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20 Best Drugstore Shampoos for Fine Hair, Curly Hair and Everything in Between

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello

With proper haircare gaining popularity on social media, drugstore shampoos are getting pushed to the wayside. But do expensive haircare products make a huge difference? After testing certain products, reading extensive reviews and analyzing ingredient lists, we would argue that many drugstore options still have merit. The right formula won’t cost you an arm and a leg but will still hydrate, clarify and soothe an irritated scalp without creating greasy roots. So, how do you select the right product?

If you know your hair porosity, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the right shampoo. A quick guide to hair porosity: Low-porosity strands (which don’t absorb water well) need plenty of moisture, medium-porosity hair needs a balance of moisture and protein and high-porosity hair (which absorbs water very well) needs lots of protein to strengthen and repair strands. Your scalp condition — be it dry, oily, flaky, irritated or a combination — will also help you make the right decision. Below, we dive into the best drugstore shampoos based on your hair texture, hair porosity and scalp condition.

20 Best Drugstore Shampoos for Fine Hair, Curly Hair and Everything in Between


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Finding the Best Drugstore Shampoo: A Buyer’s Guide

The ideal drugstore shampoo varies from person to person, but all hair needs the same thing: a good cleanser for build-up and a healthy balance of moisture and protein. As a result, understanding your hair type will help you learn exactly what your hair is missing. Fine, smooth hair tends to have a leg-up in the moisture department but needs a squeaky-clean cleanse at the roots. In contrast, coarse, curly hair needs intense hydration to counteract natural dryness. Lastly, bleached hair requires a protein-rich shampoo to strengthen damaged hair bonds.

We also recommend owning more than one type of shampoo, since the needs of your scalp and strands can change every day. If you love styling your hair with leave-in conditioners, creams, gels, mousse or hairspray, a clarifying shampoo is a must-have. And if you’re highly active and sweat every day, a gentle clarifier for frequent washes is best. At the very least, owning an everyday shampoo and a clarifying shampoo will give you the most options on each wash day. Check out the important factors you ought to consider before buying drugstore shampoos below.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Drugstore Shampoo

In order to buy the right shampoo for you, consider the following factors.

Hair Type

Is your hair straight, wavy, curly or coily? And are the strands soft and fine or coarse and dense? Knowing the answers to these questions will help narrow down your choices in the toiletry aisle. For instance, straight hair usually needs equal parts protein and moisture to give you healthy strands, while wavy and curly hair types need more moisture. Soft, fine strands require stronger clarifiers to remove oil and buildup, and coarse strands need hydrating shampoos to prevent dryness and breakage.

Scalp Type

We often forget that the scalp is skin — and we shouldn’t treat it as an extension of our hair. For instance: Clarifying and everyday shampoos are great for normal to oily scalps because they remove oil without causing irritation. Hydrating shampoos are better for dry scalps because they prevent flaking skin.

If you have serborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, we recommend talking to a dermatologist about the right products to use and which ingredients you should avoid. You may need to go through a little trial and error to get it right.

Irritating Ingredients

Certain ingredients can cause inflammation, scaling, and dandruff — so it’s important to read the label on the shampoo bottle before you apply. In general, we recommend avoiding the following ingredients if you have sensitive skin or your pores clog easily: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene glycol, mineral oil and fragrance.

Hydrating Ingredients

Worried that your strands don’t get enough moisture? Pay attention to these key hydrators in the ingredient list that will nourish your hair: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, avocado oil and almond oil.

If you’re using a moisturizing shampoo that still leaves your hair feeling dry, the product may have too much protein or cleansers that are too strong. Try avoiding ingredients like rice protein, hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed collagen and sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate to see if your hair’s moisture level improves.

Clarifying Ingredients

If you need to strip your hair of product build-up and oils, look for shampoos that contain the following ingredients: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate and apple cider vinegar.

However, you will need a shampoo with sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate if you use conditioners and leave-in conditioners that contain silicones — lauryl and laureth sulfates can remove silicone build-up, while other clarifiers cannot.

What Are the Different Types of Drugstore Shampoos?

There are three main types of shampoos that can help you create healthy hair: hydrating, clarifying and strengthening.


Hydrating shampoos contain plenty of moisturizers and little to no protein. If you have low-porosity hair that struggles to absorb water, a hydrating shampoo will preserve moisture in your hair while cleansing your scalp. Moisturizing shampoos are also great for anyone to have on hand in the winter, when cold, dry air zaps hair of its moisture.


