The Best Shampoos For Wavy Hair
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Everyone has their own unique set of concerns when it comes to developing a routine for their hair type. And for people with wavy hair, those concerns tend to focus on keeping their hair moisturized without making it feel greasy or weighed down. Regardless of what you're trying to achieve with your wavy hair, though, the first step in keeping it healthy and prepped for styling will always lie with your shampoo. The best shampoos for wavy hair are typically sulfate-free, meaning they don't contain any harsh cleansing agents that can strip away the moisture your hair needs. You'll also want to look for shampoos made with nourishing ingredients that can help restore said moisture, such as glycerin, hydrolyzed silks and proteins, and plant-derived oils.
How To Care For Wavy Hair
Of course, your shampoo is just where your hair care routine begins, and your post-shower products will be just as important. Styling products for wavy hair will vary depending on your personal preferences, but in general, you'll want to dry your hair with a microfiber towel (or a diffuser if you're using a hair dryer and want to define your waves). A detangling spray can also be helpful for breaking up knots (without damaging your hair) and adding more moisture and shine. In a similar vein, leave-in conditioners and nourishing oils are also great for making your waves feel smooth and soft.
Shop The Best Shampoos For Wavy Hair
In a hurry? Here are the best shampoos for wavy hair:
1. The Overall Best: Sun Bum Curls & Waves Shampoo
2. Best For Wavy, Color-Treated Hair: Acure Wave & Curl Color Wellness Shampoo
3. Best Smoothing Shampoo: Virtue Labs Smooth Shampoo
4. Best Silicone-Free Shampoo: Attitude Super Leaves Curl Amplifying Shampoo
5. Best Shampoo Bar: MIMOSU Rice Water Shampoo Bar
6. Honorable Mention: Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo
1. The Overall Best Shampoo For Wavy Hair
For a gentle cleansing shampoo specifically formulated for wavy and curly hair, you can’t do much better than Sun Bum’s Curls & Waves Shampoo in its price category. The sulfate-free formula uses kukui nut and monoi coconut oils to moisturize hair and provide UV protection against the damaging effects of sun exposure. There’s also seaweed protein in here, which can help strengthen hair and make it more resistant to breakage. It has a matching, equally affordable conditioner, which is sold on the same Amazon page; both products smell amazing and, together, will leave your waves looking and feeling their best.
Relevant review: “I have both my barber & cosmetology licenses & have used many of the professional brands. I honestly have to say that this is by far one of my favorite shampoos on the market. It is one of the only shampoos made for wavy/curly hair that I don't have to put a bunch of product in my hair to smooth the fuzzies, in fact I only have to use the shampoo & conditioner most days. I use quite a few of the Sunbum products & can't sing their praise enough. [...]”
2. Best Shampoo For Wavy, Color-Treated Hair
In general, sulfate-free formulas are better for color-treated hair because they're less stripping. But Acure’s Wave & Curl Color Wellness Shampoo takes things even further, thanks to the inclusion of ingredients that aim to prevent color fading and restore moisture to dyed hair. Most notably, glycerin, argan oil, and avocado oil help restore hydration to your waves, while blue tansy oil and sunflower seed extract work to keep your color vibrant in the long run by protecting against sun damage. At just $7 for 8 ounces, it’s an amazing value, too.
Relevant review: “I bought this formula for the ingredients. Very nice consistency and you don’t need much. It’s sulfate free so don’t expect crazy lather. It’s GENTLE and moisturizing. Therefore your curls and waves are not dried out and stripped of the hydration needed to create that ‘bounce’. Nice ingredients- my second tube.”
3. Best Smoothing Shampoo For Wavy Hair
Virtue Labs uses a scientist-created ingredient, Alpha Keratin 60ku — which closely resembles the keratin that our bodies naturally produce — in all of their products. Not only has this keratin been clinically proven to aid in repairing damage in just five uses, but because it weaves broken keratin strands back together, it helps promote smoother, less frizzy hair. Virtue Labs Smooth Shampoo is sulfate-free, and it contains soybean-derived phospholipids to further protect hair against humidity, as well as gotu kola (or centella asiatica), an Indian herb that adds shine. All in all, this is an excellent shampoo for wavy hair that’s on the coarse and/or frizzy side.
Relevant review: “This is probably the most luxurious shampoo I ever used. I have long hair (reaches mid back) and it usually takes bit to reach a nice lather, however, with this shampoo I just needed a quarter size amount. It creates a thick lather too. It feels wonderful. Not only did it do an excellent job of cleaning my hair but it really kept in shape. I was just about due for a hair cut but this helped keep the split ends away for months. This might seem pricey for shampoo but it does last and produces wonderful results. Plus - the packaging and ingredients are nice.”
4. Best Silicone-Free Shampoo For Wavy Hair
Bouncy waves are the goal behind this Attitude Super Leaves Curl Amplifying Shampoo, which is completely free from silicones (a common ingredient used for reducing frizz and protecting against heat damage, but one that can also cause buildup and leave your hair feeling weighed down). Coconut oil, vitamin B5, and chamomile extract are the key ingredients in this shampoo, which work to restore hydration and promote smoothness and shine, while vitamin and mineral-rich ingredients like watercress and Indian cress help keep your scalp healthy and balanced. The brand is also dedicated to making more conscious choices by using biodegradable packaging, planting a tree for every product sold, and ensuring all of its products are EWG verified.
Relevant review: “I've been on a journey to find natural hair care products that don't weigh down my thick wavy hair or make it oily. I LOVE this Curl Amplifying shampoo and conditioner. My hair has never looked so healthy or felt so manageable. The curls just fall into place. Absolutely thrilled.”
5. Best Shampoo Bar For Wavy Hair
This unique shampoo is both effective and environmentally friendly. The bar boasts zero-waste packaging, as it's made from biodegradable sugar cane, and it promises to last you longer (the brand notes that one bar is equivalent to three bottles of your standard liquid shampoo). MIMOSU’s Rice Water Shampoo Bar uses argan oil, olive oil, and a gentle coconut-based cleanser to simultaneously clean and moisturize your scalp and hair, but it's the mineral- and antioxidant-rich fermented rice water extract, which is said to promote hair growth, that really makes this shampoo stand out.
Relevant review: “I did some research and decided to give rice water a try and all I can say is WOW!! My hair is the softest and most healthy it EVER has been! This bar leaves your scalp and hair feeling so clean and you can see the shine of healthy hair. Thank you!!”
6. Honorable Mention
A longtime favorite of both professional hair stylists and beauty editors, Moroccanoil’s Curl Enhancing Shampoo is another great option worth considering. As with all of the brand's products, the star ingredient is argan oil, which has all sorts of amazing benefits for your hair, but this shampoo also contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein and Abyssinian oil to boost shine and add weightless definition to your waves (or curls). Moroccanoil’s warm, spicy-sweet fragrance tops things off (and you can buy a bottle of the matching conditioner, here).
Relevant review: “A great shampoo for those of us with naturally curly and/or wavy hair! Don’t fight your natural hair-type! Use this shampoo & enhance it!!”
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