Top 10 Best Drugstore Shampoos And Conditioners for Curly Hair 2022

Let’s face it! The lovely round curls on your head are the most unique yet the most challenging and complex textures amongst all hair types and textures.

This is because the round and coily shape of the strands does not let the natural oils of the scalp to be equally distributed throughout the hair, resulting in very dry and fragile hair with a lack of moisture. 

Therefore, it becomes even more challenging to find good and suitable hair care products for curly hair that do not turn your curls super greasy and weigh them down. It is paramount to look into products that give a nice balance of natural moisture and hydration for flawless and controlled curls. But can it be achieved with affordable products? The answer is yes!

A good hair care regimen can not (and should not) be always expensive which is why we have written this guide exclusively for people who are tired of spending money on high-end products and now want to try better drugstore options.

What Factors Are Important To Look For In The Best Drugstore Shampoos And Conditioners For Curly Hair?

To choose the best products for your curly hair, you should have to research and find the shampoo and conditioner that can plump up your curls, give shine and provide moisture to the hair shaft.

In this regard, these are some of the things you should always look for when choosing the best drugstore shampoo and conditioner for curly hair.

Moisturizing ingredients

First and foremost, of course the moisture!

Curly hair needs A LOT of moisture and hydration for its curls to look refreshed or else they might end up looking stiff and very dry. Because of having asymmetrical hair follicles, the moisture level is traveled unevenly leaving the hair shaft dry and brittle.

So it is best to choose products that offer a really good moisturization with natural oils or creamy formulations. 

If the drugstore shampoo or conditioner you have chosen has one or more of the following ingredients, then you are safe to give it a go for your beautiful curls!

  • Shea Butter: Tames unruly, frizzy curls and moisturizes to smoothen rough curly strands.
  • Coconut-based cleansers: Anything from Coconut oil to coconut water to coconut extracts help the most in nourishing curly hair exclusively. Deeply moisturizing and softening, it works the best to absorb moisture and strengthen roots and hair strands.
  • Natural oils: Oils like Jojoba, Almond, Avocado, Flaxseed, Marula oil, etc. provide intense moisture to the curls that are most required. Packed with Vitamin E, they stimulate hair growth and give controlled moisture.
  • Glycerin: Helps with conditioning and stopping hair breakage so it is best to heal damaged and dry curly hair.
  • Aloe Vera: Imparts the most hydration to quench the thirst for curly locks.

Protein

There are proteins that are important for your hair health but the body can not make them on its own. So you need to get it hydrolyzed directly from your hair cleansers.

Almost every hair product has different kinds of proteins in it because brands are aware of its high importance in terms of hydration and moisture.

Hydrolyzed proteins present in a shampoo and conditioner support and balance  the moisture level to make hair strong and healthy.

In simpler words, moisture and protein structures go hand in hand. If your shampoo or conditioner has nice natural oils or other moisturizing ingredients yet it is lacking protein level then your hair might turn out to be limp, lifeless and weak (also known as hygral fatigue).

  • Hydrolyzed (wheat, oat, soy) protein
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed keratin
  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Amino acids (Silk, milk, wheat, rice protein, etc.) are some of the examples of proteins that should be there in a drugstore hair product, especially for curly hair.
  • Sulfates and Paraben Free

Sulfates are added to a hair product to deeply cleanse the hair but long- term use of sulfates results in stripping the hair from the natural oils of your scalp which leads to brittle and fragile hair. 

Similarly, Parabens are used for preservation purposes to restrict the growth of bacteria and molds thus increasing the shelf life of the product but overuse can be quite harsh and harmful to your hair. Both of these ingredients can prove to be over-stripping to your curls since curly hair is already at risk of losing moisture and hydration.

Interestingly, most drugstore shampoos and conditioners opt for sulfates and parabens because their replacement for other high-quality ingredients comes at a cost.

However, a good drugstore shampoo and conditioner which aims to solve hair problems will be free of these harsh ingredients and would have as natural as possible high-quality ingredients present within it.

