The 17 Best Shampoos for Wavy Hair of 2023 for Defined, Bouncy Styles

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From fine to thick, there’s a shampoo for every hair type.

<p>InStyle / Alli Waataja</p>

InStyle / Alli Waataja

Of all the different hair types out there, wavy hair is one of the most difficult to define. It’s not quite curly, yet it’s not quite straight, which places it in a nebulous state, landing somewhere in between the two. Since it’s not one or the other, that can make it difficult to find the right shampoo.

And though the versatility of wavy hair gives you free range to master practically any style, trying to do so is an exercise in futility if you’re not using the right formula that caters to your specific texture, length, and hair density. Sudsing up with something a little too heavy can cause finer wavy hair to look oily fast, but using something too lightweight may not give you that satisfying squeaky clean feeling. Fortunately, we found experts who specialize in understanding what it takes to tame wild waves and smooth tresses while enhancing your natural curl pattern.

With their guidance and by seeking out formulas with hydrating butters, lightweight formulas, and essential oils, we tapped into the magic concoction of ingredients that’ll define your S-shaped waves and give your hair a glossy vibrancy.

Related: These 13 Best Leave-In-Conditioners of 2023 Will Leave Your Hair Smooth and Hydrated

Best Overall: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-in Defining Crème

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What We Love: The creamy, lightweight shampoo contains natural, vitamin-rich ingredients that hold your waves in place and prevents frizz.

What We Don’t Love: A little goes a long way — using too much could leave you with weighted strands.

If your waves could take a vitality shot, it would include the nourishing ingredients found in this Briogeo shampoo. With a formula composed of 95 percent naturally-derived ingredients, Michael Dueñas, celebrity hair stylist and founder of Veluer Creative, says that “it boosts sheen and body in the hair while adding intense moisture.”

Rice amino acids take center stage, acting like a cuticle laminator as they seal in moisture and block out frizz, all while making your strands stronger with vitamins E and B.  Coming in as a close second, quinoa — a protein-packed super ingredient — will not only hydrate the hair, but will also strengthen it, courtesy of its antioxidants and amino acids, to prevent waves from falling flat.

Meanwhile, a trio of intense humectants — avocado oil, glycerin, and tomato fruit ferment — douse it in hydration, imparting shine and softness from root to end.

Suffice it to say, there’s a lot happening here, and even though all of these ingredients are lightweight, we’d still lather with about a  dime-sized amount of product to ensure you’re not loading down your hair with too many oils.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: 6 oz | Key Ingredients: Rice amino, avocado oil, quinoa extract | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Budget: Pantene Nutrient Blends Unbreakable Lengths Sulfate-Free Shampoo

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What We Love: The sulfate-free formula uses rice as its main ingredient to strengthen the hair, leaving it smoother and stronger in the process. 

What We Don’t Love: It could do a better job of leaving the hair feeling more moisturized. 

Yao women of southern China were the first people to integrate fermented rice water into their hair care. Fast-forward a couple of centuries and this ingredient is taking over our social media algorithms today — and for good reason, too.

Take Pantene’s latest sulfate and silicone-free formula, which is full of antioxidant-rich rice water and rice bran, to give you the strongest hair imaginable. Pantene also included pro-vitamin B5 which has restorative, smoothing properties that can revive hair that can shield hair against environmental factors like pollution and revive heat or color-damaged strands.

After testing the product for several weeks, we can vouch that the formula does everything it promises: Our strands felt softer after one wash, and over time we were thrilled to see our hair grow out with no split ends or breakage. We know these luxe results don’t sound like they came from a $9 bottle, but trust this is a pick you shouldn’t skip on your next Insta-cart order.

Paired alongside the conditioner, this duo provides enough moisture to satiate dry, wavy hair.

Price at time of publish: $9

Size: 9.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Rice water, pro-vitamin B-5, sodium citrate | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo

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What We Love: The shampoo uses plant-based ingredients like aloe vera to gently cleanse and hydrate dry scalps without irritation.

What We Don’t Love: It takes a while to work up a lather.

Dove’s formulas have often impressed us for how they seemingly work across all hair textures, and even pop star Olivia Rodrigo counts herself as a fan, so it came as no surprise when celebrity hairstylist and founder of Deeper Than Hair, Annagjid Kee Taylor recommended this product.

