The Best Shampoos For Long Hair
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So you’ve finally grown your hair out to the length of your dreams — but now, the real work begins. To keep your long hair looking and feeling its best, it’s going to take a combination of the right products, styling techniques (or a lack thereof), and even certain lifestyle changes. First up: You’re going to need a good shampoo. The best shampoos for long hair aren't a one-and-done solution, but they're certainly an essential step in maintaining and achieving strong, healthy hair. Typically, you'll want a sulfate-free shampoo that’s made with gentle cleansers and conditioning ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins, glycerin, and dimethicone, in addition to nutrients like vitamin B5, vitamin E, and biotin, which are thought to support hair growth.
Additionally, you'll want to look for a conditioner that contains many of these same ingredients, as shampoo, which should be concentrated on your scalp, doesn't actually sit on your hair long enough to deliver the full benefits of the nutrients and oils it contains. Also, be conscious that if your shampoo or conditioner contains dimethicone (or any other silicones), you should regularly use a clarifying shampoo — once every week or two should be sufficient. This is because non-soluble silicones like dimethicone don't dissolve in water and can cause excess buildup and residue on your hair (but on the plus side, they help with detangling, overall manageability, and protection against heat styling).
While a proper cleansing and conditioning routine is necessary to keep long hair healthy and, well, long, it's important to remember that it's not the only factor involved. According to the The Trichological Society, while the speed of hair growth is determined by genetics, gender, age, and hormones, nutrition can also impact your hair's ability to grow. Particularly, nutritional deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12, and iron can contribute to excess hair shedding and weak, brittle, dull-looking hair. A well-balanced diet will ensure your nutritional needs are met, but you can also incorporate more fish, dark green vegetables, and nuts into your diet, as well as a multivitamin. It can also be helpful to address any potentially hair-damaging habits you have. Limiting your use of hot styling tools (and prepping your hair with a protectant spray when you do style it with heat) and cutting back on how often you dye or highlight your hair are other ways to keep your long hair healthy.
With all that in mind, scroll on to shop six of the best shampoos for both maintaining and promoting long, strong hair.
1. Editor’s Pick: The Overall Best Shampoo For Long Hair
Adeline Duff, BDG’s Beauty Editor, Commerce, uses this sulfate-free shampoo to keep her long, blonde, highlighted hair healthy and strong. “I keep a few different Pureology shampoos in my shower — I’m a big fan of the entire line — but lately, I most often find myself reaching for Strength Cure, which leaves my hair feeling strong and smooth,” she says. To help repair damage, Pureology uses hydrolyzed vegetable protein and vitamin E, while the brand’s patented Antifade Complex works to keep your color looking fresh and vibrant over time. It’s the absolute best choice long hair that’s dyed, highlighted, or otherwise chemically treated, hands down.
2. Best Drugstore Shampoo For Long Hair
L'Oréal developed this shampoo to address the concern of split ends, which is common among those of use with long hair. While regular trims are necessary, the Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo is helpful for using between appointments as it works to seal split ends and strengthen hair without weighing it down. To do this, several hydrolyzed proteins, including corn, soy, and wheat, are paired with castor seed oil and vitamin B5 (in the form of panthenol). The shampoo, which has over 14,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, is just one part of the Elvive Dream Lengths collection, which also includes a silicone-free detangling treatment and heat protectant serum.
3. Best Shampoo For Long, Curly Hair
Curly hair can be especially susceptible to damage, since it’s more prone to dryness, meaning that less heat styling (and even reducing how often you shampoo your hair) are important for maintaining defined, bouncy curls. When you are washing your hair, you'll want a sulfate-free shampoo that’s extremely nourishing. Design Essentials Honey Crème Moisture Retention Shampoo comes from a Black-owned brand and was designed for curl types 1A through 4C. Because it's sulfate-free and silicone-free, the shampoo helps preserve your hair’s moisture without weighing it down. Included in the shampoo's gentle formula is a type of conditioning honey that helps soften and detangle hair so there's less risk of the breakage that comes from brushing through stubborn knots.
4. Best Drugstore Shampoo To Promote Longer Hair
If growing your hair is the goal, Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo focuses on fortifying your hair with protein using their Active Fruit Protein complex. Starting with a blend of citrus-derived proteins, the formula contains vitamins B3 and B6, as well as antioxidant-rich fruit extracts and ceramides, to give hair a silky finish with lots of shine. For less than $10, you get a massive (33.8-ounce) bottle, so it’s a great value, too.
5. Best Prestige Shampoo To Promote Long Hair
This Redken Extreme Length Shampoo aims to tackle two concerns that may be preventing you from reaching the long hair of your dreams: Slow growth and breakage. To speed up hair growth, the brand included the vitamin biotin in its formula, which accelerates the production of keratin (the protein that your hair is made up of). But biotin is just part of the brand's Length Care Complex, which also contains soy protein to help strengthen hair and reduce breakage. For best results (and super-soft ends), try pairing it with the matching leave-in conditioner.
6. Best Shampoo For Long Extensions
If you use hair extensions to give you length, you need to be especially careful when washing them to prevent buildup. Matrix Total Results Length Goals Shampoo was developed with the hair extension company, Bellami, resulting in a sulfate-free formula that gently cleanses without disturbing any adhesive your extensions use. You can wash removable extensions separately, but if you have semi-permanent extensions, ingredients like glycerin, phyto-peptides, and hydrolyzed wheat protein are included in the formula to condition and strengthen your natural hair, too.
Shampoos and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know? By Paschal D'Souza and Sanjay K Rathi; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458934/
Pro and Contra of Cleansing Conditioners, by Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489037/,