Clarifying shampoos contain strong clarifiers (like sodium lauryl sulfate or apple cider vinegar) to help strip the hair of product residue, natural scalp oils and sebum — that tacky, oily substance your body produces to keep your skin moisturized. It’s a way of starting fresh, and you may need to clarify your hair if it stops responding to your styling products or feels oily and full of product.


Strengthening shampoos contain protein such as hydrolyzed keratin, collagen or rice protein to help repair damaged strands. You may need these ingredients if you have damaged strands from sun exposure, chlorine or hair dyes and lighteners, which can leave hair frizzy and prone to breakage.

Bear in mind that moisturizing ingredients are also important for damaged locks, and you may cause protein overload if every hair product in your routine contains protein. Signs of protein overload include straw-like, crunchy strands that feel dry to the touch. (If this is you, take it as a sign to dial it back on protein!)


4U By Tia Moisturizing Shampoo With Watermelon + Hemi15


  • Black-owned
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Non-irritating ingredients


  • Fragrance may irritate scalp
  • May be overly moisturizing on oily hair
  • Not on Amazon

We know what you might be thinking — 4U by Tia Mowry is a curly hair brand, so the shampoo should work only for curly hair. However, this formula surprised me with its versatility. It creates a gentle lather that cleanses my scalp without stripping my curly hair of moisture. Plus, my family members with fine, straight hair report that it works beautifully on their strands as well. The smell is delicious yet subtle, so it pairs well with differently-scented conditioners and leave-in products. The price is excellent too. The bottom line? I’m addicted to it.

This shampoo has a drying effect, but it’s nothing that a conditioner won’t fix. Still, it may not be best for very low-porosity and thirsty hair. And though the brand is transparent about its ingredients and avoids known irritants like parabens, the fragrance may still be irritating on sensitive scalps. This product does not yet have an EWG toxicity/irritation rating.


Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Purifying Shampoo, Silicone-Free


  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Rich lather
  • Long-lasting scent


  • May over-moisturize oily or fine hair
  • A few potentially irritating ingredients
  • May dry out scalp

Looking for an affordable pick that doesn’t strip your hair? We like the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Purifying Shampoo. The silicone-free, vegan, cruelty-free formula is lightweight and creates a thick lather to get your scalp squeaky-clean (no need to shampoo twice). Plus, the fresh aloe scent lasts for days, so you don’t need to worry about your scalp smelling funky in between washes.

If you have oily or very fine hair, this product may leave your strands overly moisturized. The formula does not yet have a toxicity rating, though it contains a few potentially irritating ingredients. Similar Garnier Fructis products have a rating of five out of 10.


Attitude Extra Gentle and Volumizing Shampoo for Sensitive Skin, Enriched with Oat


  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Soothes an itchy scalp
  • Volumizing


  • Expensive
  • Not available at every drugstore
  • Unscented (if you prefer scent)

There’s no need to worry about the ingredient list when it comes to Attitude — the brand makes sure each product is hypoallergenic and easy on sensitive skin. The Extra Gentle and Volumizing Shampoo is EWG verified, meaning it meets the EWG’s strictest standards for health and safety. Plus, many reviewers report that this shampoo calms down an itchy scalp. With a well-balanced, hydrating and volumizing formula, it’s no wonder buyers are raving about this product.

Unfortunately, the Attitude Extra Gentle Shampoo is one of our most expensive recommendations. It isn’t always available in drugstores, either. Note that the formula is unscented — which may be a downside for people who love scented shampoo.


Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Shampoo


  • Moisturizes and repairs
  • Lightweight
  • Crisp apple scent


  • Expensive
  • May need to wash hair twice
  • Small bottle

Who doesn’t love a good splurge on a volumizing, luxurious shampoo? The Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Shampoo contains panthenol, a form of vitamin B-5 that moisturizes and helps repair strands. In addition, the formula is lightweight and helps create body without adding weight to your hair.

If you want to clarify your hair and remove buildup, you may need to wash your scalp twice to build this lightweight product into a lather. Also, most buyers love the crisp apple scent but a few report that the fragrance (and formula in general) is irritating. This product has a toxicity rating of five out of 10.


Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Scalp Soothing Refresh & Thicken Shampoo


  • Clarifies without stripping
  • Natural ingredients
  • May reduce inflammation


  • May be too drying
  • Scent may clash with other products
  • 5/10 toxicity rating

If your scalp gets greasy after just one day, you may be using the wrong shampoo. The right product — like the Aveeno Scalp Soothing Refresh & Thicken Shampoo — can balance out an oily scalp while hydrating and repairing skin. This formula contains rosemary and peppermint, both of which may promote healthy blood circulation and reduce inflammation and bacterial growth. Primarily a clarifying shampoo, the Aveeno Scalp Soothing shampoo will keep your scalp clean without stripping your hair.

If you have very dry hair, this product may be too drying. The rosemary and mint scent is also off-putting for some buyers. As for its toxicity and irritation level, this formula gets a rating of five out of 10.


OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Volumizing Shampoo for Thin Hair


  • Hair-strengthening ingredients
  • Paraben and sulfate-free
  • Jasmine and vanilla scent


  • Heavy formula
  • Scent may cause irritation
  • 5/10 toxicity rating

Research shows that biotin may be an effective ingredient for hair loss and that collagen may fortify strands. So, a product like the OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo is a great choice for treating thin hair. The paraben and sulfate-free formula helps nourish strands so they look thicker and fuller in time.

A few reviewers complain that the shampoo feels too heavy. In addition, buyers love the jasmine and vanilla scent, though it may be irritating on sensitive skin. This product gets a toxicity rating of five out of 10.


Camille Rose Rosemary Oil Strengthening Hair + Scalp Cleanser


  • Ingredients promote growth
  • Subtle, refreshing scent
  • Black-owned


  • May dry out hair
  • Thick formula takes a while to work through hair
  • Unknown toxicity rating

If you’re hoping to revitalize your hair follicles and promote new growth, try a shampoo that contains rosemary and mint — like the Camille Rose Rosemary Cleanser. The reasoning? One study found rosemary to be just as effective at increasing hair density as minoxidil (though more research is necessary). Another study found that peppermint oil increased hair growth in participants as well as minoxidil did.

While many buyers like the thick formula, others find it off-putting and note that it takes a while to work into hair. The product may be a little drying, so be sure to follow up with the Rosemary Oil 5-Minute Strengthening Hair Mask. The cleanser does not yet have a toxicity rating, though most Camille Rose products have a rating between four and six out of 10.


Camille Rose Lavender Fresh Cleanse


  • Moisturizing
  • Subtle, lavender scent
  • Black-owned


  • May be overly moisturizing on normal to oily hair
  • Small bottle
  • Unknown toxicity rating

Stripping shampoos can cause extreme dryness, frizz and breakage, which is why a moisturizing product like the Camille Rose Lavender Fresh Cleanse is a must for dry hair. I love how gentle the formula is on my thirsty hair, and the gentle scent pairs well with nearly all conditioners. It contains apple cider vinegar to help clarify without causing damage, and arnica flower to strengthen hair and reduce the chance of breakage.

However, some reviewers wish the Lavender Fresh Cleanse had more slip to aid in detangling very curly or coily hair. Others wish for a bigger bottle (this one is eight ounces). This product does not yet have a toxicity rating.


Shea Moisture Hydrate + Repair Shampoo With Manuka Honey and Yogurt


  • Rich lather
  • Natural ingredients
  • Strengthening without stripping


  • May overly saturate fine hair
  • Amazon packaging issues
  • 4/10 toxicity rating

Homemade hair remedies remind us that manuka honey and yogurt are natural strengtheners that help repair hair bonds. So, it makes sense that Shea Moisture would utilize both ingredients in its Hydrate + Repair Shampoo. The formula gently cleanses hair with a rich lather that doesn’t strip strands.

If you have thin or fine hair, this product may overly-saturate and weigh down your hair. The natural scent is also off-putting for some buyers. In terms of toxicity and potential irritants, this formula has a rating of four out of 10.


L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Shampoo


  • Prevents color fading
  • Adds shine
  • Big bottle


  • Pump may not work well
  • May leave residue in hair
  • 6/10 toxicity rating

In order to preserve a dyed hair color for as long as possible, it’s important to use a shampoo that protects against color fading. The L’Oréal Elvive Color Vibrancy Shampoo is up to the task; this formula uses UV filters and antioxidants to seal in colorants for up to 60 days, according to the bottle. Customers report that it effectively prevents fading while keeping strands shiny and soft.

The downsides: The pump design of this product could use improvement, as it often sucks air instead of shampoo. A few buyers also report that the formula doesn’t wash out completely. This product gets a toxicity rating of six out of 10.


