The Best Hydrating Shampoos and Conditioners


If your hair looks dry, feels brittle, or looks frizzy and you’re wondering what to do, changing up your haircare routine can help you smooth out those locks and enjoy soft, shiny hair days once again. Selecting a hydrating shampoo or conditioner is your first step in treating your hair to some much-needed moisture. But knowing what kind of shampoo or conditioner will actually lead to your desired moisture-restored results can be tricky. 

We’ve put together answers to some common questions, provided information on key ingredients to look out for, and created a list of the best hydrating shampoos and conditioners out there. Read on for the answers to all your dry hair questions, and discover the best hydrating shampoos and conditioners to quench your thirsty locks.  

What causes dry hair?

Hair becomes dry when it can no longer retain enough moisture. When your hair is healthy, the natural oils in the outer layers of your hair strands help protect the inner layers of the strands and keep them looking shiny. When your hair is dry, these outer layers have broken down, causing your hair to frizz and look dull. 

Dry hair can increase brittleness and damage, as the outer strand layer can no longer provide enough protection for the inner layers and hair fibers. This can lead to breakage and an increase to the dry, frizzy appearance of your hair. 

Environmental factors

Many factors can lead to dry hair. Environmental factors such as hot, dry weather, frequent swims in salty or chlorinated water, and a lot of time in wind and sun can cause dryness in the hair. 

Hair care practices

Various hair care practices can also dry out and damage your hair, such as chemical or heat treatments, frequent heat styling, washing your hair too often, or using a shampoo with detergents that are too harsh. Sometimes, haircare products can also leave too much residue on your hair, building up layers of product over time that prevent your hair from absorbing moisture, also leading to dryer strands. 

What makes a shampoo or conditioner hydrating?

Gentle cleansers

The great news is, you can restore moisture and shine to your hair by choosing a high quality, moisture-promoting shampoo, a super hydrating conditioner, or both. A 

great hydrating shampoo will contain gentle surfactants, which are ingredients in shampoo that lather and cleanse the hair. One of the best ways to help your hair is to prevent it from  drying out, so a shampoo with gentle sulfate cleansers, or sulfate-free cleansers, will be the best choice. 

You’ve probably heard that SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate, can damage your hair. The damage happens because harsher sulfate cleaners like SLS can strip away too many of the natural protective oils from your hair.  There are many great alternatives to SLS; the key is finding a shampoo with gentle cleansing alternatives that are still effective at cleaning your scalp and hair.

Hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids

The most hydrating shampoos and conditioners will contain hydrolyzed proteins or amino acids, which can help repair damage and bring moisture into your hair. Hydrolyzed proteins are proteins that have been broken up into their component amino acids and peptides, making the molecules small enough to get into your hair strands. Your hair is made of protein, and protein is made up of amino acids, so allowing small amino acids into your hair can help mend damage from within the strands, increasing hair strength. 

The proteins and component amino acids are also hydrophilic, meaning they easily attract water. They also act as film-forming humectants, which means they create a very light film on your hair strands, which attracts water and helps slow moisture loss from the hair, making them very effective at rehydrating your locks. 

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo


Blu Atlas shampoo is the perfect partner to accompany you on your rehydration journey. This shampoo is made from premium, science-backed ingredients, contains no harsh additives or fillers, effectively lathers and cleans, is gentle enough for regular use, and provides your hair with effective hydration. 

Cleaning ingredients

Key to this shampoo’s great cleansing ability is the three gentle, sulfate-free surfactants it utilizes. Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, all derived from coconut, work together to provide superb lathering and spreadability, effectively cleaning and removing any dirt and extra oil buildup without stripping your hair of its protective oils. 

Sometimes shampoos that use sulfate-free surfactants may not be strong enough to remove all the oily residue and dirt in your hair, but with three gentle surfactants working together, this shampoo will leave your scalp and hair thoroughly clean without any danger of increased dryness. 

Hydrating ingredients

To help hydrate your hair while you clean, Blu Atlas Shampoo contains hydrolyzed jojoba protein. As mentioned earlier, proteins that have been hydrolyzed are split into their component amino acids and peptides. 

The hydrating molecules in this shampoo can effectively work themselves into your hair strands and assist in repairing damage, while also acting as humectants, drawing moisture into the strands with them. The hydrolyzed jojoba protein can also create a light film over the strands, drawing moisture in and helping to slow moisture loss throughout the day without weighing your hair down. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Bonus helpful ingredients in this shampoo include aloe barbadensis leaf juice and saw palmetto leaf extract. Both of these contain vitamins and antioxidants that will help nourish your hair and scalp. These natural plant-based ingredients also have soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the scalp, promoting healthy hair cuticles and growth. 