Hi-slip quality

Curly hair suffers the most with tangles and knots than their straight hair counterparts because of the unusual and coily texture and shape of the strand that can be easily intermingled together. It is due to this reason that a hi-slip shampoo and conditioner can be a game-changer for curls.

Hi-slip means the ability to lubricate and smoothen the hair such that you can easily run your fingers or comb through it without any tangle coming your way. 

So, a good drugstore conditioner or shampoo would work to detangle and tame the unruly knots to give you a good and controlled slip.

The porosity of the hair
Porosity is the quality of being porous which means that it affects how well moisture or natural oils pass in and out of your hair cuticles.

This factor should be taken into consideration before choosing any drugstore product for your curly hair.

  • Cuticles in low porosity curls are tightly bound together so there is minimal absorption and escape from the moisture outside (once the moisture is in). This means that there is a risk of buildup and products weighing your hair down because the moisture can not be easily absorbed and escaped. So it is better to choose a drugstore shampoo without a load of essential oils. Choose one with Glycerine or Honey instead or one which offers lightweight moisture.
  • Cuticles in high porosity curls are widely spaced so there is a lot of absorption but also a lot of escape of the moisture. Therefore, high porosity curls would require adequate hydration and moisture. So, choose a drugstore shampoo that offers maximum moisture in this case. For example, a shampoo with Aloe Vera and essential oils.
  • Cuticles in medium porosity curls are less tightly bound which means the porosity is normal and there is a nice balance in absorption and escaping of the moisture. In this ideal case, a good drugstore shampoo that promises moisture and hydration would work.

Best Drugstore Shampoos for Curly Hair: Our Top Picks 

Product Chief Ingredients Ideal for Rating
Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse shampoo Coconut oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Glycerin Coily Dry hair 4.7/5
SheaMoisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo for Damaged Hair

 

Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Peppermint, Apple Cider Vinegar Relaxed Curly Hair 4.6/5
Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo Sweet Clover, Rose, Aloe Vera Dehydrated Curly Hair 4.6/5
L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Shampoo 

 

Coconut Oil Frizzy Curls 4.5/5
Garnier Hair Care Fructis Triple Nutrition Curl Nourish Shampoo

 

Elasto Protein, Salicylic acid, Coconut Oil All Curl Types 4.5/5

Best Overall – Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating.  Cleanse Shampoo

Why Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo?

Dove, as a brand, gives women all around the world this inspiration to “look and feel their best” which comes with accepting and maintaining your natural look and celebrating your ‘real’ beauty in terms of skin and hair.

This is the reason why it is also a proud co-founder of the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World with No Racism) Coalition drivingr legislation to discourage hair discrimination and deem it illegal.

Here, Dove strives to bring into the limelight the beauty and uniqueness of textured hair and celebrate it by launching this wonderful and specific product to amplify textured hair. I love how thoughtful the brand has been in this case.

Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse shampoo, as the name denotes, works to cleanse and hydrate textured (curly, coily, and wavy) hair to give shine, body, and restore strength. It also moisturizes and amplifies curly hair for a clean, healthy, and bouncy look!

But why have we specifically chosen this product out of our top 5 picks? Let us explore!

Features Our Ratings
Infusion of natural ingredients 4.8/5
Value for money 4.8/5
Strength and Shine 4.7/5
Scent 4.8/5
Moisture and Hydration 4.8/5

The Formulation

Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo is thoughtfully formulated with Coconut Oil which is hands down one of the best moisturizing agents out there.

Coconut oil not only moisturizes dry and rough curly and coily hair but also nourishes them deeply. Because curly hair tends to grease, the infusion of Aloe Vera ensures apt removal of build-up and any potential grease to restore shine and give a clean feel to scalp and hair. 

On the other hand, the rich creaminess of Shea butter comes in to further combat dryness and reduce any kind of inflammation for a healthy scalp. It also works to tame frizzy, stubborn and rough cuticles of curly hair.

Glycerin in this formula prevents split ends and conditions itchy scalps; a problem mostly faced by curly hair, while providing another dose of moisture.