Specifically formulated for wavy hair, Taylor says not only is it great for removing product build-up, but it will also “leave your hair super hydrated.” This isn’t an easy feat, considering some cleansing shampoos use sulfates that can dry out your hair, but thanks to its inclusion of thanks to shea butter and coconut oil, the results are quite the opposite.

Another way it achieves healthy-looking hair is the inclusion of aloe, a plant-based ingredient that boasts naturally antibacterial properties, to simultaneously moisturize and slough away grime.

It's important to note that it’ll take longer to work up a lather than with other shampoos, but you can be certain this doesn’t impact its efficacy.

Price at time of publish: $19

Size: 32.3 oz | Key Ingredients: Aloe, shea butter, coconut oil | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Splurge: Oribe Moisture & Control Shampoo

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What We Love: This sulfate-free shampoo uses ingredients rich in antioxidants and amino acids to leave wavy hair shiny and strengthened. 

What We Don’t Love: Low porosity hair could look a little greasy after using the shampoo too often.

It’s not uncommon for an Oribe product to catch our eye and it’s not just because it bottles its products in enticing, gem-colored packaging. The high-end hair brand uses its signature complex yet again — a blend of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower — to leave our hair so smooth we could skip a stone across it.

What makes this particular formula so fantastic for wavy hair is that it makes type 2 curls (Think: Those soft Madeline Cline-type waves) a top priority by including an amino acid complex that will help better define them into an S-shaped pattern. Your tresses will take to these ingredients easily because they’re similar to the proteins found naturally in your hair, meaning that over time, you should see stronger hair and fewer ragged ends.

What’s more, it includes plenty of our favorite hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, amber seed extract, and sunflower seed extract, to help boost moisture and vibrancy. Though, if your hair is low porosity (a telltale sign is if rich, creamy formulas tend to make your hair look greasy), one suggestion we have is to use the shampoo around two times a week.

Price at time of publish: $49

Size: 8.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Glycerine, amber extract, sunflower seed extract | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best for Frizzy Hair: Virtue Smooth Shampoo

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What We Love: It uses a patented keratin ingredient unique to the brand, bringing long-term, frizz-reducing benefits to the hair. 

What We Don’t Love: The scent is a little strong.

The ultra-sheeny Dua Lipa-like qualities of liquid tresses always seem so far out of reach for frizz-prone wavy hair — and trust us, we’ve tried a lot of different methods trying to get there. However, none delivered so well at smoothing our flyaways or held such long-lasting effects as this Virtue shampoo.

With conditioning phospholipids and ingredients like pink pomelo (aka grapefruit), which is rife with A, B1, and zinc, it’s clear why we saw silkier, stronger hair after one wash. However, when it comes to fighting frizz, the true star of the show is keratin — the naturally-derived protein that keeps our hair and nails super strong.

Plenty of products use this treatment in their formulas, but oftentimes they “lack the complete sequence identity with human hair keratin,” making them less efficient. What sets the Virture shampoo apart and makes it so effective is that they’ve patented an ingredient called Alpha Keratin 60ku, which the brand says is nearly identical to the same protein we find in our hair and nails.

Shoving science aside for a moment, we must also add that its fragrance is a delicious concoction of fresh smelling essential oils. While delightful, it’s a tad strong so watch what perfumes and body lotions you apply to ensure you don’t end up with competing scents.

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 8 oz | Key Ingredients: Pink pomelo, phospholipids, gotu kola | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: No

Best for Fine Hair: Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe All Blondes Rich Shampoo

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What We Love: The light formula moisturizes fine air without making it appear greasy. 

What We Don’t Love: It has a perfumey, floral scent that only a certain user will appreciate. 

Styling wispy wavy locks can be a challenge. To hold your waves and prevent them from falling flat, you need a lightweight shampoo that won’t weigh down fine strands.

Luckily, there’s no need to have the highlighted hues of Margot Robbie to see benefits from this shampoo. By keeping lighter tones in mind, Schwarzkopf crafts a super gentle formula that won’t turn blonde strands brassy or be too harsh on the delicate strands of thinner hair.

The formula taps birrea seed oil, also known as marula oil as a key ingredient. When used topically, the oil has hydrating properties that help repair damaged strands. Schwarzkopf also uses an advanced bonding system to strengthen the hair from the inside out, leading to less breakage and fewer split ends.

The rich smell that accompanies each wash may be a tad too intense for sensitive noses, though it seemed to dissipate quickly.

