At one point or another, most of us have dealt with the pain of damaged or brittle hair, leaving us desperately searching for the best shampoo for dry hair or the best homemade hydrating solutions to take care of the problem. Styling frizzy, dull, or damaged hair makes it all the more difficult and, most likely, heat damage comes from the hair styling tools we’re using. Luckily, it takes a simple change such as using a nourishing shampoo that specifically target dry hair to adequately hydrate your parched mane.
Before you run to buy the first hair care product you see that says “repair,” however, you should be aware of the ingredients to look out for (and those to avoid) so you can make the shampoo purchase that your hair really needs.
What to look for in a shampoo for dry hair
“For dry hair, it’s great to use a shampoo that contains natural oils and plant extracts. In the colder months, humectants really help too,” Devin Toth hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City tells SELF. As for the ingredients you should avoid, Toth said you’ll want to steer clear of products that contain sulfates and parabens. This is because sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils while parabens might irritate your scalp and cause further dryness and breakage. Celebrity hairstylist Dominick Pucciarello echoed Toth’s call for natural oils and plant extracts and tells us he recommends products that include coconut oil, shea butter, honey, and jojoba oil.
How did your hair get so dry in the first place?
Damage to your hair can come in many forms and sometimes it’s completely unavoidable. Toth explains to SELF that “chemical damage from color-treated hair, heat damage from styling tools, environmental damage such as chlorine, the sun, and hard water, or just simply being aged,” are all causes enough to leave your locks high and dry. “If you have long hair, your ends would have been exposed to the environment for years. Beyond these reasons, some people just have naturally dry hair the same way some people have naturally dry skin,” he adds.
How to tell your new shampoo is working
Achieving healthy hair comes down to a science, for all hair types. Dry strands stem from a dry scalp. “Like a good face wash, a high-quality shampoo won’t leave your scalp and hair squeaky clean. Squeaky clean means stripped of natural oils,” Toth notes. “You know your shampoo is working if your hair becomes softer, shinier, and easier to manage.” Another way you can test out how effective your shampoo is is by blow-drying your hair straight, which should result in bouncy silklike hair without split ends, says Pucciarello, who also suggests getting a trim every 6–8 weeks.
“Even with a great shampoo, if you shampoo your hair too often your mane will become dull and dried out,” Toth warns. “Sometimes your hair simply becomes used to a specific shampoo and you need to switch them up even if you have a really high-quality one.”
Below, we’ve listed the best shampoos for dry hair from Ulta, Sephora, Amazon, Target, and more. Lather your hair with these products and watch it work its magic.