11 Best Drugstore Shampoos for Curly Hair 

11 Best Drugstore Shampoos for Curly Hair 

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Let’s face it: taking care of your curls is anything but cheap.  

Every curly girl’s dream, aside from clean, soft, gorgeous curls, is to grab hair care products off a display shelf without wondering whether their latest haul will shave off half their paycheck. 

woman with naturally curly brown hair in a black and white striped shirt

The hardest part is finding a curl-friendly shampoo that doesn’t dry out hair or break the bank!  

If you can relate to this, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even better, there’s good news! There are plenty of cheap curly hair shampoos that can deliver gentle cleansing and incredible moisturization at bargain prices.

To help narrow down your choices, we’ve selected the best drugstore shampoos for curly hair right here! The curls of your dreams are within your reach — and your budget — with these hair care heavyweights. 

SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo (Coconut and Hibiscus)
Editor's Choice
  • Coconut oil and hibiscus extracts for intense hydration 
  • Lightweight and refreshing formula
  • Free of silicones, sulfates, parabens, and mineral oils
L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Premium Pick
  • Deep hydration with ultra-light formula
  • Equipped with an anti-fade system for color-treated hair 
  • Free of sulfates and harmful surfactants
Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo
Budget Pick
  • Contains citrus protein and nourishing oils 
  • Fortified with vitamins B3 and B6  
  • Free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens

Why Does Curly Hair Need Special Shampoo?

Most off-the-shelf and professional salon shampoos contain anionic surfactants that act as both cleansing and foaming agents. Simply put, they work up a nice lather and remove impurities from your hair and scalp. 

The catch? These strong substances don’t discriminate between excess oil and natural scalp oils needed for optimal hydration. Instead, they simply strip all oils off your hair. 

This isn’t such a problem for straight-haired or (most) wavy-haired folks. Any oils their shampoo removes from their hair will be replenished by their scalp without a hitch. 

woman with long auburn curly hair

For curly-haired individuals, on the other hand, things aren’t so simple. The twisty shape and structure of their strands make it harder for oils to travel down the hair shaft and keep their curls properly moisturized. 

So curlies can’t afford to lose natural oils to their shampoo! 

Here’s where low-poo shampoos come in. They’re formulated without harmful substances — including anionic surfactants like sulfates — to cleanse hair and clarify the scalp without drying out the hair. 

How to Choose Good Drugstore Shampoos for Curly Hair

So how do you find the best affordable shampoo for curly hair? Here are a few features you should look for before you make a purchase. 

Hydrating formula

To paraphrase an age-old mantra in real estate, hair care formulas for curly hair should be founded on a single principle: hydration, hydration, hydration. 

So it’s a good idea to look for moisturizing shampoos with hydrating ingredients, particularly fatty alcohols, humectants, and natural moisturizers. 

Let’s take a quick look at each of these. 

First, remember that there are good alcohols and bad alcohols for curly hair. Fatty alcohols or long-chain alcohols belong to the former!

Derived from the fatty acids of vegetable oils and/or animal fat, long-chain alcohols draw water and add slip or lubrication to the hair to aid in hydration and detangling. Examples include the following:

  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Cetearyl alcohol

Next, look for humectants in the ingredient list of your shampoo. These are substances that attract and retain moisture. Here are examples: 

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Aloe vera
  • Honey
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Butylene glycol

Lastly, natural moisturizers are simply hydrating ingredients derived from sources found in nature. They can act as humectants (which bind to water), occlusives (which lock in moisture), or emollients (which soften hair). 

Most of your favorite hair oils belong to this category! Here are examples:

  • Argan oil (emollient)
  • Almond oil (emollient)
  • Avocado oil (occlusive)
  • Coconut oil (occlusive)
  • Shea butter (occlusive)

Aside from boosting hydration, all of the ingredients above will also nourish and strengthen your curls!