Price at time of publish: $23

Size: 10 oz | Key Ingredients: Hydrolyzed keratin, Sclerocarya birrea seed oil | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Hair: Deeper Than Hair First Class to Morocco Shampoo

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What We Love: This formula delivers hydration without weighing down strands by using the lightweight Moroccan argan oil and leaving out sulfates and silicones.

What We Don’t Love: The formula could be too gentle to give your hair a really deep clean.

Argan oil is just about everywhere when it comes to hair products. The lightweight plant-based ingredient is occlusive, meaning that it seals in moisture from root to tip, leaving hair supple and well nourished.

Taylor is particularly fond of the way argan oil is used here. “The gentle hydrating cleanser adds moisture to locks,” she says, which eliminates any dry or brittle feeling.

Unlike other oils, this one isn’t so heavy that it’ll impact the integrity of your wave and cause them to fall flat. Additionally, it’s full of vitamin E —  an antioxidant known to promote hair strength and growth over time.

And though we’d never recommend skipping the heat protectant, it’s an added benefit that the shampoo contains UV and thermal protection for an extra layer of safety against the sun’s drying rays or free radicals, which are defined as harmful molecules from radiation or pollution that damage skin and hair.

If you don’t see your scalp totally clean the first time around, we suggest giving your hair a double rinse.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: 12 oz | Key Ingredients: Moroccan argan oil | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Hair: Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

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What We Love: The formula is strong enough to give oily hair a deep clean without removing natural oils that keep waves bouncy and defined. 

What We Don’t Love: You will need to follow up with a good conditioner to avoid hair feeling dry.

This Ouidad clarifying shampoo is “incredible for overly oily hair that needs a deep clean,” says Dueñas. Here’s the best part: It’ll cleanse your hair without disrupting the integrity of your waves because it leaves out heavy ingredients, like silicones and mineral oil.

Instead, the formula is full of ingredients that you might find in your kitchen cabinets, like orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Together, the naturally acidic properties of these fruit extracts gently cleanse hair while amino acids from the soothing camellia oil hydrate and fortify strands. In some cases, camellia oil has even been known to promote hair growth.

Word to the wise: This does contain sulfates, an agent that’s especially drying on thin hair, so we recommend pairing this with our favorite conditioner from the brand to see the best results.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: 8.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Provitamin B5, vitamin E, botanical camellia extract | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: No

Best for Deep Clean: Ceremonia Deep Moisture Wash Day Shampoo and Conditioner

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What We Love: The brand substitutes harsh ingredients for a natural formula that melts away dirt, grime, and product buildup without impacting your hair’s integrity. 

What We Don’t Love: The formula is better suited for those with thick hair.

In an effort to keep our waves defined and frizz at bay we tend to load up on products, especially between wash days, so Taylor recommends incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your routine to ensure it is getting a deep clean.

However, some clarifying shampoos use harsh ingredients that leave our scalps squeaky clean, but sacrifice the integrity of our strands, especially for color-treated hair. Lucky for us, Ceremonia found a workaround for this problem by using aloe vera and witch hazel, which are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial ingredients — which is to say, they have properties that dissolve dirt and grime while creating a healthy scalp environment that alleviates itching and irritation.

In addition to its innovative formulas, the Latinx-owned brand is beloved by celeb stylists and adored by our editors because it harvests many of their ingredients straight from the source — Latin America. For this shampoo, the brand blended three ultra-hydrating oils — babassu oil, patauá oil, and cupuaçu butter —  that are chock full of lipids and antioxidants to give your hair a glossy sheen.

Our friends with fine hair may find the inclusion of these oils and butter to be a little heavy, but anyone with thick, dense hair will soak them up with no problem.

Price at time of publish: $40

Size: 8.45 oz | Key Ingredients: Witch hazel, glycerin, aloe vera juice | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Moisturizing: DevaCurl LOW-POO ORIGINAL Mild Lather Cleanser for Rich Moisture

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What We Love: Coconut oil, grape seed oil, and glycerin work together to moisturize even the driest strands without weighing them down.

What We Don’t Love: You'll get the best results by pairing the shampoo with the conditioner and styling cream, which means buying more products. 

If you have tighter waves, keeping them properly hydrated is non-negotiable if you want to see a bouncy, defined style every day (and who doesn’t?). Dueñas says this shampoo allows you to embrace your natural texture with its extremely hydrating formula that was developed for dry, coarse hair.

The ingredient lineup includes all the conditioning emollients we seek out when trying to quench parched strands: Coconut oil, grape seed oil, and glycerin. We know — it sounds like a lot to slather across strands, but without silicones, parabens, or sulfates added into the mix, you won’t feel like the formula sits heavy on your hair.

