22 Top Curly Girl Method Approved Shampoos (All Sulfate-Free)

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Remember the curly girl method?

Lorraine Massey introduced this special hair care routine for all you curly girls out there.

beautiful curly haired woman wearing white bathrobe holding green shampoo container sitting on a bathtub

To celebrate your natural curls and bring back their bounce and shine, Massey recommends getting to know the ingredients of the products you use and refraining from silicones and sulfates.

However,  you may still sometimes need to use sulfate to completely clear your scalp of the buildup from using oils and creams to maintain your hair.

Need a refresher on the curly girl method? You can read all about that method here!

We thought we could make your curly girl method journey easier, so here’s a list of all sulfate-free CGM-approved shampoos that we recommend!

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo
Editor’s Choice
  • Removes buildup
  • Resets hair
  • High-performance formula
Avalon Organics Shampoo
Budget Pick
  • Mild formula
  • Revitalizes hair while removing excess oils and buildup
  • Curated from nature’s pure resources
OUAI Detox Shampoo
Premium Pick
  • Cleanses without stripping
  • Removes product buildup
  • Adds softness and shine

Top Clarifying Curly Girl Approved Shampoo

Clarifying shampoos are a necessity for your curls. They get a bad rap because they tend to contain sulfates, which are famous for being too harsh on your hair.

But if you use these shampoos once or twice a month, they can be beneficial since they help strip off all the buildup from the styling products you regularly use. 

Make sure that you also do deep-conditioning after using a clarifying shampoo to avoid frizziness, even if the shampoo promises a gentle formula.

1
Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

The price may be a little steep, but this might be the best clarifying shampoo that ever exists! Results are immediate!

Primary Benefits: Removes buildup, resets hair; high-performance formula

Features:

  • Color-safe and keratin-enriched
  • Infused with lavender, chamomile, and jojoba plant extracts
  • Contains argan and avocado oils

You can never go wrong with a Moroccanoil product, and this one definitely does the job. We highly recommend it!

If you have colored curly hair, this will be super great for you to use. 

Clarifying shampoos are known to be intense (that’s why it’s recommended to only use them once or twice a month), which means they usually fade hair color. 

But since Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo is formulated to be color-safe, it won’t affect you at all.

It thoroughly cleans your hair and completely removes product buildup while leaving your color behind, no matter your curl type.

It’s also infused with argan oil and other plant extracts, so it makes your hair soft! Definitely kinky hair-approved.

2
OUAI Detox Shampoo

Get the salon experience with this detox shampoo! OUAI Detox Shampoo really keeps its promise to remove buildup and add shine at the same time.

Primary Benefits: Cleanses without stripping, removes product buildup, adds softness and shine

Features:

  • With chelating agents
  • Concentrated shampoo with apple cider vinegar
  • Contains hydrolyzed keratin 

We swear you won’t regret trying this product. It’s definitely worth splurging on.

This may be on the expensive side, but hear us out.

If your shower produces hard water, you might need to invest in a bottle of Ouai Detox Shampoo. 

A tube of ouai detox shampoo sitting on top of a marble table.

This contains chelating agents that remove hard water deposits and impurities. 

So while it cleanses your hair from all that buildup as all clarifying shampoos do, it also prevents the damage that you can get from hard water.

With the power of apple cider vinegar and keratin, Ouai Detox Shampoo thoroughly clarifies your hair, smoothens the frizz, and adds shine. Perfect for all curl types!

It’s also a huge plus that it smells divine, so don’t miss out!

3
Avalon Organics Shampoo - Clarifying Lemon

This shampoo is filled with all the good stuff to make sure that you leave your shower free of all the grime without damaging your hair.

Primary Benefits: Mild formula; revives hair by cleaning off excess oils and buildup; curated from nature’s pure resources

Features:

  • Uses plant-sourced ingredients
  • No GMOs, parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, or phthalates
  • Cruelty-free

Make sure to try this if you have a sensitive scalp!

The Avalon Organics Shampoo may be the cheapest one on the list, but the quality is oh so good that it’s up to par with even the most expensive products on this list.

As the name suggests, this product is organic, so it’s gentle for both your hair and the environment.

The bottle will also last you a long time since you only need the smallest amount to wash your hair.

4
Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

Formulated especially for curly hair, Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo eliminates frizz and is more moisturizing than some clarifying shampoos.

Primary Benefits: Mild formula; foam/suds/lather-high; thoroughly cleanses all hair types

Features:

  • With botanical extracts 
  • 100% oil scent (no synthetic fragrance)
  • Packed herbal plant extracts and scientifically made ingredients

Bounce Curl is a brand that’s known for having high-quality products, so it should be a no-brainer that it’s on the list!

This clarifying shampoo has a mild formula that hydrates while cleansing your hair.

The brand specializes in curly hair, so it’s trusted to help with any issues that you may be having. 

