Best Shampoos for Dry Hair

Updated August 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

34 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
52 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best shampoos for dry hair

Last Updated August 2020

Have you run your fingers through your hair lately? If it feels dry, frizzy, or unusually coarse, you might need to upgrade your hair products to manage these issues. The first product you should invest in is a shampoo for dry hair.

Regular shampoo can be stripping and drying, especially since traditional formulas target other hair concerns. Shampoo for dry hair tackles dryness head on, and it does so in more than one way. From hydrating hair to coating it with strengthening fibers to repairing breakage, you should notice a difference after a few washes. Over time, your hair will hold onto moisture better, feeling softer and smoother. 

If you’re wondering which formula is right for your hair, you’ve come to the right place. In this buying guide, we introduce you to all the varieties of shampoo for dry hair, including speciality formulas that are organic, allergy-safe, or designed to treat other conditions at the same time. 

To maximize results, consider investing in the companion or matching conditioner to your shampoo for dry hair.

Key considerations

Reasons you might have dry hair

If you struggle with dry hair, you’re not alone. There’s no isolated cause for dry hair, as it can be related to genetics, pollution, weather, overprocessing, UV damage, or poor hair product quality. Most individuals end up with dry hair as a result of a combination of these factors.

One of the leading reasons people end up with dry hair is excessive heat tool usage. Blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners take a major toll on hair. In addition to quite literally drying hair, the heat opens up the cuticles of the hair shafts, making them more susceptible to damage. It can also result in a uneven and somewhat gritty strand texture.

Finding the right formula

Shampoo for dry hair belongs in a category of its own, and there are countless subcategories within it. That’s why some people find it intimidating to choose one. Finding the right “cocktail” of ingredients is the key to unlocking dramatic results. 

Once you narrow your choices based on product information, you enter the territory of trial-and-error. One way to determine whether a shampoo for dry hair is working, especially in the beginning, is to integrate it into your regular hair care routine. Note that if you add too many products to treat the same issue, you won’t be able to isolate which one is working — or not working.

Shampoo switch vs. total product overhaul

It’s easy to switch your regular shampoo to a formula made for dry hair, but it’s important to take the rest of your hair care regimen into consideration as well.

For some people, the simple change to a shampoo for dry hair is the only change they need. This may be the case for someone who has used poor-quality shampoo for years. The hair immediately responds to the improved formula.

For other people, a total product overhaul is necessary. Some experts recommend using a single product system (all from the same manufacturer) for a controlled experience. If you don’t notice results, it’s easier to conclude that the product may have the wrong blend of ingredients. If you do notice results, you know you’re on the right track. 

EXPERT TIP

If you live in an arid region, you may need to invest in a shampoo for dry hair geared toward extreme moisturizing and hydration to combat the dry heat.


Staff  | BestReviews

Varieties of shampoo for dry hair

Hydrating formulas

Hydrating formulas absorb surrounding moisture and deliver it to the hair. Essentially, this “quenches” the hair’s thirst. Consumers who use these formulas often report that their hair feels supple and a bit heavier than usual, as the added moisture increases the weight of the hair.

Moisturizing formulas

Moisturizing formulas lock in moisture. Over time, this helps build up the hair’s natural protective barrier. With a barrier in place, the hair is no longer “parched” due to poor water retention. A moisturizing formula helps combat brittleness and roughness. It’s often recommended for people with dry scalp issues.

Repair formulas

Repair formulas function a bit differently from hydrating and moisturizing formulas. Rather than focusing on moisture, repair formulas target hair damage caused by dryness. This may be in the form of a penetrating formula that repairs the hair from the root to the tips. A repair formula may also coat strands with oil, protein, or fibers that form a smooth, protective layer over the hair.

EXPERT TIP

Those who regularly use heat styling tools benefit from shampoo for dry hair, especially repair formulas that coat the strands with protective fibers or proteins. Not only do they protect the cuticles, they also keep hair shiny and smooth.


