Help me keep my curls clean!
January 8, 2009 8:54 AM   Subscribe

What shampoo works for you?

To women, who have fairly dry, wavy/curly hair--what shampoo do you use? I only wash my hair about once a week (and really end up scrubbing the scalp with shampoo more than washing the hair). What are your favorites and why? I live in a cold climate in the winter and humid climate in the summer so take that into consideration (ie flat hair in winter, big hair in the summer)!
posted by rglass to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Klorane. I have hair like that, and I always come back to it after trying other brands. it has never failed me over the years.
posted by iamnotateenagegirl at 8:59 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

check out where there's LOTS of talk about how to handle curly hair. If you do nothing else, avoid anything with Sodiun Lauryl Sulfates - I find they make my hair frizz much more.

and don't ever brush your hair - use a wide toothed comb if you must, and preferably before you shampoo or at least while you're still in the shower (otherwise it may lead to frizzing - I just use my fingers as I shampoo/condition).

those are my best two tips for curly hair. for more, read Curly Girl book (you don't need to follow it to a tee but you'll pick up lots of good hints)
posted by evening at 9:06 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was going to say pretty much everything evening said.

Personally, I use Devachan's NoPoo about once a week or so, and use their conditioner and gel daily. All of their products are water-soluble, so they rinse out cleanly without shampoo. And, yeah, I never brush my hair, just finger-comb in the shower. I know it's time to get a trim when it starts getting difficult to finger-comb my hair.
posted by amarynth at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

For shampoo, I use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, but to me, it's ALL about conditioning the curls, for which I use Nexxus leave-in conditioner and Aussie moisturizing conditioner.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:26 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

My hair's also very fine, using some v05 hair conditioning (in the tube, the body/fine hair type is best) when your hair is dry before those days you shampoo. It's also very cheap. It's basically doing deep conditioning and then shampooing.

I've found leave-in conditioner (infusium), smoothing serum (textureline) for me makes more difference than the shampoo. (I usually go with infusium or aussie shampoo but likely there's better). For your routine, I'd try just the leave-in since the products might build up. Don't use silicones in your products if you're not using sulfates or you get major build-up too.
posted by ejaned8 at 9:31 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I go the baking soda and vinegar route and find it makes my wavy hair a lot more curly.
posted by MsMolly at 9:39 AM on January 8, 2009

Giovanni Smooth as Silk shampoo has made a big difference in defrizzifying my hair. I no longer get that post shampooing stripped feeling that no conditioner or styling product could ever quite put right.
posted by sarahw at 9:48 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a similar hair type (wavy/curly, crispy-dry at the ends) and recently clued in to the Curly Girl book & website, and ended up using Aubrey Organics shampoo and conditioner. I use the Island Naturals with good success--curls are soft & hydrated but not flat, fuzzy, or limp. Some complain about the odor of their products, because they tend to be strong, but I've found that the odor doesn't go beyond the wet-hair stage at all and overall find them less perfumed than other products. You can get a bunch of trial sizes (for a small cost) on their website.

The other thing about the Aubrey shampoos that you may not like is that they don't lather much. At least the Island Naturals doesn't.
posted by dreamphone at 9:55 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have the same hair type as you. Even if you don't have dandruff, you may like the results you get from Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky shampoo. I especially like to use it in the winter when my scalp feels dry and tight because of all the indoor heat.
posted by cloudsandstars at 9:55 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I discovered that my naturally wavy, uncooperative hair seems to like TRESemme shampoo and conditioner best (I usually buy the kind for damaged hair). I've also had good results with Aveda Smooth Infusion. I towel dry until it's just damp, add the product/comb through with fingers, then blow dry my hair with an ionic dryer. I'll admit that I've relaxed my hair with Organic Root Stimulator (never more frequently than every 6 months). I don't brush my hair much, either. Mostly use fingers.
posted by xiaolongbao at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

My hair is similar and two things really helped me, Pureology shampoo and adding vitamin C powder to my bath. I get the powder from GNC or whole foods. The vitamin C neutralizes the cholramine most cities use to treat their water. The chloramine dries out some people's hair and skin. In my case, the vitamin C made a big difference to the body and shine in my hair and I stopped getting dry skin on my legs.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 10:01 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rotate, rotate, rotate. Never use the same shampoo twice in a row.

[Added bonus: you buy a handful of shampoos in January and don't have to restock for months.]
posted by ceri richard at 10:04 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have really dry, really curly hair and I use Lush Cynthia Sylvia Stout shampoo. It's really, really awesome and I went from only being able to wash my hair once a week/conditioning every day (and my hair was still dry!) to washing every other day/conditioning every day (and my hair's great!). It gives my hair some weight (I have really fine, thin hair), so if you have thick hair, shampooing with it once a week might be the ticket. If it helps, I pair it with the Lush Coolaulin conditioner, which I also love, it's nice and light, leaves my hair grease-free.
posted by ailouros08 at 10:10 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree with never use the same shampoo twice in a row, I rotate through a couple of shampoos and conditioners.

What works best for me though is Dr. Bronner's castile soap (I like the peppermint) and a "hydrating" conditioner of some kind, plus a leave in conditioner. The Dr. Bronner's is nice, because it doesn't strip the oil out of your hair; a lot of times I probably don't need the conditioner, but use it out of habit.
posted by backwords at 10:10 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use matrix curl life shampoo & conditioner.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just started using L'Occitane Shea Butter Shampoo along with their conditioner. The "luxury" factor had me kinda skeptical, but I found my hair felt like pure silk after using it. My previous combination was Paul Mitchell Tea Tree and their "Detangler" conditioner, which always ended up making my hair frizz up once it dried. I usually had to gel it in place while wet if I wanted to avoid that. With this stuff, my hair curled beautifully on its own without the gel or anything else once it dried.

