Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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Table of Contents
Many shampoos advertise themselves as moisturizing, but some have more hydrating ingredients than others. To truly tell if a shampoo is moisturizing, take a look at its ingredients list and see if any of the following items are there.
While it may seem concerning to see 'alcohol' listed in your shampoo's ingredients, not all alcohols are alike. In fact, there is a specific kind of alcohol, fatty alcohols, that provides emollient, or moisturizing, properties. Because they smooth the surface of your hair, they help make it feel more supple and moisturized.
Fatty alcohols include lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, and behenyl alcohol. If you see these ingredients in your shampoo, rest assured that they will add a shine and softness to your hair.
Other alcohols, however, should be avoided, as they will do the opposite of fatty alcohols. They have quick evaporating properties and will wick moisture away from your hair, causing the cuticle to roughen and the entire length of hair to dry out. These include ethanol, SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.
Plant-derived oils are great for dry or damaged hair, as they also contain vitamins to nourish your hair. Argan oil contains an abundance of vitamin E and oleic acid. Shea butter contains vitamins A and E, and also offers some UV protection. Jojoba and olive oils likewise help maintain moisture for both your hair and your scalp.
While mineral oil may sound odd to use, it also provides highly moisturizing qualities. Cosmetic grade mineral oil is purified and tested to be safe for topical use. If you are still concerned about using a shampoo with mineral oil in it, try swiping a bit of product on your arm. If there is no redness or swelling in 24 hours, you will likely not get an allergic reaction from using the shampoo.
Dry and frizzy hair requires oils to hydrate the hair sheath and keep moisture at bay. When the hair sheath and cuticle are hydrated, they're less likely to swell or become curly and frizzy when exposed to humidity.
Argan oil, Moroccan oil, and coconut oil leave the hair silky smooth. If you have fine hair, you may want to use these products sparingly as they can weigh down the hair. These shampoos are also great for hair that gets a lot of heat damage as they can help restore hydration to the hair.
One thing to note is that in highly humid climates, humectants can actually over-moisturize your hair. By causing each strand of hair to absorb too much water, humectants can let the cuticle become rough and make your hair frizzy. Those with highly porous hair are especially susceptible to this. If you live in humid conditions, it may be best to avoid humectant ingredients.
Hyaluronic acid helps trap moisture in the hair and keep it locked in even after the shampoo is washed out. It can be used by all hair types since it won't leave your hair greasy or weighed down. It's gentle enough to use on processed hair as well or hair that is prone to breakage. Collagen-infused shampoos are also helpful in repairing broken or damaged hair.
Silicones like dimethicone provide a unique emollient property, as they create a film on the surface of hair strands that keeps moisture in and leaves hair shiny and tangle-free.
The main drawback to silicones in shampoos is that their unique film can also be a detriment if not properly washed out. Without the use of clarifying shampoos, or shampoos specifically formulated to get rid of buildup on your scalp, repeated use of silicones on your hair can create a waxy buildup, preventing new moisture from getting in and ultimately causing your hair to become brittle and weak.
Those with already damaged hair or with fine, delicate hair might choose to stay away from shampoos with silicone in them as a preventative measure. However, if you like the shiny look dimethicone provides, be sure to properly wash off any silicone buildup with an appropriate clarifying product.
Silicone-based products seal the hair cuticle, so they are great at controlling frizz and keeping the hair in place. I like silicone-based products for special events where you don't want the hair to move.
Surfactants are what actually clean your hair, by breaking down oils and grime so that water can rinse them away. However, if you are seeking out moisturizing shampoos because you have dry hair and a sensitive scalp, then using a shampoo with too harsh of a cleanser will only agitate it further.
Before you pick a bottle off the shelf, check the ingredient list. Ingredients in shampoo are listed in order: main ingredients first and minor ones last. See if you can find one with amino acids listed near the top if you're looking for their benefits.
Amino acids are gentle yet effective at cleaning the hair. They can remove all the dirt and oil from the hair and scalp leave your hair feeling squeaky clean. They don't dry out the hair but instead provide natural hydration.
Surfactants have got a bad reputation recently, but you see them a lot in commercial shampoos. Both SLS and SLES lather well and truly clean your hair. However, SLS travels deep into the skin to clean, which can cause irritation. On the other hand, SLES cleans just as well as SLS but isn’t quite so aggressive.
Sulfates in shampoos can not only dry out your hair or scalp, but they can also cause skin rashes and reactions, like dermatitis and hives. Sulfate-free shampoos are a much gentler way to clean the hair and the scalp.
As scalp and hair issues don't just stop at dryness, looking for shampoos with ingredients that target other issues can make your moisturizing shampoo and multi-use product.
Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is an example of a taurine-based component, and sodium or MEA-PEG-3 cocamide sulfate is an amide sulfate-based component. These ingredients are hypoallergenic and won’t irritate your scalp.
However, most of the beneficial claims about collagen come from anecdotal experience, with many people sharing their personal success stories about collagen. There have not been many studies on the actual benefits of collagen, so your experience with collagen may not be the same as others.
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Best Hydrating Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
Best Salon-Quality Moisturizing Shampoo
Best for Scalp Care While Moisturizing
Best Moisturizing Shampoo for Curly Hair
Best Drugstore Shampoo for Dry, Damaged Hair
Best Amino Acid Moisturizing Shampoo
Best for Protecting Curly Hair from Severe Weather Conditions
WOW Skin Science
Best Moisturizing Shampoo for Intense Scalp Care
Best for Fine, Brittle Hair
Best Oil-Based Shampoo
Pureology's Hydrate Shampoo was designed to work on nearly all hair types, from straight to curly haired individuals. With hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil, this shampoo revives dry and frizzy hair. It also is safe to use with colored hair. The aromatherapy blend has a scent of lavender, bergamot, and patchouli.