Gentle cleansing properties

So if anionic surfactants are harmful to curly hair, which cleansing agents should you look for in the best drugstore shampoos for curly hair? The answer is cationic surfactants! 

These ingredients have both mild cleansing and conditioning properties that make them ideal for your delicate curls. Examples include the following:

  • Behentrimonium methosulfate
  • Cetrimonium chloride
  • Stearalkonium chloride
  • Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine

Free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and short-chain alcohols

In the Curly Girl Method, these harsh chemicals must be avoided at all costs. 

Why? Short-chain alcohols, parabens, and sulfates contribute greatly to frizz, dryness, damage, and scalp irritation. 

Silicones, mineral oils, and waxes, on the other hand, are difficult to remove from hair, leading to product buildup that blocks nourishing and moisturizing agents from penetrating the hair shaft.  

As much as possible, steer clear of the following ingredients:

Short-chain alcohols

  • Isopropyl alcohol 
  • Ethanol
  • Isopropanol
  • Propanol
  • Denatured alcohol


  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • Ammonium laureth sulfate


  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben


  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Cyclopentasiloxane


  • Mineral oil
  • Parrafin wax
  • Petrolatum

That said, plenty of curlies don’t follow CG restrictions to the letter. While they typically avoid parabens, some use non-CG-approved products with sulfates for stronger cleansing.

This is because these shampoos clarify the scalp and hair in ways CG-approved products can’t. Some curly-haired folks also prefer using shampoos and conditioners with silicones to help seal in moisture. 

Ultimately, it’s best to choose products suited to your specific needs. 

Balanced protein and moisture levels

While your shampoo should focus primarily on hydration, it’s also important that it provides added protein — specifically keratin, which makes up the majority of the composition of hair — to strengthen hair and enhance curl definition. 

Here are a few proteins and protein-loaded ingredients to look for in your shampoo:

  • Keratin
  • Hydrolyzed keratin
  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Amino acids
  • Soy
  • Oat
  • Hydrolyzed oat protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Keep in mind that the product you choose should strike the perfect balance between protein and moisture. You should also pick a shampoo with more protein if your hair is prone to breakage. 

On the flip side, it’s best to select a product with less protein if you have dull, stiff, straw-like, or low-porosity hair.   

11 Best Curly Hair Drugstore Shampoos

Still not sure how to choose a shampoo that fits your budget and criteria for quality hair care? 

Don’t worry; we’ve done the work for you! 

We’ve gone through thousands of products and selected 11 of the best drugstore shampoos for curly hair that’ll give you soft, fresh, and frizz-free hair without costing a fortune. 

SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo (Coconut and Hibiscus)

A unique blend of ultra-nourishing natural ingredients that deliver gentle, thorough cleansing and unparalleled moisturization — with a wallet-friendly price tag at that — makes this product the GOAT of curly hair shampoos. 

Key benefits: Hydrates hair; replenishes lost moisture; cleanses effectively; improves hair elasticity


  • Coconut oil and hibiscus extracts for intense hydration 
  • Lightweight and refreshing formula
  • Free of silicones, sulfates, parabens, and mineral oils 

High-performing and multitasking, this truly is the best of the best sulfate-free shampoos for curly hair!


Boasting a slim yet nutrient-packed ingredient list, the SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo wields each heavy hitter in its recipe to its fullest potential. 

Mild surfactants are used to remove dirt, grease, and buildup from your hair and scalp. Coconut oil, neem oil, and shea butter work together to soften and detangle your curls while restoring moisture lost during the cleansing process. 

Another superstar ingredient is aloe leaf juice, which adds hydration, soothes itch, and reduces dandruff. Finally, it uses hibiscus extracts to enhance elasticity and prevent breakage for soft, strong, bouncy, and irresistibly fragrant curls. 

Curlies also love pairing this shampoo with SheaMoisture’s Curl & Shine Conditioner, a top-notch conditioner for curly hair. 

CG-approved? Yes!

Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

From one of the household names in the beauty industry comes the best inexpensive shampoo for curly hair!