2. Mill Creek Biotene H-24 Conditioner


All hair types can benefit from the deep conditioning effects this conditioner will add to your hair care routine, but those with very brittle, damaged, or color-treated hair may find this conditioner particularly helpful. 

Hydrating ingredients

Hydrolyzed collagen is the star ingredient of this conditioner; the beneficial peptides and amino acids it brings to the formula provide moisture to the skin and hair, and antioxidants to help reduce any inflammation in the scalp. The peptides and amino acids will work their way into the hair strands, drawing in moisture to hydrate your locks and repair damage. They’ll also create a nice, light film over the strands, smoothing out any frizz, sealing moisture in, and preventing it from evaporating out of your hair. 

Cysteine, another amino acid, helps add additional moisture, smoothing, and shine as it penetrates the hair shaft. It works alongside the hydrolyzed collagen to protect the hair from damage and further prevent moisture loss. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Several botanical extracts, including sage , rosemary , and birch , work together to provide additional nourishing and soothing benefits to your scalp. Sage can help nourish and stimulate the hair follicles, promoting hair growth, while rosemary and birch also stimulate hair follicles and help calm skin irritation and flaking. Biotin, a vitamin involved in keratin production, may assist with hair strengthening, helping prevent split ends and breakage. 

3. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner

Image13 Image6

Pureology’s delightful hydrating duo will leave your hair replenished, moisturized, and smelling divine. While you treat your hair to some rich, hydrating goodness, you can treat your senses too, with a relaxing blend of lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. 

Hydrating shampoo ingredients

This shampoo boasts several gentle, sulfate-free cleaners, and four hydrating ingredients to soak your locks and help retain moisture. Gentle cleaners including cocamidopropyl betaine  clean your hair effectively without increasing damage or dryness. 

As those cleaners work, your hair will be bathed in a combination of hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat amino acids, and hydrolyzed soy protein. Having multiple hydrolyzed proteins in this formula means your hair will be well moisturized and left with a light coating that will smooth out the strands and prevent too much moisture from escaping your hair. Wheat amino acids can help repair damage caused by heat or chemical treatments by working their way into the hair shaft and mending broken bonds.

Hydrating conditioner ingredients

Like the hydrate shampoo, this conditioner contains hydrolyzed vegetable proteins as well as wheat amino acids. This conditioner is the perfect follow-up to the hydrating cleansing experience you’ll get from using the shampoo, giving you a thick, moisturizing treatment, designed to nourish and soften the hair. Your hair will be smothered in a second coating of moisture-promoting ingredients, providing it with extra hydration and protection from moisture loss. The wheat amino acids and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins will stick around even after you rinse your hair, helping to repair damage and creating a light, protective coating on your strands without weighing them down or making your hair slick and oily. 

4. Juice Beauty Passion Flower Volumizing Shampoo


If your hair is looking a little dry and flat, this shampoo will help you hydrate your locks and see them looking full and bouncy once again. Thicker, fuller-looking hair fragranced with juicy passionfruit will follow a hair care routine that begins with this shampoo. 

Cleaning ingredients

Another shampoo with a trio of gentle detergents allows this formula to effectively clean excess oil and debris from your scalp and hair while promoting lustrous shine and smooth, moisturized strands from root to tip. One of these cleansers, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, helps create foam for excellent lather and spreadability, while being a superior non-irritating surfactant, making this shampoo great for delicate or sensitive skin types. 

Hydrating ingredients

To plump up the hair for volume and bounce, hydrolyzed barley and soy proteins work into the hair strands, drawing water in with them, swelling with moisture as they do so, giving your hair a thicker, fuller appearance. Also acting as film-forming humectants, the hydrolyzed proteins will help hold moisture in the hair and prevent it from drying out, for smooth, hydrated strands. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

This shampoo will also provide some nourishing, soothing care for your scalp with its added botanical ingredients. Apple juice, aloe leaf juice, and grape juice bring vitamins and antioxidants to your skin as they wash over your scalp, nourishing the hair cuticles and soothing any dryness or irritation on the scalp. 

5. Mielle Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner


If your hair is exceptionally damaged, dry, and desperate, then Mielle’s best selling deep conditioner may be the intense conditioning treatment you’ve been searching for. This premium organic formulation will reduce the frizz and help repair and hydrate your tresses with amino acids for that much-needed moisture to revive them and bring back the shine. 

Hydrating ingredients

Key to this conditioner’s deep conditioning capabilities is the numerous amino acids in its formula. All proteins, including those in hair, are made up of different amino acids that play a role in maintaining strength and moisture content. Arginine, in particular, is the star of this conditioner, as it is very effective at binding to the hair and bringing other amino acids and compounds with it. It helps additional molecules work into the hair that otherwise might not be able to stick properly to it and work their magic. 

