The Best Moisturizing Shampoos and Conditioners
Do you suffer from dry, lifeless hair? You’re not alone. Factors like diet, climate, hair care choices, and even aging can lead to hair becoming more brittle.
Unfortunately, harsh shampoos can make your hair worse, particularly if you use them frequently. If dry hair isn’t treated appropriately, it can start to break and fray. There are plenty of nourishing options out there, however, that are specifically designed for hair that craves hydration.
We’ve counted down the top 15 best moisturizing shampoos—followed by the top 15 best moisturizing conditioners, that will replenish your hair without leaving it looking greasy.
The best moisturizing shampoos
1. Blu Atlas Shampoo
This shampoo is gentle enough for frequent washes, and it’s both cleansing and moisturizing. Ingredients include aloe vera, one of the most soothing plant ingredients out there for your hair and scalp.
If you’re experiencing brittleness or damage, the addition of saw palmetto and biotin will help to repair your hair and leave it stronger and more resilient. It’s unisex, and comes in classic and coconut apricot flavors.
Blu Atlas shampoo is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and it’s also vegan. It’s best followed by Blu Atlas conditioner.
2. Klorane Shampoo with Cupuaçu Butter
Designed for people with very dry hair, this shampoo cleanses and nourishes your locks, fortifying hair and boosting shine. It improves the appearance of damaged hair and split ends, and it can also improve your scalp condition if you find you struggle with skin flakes or itchiness.
The main ingredient, cupuaçu butter, is made from the seeds of cupuaçu trees, originating deep in the Amazonian rainforest. It’s an emollient with very powerful moisturizing qualities—and it’s increasingly being used in lipstick, moisturizers, and hair products.
Be aware that this shampoo is not really for all hair types—you shouldn’t share it with someone who struggles with oiliness. The shampoo is vegan and free from sulfates, silicones, and parabens.
3. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo
This shampoo does what it promises—it provides hair with intense hydration. It’s particularly good for those with damaged or thinning hair, leaving it softer, less brittle, and more manageable. Manuka honey has anti-aging and antioxidant properties, while mafura oil is a great moisturizer, found in many beauty products.
Other ingredients in this shampoo include fig extract and baobab oil with Vitamin C, which rejuvenate and invigorate the scalp and promote hair growth. Shea butter provides extra moisture and protects hair from environmental stressors.
The formula is cruelty-free and has no parabens, mineral oil or sulfates—it’s a healthy, nourishing treat for thirsty hair.
4. Pacifika Beauty Coconut Power Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo
This shampoo is suitable for hair weakened by chemical treatments, frequent straightening and blow drying. It provides gentle cleansing along with intense hydration, effectively removing grease and dirt from your locks. Ingredients include coconut, a great moisturizer, rice, which contains Vitamin E and B along with minerals, oyzanol, and pitera, and a blend of superfruits.
Users don’t recommend it for oily hair but say it delivers great results for dry and fragile hair. It has a light, pleasant coconut scent. It’s free from parabens and phthalates, and it’s also vegan and made without animal-testing.
5.Rahua Hydration Shampoo
With an exotic cocktail of ingredients from the Amazonian rainforest—including moreti oil, sacha inchi, rahua, and organic mango sugar—this shampoo stands out.
Rahua, which gives its name to the brand, is derived from the ungurahua nut. It’s supposed to revitalize hair and help to rebalance the scalp. The other ingredients promote shine and gloss, enhance hair growth, and reduce frizziness.
The shampoo is vegan, and free from parabens, silicones, sulfates, and gluten. People who use it say it will soften your hair and leave it smoother and more manageable. It’s designed for people who experience any level of dryness, and it has a fruity passion-fruit and mango fragrance.
6. American Crew Daily Shampoo
Marketed toward men, this shampoo is designed for all hair types—and it even produces good results on oily hair. Users say it’s particularly good at combating frizz. It contains Vitamin B5, rosemary, thyme, and keel, to repair hair and cleanse and rebalance the scalp.
It’s good value for money as well. Only a small amount is needed for shinier, softer, and more manageable hair. Most people who buy this shampoo are positive about it, however, some find that the smell, citrus mint, is a bit hit-and-miss. It’s vegan, silicone-free, and contains 84% naturally-derived ingredients.
7. ArtNaturals Argan Oil and Aloe Shampoo
With shea butter, aloe vera, linseed, sea buckthorn, coconut, and argan oil included on the ingredients list, this shampoo is great for repairing brittle and dry hair. It repairs split ends, boosts shine, and leaves your hair and scalp feeling nourished and hydrated. It’s suitable for all hair types, and sulfate-free.
