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Chemically processed hair requires additional moisture to keep it healthy, Gwen Jimmere, CEO and founder of Naturalicious, tells Elite Daily, so the best shampoos for permed hair should ideally restore hydration, but without weighing your hair down or making it feel greasy. Jimmere adds that natural hair that has been permanently straightened “Tends to break easily, as the chemicals in relaxers can strip natural hair of the moisture needed to prevent brittleness, breakage, and split ends, so you’ll want a product that will infuse the hair with loads of hydration.”
When possible, people with permed hair should steer clear of certain ingredients that have a reputation for being harsh. Sulfates, for example, can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry it out, hairstylist Gigi Lenora tells Elite Daily, while stylist and salon owner Sal Misseri says that he tries to avoid products with a high amount of alcohol or silicones (he also suggests washing your hair less frequently after your treatment to keep it from becoming dried out). Stylist Laura Polko agrees that too much alcohol or other acidic ingredients can be drying, and says anyone with chemically curled or straightened hair may want to avoid clarifying shampoos, as they can remove the essential moisture that helps keep hair healthy. In short, all the pros suggest using gentle, moisturizing shampoos to prevent breakage and add luster — so take your pick from any of the shampoos featured below, which all fit the bill.
1. The Best Budget-Friendly Shampoo For Permed Hair
This Carol’s Daughter almond milk shampoo is such an effective way to nourish and soften permed hair that’s become dry or damaged. It’s full of rich, moisturizing ingredients like almond oil, shea butter, and coconut oil, which are all fantastic for hair that’s been chemically treated/permed. “The more your hair has been processed, whether chemical, straightened, bleached or otherwise, adding deeply hydrating ingredients into your routine becomes more and more important to maintain and improve hair health,” says Polko, so this sulfate-free shampoo is a great fit for permed hair in need of some serious TLC. Ringing up at just around $10, it’s a pretty great value, too.
2. Another Great, Affordable Shampoo For Permed Hair
Another great, under-$15 option, Maui Moisture’s Strength & Anti-Breakage Agave Shampoo was created with damaged, chemically treated hair in mind. It contains lots of the things you’d want in a shampoo for hair that’s been permed or straightened, like agave, pineapple extract, and hibiscus seed oil, as well as coconut water and aloe juice (the latter is the very first ingredient) to quench thirsty hair. The formula is free of sulfates, silicones, and alcohol, and as a nice added bonus, it boasts a summery, tropical scent.
3. The Best Luxury Shampoo For Permed Hair
Briogeo’s Volumizing Shampoo is free of both sulfates and silicones, and it’s made with lightweight but effective moisturizing ingredients like panthenol, glycerin, aloe, and argan oil to give hair a boost without weighing it down. The biotin in the shampoo is included to promote stronger, thicker hair (though note that currently, there’s not enough scientific research to prove that this buzzy B vitamin really does encourage hair growth, though there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the theory). In any case, this is a great, luxurious shampoo that should keep your permed hair happy and healthy.
4. The Best Shampoo For Curly Permed Hair
Polko says that it can “Take a while for people with curly hair to land on the product best suited to their curl pattern, as they vary a ton,” but starting with a brand that caters specifically to curly hair can make that easier. Ouidad’s Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo is free of sulfates and “bad” (aka drying) alcohols, though it is rich in botanical oils derived from watermelon, rice bran, passionfruit, meadowfoam, and açaí. Hair gets added strength thanks to the silk amino acids in the formula, while mafura butter helps restore elasticity. Whether you have naturally curly hair or you perm it to look that way, this is a great shampoo for both circumstances.
5. Expert’s Pick: Best For Thick, Permed Hair
Though Davines OI Shampoo is made for all hair types, Gigi Lenora tell Elite Daily that it’s a true winner for hair that’s thicker, denser, and permanently straightened. That (and the matching conditioner) work to keep permed hair conditioned, hydrated, and shiny, thanks to ingredients like sunflower seed oil and roucou oil, which the stylist says is mega hydrating and works extremely well on dry to very dry hair.
6. Expert’s Pick: An Overall Great Choice For Permed Hair
This Aquage SeaExtend Silkening Shampoo “has a rich and creamy texture that works great on chemically treated hair,” Polko tells Elite Daily. The sulfate-free shampoo features vitamin- and amino acid-rich marine botanicals like seaweed, algae, and Algasilk, “which work together to penetrate deep into the strands to restore processed hair to optimally healthy, shiny, and ultra-soft conditions.” What more could you want in a shampoo for permed hair?
Gwen Jimmere, CEO + Founder of Naturalicious
Gigi Lenora, Hairstylist & Makeup Artist