The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash, Citrus Vanilla


  • Clean ingredients
  • Lightweight
  • Gentle on scalp


  • Drying on low-porosity hair
  • May need to wash twice
  • Scent doesn’t last

In the world of hair care, formulas that market themselves as multipurpose usually raise a red flag because they don’t perform well. However, the Honest Shampoo + Body Wash is an exception to the rule. The vegan and cruelty-free formula is gentle enough for baby skin, hypoallergenic and EWG verified. It’s also lightweight and has the right balance of cleansing and moisturizing properties — making it a great pick for straight hair.

However, some buyers complain that the product doesn’t fully cleanse the scalp with just one wash. The formula is somewhat drying on low-porosity hair, and some customers wish the mild scent would last longer than it does.


Monday Haircare Gentle Shampoo for Delicate Hair & Scalps


  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Spring floral scent
  • Reduces scalp irritation


  • Scent doesn’t last
  • Hard to get product out of bottle
  • 5/10 toxicity rating

Looking for a moisturizing shampoo for straight hair that won’t overly-saturate strands? The Monday Haircare Gentle Shampoo is a great option. It doesn’t leave hair feeling brittle and tangled after washing, and it cleanses the scalp while reducing irritation. A bonus: The spring floral scent gets excellent reviews.

Though the smell is fresh and pleasant, buyers wish it would last longer than it does. The pump is also short, which makes it difficult to pump out product as you near the end of the bottle. This product gets a toxicity and irritation rating of five out of 10.


Maui Moisture Lightweight Curls + Flaxseed Shampoo


  • Lightweight
  • Flaxseed adds bounce
  • Lemon, peach and honey scent


  • May dry out low-porosity or delicate curls
  • Potential problems with Amazon packaging
  • 5/10 toxicity rating

If you have wavy hair, chances are you struggle to maintain waves throughout the day because they fall flat. The Maui Moisture Lightweight Curls Shampoo is a great solution; it contains flaxseed which helps shape waves, reduce frizz and give your strands extra bounce. Plus, it’s light enough that it won’t weigh down your hair.

If your hair is low-porosity or delicate, this shampoo may dry out your curls. Buyers also report that the matching conditioner isn’t hydrating enough for low-porosity strands. Unfortunately, a few received broken shampoo bottles in the mail. This product has a toxicity rating of five out of 10.


Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo


  • Hydrating
  • Black-led
  • Low toxicity rating


  • Not great for high-porosity hair
  • May be too rich for oily, irritated scalps
  • Hard to rinse out completely

Curly hair needs more moisture than wavy and straight hair types, so an extra-hydrating shampoo like the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo is a smart choice. I frequently return to this shampoo because it creates a rich lather, leaves behind a delicious, sweet smell, and doesn’t dry out my strands. This formula has a low toxicity and irritation rating of two out of 10.

The Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo does not have a lot of protein — so if you have dyed or high-porosity strands, this product may leave your hair overly moisturized and limp. (If you pair it with a protein-rich conditioner, however, it may work well.) This brand is no longer Black-owned but it is still Black-led and supplies grants to Black-owned businesses.


Curlsmith Core Strength Shampoo


  • Gentle
  • Revives damaged curls
  • Sweet fruit scent


  • Expensive
  • May dry out low-porosity hair
  • A few potentially irritating ingredients

Have you dyed or bleached your curly hair? If so, it’s important to use a protein-rich shampoo to help fortify and repair strands, giving your curls bounce. The Curlsmith Core Strength Shampoo is powerful enough to revive curls but gentle enough for frequent washes. As with all Curlsmith products, it has a sweet, fruit-and-floral scent.

Though this formula contains key moisturizing ingredients to help balance out the protein, it may be overly drying on low-porosity strands. This product does not yet have a toxicity rating, though it does contain a few potentially harmful ingredients, including fragrance and benzyl alcohol (a solvent and preservative). Most CurlSmith products have a toxicity rating between three and five out of 10.


Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Detangling Shampoo


  • Pre-detangles before conditioner
  • Sweet honey and fruit scent
  • Black-led


  • Pump doesn’t work well
  • Potential Amazon packaging issues
  • 4/10 toxicity rating

Low-porosity, type 4 curly hair (which includes 4a, 4b and 4c curls, coils and kinks) needs a lot of moisture, so most drugstore shampoos don’t cut it. Fortunately, the Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Detangling Shampoo has enough moisture to pre-detangle strands before you even reach for the conditioner. This formula creates a rich lather to cleanse the scalp, while ingredients like honey and babassu oil keep strands soft.

