine or thick hair, it can happen to anyone. Your best best is to stick to a formula that delivers moisture but also leaves hair feeling and looking weightless. Voluminous hair is one of the top looks this season, and we love how the Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and the Dove Oxygen Moisture Conditioner woks to moisturize your hair while simultaneously giving it a natural boost of volume.
Looking for more hair care essentials for your hair? Check out why we love leave-in conditioner.