In addition to leaving out these potential irritants, the brand also says that each one of its formulas is dermatologist-tested, making it a certifiable safe choice for sensitive scalps (though, we always recommend doing a patch test before applying any new products).

For the very best results, we recommend pairing it with the Rich Cream Conditioner and curl definer, which means buying more products, but we think the new spring in your step, and hair, after using them is worth it.

Price at time of publish: $32

Size: 12 oz  | Key Ingredients: Glycerin, grape seed oil, coconut oil | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Clean: Aveda Be Curly Co-Wash

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What We Love: This vegan formula is made to target a range of concerns of those with wavy and curly hair types, including battling brittle strands and enhancing the hair’s natural texture. 

What We Don’t Love: It may be too thick for fine hair. 

For a clean option that is easy on your hair and the environment, Taylor steered us toward Aveda’s line of curly care products. As a B-Corp-certified company, Aveda pays special attention to how their manufacturing process impacts the environment, just as much as they do with the formulas for your hair.

With this shampoo, wavy hair will be well moisturized and protected. The sulfate-free vegan formula uses babassu oil, an anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and scalp-soothing ingredient, derived from South American nuts. According to Aveda, they source the nuts from women in Brazilian villages who sell them to help support their families.

Digging deeper into the ingredient list, we found a host of hair-loving and vitamin-rich emollients, like aloe and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Together, these hydrating ingredients revive and strengthen dry, brittle strands.

Thicker hair types will thrive bathing in these oils while finer hair types will benefit when their strands need the shampoo equivalent of a tall glass of water.

Price at time of publish: $29

Size: 8.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Aloe, wheat protein, glycerin | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: No

Related: The 15 Best Clean Haircare Brands of 2023

Best Sulfate-Free: NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Smooth Shampoo

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What We Like: The clean formula is full of plant-based ingredients and oils that help rebalance your scalp to promote healthier skin and hair. 

What We Don’t Like: Very oily scalps may have to double cleanse to see it thoroughly washed. 

This brand has earned some well-deserved time in the spotlight with shoutouts from Halle Berry, Naomi Osaka, our editors, and now Taylor, who tells us this sulfate-free formula locks in moisture with argan and marula oils.

While we loved the way it smoothed our tresses without causing them to look oily, we were most impressed with its clean formula. Sure, this means you may need to put in a little more elbow grease to get a super deep clean or rich lather, but by leaving out potentially harmful ingredients, such as silicones and sulfates, we can feel better about washing our hair with it.

With the inclusion of vitamin-rich quinoa to strengthen hair from root to tip, the formula also protects against pollution, heat damage, and dehydrated strands.

Meanwhile yuzu citrus, which is commonly used in aromatherapy for its soothing and meditative scent, can also boost shine and promote hair growth. And with humectants like baobab and marula oils, you’re sure to see ultra soft strands too.

Price at time of publish: $19

Size: 11.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Argan extract, yuzu ceramide, quinoa | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Volumizing: Pacifica Salty Waves Texturizing Shampoo

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What We Love: The shampoo contains ingredients with vitamins, antioxidants, and moisturizing properties that work together to give you thicker, fuller hair.

What We Don’t Love: The banana and coconut smell isn’t for everyone. 

Who doesn’t daydream of waking up in the morning with those carefree, model off duty “S” waves and beachy textures? Even if you don’t live a coastal lifestyle, you can nearly hear the swell of the ocean in your ears with this $10 Pacifica shampoo — and your hair will look as if you just spent the day on the sand.

Dueñas tells us the shampoo is great for limp, waves that “fall on the straighter side” because the formula “will drastically boost volume and texture for a just-out-of-the-ocean look.”

Its nautical elements extend past the waves on its packaging with the inclusion of sea algae, which is a little known haircare hero. It’s rich in vitamins A, B, and C, fatty acids, and antioxidants, which work to smooth hair, add thickness, and help rebalance the scalp to prevent the accumulation of oil. In some forms, algae may even prevent hair loss with continued use.

One of our favorite elements, however, is the natural banana and coconut scent. It doesn’t smell like an artificial fragrance, but it still may not be for everyone, especially if you prefer the typical floral scent of shampoo, but it makes us nostalgic for summer and surf.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 12 oz | Key Ingredients: Sea algae, banana, vitamin B | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best for Color-Treated: Kérastase Bain Riche Chroma Respect Shampoo

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What We Love: The sulfate-free shampoo preserves color-treated hair by using natural ingredients to thoroughly cleanse and boost shine.