It helps to reduce flaky scalp issues, frizziness and dandruff—and it’s even good for repairing split ends. Jojoba oil and B-Complex add weight and strength to fine, flyaway hair, while Vitamin E provides a deep clean.
8. Herbal Essences Renew Hydrate Coconut Milk Shampoo
This color-safe moisturizing shampoo is made with 90% naturally-derived ingredients. It’s affordable, easy to find in the pharmacist or supermarket, and it produces great results. It contains coconut extract to moisturize hair and aloe vera, which is famous for its soothing properties. A point of difference is this shampoo has a seal of approval from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which has internationally-recognised expertise in botany.
It’s also got a great scent—coconut combined with vanilla, with floral overtones. It’s free from parabens and colorants, and not tested on animals. It’s also made with recycled packaging—a great choice for people who are environmentally conscious.
9. Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive Replenishing Shampoo
This fresh-scented shampoo provides a double-dose of olives—olive leaf and olive oil. It should leave hair looking soft and bouncy, and feeling hydrated and smooth. Olive oil provides deep moisturization while olive leaf is packed full of antioxidants, and will help with irritation and inflammation. The natural ingredients are sourced sustainably, from Greece and Italy, and the formula is paraben-free.
10. Love Beauty & Planet Natural Argan Oil & Lavender Sulfate-Free Anti-Frizz Shampoo
Infused with French lavender and argan oil, sourced from a Berber women’s cooperative in Morocco, this shampoo is 93% naturally derived. It’s made without animal testing, and it’s also paraben-, phthalate-, and silicone-free, and free from hair dye. It’s another product designed for frequent use.
The lavender is treated in a traditional way—cut and left in the fields for two or three days—and Love Beauty and Planet says this is behind the shampo’s distinctive floral scent, which is aimed to boost your mood. People who use it say it is deeply moisturizing, great for dry hair and can be particularly helpful when dealing with dry scalp issues—however, others find it does cause issues with very sensitive skin, so it might be best to do a spot test first.
11. Kerastase Bain Magistral Shampoo for Very Dry Hair
This shampoo provides nutrition to damaged hair, and because it’s so light it’s good for fine, dry hair. Kerastase suggests it should be used to prepare hair for a treatment, so it’s in tip-top condition. After using this shampoo, your hair should feel soft, smooth, and supple, and it should look vibrant and glossy.
The key ingredients are iris roots, ceramides, and benzoin raisin. Iris, a powerful antioxidant, is nourishing to the scalp. Benzoin raisin is good for hydrating hair and preventing moisture loss, while ceramides create a glossy look and strengthen individual strands of hair. People who use it say it’s great for wavy, frizzy hair.
12. Aveeno Oat Milk Blend Shampoo
A daily, moisturizing shampoo for normal hair. The formula combines oats (to nourish hair) with almond milk, which is packed full of nutrients including iron and protein. Almond milk helps to improve hair texture, prevent infections and inflammation, promote hair growth, and “deep condition” hair. It’s also sulfate-, paraben-, and dye- free. People with sensitive skin will love this gentle formula—however, those with ultra-dry or damaged hair might benefit from something more tailored toward their needs.
The best moisturizing conditioners
1. Blu Atlas Conditioner
Whether your locks are thick or fine, straight or wavy, they will love the moisture this conditioner provides! It’s replenishing, hydrating, and gentle enough to use every day. It includes a nourishing blend of ingredients: barley protein (which leaves hair soft and shiny), white tea (an anti-inflammatory and humectant), argan oil (which is full of fatty acids and antioxidants), and avocado oil (a great moisturizer). Of the ingredients in the formula, 98% are naturally-derived.
Blu Atlas conditioner is unisex, and it comes in classic or coconut apricot flavor. It’s paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free, and vegan. It’s the perfect choice for people who want the best for their hair and who are also environmentally-conscious.
2. Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Another conditioner that is suitable for all hair types: People who use it say it leaves hair feeling soft, glossy and clean, and it’s particularly good for thinning and brittle hair. Olaplex claims that this conditioner can repair even extremely damaged hair, using an ingredient called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate.
Reviewers report that this is one of the best moisturizing shampoos and conditioners on the market, and it’s fantastic for color-treated hair. However, because it is a very thick formula, it’s best used sparingly, and applied to the mid-shaft of your hair rather than the scalp, to prevent buildup.
It’s pH-balanced and free from formaldehyde, phosphate, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, as well as gluten and nuts. It’s also made without animal testing.