They’ve added botanical extracts to their clarifying shampoo too, which adds volume and texture to thin hair.

5
EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo

Since it’s made with peppermint and tea tree oil, this clarifying shampoo gives a refreshing, tingling sensation.

Primary Benefits: Regulates the hair's pH, naturally stimulates the scalp, cleans away all traces of dirt and grease

Features:

  • Provides a refreshing, tingling feeling
  • With pure peppermint botanicals
  • Relieves irritation

If you want that squeaky clean feeling, this is the way to go!

EDEN Bodyworks’ clarifying shampoo is an amazing and cheap option for curly hair when you need that extra cleansing.

It’s also formulated with peppermint, which alleviates itch and stimulates your scalp for better hair growth.

Hydrating Curly Girl Approved Shampoo

Regularly using a hydrating or moisturizing shampoo is more beneficial for your hair and scalp. This is to avoid frizz and dullness. 

You may be using essential oils for your curly hair, but it’s still important to have a good hydrating shampoo on hand.

Again, it is important to check ingredients because mainstream moisturizing shampoos usually contain silicone, which may feel amazing at first but is actually one of the top causes of hair dryness.

Here are our curly girl-approved products that you can check to avoid this mistake:

6
Acure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo

This shampoo is great if your hair tends to get a little greasy when using moisturizing shampoos. It lathers well on even the most coily hair too. 

Primary Benefits: Long-lasting moisture; replenishes damaged hair, supports healthy hair growth

Features:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, petrolatum-free, and formaldehyde-free
  • Made with organic argan oil and pumpkin to provide omega fatty acids

A great option for people looking for a cleanser that doesn’t strip off their natural oils.

If you need an extra-nourishing shampoo, this is the way to go. 

With a mix of argan + pumpkin oil, it replenishes your curly hair from dryness, reduces your frizz, and makes it ultra-shiny, leaving you with healthy-looking hair.

It also has one of the cleanest ingredients out of all the shampoos that you might come across, so make sure to try it out!

7
Not Your Mother's Naturals Curl Definition Shampoo

Finding a cleansing shampoo with moisturizing properties is easy, BUT if you’re looking for a miracle product that revives your curls, it may take forever. 

With Not Your Mother's Naturals Curl Definition Shampoo, your search is over.

Primary Benefits: Safe for all curly hair types; delicately cleanses hair; curl-defining

Features:

  • Made with 98% naturally derived ingredients 
  • Cruelty-free 
  • Sulfate surfactant-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, gluten-free, and dye-free  

This delivers high-end results from a drugstore price point. So it’s a must-have!

This shampoo nailed the perfect balance of hydrating your hair without weighing them down, that’s why it leaves you with perfectly defined curls.

It’s suitable for all hair types and chemically treated hair as well.

8
Jessicurl, Gentle Lather Shampoo

Do you get bad hair day after a day of washing your hair? Well, this product promises to skip all that! 

Primary Benefits: Ideal for all hair types; creamy lather; cleanses hair without stripping natural oils

Features:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Mild formula
  • Doesn’t contain oils and moisturizers

This sulfate-free curly girl-approved shampoo might be your next favorite, so check it out now.

A great shampoo for dry and fine hair, this gentle formula cleanses and removes excess products without stripping hair of natural oils.

It has zero effect on your hair color, though you might opt to use another product if you’re not into low-lather formulas.

9
Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo

If you want to find a shampoo for hair that needs more moisture, this is the one for you. 

Primary Benefits: Cleanses without stripping your hair of natural oils, provides antioxidant protection; recommended for all curly types

Features:

  • Cruelty-free 
  • Enriched with apple and aloe extracts
  • Formulated with botanical oils 

Highly recommended for people who want extra hydration!

The Giovanni hydrating shampoo is one of the highly rated products on Amazon.

It’s packed with botanical oils to hydrate and detangle damaged hair. It’s also known to calm unruly and damaged hair because it’s enriched with apple and aloe extracts.

Plus, it’s gentle enough for colored and chemically treated hair! YAY!

10
Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo

If you’re noticing that your curls are drier than usual, this product might be worth a try.

Primary Benefits: Revives hair, gently cleanses without drying, combats flaking

Features:

  • No sulfates, silicones, parabens
  • Cruelty-free
  • Made with shea butter and moringa oil

Don’t miss out on using Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo. It might just be one of the best purchases you’ll ever make for your hair.

This shampoo is formulated with shea butter, which is one of the most potent ingredients when it comes to hydration.

Together with moringa oil, it deeply nourishes and strengthens your scalp with vitamins and minerals, making it a great product to make your hair look healthier.

Curly Girl Approved Dry Shampoo

It’s a no-brainer that you NEED to let your hair rest from washing. 