What We Don’t Love: The formula doesn’t contain many hydrating ingredients.

We’d walk around with plastic wrap over our heads if it meant protecting our pricey dye jobs. But luckily, less drastic measures are required when we can preserve our color-treated hair with gentle shampoos. One of our favorites is this pick from Kérastase because it helps maintain the integrity of our waves with a sulfate-free, lightweight formula.

It contains several ingredients that are worthy competitors on the skin and hair care battleground: Lactic, tartaric, and salicylic acid. Despite the scary sounding intentions implied by the word “acid,” they are some of the best natural exfoliants out there to gently break up any dirt and oil hanging out in your hair. As a result, you’ll find yourself dealing with fewer flakes and less oil. Finally, by adding amino acids into the formula, the shampoo seals cuticles shut to boost shine. As a bonus, if your scalp tends to be itchy, centella asiatica — an anti-inflammatory herb that has its roots in folk medicine as a way to heal wounds — will reduce irritation. And because it leaves out heavy oils, we think this could be a great choice for those with fine hair — just keep in mind you may need to follow it up with a hydrating conditioner to see the most hydrated results.

Kérastase houses all of this goodness in a pink bottle made of 95 percent recycled plastic to satiate the eco-conscious among us and please the aesthetically minded.

Price at time of publish: $40

Size: 8.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Amino acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best for Coarse Hair: Bumble & bumble Curl Moisturizing Shampoo

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What We Love: Packed full of vitamin-rich ingredients and plant-based butters, this formula is gentle on brittle hair but still loads it up with plenty of moisture to revive and strengthen strands.

What We Don’t Love: It leaves a bit of residue on your scalp if you don’t take time to wash it out. 

Consider this shampoo a magician for coarse, wild, and unmanageable waves. It’ll whip unruly hair into shape as vitamin-rich and hydrating ingredients like avocado, coconut, and jojoba seed oil take serious grievance against every brittle strand that they encounter.

Cocoa and shea butters eliminate frizz and soften strands, so you can finally brush through your hair without getting snagged on every bristle. You’ll also notice that your curl pattern stays intact throughout the day, since all of these ingredients contain vitamins that strengthen strands.

Because coarse hair tends to be quite vulnerable, we appreciate that the formula is devoid of moisture-zapping sulfates that could cause breakage.

One more suggestion: Take time to thoroughly wash all of the product out of your air as the oils can leave behind a little residue.

Price at time of publish: $34

Size: 8.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, cocoa butter | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Curl Enhancing: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

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What We Love: The sulfate-free formula treats curls to a delicate wash that leaves them more defined, voluminous, and soft.

What We Don’t Love: It contains oils that could weigh down fine hair. 

SheaMoisture is one of the most popular purveyors of products targeted toward treating textured hair with the attention it deserves. If you fall into the type 2C hair type with more defined waves but are eager to join the curly-haired club, this shampoo is your first step to get there.

If there’s one thing curls love, it’s moisture and this formula is like an IV drip for our waves and ringlets. Instead of harnessing sulfates to cleanse the hair, this shampoo uses neem oil, which not only smooths frizz with its fatty acids, but is also full of vitamin E and other antibacterial and antimicrobial properties to gently slough away dead skin and dandruff without irritating the scalp.

Dense hair will drink up this formula and help those curls become more defined, but the oils may weigh down very fine hair if this shampoo is used too often.

Price at time of publish: $11

Size: 13 oz | Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, silk protein, neem oil | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

Best Strengthening: Ranavat Regenerative Veda⁴ Bond Complex Shampoo

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What We Love: The brand uses its signature plant-powered complex to increase elasticity and prevent breakage. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t have the thick consistency of traditional shampoo. 

Consider this shampoo a strength training class for your hair. It features a plant-powered super complex containing pink lotus, hibiscus, alma, and ashwagandha, to rebuild damaged hair from the inside out.

Similar to its luscious hair serum that once had a waiting list longer than Taylor Swift’s merch line, this formula credits Ayurvedic philosophies and South Asian beauty practices for its innovative formula. Amla, for example, is an ingredient found on South Asian Indian Gooseberry trees that can stimulate hair growth, making them softer and shinier in the process.  You can also credit ashwagandha for providing the same benefits, and add “stress reliever” to its list of attributes, as it also has meditative properties.

