No matter how much you might spend on it, there's something about shampoo that always feels like the most basic step of your hair routine. After all, sudsing up in the shower just isn't that exciting—it's the masks, hair oils and styling products that bring the fun later. While I am partial to a more expensive shampoo-and-conditioner duo, if you're looking to save some money, this is the place in your hair routine where I often recommend cutting costs, leaving you to invest more in your styling products instead. As a beauty editor, I have tested a lot of shampoos over the years, but while the luxe cleansers often feel great, and smell even better, there are plenty of drugstore shampoos that I use regularly and recommend to my friends who have a plethora of hair types.
Before we get into my favourites, it's important to note that a lot of inexpensive shampoos tend to contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), an ingredient that’s used purely to create that classic shampoo lather. This isn’t an issue for all hair types, as it is effective at removing grease from the hair, but it’s definitely an ingredient to watch out for if you have curly or Afro-textured hair, as it can leave hair looking and feeling drier than when you wash with an SLS-free shampoo.
If you’re constantly trying to smooth out frizz and flyaways, try this shampoo that contains Australian hemp seed extract to help with that. The formula is pretty clarifying and works well for greasy roots and straighter textures.
Protecting colour isn’t just about using gentler cleansers. To keep colour fresh, you have to protect it from UVA and UVB rays, which is exactly what this shampoo does when used alongside the range’s conditioner and masque.
This shampoo is formulated especially for finer hair textures and is great for soothing sensitive scalps. The lavender is calming, and the lack of silicone in the ingredients list means your hair will feel like its natural texture when it dries rather than weighed down with product.
For those who struggle with volume, this shampoo cleanses away any product residue that can weigh hair down. The texture is lightweight too, so once dried (if followed with the Volume Boost Bodifying Conditioner), your hair will look bouncier.
Of the new range from super stylist George Northwood, this is the most crowd-pleasing shampoo that works for most hair types. Ingredients include fermented minerals and sugar beet, which help with strengthening and moisture retention for all-round healthy hair.
When it comes to hair growth, focusing on root stimulation will help to get things moving, which is why this formula includes coffee seed extract and pea sprout extract—both of which are known to stimulate and aid growth.
Using a lot of styling products on Afro hair can lead to mammoth build-up come washday. This shampoo makes light work of cleansing away grime and build-up, so it’s a great clarifying option to have on hand.