But if you absolutely hate going through the day feeling all that dirt, sweat, and oil building up in your hair, then dry shampoos are your BFF.

Here are some products we recommend that won’t weigh down your curls.

11
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

This is probably one of the most popular dry shampoos for curly hair, and for good reason! 

Unlike other shampoos that leave your hair feeling sticky, this will actually clean your hair and remove odor.

Primary Benefits: Cleans hair, eliminates odor, absorbs oil and sweat

Features:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Silicone-free, sulfate-free, formaldehyde-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free
  • Safe for chemically treated hair

Confidently skip wash days with Living Proof Dry Shampoo!

This fast-absorbing blend is great for greasy and oily hair.

A dry shampoo that actually cleans eliminates dirt, and absorbs oil on your hair is hard to find. But the Living Proof formula is patented to do exactly these things.

A bottle of living proof perfect hair dry shampoo sitting on a pink satin.

It smooths hair strands without weighing them down and is an absolute holy grail for curly girls!

12
Acure Dry Shampoo

If you’re looking for a healthier option for you and the planet, check out dry shampoo powder! 

Clean your hair in between washes without using aerosol sprays!

Primary Benefits: Recommended for all hair types; fast-acting; convenient

Features:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free powder
  • Made with arrowroot, rosemary, peppermint, and kaolin clay

Made with high-quality ingredients, Acure Dry Shampoo will free you of any products building up.

Like other Acure products, this has clean ingredients and effectively does its job to clean your hair without needing water and shampoos.

The fast-acting vegan formula helps extend the time between wash days and promises brighter and glowing hair.

13
OGX Refresh Revitalize Extra Strength Dry Shampoo

OGX promises to make your hair curlier and bouncier when using this product + you won’t feel any stickiness throughout the day.

Primary Benefits: Smooth finish; minimal white cast; volumizing

Features:

  • Infused with argan oil from morocco and silk proteins
  • Alluring scent
  • Oil-absorbing

Buy this if you’re looking for a simple and effective product to clean your hair.

OGX Extra Strength Dry Shampoo has a nice formula that makes you have luxurious, silky-smooth hair upon application. 

It has a perfumy scent but just enough to not be overwhelming, and we dare say that it’s the best feature it has!

It adds volume and makes your hair bouncier. It also helps that it’s super affordable.

14
Klorane Dry Shampoo Powder

A multi-awarded product, Klorane Dry Shampoo Powder gets rid of dirt and grime while protecting and soothing your hair at the same time.

Primary Benefits: Cleans hair, adds volume; ultra-gentle formula

Features:

  • Non-aerosol
  • Made with organically harvested oat milk
  • Mild and refreshing scent

Since this shampoo doesn’t have drying alcohols in its formula, you won’t have to worry much about what you’re exposing yourself to.

This dry shampoo is a great product for curly hair. It cleans while improving texture + is non-aerosol and therefore environmentally friendly.

It’s kind of expensive for its size, but because of the super good ingredients, we’d say it’s worth it!

15
OUAI Super Dry Shampoo

Packed with all the good stuff, OUAI Super Dry Shampoo’s formulation does not get sticky and cleans your hair thoroughly.

Primary Benefits: Absorbs oil, blends well into any hair color, adds volume

Features:

  • Color-safe
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free

The oil-absorbing feature will last you the whole day, so you won’t need to reapply every now and then + every spray smells like you’re in a field of roses!

OUAI believes in effortless routines, and their dry shampoo is definitely a great product to add to your vanity if you’re always on the go.

It revives your hair, makes your hair bouncier, and soaks up any excess oils.

If you don’t need any gimmick and you just need a dry shampoo that does its job, plain and simple, then this is for you.

Cruelty-Free Curly Girl Approved Shampoo

We love highlighting cruelty-free products, and although we’ve mentioned it a lot in this article, we think the best of the best deserve their own shout-out.

Here’s a list of our favorite cruelty-free shampoos that are CGM-approved:

16
Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Probiotic Clarifying Shampoo

This mild formula is really effective for clarifying without stripping hair of oils. The brand especially targets curly hair, so you’re sure that they’re worth the price.

Primary Benefits: Exfoliating shampoo; suitable for all curl types; gently cleanses

Features:

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • With probiotics and apple cider vinegar
  • Sulfate-free, silicone-free, mineral oil-free, and phthalates-free

Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Probiotic Clarifying Shampoo strengthens the scalp barrier and melts buildup with its foam, so we highly recommend this!

This shampoo is packed with live probiotics — skin-friendly microorganisms that strengthen the scalp’s protective barrier, which creates the perfect environment for your hair follicles.

Apple cider vinegar helps melt the buildup away, leaving you with a clean and healthy scalp every use.

17
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

Packed with organic moisturizing ingredients, this leaves your hair looking shiny and healthy-looking — perfect for all your curls.