Key benefits: Strengthens and nourishes curls; tames frizz; keeps natural oils intact


  • Contains citrus protein and nourishing oils 
  • Fortified with vitamins B3 and B6  
  • Free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens

Thrice the nourishment for half the price of other products!


A friend to all hair types, the Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo is one of the best drugstore shampoos for wavy hair, curly hair, and kinky hair! 

This product’s claim to fame is its unbeatable strengthening formula. Loaded with proteins and B vitamins, it transforms weak, limp tresses into robust, well-defined curls. 

Unlike other low-poo shampoos, it lathers up well to give you a refreshingly gentle cleanse. Hydrating ingredients like fruit extracts and coconut, jojoba, and macadamia oils also lock in moisture to leave hair silky soft and tangle-free. 

CG-approved? No. It contains isopropyl alcohol, which cleanses hair but can leave it dry. For a CG-approved product from Garnier, try Whole Blends Sulfate Free Remedy Hibiscus and Shea, an affordable shampoo and conditioner package for curly hair.

L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Gentle, curl-loving ingredients. Lush lather. An exquisitely invigorating aroma that blooms and lingers. This shampoo has all you need for a salon-worthy hair treatment! 

Key benefits: Smooths curls; combats frizz; remains gentle on curls and colored hair 


  • Deep hydration with ultra-light formula
  • Equipped with an anti-fade system for color-treated hair 
  • Free of harmful salts, sulfates, and surfactants

Experience luxury hair care on a budget!


Who says only high-end shampoos can give your curls some well-deserved pampering? You can turn wash days into salon-like experiences with the affordable L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Sulfate-Free Shampoo! 

Infused with coconut oil and other moisturizing agents, this product cleanses without weighing down your hair or removing oils from the scalp. It also quenches parched curls to fight frizz and improve definition. 

For curlies looking to keep their dyed tresses vibrant, your search ends here. This salt- and sulfate-free product helps prevent quick fading too.

CG-approved? No. It contains silicones that seal in moisture but can build up on hair. Currently, there are no products from L’Oreal Paris that are CG-approved. 

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing Shampoo

Nature’s most powerful moisturizers come together in this revitalizing product, delivering maximum hydration to thirsty hair.

Key benefits: Softens and detangles; promotes hair growth; restores shine and volume


  • Combines the strengthening and nourishing powers of avocado and almond
  • Contains vitamins and botanical extracts
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and paraffin wax

Nourish your way to bouncier, glossier curls!


Specially formulated to replenish moisture loss and seal in hydration, the Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing Shampoo ranks highly among the best drugstore shampoos for dry curly hair.

The avocado and almond oils in its gentle formula permeate each strand to smooth curls and flatten raised cuticles, leaving your hair so soft you can get through tangles in seconds. 

It also cleanses, nourishes, and strengthens your mane while adding luster and volume. The result? Thick, oh-so-soft curls with a luminous shine!

CG-approved? Yes!

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl-Quenching Shampoo

Coconut oil, coconut milk, mango butter, and murumuru butter are only a few of the standout ingredients in this cleansing and moisturizing shampoo. 

Key benefits: Delivers and seals in moisture; suitable for curly, coily, and kinky hair


  • Provides serious hydration 
  • Creamy consistency for easy application
  • Free of sulfates and parabens

Dealing with coarse, crunchy curls? This is your ticket to supple, healthy-looking hair!


Blended with the company’s signature Coco Creme formula, the Carol’s Daughter Curl-Quenching Shampoo is the ultimate solution to stubborn dryness in naturally curly hair. 

The combination of gentle cleansers and rich oils and butters allows it to soften your hair while cleansing. Plus, it doesn’t stop at moisturizing your hair. It also ensures moisture retention, giving you a soft and gorgeously glossy mane. 

Want a complete Carol’s Daughter hair care package? This brand also offers the best curly hair shampoo and conditioner at drugstore prices, along with a moisture butter for long-lasting definition! 

