The Best Shampoos For Coarse Hair

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If you thought that only curly hair could be categorized as coarse, think again. Coarse hair, aka hair that has a thicker shaft, can be seen across all hair types, from straight to wavy to curly. So, how do you find the best shampoos for coarse hair? Elite Daily spoke with Rodney Cutler, Redken brand ambassador and founder of his eponymous Cutler Salon, for a full breakdown. "The intention is to retain as much moisture as possible," says Cutler of washing your hair. That's because coarse hair is more prone to dryness and frizz than finer hair types. "Stay away from silicones and sulfates," he cautions of ingredients that can secretly be stripping your hair of moisture. Instead, Cutler says to look for formulas that highlight moisturizing ingredients (think shea butter, panthenol, and hydrolyzed proteins). "I like oils in general for coarse hair, but specifically, argan oil," he adds.

If you're not entirely sure whether your hair really counts as coarse, Cutler says you can easily determine it for yourself at home. "You can actually feel coarse hair in your fingers and will notice the thicker density when you roll a strand between your fingers," he explains. Coarse hair tends to be thicker than a piece of sewing thread, and it might feel rough (as opposed to finer textures that will feel thinner and smoother).

In addition to finding the right shampoo, Cutler says that other ways to properly care for coarse hair include washing it just a few times a week and incorporating a rich mask into your routine. To be more specific, he recommends washing your hair one to three times a week to decrease the likelihood of stripping your hair of moisture in the long run.

Keep scrolling to shop the best shampoos for coarse hair, including a pick from the expert.

1. The Pro’s Pick

For those with coarse hair that’s prone to frizz, Cutler recommends Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Shampoo. The sulfate-free shampoo works just as well for curly hair as it does straight hair; after you’ve rinsed it out, your hair should feel smoother and look shinier. In this formula, Redken paired babassu oil with the brand's own smoothing complex to provide all-day humidity protection against frizz, and Cutler notes it works particularly well with Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Rebel Tame Cream. "It helps give a controlled texture while maintaining the moisture in the hair," he explains of the leave-in conditioner, which also provides heat protection from styling tools set as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit (damage from hot styling tools contributes to frizz, FYI).

2. Best Drugstore Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Sulfate- and silicone-free hair care was once hard to find in the drugstore aisle, but over the past few years, more and more brands have been creating affordable shampoos and conditioners that are better for your hair. Pantene is one of those brands, and their Hydrating Glow set comes complete with shampoo, conditioner, and one Intense Rescue Shot treatment. The shampoo and conditioner combine panthenol with baobab seed oil, which is a naturally rich source of vitamin E that's cold-pressed from the seeds of Tanzanian baobab trees. Both the shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free, and the shampoo is free of silicones (the conditioner contains a water-soluble silicone that's easier to wash out than typical non-soluble silicones).

3. Best Shampoo For Coarse Hair That’s Curly

Curly hair that's thick or coarse needs even more moisturizing ingredients, which is exactly what you'll get with SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo. Ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, hibiscus flower extract, and hydrolyzed silk help to restore moisture while also improving your hair's elasticity and adding smoothness and shine. An Amazon-shopper favorite with more than 10,000 five-star ratings, this drugstore shampoo is free of both sulfates and silicones. SheaMoisture's products also contain fair-trade shea butter, are cruelty-free, and the company has received B Corporation certification for its commitment to responsible social and environmental practices.

4. Best Shampoo For Coarse Hair That’s Straight

If you have coarse hair that's straight, this residue-free Color Wow Color Security Shampoo is a great option. Rather than using heavier oils and butters to hydrate hair, this shampoo is formulated with lightweight moisturizers like hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed wheat starch, and hydrolyzed keratin, which can also add volume and improve your hair’s elasticity. The shampoo is cruelty-free and doesn't contain any sulfates or silicones, making it safe for all hair types. While this shampoo in particular was designed for color-treated hair, all of the shampoos on this list can be used if you dye or highlight your hair as none of them contain color-stripping sulfates.

5. Best Detangling Shampoo For Coarse Hair

Coarse hair can be more prone to knots and tangles simply because it tends to be drier (and if your hair is curly or long, you're even more likely to experience knots). More moisturizing ingredients will help keep your hair knot-free, which is why Design Essentials created their Moisturizing & Detangling Shampoo. In addition to avocado oil, which moisturizes hair and helps prevent breakage, the shampoo contains sweet almond oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Design Essentials’ shampoo is sulfate-free (sulfates can also contribute to hair knotting), and it doesn't contain any silicones, either.

6. Best Argan Oil Shampoo For Coarse Hair

Cutler named argan oil as one of his favorite ingredients for coarse hair, and that's exactly what Moroccanoil is known for. The brand's Moisture Repair Shampoo pairs the fatty acid-rich oil with keratin, avocado oil, and several plant extracts to nourish and soften dehydrated hair. Silk amino acids and hydrolyzed vegetable protein help leave hair immediately feeling smoother and looking shinier, too. Though this shampoo is sulfate-free, it does contain silicones, which you can prevent from building up on your hair by using a clarifying shampoo once a week. (It’s worth noting that some people like what silicones do to their hair, since they have superior smoothing and frizz-calming abilities.)

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Your shampoo (and conditioner) can only do so much. If you find that your hair is still feeling a bit rough, try to incorporate a deep-conditioning mask into your routine once a week. The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment was originally designed by trichologist Philip Kingsley for actress Audrey Hepburn to combat the damage she was experiencing on set. In here, hydrolyzed elastin helps reduce breakage, while ingredients like castor oil, olive oil, and glycerin lock in moisture and add shine. The rich treatment gets applied before you shampoo your hair — let it sit on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair for about 20 minutes before it gets washed out.


Rodney Cutler, Redken brand ambassador and founder of Cutler Salon