All in all, this whole moisture amplifying blend is amazing to nourish and repair curly locks and prevent them from further damage. I believe that Dove’s stress on maintaining your natural self also played a role here since it has tried to incorporate natural ingredients in its formulation which is great! 

Pros:

  • Boosts and plumps curly hair

It all comes with nice and balanced moisture and Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo does the job pretty well by adding moisturizing and hydrating ingredients to amplify and plump curly, coily, and wavy hair! The moisture is so controlled that it does not weigh the hair down and also respects the natural oils of the scalp.

  • Sulfate, Paraben, and Dye-free

Unusual for a drugstore shampoo, Dove Amplified Textures has totally eliminated any potential long-term hair damaging ingredients and is thus free from sulfates, paraben, and dyes.

  • Suitable for color and chemically treated hair

Due to its all-natural formulation and being free from harsh chemicals, it is completely color-safe.

  • High performance for dry hair

It is indeed hard to combat dryness in curly hair and very few drugstore products come up to the mark in terms of working efficiently for very dry hair.

Dove Amplified Textures Shampoo has so many moisturizing ingredients that it works as an intensive moisturizer and hydrator to quench the thirst for unruly and very dry locks. 

  • Unisex

Products made by Dove are very gentle and dermatologically tested. This specific product is suitable for men, women, and children to cleanse, nourish and moisturize.

People have even been using it on toddlers and infants above 6 months of age and they have given great reviews about their experience. 

  • No stress combing

I would say it is a great detangler as well. The hi-slip quality makes it one of the best choices in drugstore shampoos and the combing is effortless. 

  • Sustainable product

The product is certified by PETA for being cruelty free and the bottles are recyclable to help planet Earth.

Cons:

  • Does not produce much lather

Because it does not have sulfates, it seems obvious that it won’t make a lot of lather but a rich lather is always good.

Having a low lather would trick into putting more and more product onto the hair which can make the cleansing worse and may weigh the hair down.

  • Thin consistency

Again, thin consistency is a turn-off for me because you have to get a lot of product out and it can get a little messy. This also means that the shampoo would not last very long.

The Scent?

The scent is very pleasant and smells like real coconuts! I loved the experience of my hair wash while immersed in this kind of lovely smell.

Another great thing is that although the scent is wonderful, it is not too overpowering so people who do not like extra powerful smells would be comfortable with this scent too.

How does it feel on the scalp?

The consistency is gel-like but very runny and thin, so you need to be extra careful while taking the product out. When I used it for the first time, it was a real mess. So I would say, two big plumps are sufficient for average length hair.

Pour out the required quantity in your palms and rub the product. Then, simply apply to damp hair and scalp. Work into a rich lather, gently massaging from roots to the tips. Leave it for 2-3 minutes to gain maximum results. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if desired.

The product felt light-weight on the scalp which is great and the effect of Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera on the scalp was very soothing. However, the lather did not form well enough. Even after massaging for a minute, there was not that satisfactory rich lather I always crave.

Another thing I noticed was that it did not feel like penetrating too much into the scalp so I have no idea if it really managed to get deep into my hair follicles. 

The fragrance was worth melting for! It was heavenly and made the hair washing session enjoyable. 

After a quick rinse and a blow-dry, the hair felt amazingly soft, nourished, and hydrated especially from the tips. The moisture was not greasy but really felt light-weight on the scalp, just as the brand claims, so the scalp also felt hydrated and fresh.

Results after using it for a week?

I did a one week test and washed my hair with this shampoo around 3 times and found out that:

  • The first thing I felt was how it detangled the hair, which was a little surprising for me since this product does not promise to reduce tangles or knots. I ran a comb through my wet hair and the hi-slip quality made it quite effortless to comb. 
  • The hair felt amazingly moisturized without imparting a greasy look and without weighing the hair down.
  • After just 2 uses, I found the hair felt full of bounce and shine. The curls felt very much controlled yet soft and moisturized.
  • The refreshing scent lingered on for 3 days.