3. OGX Renewing and Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner
This moisturizing conditioner will leave you with hair that feels stronger and more supple, and looks radiant, smooth, and silky. It contains cold-pressed argan oil, and it has a herby, citrus fragrance. Men who use this conditioner are pleased with the unisex scent! It’s suitable for all hair types—but if you have a sensitive scalp, you might want to try a patch test first. It’s made without sulfates and parabens.
4. Hair Food Avocado and Argan Oil Smoothing Conditioner
Avocado soothes and strengthens hair, while argan oil is a great moisturizer. This is a popular and affordable conditioner that will leave your hair looking smooth and shiny, and feeling hydrated and soft. It’s perfect for tamping down frizzy hair, and stopping breakage.
Users say it’s also suitable for sensitive scalps, and it works particularly well on curly hair. It’s sulfate- and paraben-free, and it doesn’t contain any dye. It’s part of an avocado and argan oil range: If you want more hydration, you could look at their hair oil, designed to leave hair more manageable.
5. Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Conditioner
This conditioner contains an unexpected secret ingredient—green caviar, an edible seaweed. With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s great for your hair and for your skin. This formula also contains protein, to smooth hair and build strength. People who use Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Conditioner say it’s great for curly hair, and it provides a lot of moisture without weighing hair down.
6. Pureology Hydrate Conditioner
With jojoba oil and shea butter, this conditioner is deeply moisturizing. It’s intended for dry, medium-to-thick hair, and it also protects color-treated hair, leaving hair vibrant and very soft. Users say it’s great for coarse and curly hair.
7. VERB Leave in Spray Conditioner
This leave-in conditioner is marketed toward all hair types, but users say it’s probably best for people who have dry hair. It’ll leave your hair looking sleek and shiny, and much more manageable. It’s suitable not only for adults but teens—it works well as a detangling spray.
Ingredients are argan oil, along with green tea, bamboo, and moringa oil. Green tea is supposed to promote hair growth and improve nutrient delivery—while bamboo is a natural source of silica, which improves hair and nails. Moringa oil provides deep hydration and prevents environmental damage. It’s paraben- and gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
8. SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yoghurt Hydrate & Repair Multi-Action Leave-In
This leave-in conditioner contains manuka honey, yogurt, mafura oil, and baobab, which improves hair condition and shine. This treatment reconditions hair and leaves it silky smooth and free from frizz. It also protects against heat styling and blow-drying. It’s ideal for dry and damaged hair, or hair that is prone to tangles.
9. Paris Ever Pure Glossing Conditioner
Designed for dry and color-treated hair, this conditioner is infused with argan oil. It also has a UV filter, to protect hair from the sunlight. People who use it also say it’s good for aging and gray hair, and will leave your hair looking sleek and glossy.
10. Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner
The salon-quality formula contains amino acids, vitamin E and ceramide to hydrate strands. People who use this conditioner say it can tame untamable hair—it’s particularly good for dry, curly hair, and it leaves hair softened, detangled, and in good condition. It’s PETA-approved and free from paraben and mineral oils.
11.Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner
From Italian brand Davines, this conditioner is particularly good for fluffy or frizzy hair. It contains minuta olive extract, which is rich in fatty acids and full of antioxidants. Although you’re supposed to wash it out after five to ten minutes, users say the thick texture is almost more reminiscent of a hair masque than a conditioner.
It’s good for taming flyaway locks, and creating a smoother-looking head of hair; however, it might not be the best choice for people with ultra-fine dry hair, as it also has the potential to create residue and buildup.
12. Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe and Oat Milk Ultra Soothing Conditioner
This ultra-gentle, hypoallergenic conditioner is not only gluten-free, but also free from soy and lactose. It doesn’t contain essential oils or fragrance. Aloe vera and oat milk nourish the hair: strengthening, smoothing, and promoting shine. Green tea extract also provides extra antioxidants. The formula is vegan, 99% naturally derived, and free from sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates.
This shampoo is marketed toward all hair types, and people with sensitive skin and eczema have said it works for them. However, if your hair is very dry or damaged, you might need a more intensive hydrating conditioner.
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if my hair is dry?
Often people don’t know until their hairdresser tells them. Telltale signs are noticeable frizziness, hair that feels rough to the touch (with a straw-like texture), and hair that appears visibly damaged, or keeps breaking off. Dry hair, particularly if your hair is light-colored, also often looks dull rather than glossy or shiny.
If you’re in doubt, you could try to do a flexibility test—wrap a strand of hair around your finger, and see how long it takes for it to snap. Dry hair has little to no flexibility, and will break quickly.
What causes dry hair?
Living in a hot, sunny climate can dry out hair, as can certain activities like swimming regularly in the sea or in chlorinated water. If you’re a swimmer, it’s important to wear a swimming cap or find a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. You could also invest in hair masks and deep conditioning treatments.