The downsides: Buyers report that the pump squeezes out very little product, so it takes a while to apply. In addition, the bottle sometimes comes damaged when shipped from Amazon. This formula has a toxicity and irritation rating of four out of 10.


Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl-Defining Anti-Frizz Shampoo


  • Thick, hydrating formula
  • Safe for color-treated hair
  • Coconut and orange scent


  • Not for oily scalps
  • May cause flash drying
  • 4/10 toxicity rating

If you prefer a squeeze bottle to a pump, we recommend the Maui Moisture Curl Quench shampoo for type 4 curls. The anti-frizz formula hydrates strands while cleansing the scalp, and it’s safe to use on color-treated hair. Buyers love the coconut and orange scent.

If you have an oily scalp, this product may add too much moisture to your roots and leave them limp and oily. This formula may also cause flash-drying due to the coconut oil. Indeed, a few reviewers found that it dried out their low-porosity hair even more. As for its toxicity and irritation rating. The Maui Moisture Curl Quench gets a four out of 10.


Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti Dandruff Shampoo


  • Creamy and hydrating
  • Hypoallergenic fragrance
  • Prevents dandruff flakes


  • Not for oily scalps
  • May not help serborrheic dermatitis
  • 5/10 toxicity rating

Does your dandruff just keep coming back? You may need a shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione — an active ingredient that can help treat seborrhoeic dermatitis (which causes scaly, inflamed skin) and dandruff (dry skin flakes). The Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti Dandruff Shampoo is a great option because it uses zinc pyrithione, pH balanced ingredients and hypoallergenic fragrance to soothe irritated skin and prevent future dandruff.

If you have an oily scalp, this shampoo may overly hydrate your roots. Also, it may not help your symptoms if you have serborrheic dermatitis instead of dandruff — so make sure you see a dermatologist to help you determine your scalp condition. This product gets a toxicity rating of five out of 10.


Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo for Scalp Build-Up Control


  • Great for oily scalps
  • Works for hours after application
  • Fragrance-free, non-irritating formula


  • May dry out scalp
  • Strong formula
  • 3/10 toxicity rating

You might not have heard of the Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo, but we highly recommend it for scalp build-up. It contains salicylic acid which helps treat dandruff, psoriasis and serborrheic dermatitis. In addition, it works for hours after application to prevent future build-up and relieve flaking and itching.

If you have a dry scalp, this product may increase dryness and actually lead to more flaking. So, it’s important to follow up with a hydrating conditioner. This product has a toxicity and irritation rating of three out of 10. Note that this formula is fragrance-free, which helps reduce the chance of irritation.


4U by Tia Clarifying Shampoo With Apple Cider Vinegar


  • Gently cleans
  • Hydrating
  • Floral vanilla and rose scent


  • Isn’t available in most drugstores
  • May need to double cleanse
  • Won’t clear silicone build-up

If you have a lot of product build-up from your leave-in conditioners, gels and creams, it’s important to clear it every two or three washes with a clarifying shampoo. The 4U by Tia Clarifying Shampoo does an excellent job of cleansing the scalp while keeping strands hydrated, thanks to ingredients like apple cider vinegar and Hemi15, a hydrator.

Unfortunately, this product isn’t available in most drugstores. You may also need to cleanse your scalp twice if you have a lot of build-up. A word of caution: This formula won’t clear up build-up if you use a conditioner with silicones. In that case, you would need a conditioner with sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate to clean out the silicones.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What ingredients should I avoid if I have sensitive skin?

    A:If your skin is easily irritated, avoid products that contain parabens (propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben), phthalates, polyquaternium-7 (an anti-static agent), polyethylyne glycol (PEG) and fragrance.

  • Q: How much should I spend on drugstore shampoo?

    A:In general, you should expect to spend anywhere between $2 and $20 for a drugstore shampoo. Most shampoos cost between $5 and $10.

  • Q: What’s the best shampoo for hot weather?

    A:An everyday, gentle shampoo will help clear sweat from your scalp and roots without drying out your hair.

  • Q: What’s the best shampoo for cold weather?

    A:A moisturizing, rich shampoo will keep your hair hydrated during cold, dry conditions while still cleansing your scalp.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

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By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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