Primary Benefits: Suitable for all curl types; reduces frizz, nourishes scalp

Features:

  • With coconut oil, vitamins E and K, iron, fatty acids, and emollient hibiscus flowers
  • With neem oil and silk protein
  • Organic and sustainable

Boost your wavy, curly, or kinky hair with this safe, moisturizing, non-detergent shampoo!

This all-organic, cruelty-free shampoo makes you take care of your hair, guilt-free.

It also makes your hair smell like coconuts all day and hydrates when used in the long run.

It’s also a huge plus that it doesn’t leave your hair feeling greasy or oily after use. So it’s definitely a must-have!

18
amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo

One of the holy grails you could ever use for your curls, this product is loaded with lots of vitamins to revive your hair.

Primary Benefits: Provides superior hydration, absorbs oil, perks hair up between washes

Features:

  • Color-safe and keratin-safe
  • Free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and petrolatum
  • Talc-free

This shampoo provides elasticity and promotes hydration for your hair unlike others, so it’s best for dry hair.

Amika Dry Shampoo has rice starch that adds volume and sea buckthorn, nourishing your hair with vitamins. 

A bottle of amika perk up dry shampoo on top of a satin sheet.

It absorbs oil so you can confidently go out without bed hair + it’s talc free, so it’s even suitable for dark hair. What more can you ask for?

Affordable Curly Girl Approved Shampoo

Maintaining curly hair can be a lot, and with the many hair products you have to splurge on, we get it if you want to skimp on some of them. 

However, we do believe that the right products for you don’t always have to be expensive. 

It’s a good thing there are a lot of great cheap options in the market, so we’ve listed some of the best of them here for you.

19
Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo

This is a gentle formula but is still effective in deeply cleaning your hair from all the product buildup and excess oils.

Primary Benefits: Non-irritating; suitable for all hair types; gently deep-cleans hair

Features:

  • No petrolatum, mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, colorants, or phthalates
  • Color-safe
  • Free from irritants

Despite Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo’s mild formula, it’s still recommended to only use this product a few times a month and make sure to pair it with a hair mask every time!

Though super cheap, this clarifying shampoo is suitable for all curl types. 

It’s gentle enough not to strip your hair of its natural oils, but you can trust that it thoroughly cleans the product buildup.

It’s effective in resetting your hair because it’s free from irritants like sulfates and parabens.

20
TWIST On-repeat Gentle Oil Infused Shampoo

This shampoo makes your hair shine. Because of its oil-based formula, you won’t worry about damaging your hair while cleansing.

Primary Benefits: Replenishes essential moisture, revives each hair strand, cleans thoroughly

Features:

  • Made with vegetable proteins, panthenol, and chamomile extract
  • Oil-based formula
  • Safe for colored and chemically treated hair

This might be one of your new faves if you’re looking for that extra hydration boost without the extra price!

This oil-based shampoo is great for curly girls that need regular washing. It nourishes and cleans your hair without drying up your scalp.

It has vegetable proteins that help strengthen your hair from within the shaft and prevent breakage.

Panthenol in this shampoo seals moisture and protects your curls from dirt and pollution.

Meanwhile, the chamomile extract nourishes each strand, which makes your hair healthy-looking.

All these benefits in such a cheap bottle. Definitely a great buy for your curly hair.

21
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

This product promises to thoroughly cleanse your hair while infusing moisture and reviving your curls.

Primary Benefits: Softer hair; suitable for all hair types; removes buildup while nourishing hair; lathers well

Features:

  • Safe for colored and chemically treated hair
  • Paraben-free
  • No silicone, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil or petrolatum

It’s still a clarifying shampoo, so make sure to use a deep-conditioning product afterward!

This clarifying shampoo effectively removes buildup and deeply moisturizes your hair. It is perfect for any curl type and even on chemically treated hair.

They also only source and use the top ingredients, not what you expect from such a cheap product!

22
My Hair Dance Volumizing Dry Shampoo

This is packed with all the good stuff. Made with all naturally derived ingredients so you’ll know you’re only applying the best. You won’t even know it’s cheap!

Primary Benefits: Absorbs excess oils, adds instant volume without harmful chemicals; convenient to use

Features:

  • Suitable for all hair colors
  • All natural, vegan, cruelty-free
  • No talc, parabens, baking soda, phthalates, or aerosol

The spray makes it easy to distribute, and it’s great for traveling, working out, or even camping!

This dry shampoo does such a great job at cleaning your hair, you won’t even know that it’s just around $7.

It’s infused with lavender oils, which soothe and calm your senses when applied.

closeup side profile photo of beautiful curly haired lady isolated in beige pastel background

The Top CGM-Approved Shampoos

So there you have it, all our fave curly girl-approved shampoos in one place. 

We hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below!

Want to improve your curly girl routine?

Here are some of our curly girl articles you may like:

Author

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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