Olaplex has a patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. That, along with moisturizing ingredients such as coconut oil and noni fruit extracts, works to deeply hydrate and repair hair that is either dry from natural causes or from color and heat treatments. Dimethicone also adds a shine, luster, and coating of protection to the hair strands.
Some noted that this product produced 'crunchy' hair, and this could be due to the presence of silicone. Remember to introduce a clarifying product to truly wash off any silicone build up. Many reviewers use this shampoo in tandem with other Olaplex products and love the results. They feel that it truly repairs their hair, instead of merely hydrating it.
BIOLAGE aims to keep your hair 15 times more moisturized if you use their entire Hydrasource line. But even if you use just the shampoo, your hair will reap the smoothing and hydrating benefits of ingredients like aloe vera and guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride. Plus, the inclusion of salicylic acid helps control any dandruff and scalp acne that may also plague you.
Some reviewers dislike how strong the scent is, mentioning that they had to shampoo with another product to get the smell out. However, others mention that less is more, so reducing the amount used may mitigate this. Some reviewers have been using this product consistently for years, highlighting how this product is hydrating without being greasy.
This shampoo combines many curly hair-friendly ingredients to make for a hydrating but gentle washing experience. The combination of coconut oil, shea butter, and neem oil provides a thick texture, and the addition of silk proteins and hibiscus maintains hair growth and flexibility. You can maintain a shiny, smooth look without fear of breakage.
The biggest drawback reviewers noted is this shampoo can be too moisturizing, leaving their curls greasy. However, others left tips such as washing with a scalp brush and rinsing thoroughly to avoid that. Many reviewers enjoyed how, because this product is so hydrating, they need only a little to wash their entire scalp.
This addition to Dove Nutritive Solutions line offers keratin as its main ingredient, which helps to strengthen brittle hair damaged by heat treatments. While this may not seem obviously linked to moisture, by healing damaged hair, the keratin helps improve your hair's moisture retaining properties over time.
While many people dislike the smell, as it can come across as too artificial, many more liked the benefits this product gave, such as repairing hair damaged from aging, medical treatments, and harsh summer sun conditions. Many claim that this shampoo helped repair their hair after repeated use over weeks, thickening the strands and making them less prone to breakage.
This shampoo from Kiehl's aims to cleanse your hair through its use of amino acids as the main surfactant. Amino acid is significantly less harsh on the hair compared to common sulfates, so that, combined with hydrating coconut oil and conditioning hydrolyzed wheat protein, will gently cleanse, strengthen and smooth your hair. Plus, for eco-conscious consumers, this product also can be purchased with re-fillable packaging.
Reviewers did note that, since this product has such gentle cleansers, it may not work well for users dealing with build-up from styling products. However, for those who just want a gentle everyday shampoo, many loved how this product delivered just that. Various reported that their hair felt stronger and shinier over repeated, consistent use.
Another cause of dry hair is harsh weather conditions, such as direct sunlight and overly humid or dry climates. This shampoo from Ouidad aims to address those issues by combining moisturizing ingredients with protective ingredients such as dimethicone and ceramides. That way, your hair can still get the moisture it needs while being protected from weather conditions that can wick away hydration.
Some reviewers say despite the claim on the bottle, it did nothing to tame frizz in their hair. Otherwise, many reviewers who loved this product mention that they're from Florida or California! They say despite being outside all day, this shampoo helps their hair maintain its bounce, shine, and softness.
This shampoo does more than target dry hair issues. It also addresses a variety of scalp issues including dandruff, hair loss, and product build-up. Although it may seem odd to see a clarifying shampoo in a moisturizing shampoo list, the inclusion of argan oil combined with the smoothing properties of apple cider vinegar helps to control frizz and moisturize dry hair.
Some were conflicted about the scent, with some reviewers saying they liked how it masked the smell of vinegar while others found it overpowering. But for the most part, reviewers appreciate how this product gently cleansed their hair and moisturized their scalps. Many saw a noticeable increase in hair shine and strength.
This shampoo from Redken makes big claims, saying that with the use of the conditioner, this product will hydrate your hair up to 15 times better than a non-moisturizing shampoo. This is due to its inclusion of argan oil, an oil commonly used to moisturize hair, and a moisture care complex dedicated to hydrating your hair thoroughly.
Some claimed this product made their hair coarse and crunchy, which could be due to the presence of silicone. Other reviewers with all kinds of hair patterns love this shampoo, from kinky coily haired to bone straight-haired individuals. They all loved how this product bolstered their fine hair with shine, strength, and moisture.
This oil-based cleanser uses oil as moisturizing ingredients, but despite this, it still foams up easily for a gentle wash. It also contains thermus thermophillus ferment, which aims to provide the same kind of minerals and vitamins you would get from sitting in a Japanese hot spring bath.
While some reviewers mentioned their hair feeling greasy after washing with multiple pumps, it seems like less is more with this shampoo. If you like to blow dry your hair after washing it, reviewers note this product does exceptionally well, adding shine to any blowouts. They also enjoy how it doesn't weigh down their hair, noting it could be used without conditioner for normal-type scalps.
We can always use a little hydration in our haircare routines—especially when winter creeps up. Check out some of the best products to keep your hair in good shape below.
If you're unsure of where to look for your new moisturizing shampoo or are in need of a little inspiration, check out Amazon's best selling list of hair shampoos; but note that not all of these are suited for all hair types.
No. 3：Biolage｜Hydrasource Shampoo
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