Now let us look at some personal reviews closely from full-time customers and bloggers.

“I have low porosity in the front half of my hair and medium porosity in the back half. I have a 3b/3c curl pattern and very dense hair. So I started using this shampoo because I am a Dove fan for their skin care gentle products.

After using this, I must say I am a fan of their hair care products too now! My curls look very soft and smooth. The lather was not rich but the smell was amazing. After drying out my hair, I can actually feel a lot of shine, vibrancy, and bounce in my hair. I would totally recommend this product.”

JeanetteJBeauty – Youtube Beauty Influencer.

“With Dove Amplifying Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo, I do not have to use any other product and the results are just as flawless.

Although I do use this range’s super slip conditioner to condition my hair, the shampoo is hands down amazing! I am saying it after using it for a month.

It defines my curls so well and literally amplifies my textured hair. The curls look super shiny, soft, and smooth. And the quantity is amazing for its price. Thanks Dove for this wonderful product!

Carly Jones.

Best for Relaxed Curly Hair – SheaMoisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo for Damaged Hair

SheaMoisture never fails to disappoint when it comes to curly hair problems. As the name denotes, this lovely product by SheaMoisture aims exclusively to strengthen and restore damaged curly hair.

Curly hair is difficult to handle but they are usually damaged further when passed through color and chemical treatments. This is where the amazing formulation of SheaMoisture Strengthen and Repair shampoo comes in. 

Infused with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, it works to promote hair growth by reducing hair breakage and resultant shedding which is a very common problem in chemically processed and heat-styled curly hair.

On the other hand, Shea Butter heavily moisturizes the dry and damaged curly hair that goes through chemical and color treatments, perming, hair straightening, and heating/flat ironing treatments very frequently, to repair and nourish them.

Pros:

  • Protects relaxed/chemically processed hair from damage. Repairs and strengthens them. 
  • Forms a rich lather even without sulfates. 
  • Lovely peppermint scent.
  • Free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, phthalates.
  • Very accessible. Widely available everywhere.
  • Sustainable product. Cruelty-free (never tested on animals).

Cons:

  • Watery consistency.
  • Peppermint Oil feels very tingly on the scalp.

Best for Brittle and Dehydrated Curls – Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo

One of the biggest problems curly hair faces is extreme brittleness and lack of hydration because of the uneven distribution of oils to the hair shaft, especially towards the ends of the hair. The curly, kinky, and wavy hair ends up losing shine because of this. 

To solve this major problem, Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo has incorporated the ever-green hydration of Aloe plant that never seems to dry plus Rose and Sweet Clover gives curly hair their lost healthy shine.

Pros:

  • Turns unruly and unmanageable hair into soft, manageable, and lustrous locks. Gives 3x more moisture and 6x more shine.
  • Best for even 4c hair. Great for thirsty and porous hair.
  • Free from Sulfates, Parabens, Petroleum, Mineral oil, and Artificial colors.
  • Irresistible fragrance.
  • Thick honey-like consistency hence a little goes a long way.

Cons:

  • A little pricey if compared to other drugstore products.
  • Inconvenient packaging; complaints of broken pumps.

Best for Frizz Control- L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Shampoo

Frizzy curls can be the most unpleasant form of apparent problem, amongst other hair concerns. Not with L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Shampoo! We all know that L’Oreal does not let us down to combat different hair problems but this time it has exclusively targeted curly hair to develop a lovely anti-frizz product. 

It has Coconut Oil which helps control frizz in curly locks without weighing them down. As a result, the curls are defined for up to 48 hours and feel very hydrated. Validated by professional hair colorists, it is safe for daily use.

Pros:

  • Defines and controls curls to give a beautiful, unique, frizz-free look.
  • Sulfates, salts, and surfactants are free so that it is non-stripping, unlike other curly hair products. 
  • Gentle formula; absolutely safe for color-treated hair.
  • Gluten-free and Vegan
  • Luscious and rich lather.
  • Climate pledge friendly. Cradle and Cradle certified. Uses compact packaging and other sustainable methods to positively impact people and the planet. 