CG-approved? No. It contains isopropyl alcohol and silicones, which can lead to dryness (especially with frequent use). Only select conditioners, hair oils, and styling products from Carol’s Daughter are CG-approved.

Maui Moisture Curl Quench Coconut Oil Shampoo

Can’t keep your frizz under control? No need to skip wash days; just use this shampoo for softer, more manageable hair.

Key benefits: Detangles and defines curls; enhances volume; protects color


  • Gentle moisturizing formula 
  • Contains aloe vera, coconut milk, papaya extract, and plumeria extract
  • Free of silicones, parabens, artificial dyes, and mineral oils

The best drugstore shampoo for thick, curly hair!


While straight hair types lack volume, curly hair tends to have far too much of it, especially when it’s too dry. To make your thick tresses easier to manage, nourish them with the Maui Moisture Curl Quench Coconut Oil Shampoo!

Aloe leaf juice is the first ingredient in its formula, ensuring incredible, high-quality hydration for dry, dense hair.

Other major players include coconut oil, papaya extract, and plumeria extract, all of which keep frizz, tangles, and dullness at bay. 

This product also clarifies the scalp while softening each strand. Best of all, it helps define curls! 

CG-approved? Yes!

Giovanni 2chic Repairing Shampoo

No need to hide fried, overprocessed hair with beanies and ponytails. This shampoo can restore your hair to its former glory so you can let your curls run free and wild shamelessly.   

Key benefits: Repairs damage; replenishes lost nutrients; hydrates and protects colored hair


  • Formulated with blackberry and coconut milk 
  • Provides nourishment and protection 
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils

Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, this is the best cheap shampoo for curly hair with visible damage. 


Damage from frequent dyeing, bleaching, and heat styling can’t be hidden away; it’s written all over crunchy, wiry curls.

 The good news? The Giovanni 2chic Repairing Shampoo can give your hair the moisture boost it needs! 

Using the restorative properties of blackberry and coconut milk, it revitalizes and rehydrates dry, frazzled hair. 

Its light vegan formula also includes nutrient-rich botanical extracts and fatty alcohols that cleanse and nourish each strand to bust frizz and protect the hair against future damage. 

On top of that, it helps seal color to ensure the vivid hues of your curls stay intact longer. 

CG-approved? Yes!

The Mane Choice Detangling Hydration Shampoo

Want to liven up wispy ringlets with a little volume? The growth-boosting ingredients in this shampoo give you a surefire way to get that long-coveted lush mane! 

Key benefits: Stimulates hair growth; encourages length retention; nourishes and moisturizes hair


  • Mild yet effective cleansing action
  • Contains ingredients that facilitate hair growth 
  • Free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and mineral oils

Breathe new life into thin, dull curls with this product! 


Though uncommon, some curlies have naturally thinner, less coarse hair. If you belong to this rare breed, more popular products for curly hair, which are formulated to help manage excess volume, may not work for you.  

What’s the alternative? Go for The Mane Choice Detangling Hydration Shampoo, the best curl shampoo for fine hair! 

Biotin, vitamin E, castor oil, and rosemary extracts are in its formula, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing breakage for noticeably fuller, longer, and stronger curls. 

Plus, it gently removes product residue and other impurities from your hair and scalp. Ideal for those pesky knots that form while shampooing, this product also dissolves tangles in a flash. 

CG-approved? Yes!

Pantene Gold Series Argan Oil Shampoo

Embrace your natural hair with products that treat it with the care and love it deserves, just like this knockout shampoo from Pantene. 

Key benefits: Softens dry hair; cleanses gently; treats damage


  • Deep and effective cleansing
  • Argan oil formula provides powerful hydration
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and dyes

Formulated by black stylists for black folks! 


Designed to highlight gorgeous features of Afro-textured hair and address its unique challenges, the Pantene Gold Series Argan Oil Shampoo is perfect for relaxed, transitioning, and natural hair! 