Sometimes hair care practices can also contribute to dryness, for instance, overwashing your hair, using a product which is too harsh for your hair, dying your hair frequently, or using heat styling products. Sometimes your health can also cause dryness: If you’re not getting all the nutrients you need your extremities, like your hair and nails, can suffer.
People who suffer from eating disorders often have dry hair due to malnourishment. Other health conditions that can contribute are thyroid issues, hypoparathyroidism (a rare condition which decreases calcium absorption), and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid, which causes a disruption in the hormones responsible for hair growth).
Unfortunately, as we age, our hair tends to become drier naturally. Our body also stops producing melanocytes, which give hair its color—that’s when we start seeing more gray and white hair. The reduction in pigment means our hair also becomes more and more fragile and brittle.
How can I improve the condition of my hair?
If you suspect your hair care routine is contributing to your dry hair, it’s a good idea to talk to your stylist and see if you can achieve the same results in a different way. Remember to always use a heat protection product when you straighten your hair or use electric curling irons.
Another good way to improve the health of your hair is through diet. Marine proteins make your hair look fuller, so think about adding seafood to the menu, such as salmon, oysters, mackerel, and tuna. Food rich in antioxidants, like walnuts, kidney beans, blueberries, broccoli, and tomatoes are also meant to be great for boosting the health of your hair.
Protecting yourself from the sun is also important—find a good sun hat that you can tuck your hair into during the summer months.
How should I care for dry hair?
Look for a moisturizing shampoo and hydrating conditioner—some of the best moisturizing shampoos and conditioners on the market are gentle, and suitable for regular use. When you condition, remember to focus on the mid-shafts and the ends of your hair, because these are the bits that get the driest and the most damaged. It’s best to wash your hair two-to-four times a week, rather than every day.
It’s a good idea to also look at deep conditioning treatments and hair masks from time to time, for instance, once a fortnight or once a month. Hair oils are also a potential option—a few drops can make your hair much easier to brush.
When it comes to choosing a haircut, you don’t want to go too long with dry or damaged hair, particularly if it’s fine, as it can develop split ends and start looking straggly. If you have a cut that’s below shoulder-length, remember to get it regularly trimmed to stop those ends from developing. When hair is in very bad condition, some people choose to cut it short, to make it more manageable, or transform it into a shag or a layered bob.
It’s best to brush your hair after it’s dry, as brushing it when it’s wet can cause more damage—you can, however, gently comb it with a wide-tooth comb. If it tends to get tangly, hair oil or a good detangling spray should help.
What’s the difference between a leave-in conditioner, and a mask?
Conditioner is usually left in for a maximum of five or ten minutes. It should be applied to clean hair, and it restores some moisture after shampooing and makes your hair soft and shiny. A mask on the other hand can be left in for hours, or even overnight. It provides deeper hydration to your hair, and is something you only need to use once a week or once a fortnight. Masks can also be used from root to tip, whereas it’s usually advisable not to use conditioner near your scalp.
Which natural ingredients are good for dry hair?
Many of the best moisturizing shampoos and conditioners draw on natural ingredients, and traditional knowledge. Here are some of the top ingredients that can be used to hydrate your hair—whether you’re struggling to decide which shampoo to buy, or you’re keen to try a home remedy:
- Avocado. Avocado is often found in shampoos and conditioners, because it’s rich in fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and extremely nourishing. You can also try an at-home avocado mask if you’re feeling brave. Avocado can be beaten together with an egg to make a smooth cream for your hair, which should be left on for at least an hour.
- Olive oil. Olive oil is rich in moisture, and is another ingredient that can sometimes be found in shampoos and conditioners. Warm olive oil can be applied directly to hair to try to improve condition.
- Tea. Generally speaking, antioxidant-rich green tea is the type of tea found in shampoos and conditioners. Occasionally white tea, which has humectant and anti-inflammatory properties, is also used—and apparently others can also be applied to hair to improve shine. If you’re fair-haired, a homemade chamomile treatment can leave your hair rejuvenated and refreshed, while brunettes should stick to black tea.
- Sandalwood oil. All you need is a few drops of this oil, mixed with a few drops of olive or jojoba oil. Rub into the mid-shafts/ends of your hair, for instance, for shine and more manageability.
- Coconut oil. An easy way to moisturize your hair is to apply a couple of tablespoons, bit by bit, to the mid-shafts/ends of your hair. It can be left on for an hour or longer, to thoroughly hydrate your hair.
- Almond oil. There are a lot of hair products and home treatments out there that use almond oil. A few drops can be rubbed through hair, or it can also be used in conjunction with avocado and even yogurt.