Cons:

  • Overpowering smell.
  • May not work well on thick curls.
  • Not suitable for Keratin-treated hair.

Best for Dry and Scaly Scalp of All Curl Types –  Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Curl Nourish Shampoo

This amazing product by Garnier promises Triple Nutrition with three main ingredients, essential for curly locks; Coconut Oil, plant-derived Elasto Protein, and Salicylic acid. 

Coconut oil nourishes and improves the overall health of the hair, imparting moisture in the process while Elasto Protein builds a thicker-looking volume. As mentioned above, hair protein is highly important for strengthening hair along with moisture, especially for curly hair- which is why incorporating a combination of Elasto protein and Coconut oil is indeed a wise choice for a drugstore brand like Garnier.

Moreover, Salicylic Acid works to heal scaly and dry, patchy scalps of curly hair to bring out clean and refreshed skin.

Pros:

  • Builds a weightless yet voluminous look.
  • Enhances natural movement of the hair for defined and non-flaky curls.
  • Guaranteed frizz control. Works great in high humidity areas.
  • Protects hair from heating treatments up to 446 degrees.
  • Sulfates and Paraben Free. Suitable for all curl types.
  • Climate Pledge Friendly. Cradle and Cradle Certified. Bottles are made with recyclable plastic. 

Cons:

  • Does not really work for thick curls.
  • Artificial fruity scent.
  • Some people reported itchiness with this product.

Best Drugstore Conditioners for Curly Hair: Our Top Picks 

Product Chief Ingredients Ideal for  Rating
All About Curls Daily Cream Conditioner Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Soybean Oil, Marula Oil, Almond Extract, Soy Protein All Curl Types 4.9
Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Conditioner Rice Curl Complex Thin Curls 4.8
Maui Moisture Lightweight Curls Conditioner Aloe Vera, Flaxseed, Coconut Water, Citrus Oil Fine to Medium Curls 4.7
Design Essentials Detangling Conditioner Almond Oil, Avocado Oil All Curl Types 4.7
Kristin Ess Moisture Rich Curl Conditioner Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Linseed oil, Citric Acid Dry and Damaged Curls 4.6

Best Overall – All About Curls Daily Cream Conditioner

Why All About Curls Daily Cream Conditioner?

Our top-picks list has all the top-notch drugstore conditioners ideal for your curly hair. However, if I have to pick one as the best of the best amongst these, I would go for All About Curls Daily Cream Conditioner by Zotos Professional. 

A lesser-known brand yet delivering qualitative results; it had to be among our favorites. Also, I loved the fact that this drugstore brand is packed with so many essential and moisturizing ingredients!

But why have we chosen it as one of the best? Let us explore this conditioner in detail as well!

Features Our Ratings
Infusion of natural ingredients 5/5
Value for money 4.8/5
Strength and Shine 4.7/5
Scent 4.6/5
Moisture and Hydration 4.9/5

The Formulation

This product has Shea Butter, the moisturizing power of which I have already mentioned so it works to make the curls super silky and soft! Coconut oil, again a very moisturizing ingredient, aims to seal in the moisture imparted and nourish the curls for a plump look. 

Infusing oils like Soybean, Marula with a blend of Almond extract brings triple the hydration and nourishment. It is because Soybean oil is proven to promote hair growth as well as increase blood circulation to repair and heal hair follicles.

Marula oil, along with its proven moisturizing properties, also has occlusive (preventing water loss) properties so that the hydration remains intact and this, in turn, reduces frizz and brittleness of curly hair.

You will see Soy Protein here too which is necessary to strengthen hair and reduce hair breakage. So you see? The whole formulation is very balanced and not only works to promote strength and elasticity of the hair but also provides loads of moisture that your curly locks crave for!

Pros:

  • A triple dose of moisture and hydration

A very thoughtful formulation suggests the extra moisture and hydration that curly hair requires. Packed with many moisturizing ingredients, it provides more in less. For this reason, it also detangles and reduces frizz effectively.