Additionally, arginine stimulates the blood flow in the scalp, helping to promote hair growth. Glycine works into the hair and assists in protecting the hair fibers from further damage, while histidine and phenylalanine help increase hair strength, preventing brittleness and breakage. The numerous amino acids also retain moisture in the hair, with their ability to delicately coat the strands, reducing frizz and enhancing shine. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Babassu oil provides nourishment to the hair with its fatty acid content, which nourishes the strands while providing a protective coating on the hair without weighing it down, and helping the amino acids retain moisture. 

This conditioner works great for regular use after shampooing, and will give your hair all those essential amino acids that stick around even after rinsing. But if you’re looking to give your hair a deeper conditioning treatment, leave the conditioner on your hair for 15 minutes before rinsing to let your hair soak in all the goodness for a little longer. 

6. Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner



Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner is designed for all hair types, with a rich lathering experience, followed by a light conditioner that will leave your hair clean, moisturized, and shining bright. 

Hydrating shampoo ingredients

If your hair has some product buildup along with dryness, then this amino acid shampoo may provide you with exactly what you need. This shampoo contains several gentle cleansers, and one of them is sodium coco-sulfate. Yes, it is a sulfate, but don’t fret! Sodium coco-sulfate is much more mild than standard sulfates like SLS, and if your hair has a lot of product buildup, you might need a sulfate cleanser to get it all out. 

This shampoo is a great option because the gentle sulfate will work with the other cleansing agents to remove all the dirt and residue. It also promotes hydration by being gentle and providing some amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins to help hydrate your hair. 

Hydrating conditioner ingredients

Following up the amino acid shampoo with this conditioner will further ensure your hair doesn’t dry out from the deep clean. The conditioner coats your hair in hydrolyzed proteins and wheat amino acids right after you cleanse. The double dose of proteins and amino acids will ensure they properly penetrate your hair strands, drawing moisture in and hydrating from the inside out. With their film-forming humectant action, they’ll also provide you with a light layer of protection from moisture loss. 

7. Abba Gentle Conditioner


For a light conditioning experience that calms irritated or sensitive scalps, nourishes the hair, repairs damage, leaves it shiny and soft, and doubles as a leave-in treatment, this gentle conditioner could be the one for you. It’s ideal for a regular rinse-out conditioner, but also light enough that it makes a great leave-in conditioner for some extra nourishment, smoothness, and shine. 

Hydrating ingredients

Abba’s ProQuinoa Complex™ provides a combination of hydrolyzed quinoa, barley, and soy proteins, delivering a range of peptides and amino acids to your thirsty locks. If your hair has low porosity, meaning it finds it extra tricky to draw in moisture, then hydrolyzed quinoa provides effective moisture treatment, as the molecules are so small, they can find their way into the smallest spaces in the hair cuticles. 

Quinoa is a complex protein; it contains all of our essential amino acids, so it can help the keratin in your hair repair damage by slotting into any damaged areas, while also drawing moisture in with it. It also smooths out the hair cuticle, reducing any frizz. Hydrolyzed barley and soy provide additional moisture, and create a light, protective layer on the hair that both absorbs moisture and slows water loss. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

This conditioner also contains wild cherry bark extract, which contains antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Wild cherry bark can help with any sensitive or irritated scalp concerns and promote healthy skin. Aloe barbadensis leaf juice will also provide soothing benefits to the scalp. This conditioner is so light, it can get right down to the skin to promote scalp health without leaving heavy, waxy buildup on the scalp and hair. 

8. Viori Terrace Garden Shampoo Bar 


If you’re looking for an extremely gentle shampoo formula that will hydrate and condition as you cleanse, Viori’s Terrace Garden Shampoo Bar containing Longsheng rice water could be an optimal choice. Handcrafted using the same ingredients and beauty rituals employed by the Red Yao people of Longsheng, China, this shampoo bar promises to gently clean the scalp and hair while repairing, moisturizing, and adding shine. 

Hydrating ingredients

Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate allows this shampoo bar to provide a very gentle clean without causing any dryness or irritation. Behentrimonium methosulfate, a type of salt known for its effective but gentle conditioning and anti-static properties, helps reduce the friction between hair strands, preventing breakage, reducing tangles, and increasing manageability. It also leaves a light layer on the hair to help it hold its moisture. Hydrolyzed rice protein penetrates into the hair shaft, drawing in moisture and increasing the hair’s flexibility. This action helps to reduce the risk of breakage. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Longsheng rice water provides an anti-inflammatory treatment for the scalp and nourishes and strengthens the hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth. Aloe vera provides further nourishment and soothing benefits for the scalp, while jojoba oil helps moisturize the skin. 

9. SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner


To increase bounce and restore manageability to dry, brittle, low-porosity hair, SheaMoisture delivers a deep conditioning step to your hair care routine, full of nourishing butters, oils, and hydrating proteins. 

Hydrating ingredients

To provide hydration for your hair from the inside out, this conditioner contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and hydrolyzed rice protein. The hydrolyzed wheat protein helps replenish damaged hair, preventing weakness, and attracting moisture into the strands. Hydrolyzed rice protein reduces frizziness and adds shine by drawing additional moisture into the hair shaft and smoothing out the hair’s cuticles. The result is shiny, hydrated locks that are voluminous, bouncy, and free of tangles. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Mafura oil provides powerful moisturizing and antioxidant benefits for the scalp, treating dryness and inflammation, and supporting it to grow strong, healthy strands. Manuka honey is well-known for its antibacterial properties and will help clear out any bacteria from the scalp to reduce irritation and oily buildup. Coconut oil will also nourish and condition the scalp for added moisturization. 

10. Giovanni SMOOTH AS SILK™ Deeper Moisture Conditioner


For a super silky head of hair that’s a dream to comb and style, this deep conditioner will plump up your hair with moisture, smooth the cuticles, and reduce friction between the strands.

Hydrating ingredients: 

Hydrolyzed soy protein is well-known for restoring a glossy look and feel to the hair, increasing its suppleness and manageability. Those with thick, curly hair may find this conditioner works well for plumping up natural curls and smoothing out any frizz. The hydrolyzed protein molecules can penetrate deeply into the skin and hair due to their very small size, fitting into the cavities inside damaged curls and providing restorative effects from within. 

The proteins also form a very thin layer on the strands, absorbing moisture and also slowing water loss between washes. This protective layer helps to enhance curls, increase flexibility and reduce breakage. 

Additional beneficial ingredients

Citrus extracts provide vitamin C to your skin and hair, enhancing shine and nourishing the scalp and hair follicles. Mango extract helps increase the softness of the hair and smoothes out the strands for extra tangle prevention. Rosemary leaf and kelp extracts will provide further nourishment to the scalp and stimulate blood flow in the skin, promoting hair growth. Meanwhile, aloe leaf juice will help soothe any itchiness or dry skin. 


Do plant gels and extracts provide hydration?

They can provide hydration, but they need to be left on your hair to provide their hydrating benefits, such as those in a leave-in conditioner. Plant gels like aloe vera are film-forming humectants; they are hydrophilic, meaning they actively attract water. They are also very effective at creating a film on the hair, absorbing water, holding it in, and preventing it from escaping. 

But these ingredients are made of large molecules, so when they are in a regular rinse-out shampoo or conditioner, they get washed out. In contrast, hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids are small and can penetrate into your hair and stay there even after you rinse.

Plant extracts and gels can provide additional benefits that help with hydration in the long term, such as soothing the scalp and dry skin during a cleanse, which promotes healthy hair growth and sebum production,  allowing healthy, hydrated strands of hair to grow. 

Do oils hydrate hair? 

Oils don’t hydrate your hair, and if you’ve ever seen oil in water, you’ll understand why. Oils, like coconut oil, are hydrophobic, meaning they repel water, so they won’t bring moisture into your hair. They can, however, act as a sealant, and could be effective if used after a hydrating shampoo or conditioner, to seal in moisture and prevent it from evaporating. 

Similar to plant gels and extracts, oils can only provide this benefit as a leave-in product. However, they can also provide soothing and nourishing benefits to the scalp if included in a rinse-out shampoo or conditioner. 

Which hydrating shampoo or conditioner is best for me? 

The best hydrating shampoo and conditioner for you will depend on how dry your hair is, how sensitive your skin is, whether your hair has a lot of product or oil build-up and whether you want to use it daily or as a leave-in treatment. 

If you want something for frequent washes, a shampoo with multiple gentle cleansers in it, along with some hydrolyzed proteins or amino acids, would be great for restoring moisture to dry hair. You’ll get a thorough clean, and also provide your hair with hydrating ingredients that can draw moisture into your hair and slow moisture loss between washes. 

If you have a sensitive or itchy scalp, a shampoo or conditioner with added plant gels or extracts could be beneficial, as you’ll be giving your scalp and skin some soothing and calming action while you cleanse. 

For hair that is in extreme distress, a leave-in conditioner on occasion would be particularly helpful, and if it also contained hydrolyzed proteins or amino acids as well as plant gels or oils, you’d get the hydrating benefits of all those ingredients treating your hair throughout the day. 

Categories: Sponsored Post