The container sizes are a little small, but since the liquid is rather dense, you don't need to use much. They also seem to have a couple boutiques in St. Louis, if the mail order thing isn't your bag.
posted by arishaun at 10:29 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thirding evening's post, with the added note that I don't use shampoo at all, ever. My hair is thick and very wavy, and when I would use shampoo, more often than not it was a frizzy, uncontrollable mess. Now I "wash" my hair once or twice a week with VO5 Green Tea Conditioner - you can really scrub your scalp with this, rinse and then follow up with a heavy conditioner on the ends and let it sit for a few minutes. I like the Nature's Gate brand, and they smell great! If you try this, be warned that for the first 4 weeks, your scalp will be greasy, but it WILL adjust and you will be rewarded with really lovely hair. I've been doing this for two years and haven't looked back, and I also get lots of compliments on my hair :) The message boards on are great for tips & suggestions.message boards
posted by bahama mama at 10:31 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kiss My Face Olive Honey bar soap is excellent as shampoo, honey is a natural humectant.
posted by hortense at 10:51 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like the Devachan products so much that sometimes I want to approach curly-haired strangers and just make sure they know about them.
posted by janet lynn at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Kerastase Bain Oleo-Curl. I live in the same kind of climate, and this shampoo makes an awesome, awesome difference -- my hair has basically no frizz to it anymore, just lovely soft curl & wave. I used to think that fancy salon shampoos were no different than the nicer grocery store brands, but after getting a free bottle from a friend, I found out just how wrong I was. It's more expensive, but you don't need to use much (somewhere between a dime and quarter-sized dollop, depending on how long your hair is) and it is truly awesome. Awesome, I tell you.

Other than the shampoo, I also use 2 conditioners and a very light anti-frizz serum. I still just use regular grocery store brands for these (Infusium conditioner, Infusium leave-in treatment, and a small amount of Garnier Sleek & Shine serum). I periodically rotate through different types of conditioner if I feel they're not working as well anymore. But it's not just the conditioners -- I was using these same products before the Kerastase and my hair wasn't half so awesome. It makes me super-happy because I used to hate my hair (frizzy, dry, split ends) and now I love it.
posted by ourobouros at 11:55 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

I have very long, naturally curly hair and live in a humid climate. I use the version of Pantene made for curly hair and Infusium leave in conditioner (original, not the kind that's made for curls/frizz).

My hair, if I may say so, looks killer and feels great.
posted by _Mona_ at 12:08 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have long (to the small of my back), dry, wavy hair and use Aussie Moist shampoo every few days. I've stopped conditioning because my scalp acts up, so instead I used the Aveda Light Elements smoothing fluid which works great and smells really nice too. I've tried a bunch of different shampoos and this one is definitely the most effective for me. Plus, the Aussie brand is pretty cheap and that's important when you've got a lot of hair!

Also, I just moved from a very humid warm climate to a significantly colder (brrrr!) and drier one and didn't notice my hair acting up. So I think it's pretty good year round.
posted by Mouse Army at 1:18 PM on January 8, 2009

I have hair just like yours and I don't use shampoo at all. I massage my hair/scalp everyday with a copious amount of conditioner. I have been doing this for about 6 months now and my hair is far more manageable and I have never had a problem with dirty looking hair or dandruff.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:27 PM on January 8, 2009

If you have hard water, I highly recommend Ouidad's Water Works shampoo. I use it about every four shampoos or so, and it keeps my apartment's horrible water from making my curly hair look dull and frizzy.

I like Ouidad products in general (I have nightmares in which they discontinue their Climate Control styling gel). Right now I'm using their Clear & Gentle shampoo, which is okay but not fantastic, and I think I might switch over to the Curl Quencher line, which I remember really liking in the past. In general, though, I think conditioner and styling products have more of an influence on the way your hair looks than shampoo does (aside from the aforementioned hard water issue).
posted by pluckemin at 2:30 PM on January 8, 2009

I have medium-ish wavy hair. I've tried just about all the supermarket shampoos as well as the no-wash route. Supermarket stuff made my hair frizzy and, since I use a styling cream or pomade every now and then, washing rarely seemed to leave a dull build-up in my hair. My favorite shampoo and conditioner now is Kiss My Face Big Body. I like the way it smells, too, but I've also heard complaints about the's sort of a rosemary, lavender smell. Some would call it medicinal...I call it fresh. I really like the idea of using an organic shampoo and conditioner, too. Rosemary water (which is a natural cleanser) and chamomile are the top two ingredients. I wash my hair every other day, now. And don't brush. I'm still looking for a good, affordable, natural styling product, though...
posted by sarahalisonmiller at 4:53 PM on January 8, 2009

Hey! Man here with long hair like yours. :^) If you're willing to accept my ideas:

Foam Pants: I massage my hair/scalp everyday with a copious amount of conditioner. I have been doing this for about 6 months now and my hair is far more manageable and I have never had a problem with dirty looking hair or dandruff.

Seconded, except, every two to three weeks, I use Paul Mitchell Shampoo II.
posted by quarantine at 7:33 PM on January 8, 2009

no poo
posted by ihope at 12:05 PM on January 9, 2009

Redken All Soft. It's on the pricey side, but since it's a higher quality product than what you'll find in most drugstores you can use less of it each time (I have shoulder-length thick hair and only use a dime-sized amount of shampoo, and a little more conditioner), so it lasts a while and is totally worth it.
posted by easy_being_green at 1:22 PM on January 9, 2009

Nthing the Curly Girl book and particularly using conditioner to clean hair. More info here or in the book...
posted by Bigbrowncow at 12:41 AM on January 10, 2009

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