  • Gives 3x more strength to the curls

Curly hair is more prone to damage and hair breakage than its straight hair counterpart.

For this reason, this amazing conditioner not only does its job of conditioning but also provides 3 times more strength and resistance to breakage than a normal cleanser or conditioner to define, defrizz and detangle curls. 

  • Suitable for all curl patterns

Curl types also range from 2a-4c (wavy to coily). All About Curls conditioner is suitable to be used by any curl type whether it is slight curls, waves, or extremely coily hair. It works regardless of any texture, style, or curl pattern and that is what I love about it!

  • Free from all the harsh chemicals

This conditioner is free from Sulfates, Parabens, Drying Alcohols, Artificial Dyes, Silicones, and Mineral Oils.

  • Sustainable product

I always admire if any product or brand tries to care for Planet green. This product is made from 100% Recyclable HDPE Bottles & Tubes with 25% Post-Consumer Resin PCR.

  • Cruelty-free and Color Safe

It is not tested on animals so it is a cruelty-free product and because of its nice and gentle formulation, it is also color-safe!

  • A little goes a long way

The quantity is great and a bottle lasts quite long.

  • Very budget-friendly

Drugstore brands are obviously not heavy on the pockets but this product is very affordable even amongst other drugstore brands. A full 32 Fl. Oz bottles cost only $19. 

Cons:

The only con I could find here was its packaging which is very old school and I absolutely do not like it. With the color contrast of the bottle and the text/visuals, everything is plain boring and unattractive.

The Scent?

The scent is a typical shampoo-like scent and does not smell like anything from their incorporated natural ingredients. But, it is a very light, clean, and refreshing scent and not overpowering at all.

How does it feel on the hair?

Conditioner is not for the scalp. It is for the hair only of course! So yes, I applied a coin-sized amount only on my palms and rubbed it. Then, I put it on my wet curls. (This is the right technique, please note!). I applied it all over the hair towards the tips (avoiding the roots). The hair did not feel coated or lumpy at all. It was again a very lightweight and easy application. 

I ran my fingers through the hair strands to detangle any knots (do not forget to do that) since this product claims to detangle curls as well. I let it sit for 3 minutes and rinsed it off with cold water. 

Pro tip: Rinsing with cold water is very beneficial for curly hair because it ensures the closing of your hair cuticles that have just been washed and conditioned. It also does not make the hair look frizzy!

After rinsing, the hair felt silky and soft like feathers! Trust me! And after drying, it gave an amazing bounce that I could flaunt all day.

Results after using it for a week?

Just like my Dove Amplified Textures Shampoo, I applied it three times in one week and found out that:

  • My hair looked super refreshed, clean, and soft.
  • The bounce and shine were real! After 2 times of use, the shine was not really apparent, but after a third wash voila! I found out that my hair is noticeably looking shinier.
  • The hype about detangling is also real! It was very much obvious during the shower as well. I ran a comb through my wet hair after just one wash and the tangles and knots were really disappearing one by one. Combing was effortless and a breeze.
  • I noticed less hair fall and negligible to no hair on my hairbrush after brushing my hair. This also makes me pass its claim of strengthening the hair.
  • Controlled moisture! Yes, I skipped two days of hair wash in the middle and the hair did not grease at all.
  • The scent was short-lived. It was just there for a couple of hours after the wash. However, my hair did not stink either.

Now let us look at some personal reviews closely from full-time customers and bloggers. 

“I tried it for the first time and did not find any noticeable difference but I always believe in giving at least 3 chances to a product to yield true results and I am glad Zotos Professional All About Curls has not disappointed me. My curls look very much defined, controlled and flawless after continuously using it for like 5 times. Love it!” – Sydney Lynn – Licensed Cosmetologist and Beauty Vlogger 

“Bouncy curls are synonymous with All About Curls! Believe me when I say it! I apply it before any styling and heat treatment and it makes the styling effortless. Also prevents heat damage and defines my curls up until my next wash day. Works great for my 3c hair.” – Claudia Jones

Best for Curl Retention – Not Your Mother’s Talk Curl Conditioner

This one product is in the limelight in the curl community these days because it has Rice Curl Complex, a specialized protein that is a blend of rice, keratin, amino acids, tomato bioferment, and different kinds of enzymes necessary for healthy hair. 

