The Best Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry Hair, According to Experts
Because shiny, healthy hair starts in the shower.
On the list of hair gripes, dry hair ranks up there next to “too oily” and “absolutely untameable.” Yes, it can make hair appear frizzy and dull, but it can lead to a number of other hair issues, including breakage and split ends.
The good news? There’s a moisturizing shampoo for that. The hard part, of course, is that it can be a lot of work to nail down the best shampoo for dry hair that also addresses your other hair care concerns. (Because, let’s be honest, there's never just one.)
That’s why we asked hairstylists and dermatologists to give us the lowdown on the best shampoos on the market. Here, their top picks — plus tips for keeping hair healthy and moisturized in the first place.
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What Causes Dry Hair in the First Place?
Of course, there's the obvious explanation: “Some people’s hair is more naturally dry than others,” says Iris Rubin, M.D., a dermatologist and the founder of SEEN Hair Care.
However, several everyday haircare habits can also lead to dry hair, including heat styling or using hair products that have drying ingredients, like alcohol, Dr. Rubin says. Over-washing coloring, bleaching, or exposing hair to sun can also lead to less-than moisturized locks, he adds.
You can also try checking in with your diet. If you regularly consume a solid balance of protein, whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (e.g. avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds), then it may be worth paying a visit to your doctor who can check for vitamin deficiencies, like iron zinc or vitamin D, that may be contributing to your dry hair, Dr. Rubin says.
Your healthcare provider can also make sure a hormonal imbalance — which could be the result of a thyroid abnormality — isn’t at play.
How to Keep Hair Moisturized — Beyond Shampoo
On top of limiting your use of styling tools like the straightener or curling iron, you should also take extra care to protect your hair from outdoor elements. This includes a hat to keep strands out of the sun or even wearing a cozy beany during the colder months to protect it from the harsh environment, says Gina Rivera, founder and president of Phenix Salons.
And when it comes to the use of chemicals, she recommends heading to a salon. “Professionals are trained to ensure your hair is not over-processed and that it will remain healthy, rather than potentially getting burned,” she says.
Ready to find the best moisturizing shampoo for your dry hair? Here, you’ll find a few favorites that will help you nix parched hair for good.
A list of moisturizing shampoos for dry hair really wouldn’t be complete without a classic like Pantene. One reviewer said that even after 15 years of trying a range of moisturizing shampoos, she finds herself returning to Pantene’s formula. “The product itself is creamy with a visible shine,” she wrote. “My children have different hair types (straight and 3B) from me (4C) and this shampoo works wonders on their hair too!”
Snag this shampoo and conditioner combo for a solid dose of argan oil, which is rich in moisturizing fatty acids and vitamin E that are ideal for reviving dry hair. One user said it’s not only her go-to shampoo to help combat dryness, but it also cleanses without dulling her color-treated hair.
Infused with cold-pressed marula — which is naturally hydrating — and olive oils, this shampoo also boasts a blend of citrus (lemon and orange), floral (rose and white jasmine), and earthy (cedarwood and sandalwood) fragrances.
One reviewer said not only is the smell “divine,” but that her dry and lackluster curly hair “drank in” the moisturizing ingredients.
This shampoo by Tracee Ellis Ross launched in September as part of Pattern, the actress’ hair care line specifically formulated for the curly, coiled, and textured hair community. This shampoo contains top moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera juice, jojoba, olive and coconut oils, as well as honey, which is also known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
“These products gave me great waves and even a few spirals, and I never get good spirals without a styling product,” one reviewer wrote about the shampoo and Pattern Intensive Conditioner. “Also my hair is now so super shiny and so soft — not weighed down at all!”
Moisturizing ingredients like jojoba and green tea blend with oat, soy, and wheat proteins to make for a hydrating shampoo that also helps strengthen and repair hair. Plus, it smells nice — patchouli, bergamot, and ylang-ylang add natural fragrance that will have your shower feeling like an aromatherapy treatment.
One reviewer said just one try of the shampoo helped improve the overall look of her dry hair and smooth out split ends. “It got it so soft — even getting the tangles out,” she wrote. “My hair was so healthy and shiny.” She added: “Definitely a product I recommend to someone with colored or damaged hair.”
Looking for an ultra-moisturizing shampoo that you can also score at your local drugstore? Check out this mnoisturizing shampoo, which also contains biotin, a vitamin that is known for encouraging healthy hair growth.
One reviewer — who called it “the Holy Grail of low-cost shampoo” — wrote: “It makes my hair feel so soft and smooth with a luxury feel, without breaking the bank!”
Two all-star ingredients in this moisturizing shampoo? Moringa extract, which cleanses and combats everyday air pollutants, and red algae extract, which helps support hair cell regeneration. You’ll also find castor oil in this shampoo, which is known for its ability to promote healthy hair growth.
One reviewer said likes that it moisturizes without coating or weighing down her hair. “My hair gets really dry as a result of many years of coloring it,” she wrote. “I've tried a few others but every time I do end up coming back to this because the others don't work as well!”
It’s only fitting that DevaCurl — a brand famous for creating soft, manageable curls — would have a shampoo that cleanses hair without stripping it from natural oils. Chufa milk (aka tiger nut milk) provides a dose of moisture and protection, while also packing magnesium, a mineral known for its hair-boosting benefits. To round out the formula, quinoa protein and hops — yes, the kind you find in beer — worth together to fortify and repair damaged hair.
“Many sulfate-free shampoos still leave my hair feeling too dry,” one reviewer wrote. “This product leaves my hair feeling super clean and light, but soft and manageable at the same time.”