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I've Tried Basically Every Shampoo, But These Are the Best Affordable Ones

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.

So if you’re looking for shampoos that are affordable but cleanse amazingly, keep scrolling for 21 of the best drugstore shampoos—all for £13 and under.

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 aims to re-create the effects of a smoothing Brazilian blow-dry at home with a keratin infusion to help smooth the hair cuticle for silky hair.

This sulphate-free shampoo is great for loose curls. It cleanses well but doesn’t strip moisture, and the coconut oil, sweet honey and citrus oil aid in sealing in hydration. 

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.

Whether you’ve dyed your hair brunette or it’s your natural hue, this will help to keep the tone far from brassy. The green neutralises any unwanted red and cools down the base colour.

If your grey or platinum-blonde hair is looking slightly yellowish, then this will knock out any unwanted tones and leave your strands looking bright.

This formula really works for thick and curly hair. It doesn’t strip moisture, and the shea butter and coconut oil propping up the ingredients list help to create shiny, healthy-looking curls.

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.

Aloe vera juice, coconut water, shea butter, macadamia and coconut oil are all at play in this formula for a silky-soft finish once rinsed out.

If you have super-bleached blonde hair, this shampoo will impart a soft pearl tone. Trust me—your locks will have a beautiful, rich sheen post-drying. 

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. 

For coily hair, this is a good option as a clarifying wash that doesn’t completely strip the hair of moisture thanks to the shea butter.

This shampoo is for anyone who has anything from a slight wave to a coil. When rinsed, hair feels noticeably softer and curls look defined.

Finer, more delicate hair types will find that this shampoo helps to strengthen thanks to biotin in the formula, while argan oil coats the hair, leaving it silky smooth. 

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.

Looking for something eco-friendly and gentle? This co-wash bar does have a low lather for cleansing but is incredibly softening, too.

A tangle-free washday doesn’t have to be just a dream with this shampoo. Seriously, it really does aid in detangling thick, coily hair after washing.

For tightly coiled hair or Afro-textured hair in locs, using this bar lathered up slightly gives a mild but effective clean for the hair and scalp.

This co-wash is a true shampoo-and-conditioner hybrid with a light lather but extreme moisturising benefits thanks to the Jamaican black castor oil.

Up next, these low-maintenance hair trends are going to dominate in 2021.

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