Especially designed to meet the needs of weak curly hair, it helps thin curls get the most of the nutrition of rice and vitamin B complex to improve hair strength and protect the hair from damage. As a result, the thin curls look plump, hydrated, and very much enhanced. 

Pros: 

  • Alcohol, Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, Silicones, and Dyes are free. 
  • Control frizz very effectively. 
  • 3 in 1 use. Can be used as a leave-in conditioner, rinse-out, and also a co-wash conditioner, depending on your choice.
  • Equally compatible and moisturizing for low as well as high porosity curls. Curly Girl approved.
  • Mild and lightly floral and fruity smell.
  • A little goes a long way.

Cons:

  • Very thick consistency due to which the product is hard to squeeze out of the pump.
  • Complaints of broken pumps and poor packaging.
  • Hard to rinse out. Needs proper rinsing or there will be lumps and residue behind. 

Best for Volume – Maui Moisture Lightweight Curls Conditioner

An ideal product for fine to medium curls, Maui Moisture Lightweight Curls has the combined goodness of 100 percent pure Aloe Vera for plenty of hydration as well as Flaxseed filled with Vitamin E and Omega 3 Fatty acids that soothe the scalp and improve hair growth. 

Citrus Oil works its magic to prevent hair loss and shedding by strengthening roots and hair follicles whereas Coconut Water which is packed with a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, fortifies hair strands to make your fine to medium curls look even thicker and voluminous. 

Pros:

  • Free from all the harsh additives like Sulfates, Parabens, Silicones, Sulfated surfactants, Synthetic dye, Mineral oils, and Gluten.
  • Gentle formula helps enhance curls and makes them healthy while adding 2x more shine.
  • Lightweight moisture; does not weigh the hair down.

Cons:

  • Overwhelming, artificial, and chemical smell. It may cause headaches in people sensitive to strong smells.
  • Does not really work on thick hair starting from the 3a-4c category. Not efficient in controlling frizz.

Best for Tangled Curly Hair – Design Essentials Detangling Conditioner

Tangles and knots are a nightmare for all hair types but curly hair is more prone to it owing to the spiral and coily shape of the strands that give major possibilities of intertwining. This completely takes away all the beauty of the curls.

It is, therefore, essential that you look for a good detangling conditioner to deeply condition your hair and have it break free from the shackles of unruly knots.

Design Essentials with Avocado oil works to strengthen the hair shaft to prevent hair breakage while imparting nice moisture Almond oil nourishes the hair from the roots to the tips to make each strand soft, tangle-free, and manageable.

Pros:

  • Rejuvenates the scalp by providing moisture and hydration to each strand. 
  • Saves up your detangling time with stress-free and effortless combing.
  • Compatible for all curl types ranging from 2a (wavy) to 4c (coily) hair. Also great for color and chemically treated hair.
  • Free from petroleum, mineral oils, paraffin, and parabens.
  • Suitable for daily use. Unisex; suitable for men, women, and children alike.

Cons:

  • A bit high price point w.r.t being a drugstore product.
  • May prove to be a bit heavy for very fine hair.
  • Contains Avocado so people with any allergy associated with Avocado should avoid this product.

Best for Keratin Treated Hair – Kristin Ess Moisture Rich Curl Conditioner

I see many curly-haired people going through different chemical treatments but dreading the aftercare. Fret not!

Kristin Ess Moisture Rich Curl Conditioner is here to rescue dry and damaged curls from frequent chemical treatments. It is best suited for Keratin-treated hair which usually many drugstore products skip keeping in mind. They may design color-safe products but completely neglect products safe for keratin-treated hair.

