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The Best Shampoos for Damaged Hair, According to Hair Pros

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Having damaged hair is one of the more frustrating beauty issues to deal with, whether you’re talking about split ends, dryness, flyaways, or frizz.

Hair pros like celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin consistently stress how important hair products are to maintaining healthy hair, with shampoo being one. As the first step in your hair regime, it’s important to take a closer look.

The theme throughout all hair pros’ advice to treat damaged hair is hydration. You want something that cleans your hair but keeps it hydrated enough to avoid any breakage. Follow the guide below to figure out how to choose the best shampoo for you if you’re facing damaged hair.

Best Overall – Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Although the word “maintenance” might deceive you, this shampoo has the power to transform your damaged ‘do. It packs a punch with its highly moisturizing properties and works to maintain bonds in your hair.

The end result is reduced breakage and easier-to-manage hair. It works great for all hair types, too, which is a big plus.

Best for Extremely Dry Hair – Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo

Now, we all know that dry hair and damaged hair go hand-in-hand, but some locks need extra moisturizing attention. If your hair is excessively dry, try out this hydrating shampoo for dry hair. It’s infused with moisture-attracting red algae, argan oil, and Vitamins A and E.

Be careful if you have oilier hair, though, as the shampoo will be a bit too moisturizing and require you to wash your hair more frequently.

Best for the Budget – OGX Damage Remedy + Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo

This shampoo is the answer for anyone looking to keep the price low while still healing their strands. It works best for coarse or curly frizzy hair, hydrating your locks to revive your look.

The biggest plus is the irresistible smell. Be mindful about how much you use, though, as it is quite heavy.

Best Sulfate-free – Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Super Moisturizing Shampoo

Hair pros agree that sulfate-free is the way to go. Sulfates in shampoos clog up your hair follicles and stunt growth, something you definitely don’t want. So, if you’re looking to go sulfate-free, here’s your pick!

As a slightly more expensive option, Briogeo is well worth the cost. It has natural ingredients like algae and shea butter to infuse the hair with healthy oils that work to moisturize it. Its repairing properties also make it perfect for maintaining color in your hair.

Best Oil-based – Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo

Are you sitting there wondering what in the world oil-based shampoo is? Don’t worry, it’s definitely one of the most uncommon types. The biggest thing that’s going to throw you off if you choose this shampoo is the lack of lathering ability.

You won’t get that classic bubble lather of shampoo on your head, which sometimes can make you question if it’s even doing anything. But it is.

This shampoo is filled with featherlight oils so you can heal damages and soften your hair without the weight that other shampoos can cause.

This means your hair is going to feel lighter, softer, and have more volume. If you feel like your strands are weighing you down and are difficult to manage, this shampoo is definitely worth the try. Plus, it’s sulfate-free.

Pro tip: Work the shampoo between your hands before applying it to your hair.

Best for Color-treated Hair – Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

If you’re like me, you know that deep feeling of regret after you color your hair because you’re damaging what was once a head full of healthy hair. But yet, we keep doing it.

However, there is a solution: treating your hair specifically for color damage. This shampoo is formulated just for that, so it protects your hair and repairs damage. The Vitamin E in this shampoo also works wonders on flyaways and frizz.

Best for Brittle Hair – SheaMoisture Shampoo Hydrate and Repair for Damaged Hair with Manuka Honey and Shea Butter

Brittle hair is basically when you touch it and it just feels weak, limp, and sad. This problem usually needs to be remedied quickly for fine hair!

SheaMoisture is a sulfate-free brand that has shampoos for all hair types. This hydrating shampoo option has manuka honey, yogurt extract, and mafura oil to naturally repair your hair and make it shine. It’s one of the best shampoos for damaged hair despite its low cost.

If you have thicker or curly hair, you’re going to want a shampoo for your curls that lathers more so you can ensure a full head of clean hair.

Advantages of a Sulfate-free Shampoo

advantages of a sulfate free shampoo

A few of these products have one major plus – they are sulfate-free. Hair pros discourage the use of sulfates because they are harsh.

As a result, they dry out your hair. If you already have damaged and dry hair, it simply makes the issue worse. Sulfate-free shampoos are nice and gentle. Plus, they help maintain the color in your hair since it does not wash it away.

If you have a sensitive scalp, sulfates can also irritate it and make issues like dandruff worse. Moving away from sulfates can be tricky because, for most people, that’s what your hair is used to. You might find it takes a couple of weeks for your hair to adjust, but it is worth the wait.

Things to Look for in a Shampoo for Damaged Hair

things to look for in a shampoo

As previously mentioned, if you have damaged and dry hair, avoid harsh chemical ingredients like sulfates. Some other ingredients to avoid include parabens, formaldehyde, and hexachlorophene. These all are harsh and can lead to irritation and dryness.

Now, the real question is what to look out for. You want a shampoo that moisturizes first and foremost. The dryer the hair, the more likely it is to break, creating split ends and flyaways. Ingredients like coconut oil, Vitamin E, argan oil, and shea butter all help moisturize your hair naturally and protect against breakage.

If you have an irritated scalp, look for calming ingredients like aloe, chamomile, honey, and jojoba oil. Having a healthy scalp is always the first step to healthier hair, so, make sure that the ingredients aren’t irritating.

How Often Should I Wash My Hair?

women washing hair with shampoo in washing area

So, how often should you use your shampoo? Well, it depends.

Knowing how often to wash your hair is important so you don’t strip away your natural oils that protect against damage and breakage. So, if you’re suffering from dry and damaged hair, the answer is to wash it as little as possible.

I try to wash my hair three times a week. That’s an ideal amount for fine hair that’s on the oiler side. Try washing every second day and see how long you can go. Dry shampoo will become your best friend.

If you have thicker, curlier, or more processed hair, you can most likely go longer without washing it. This is because the oil can’t as easily travel down your hair, making it a bit dryer. In this case, try washing it twice a week.

The best way to figure it out is through trial and error. Even if your hair’s a little too oily for comfort, push through the extra day. The less often you wash it, the more your hair will adjust. It might take up to a month to adjust, but once you do, you will be able to go longer in between washes and have healthier hair.

Pro tip: You’re most likely still going to want to shower even though you’re not washing your hair, so try a shower cap.

Getting your hair wet if you’re not washing it usually makes it look a bit dirtier, so it’s best to keep it dry. Simply pop on a shower cap to keep your hair dry and healthy.

Final thoughts

Overall, the products listed above are great choices for dry and damaged hair. They’re filled with lots of healthy and natural oils and ingredients, and they place a focus on moisturizing. Taking care of your hair is important to make sure you look your best and that your hair will last the test of time.

If you are trying to grow out your hair, have color-treated hair, or just love to pull it back in different hairstyles, you’ll want to prevent and protect it from damage. These choices give you great options at a range of costs, allowing everyone to make the jump to healthier hair.