Its argan oil-infused formula gets rid of buildup and dead skin from your scalp without stripping natural oils off your strands. Plus, it helps smooth down raised cuticles to make your curls look and feel healthy from the inside out. 

Reviewers also love how sudsy it is, claiming that their hair feels fresh, clean, and soft after each use. 

CG-approved? Yes!

Pantene Gold Series Argan Oil Shampoo

Embrace your natural hair with products that treat it with the care and love it deserves, just like this knockout shampoo from Pantene. 

Key benefits: Softens dry hair; cleanses gently; treats damage


  • Deep and effective cleansing
  • Argan oil formula provides powerful hydration
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and dyes

Formulated by black stylists for black folks! 


Another exceptional product for curly and textured hair, the Dove Amplified Textures Sulfate-Free Moisturizing Shampoo focuses on sealing and adding moisture to dry locks. 

Hydrating ingredients like organic shea butter, coconut oil, aloe, and glycerin paired with Dove’s patented repair technology provide a can’t-miss formula that restores and enhances the natural texture of your hair.  

This shampoo also washes away dirt and buildup, protects against color fading, and gives curls and coils a lustrous shine — all at the same time.

CG-approved? Yes!

OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo

Hate that heavy, greasy feeling of product residue on your curls? Use this purifying shampoo to kick buildup to the curb for good. 

Key benefits: Clears buildup; adds shine; improves body and elasticity


  • Purifying and clarifying action
  • Crafted with coconut charcoal, and kaolin
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, and silicones

For a deep clean that nourishes, look to this shampoo! 


Every curly girl’s arsenal of can’t-live-without products involves gels, creams, and dry shampoos to bring out their gorgeous curl shape and pattern. But when these start building up, they can dry hair out and weigh it down. 

So what’s a gel-loving gal to do? Well, there’s a simple solution: reach for a clarifying shampoo like the OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo! It purges all traces of buildup from your hair and scalp, leaving a light, refreshed feeling.

Infused with activated coconut charcoal and kaolin, the formula can penetrate and break down even the most stubborn residue without causing dryness. Plus, it nourishes your hair and makes it shine!

CG-approved? Yes!

FAQs About Shampooing & Caring for Curly Hair

Is it okay to shampoo curly hair every day?

No. Even the best drugstore shampoos for curly hair can leave your hair dry and frizzy when used daily. 

Shampooing your hair once a week is enough to keep it fresh and clean. You can co-wash (or wash your hair with conditioner) between wash days to prevent grease and odor. 

Which shampoo is best for curly hair growth and thickness?

Protein-heavy shampoos with ingredients and nutrients that encourage hair growth, such as biotin, niacin, castor oil, and rosemary are typically best for this feat. 

The Mane Choice Detangling Hydration Shampoo contains all these ingredients, making it one of the best volumizing shampoos for curly hair. 

Which drugstore shampoo is good for frizzy hair?

Curlies agree that the SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo and the Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing Shampoo are particularly exceptional at keeping hair frizz-free.  

Achieve Clean, Healthy Hair with the Best Drugstore Shampoo for Curly Hair

Looking to cut back on your hair care expenses without risking damage to your curls?

Pick one of the high-quality and shockingly cheap shampoos for curly hair from our list above, all of which you can easily grab from Amazon or your local drugstore! 

Brunette woman with naturally curly hair in gray sweater

Remember that the best curly hair drugstore products emphasize hydration and nourishment above all else. 

So as long as you choose one with natural, high-quality ingredients that moisturize your tresses and match your curl type, you can’t go wrong! 

Find more amazing curl care tips and products here:

1 thought on “11 Best Drugstore Shampoos for Curly Hair ”

  1. Dominica Espinoza

    Is SheaMoisture brand shampoos and conditioners are safe if I have a Brazilian Blowout? It seems to be one of the most gentle of all the drugstore brands out there. Thank you so much.

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