Staff  | BestReviews

Ingredients in shampoo for dry hair

Popular ingredients

As is the case for most shampoos, you’ll find that water is the first ingredient on the label. Everything that comes after that is a mixed bag, depending on the manufacturer. Keep in mind that the higher up an ingredient is on the list, the greater its concentration in the formula.

Another top ingredient in shampoo for dry hair is sodium lauryl sulfate, which causes sudsing. Pantheol, a form of B5, is included in moisturizing shampoos. Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer that coats and smoothes hair. It’s common to find coconut-derived ingredients, which introduce hair to fatty acids that nourish hair. Argan oil is also popular, as it pulls double-duty as a moisturizer as well as a repair agent.

Speciality formulas

If you have a hair concern of equal importance to your dryness issue, it’s worth investing in a specialty formula. A popular variety in this category is shampoo made for colored hair. In colored hair shampoo, ingredients that remove or discolor dyes, like sulfates, are left out. 

There are also hypoallergenic formulas that leave out harsh chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, silicones, latex, formaldehyde, alcohol, and synthetic ingredients. While not every hypoallergenic shampoo excludes all of these irritants, they omit quite a few of them. 

For consumers who seek a natural shampoo, there are organic, vegan, and cruelty-free formulas for dry hair. There are also formulas in eco-conscious packaging that utilize recycled or repurposed products.

EXPERT TIP

If you don’t think a particular dry hair shampoo works for you, try another one. Many retailers offer generous return policies for cosmetics and beauty products within a modest trial period.


Staff  | BestReviews

Shampoo for dry hair: prices

You could spend anywhere from $5 to $100 for a bottle of shampoo for dry hair. Ingredient quality often drives the price, but you can find effective formulas in every price range.

Inexpensive: Most shampoos for dry hair priced between $5 and $20 are drugstore varieties. Some include harsh ingredients, whereas others at the top of this range are comparable to salon-quality shampoos.

Mid-range: Once you enter the $20 to $50 bracket, you’re paying for specialized formulas often used in salons. Not only do these products include premium ingredients, they usually lack harsh chemicals that irritate skin.

Expensive: High-end shampoos for dry hair cost $50 or more. Certain varieties push the $100 mark. These are often seen at boutiques, salons, and other exclusive retailers. Loyal consumers in this bracket say the formulas are unparalleled and will outperform all lesser-priced choices.

Tips

  • Rinse out shampoo thoroughly. If you don’t rinse shampoo out of your hair well enough, your hair may end up looking slightly greasy or matted when it dries.

  • Buy a big bottle. Shampoo for dry hair can get expensive, especially if you opt for a premium formula. Often, it makes economic sense to buy a big bottle. Some retailers offer a bonus deal in which you get the matching conditioner at a lower price as well.

  • Choose a pleasant scent. The fragrance of shampoo lingers, so choose one you like. If you’re sensitive to fragrance, consider an unscented formula.

Most hair care brands offer more than one type of shampoo for dry hair. It’s worth trying each one to see how your hair responds to various formulas.

FAQ

Q. How can I compare shampoo prices when the bottles are all different sizes?
A. If you’re willing to crunch some numbers, you can actually refer to the unit price to discover the per-ounce cost. Size does affect price; you might save as much as 50% if you choose a salon-size bottle that is 30 ounces or larger. Generally speaking, the smallest bottles of shampoo tend to be the priciest options per ounce.

 

Q. What are the pitfalls of using shampoo for dry hair?
A. Given their hydrating and moisturizing qualities, it’s not unusual for the shampoo to weigh down the hair. Some people experience greasiness when using dry hair shampoo, especially when using formulas that contain argan oil or coconut-derived ingredients. To combat these issues, it’s recommended to add a once-a-week clarifying shampoo to prevent product fatigue and buildup.

 

Q. What’s the difference between dry hair shampoo with a color-safe formula and dry hair shampoo designed for color-treated hair?
A. If the formula is marked color-safe, that usually means it contains few to no ingredients that degrade hair dye. Shampoo made for color-treated hair has a much different formula. In addition to leaving out harsh, dye-affecting ingredients like sulfates, these formulas often deposit additional color or are made to enrich it. 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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