This conditioner is mainly focused on hi-slip, moisture, and curl definition. The power of Hydrolyzed Linseed oil (flaxseed oil) and Citric acid, not only helps in hair fall to stimulate hair growth but also makes your curly hair glossy and prevents dandruff and flakes to give you shiny, soft, and detangled smooth curls. Glycerine performs its duty of providing intense moisture to curly hair deprived of hydration due to repeated chemical treatments.

Pros:

  • Keratin and Color-safe. Protects from heating treatments/styling/flat ironing.
  • Best for those who do not want to wash their hair several times a week. Maintains refreshing scalp and hair even if you are an infrequent washer. 
  • Balanced moisture that does not make the hair greasy.
  • Sulfates, Phthalates, Parabens, Silicones, and Cruelty Free. Also Vegan.
  • Attractive packaging.

Cons:

  • Pricey when compared to other drugstore options.
  • Smells like chemicals; the kind of smell that you get after professional chemical treatments. 

FAQS

Is there any option in your list which is suited for seborrheic dermatitis?

Yes, many of the fine and natural ingredients work equally well to prevent dermatitis and scaly scalps, even if they are not medicated.

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Curl Nourish Shampoo is one product that helps with dermatitis and patchy, dry scalps.

SheaMoisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo also works for very dry scalps and people with seborrheic dermatitis have given great reviews about it.

I have low porosity hair. Can I use Dove Amplified Textures Cleansing Shampoo? 

Yes, absolutely. Although Dove Amplified Textures has Coconut oil which may make it harder to penetrate the cuticle, it also has Glycerine so it can easily absorb moisture. Therefore, you can safely use it.

Silicones usually add high shine and slip to the hair which is great for curly hair, so why have you advocated all the products that are silicone-free?

You are right!

It does condition hair by adding shine and slip but just like sulfates that do the job of cleansing pretty well (and in an affordable way), they tend to build upon the hair strands, in the long run, resulting in curls becoming heavy and ultimately losing their unique shape. And who wants that?

Which product is the most suitable and safe for high porosity hair?

Almost all of them. Any product which has essential oils, Aloe Vera, or butter to give sufficient hydration and moisture to the hair so that the escape of moisture is compensated, is fine to use.

Here, every product offers hydration and maximum moisture so you can safely use any. However, since I also recommend leave-in conditioners for high porosity hair, I would say Design Essentials Almond and Avocado Oil Conditioner would be the perfect fit for you!

Besides using a good drugstore shampoo and conditioner for curly hair, what other tips should I follow for curly hair?

To highlight only a few important ones briefly;

  • Do not rub the towel against your hair after hair wash. Instead use a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. This is because rubbing against a towel gives rise to friction which in turn encourages static and frizzy hair and may cause hair breakage to thin and fine hair.
  • Sleep on a cotton-satin or silk pillowcase to avoid friction. Cotton pillowcases are hard and again promote tangles and rough hair.
  • Use diffuser hair dryers. They are great for type 2 (wavy) hair because they tend to spread the air in smaller sections, creating nice curls while also preventing frizz.
  • Rinse your hair with cold water after shampooing and conditioning. This will close the cuticles and lock in the moisture inside. Washing with hot or even lukewarm water will open up the pores encouraging dirt and build-ups to accumulate your cuticles deep inside.

Conclusion

In today’s world, it is very fortunate that difficult textures and tones of curly hair and their relevant hair concerns are being addressed by various drugstore brands as well. 

Where once only a few professional or high-end brands were considered to solve major hair problems of curly, coily, and kinky hair types, now there is affordability and accessibility around. The only thing you require is detailed guidance and expert views and opinions which is why I wrote this guide for you so your curls stay as vibrant, as shiny, and as lovely as you are!

I hope that you find the right drugstore product(s) to use through this list. Whichever product you choose, make sure that you follow a good hair care regimen and take care of your locks.

May your curly hair always be hydrated, moisturized and flawless. Happy shampooing and conditioning!

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Jessica

I am Jessica Coles, a hairstyling and trends expert who also holds a master's degree in cosmetology. I am one of the leading hair care experts who has been offering support round the clock.

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