In the best way possible, it smells like the inside of a 5-star hotel lobby: Intoxicating, discreet, and somehow nostalgic. What’s even better is that the enticing fragrance is the byproduct of the shampoo’s natural ingredients and not a synthetic additive.

Coined a “champagne lather” by the brand, the sulfate-free formula has a serum-like consistency that melts into your strands as you work it through your hair, rather than giving you a sudsy foam. Though we found this experience delightful, this may take a little getting used to for anyone who loves a rich foam, so perhaps skip this pick if that’s your preference.

Price at time of publish: $48

Size: 8 oz | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, pink lotus, hibiscus, Ashwagandha, alma  | Scented: Yes | Sulfate-Free: Yes

What to Keep in Mind


“Wavy hair tends to dry out faster,” says Taylor, so finding a shampoo that is jam-packed with hydrating oils is key. However, both Taylor and Dueñas agree that creamy or rich shampoos should be avoided or used in small amounts to prevent hair from getting weighed down. Instead, Dueñas recommends looking for products that contain coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil, whileTaylor says formulas that contain glycerin and plant-based butters, such as shea and cocoa, along with essential oils, like lavender and almond, also work together beautifully to maintain frizz.

Your Hair Texture

Hair texture plays an important role in what formula will work best for you, but it’s equally important to assess what your strands need, says Taylor. For example, if you have fine and thin hair that’s also dry, Taylor recommends looking for a caffeine-infused shampoo with moisturizing ingredients, as it helps with volume in the hair, she says.

Another simple tip for anyone with fine hair to follow, according to Dueñas, is to look for formulas with oils that are listed further down the ingredient list, which means they’re being used at a lower concentration, and therefore less likely to leave hair feeling heavy. However, if you have thick or coarse hair, don’t be shy about using shampoos that list oils as the first or second ingredient. Humectants like glycerine, or hydrating butters, such as those found in the Bumble & bumble Curl Moisturizing Shampoo, also work wonders on coarse textures.

Sulfate-Free Formulas

Sulfates are surfactants that can strip the hair of its natural oils, resulting in a dry or irritated scalp. However, this isn’t true for everyone or for all formulas with sulfates. And in shampoos with low concentrations of sulfates, there’s no evidence that they impart serious, long-term health effects.

Yet, wavy hair thrives with hydration, so one surefire way to keep it healthy and happy is to opt for a sulfate-free formula. “These shampoos prevent the removal of moisture while still cleaning the hair,” says hairstylist and Digital Artistic Educator for Schwarzkopf  Brendnetta Ashley.

Instead, you keep an eye out for plant-derived surfactants, like those found in palm fruits, or formulas that contain ingredients with natural antibacterial properties, such as aloe and witch hazel, that gently dissolve oils and dirt. We love the ingredient list found in the Ceremonia Deep Moisture Wash Day Shampoo and Conditioner.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you wash wavy hair?

Our experts agree that you only need to wash wavy hair about two times a week. Any more could strip it of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy, and washing too often can “cause dry brittle hair that can lead to breakage,” says Ashley.

Instead, focus on how much time you spend in the shower during wash days. Ashley says you should double rinse with your shampoo, starting with a quick wash before going in a second time and scrubbing longer “to get a really good cleanse of the scalp and hair.”

Taylor always recommends using a super moisturizing conditioner after every wash to help detangle the hair. However, if your hair is particularly dry and frizzy, try “mixing a small amount of conditioner in with your shampoo to hydrate and cleanse at the same time,” says Dueñas.

And while your wavy hair certainly needs hydration, relying on too many oils too often can lead to product buildup, which is where a really great clarifying shampoo comes in handy. “I would recommend using a detox shampoo first and following it up with a moisturizing shampoo,” says Ashley, who adds that “every time you shampoo, you won’t need to use a detox shampoo, but it is recommended at least once a month.”

What makes wavy hair less frizzy?

Regardless if your hair type, no one is a fan of frizz. However, frizzy hair is also prone to static, so tamping down on errant flyaways is particularly important.

Taylor recommends washing wavy hair in cold water. “Lower temperatures protect your hair and prevent overdrying and flyaways,” she says, adding that you can finish off your routine by brushing through your hair with a wide-toothed comb. This avoids any tugging or snagging as you gently detangle hair. Using microfiber towels made from finer fibers will also cause less friction and pulling on your hair, says Taylor, which can result in frizz.

After washing your hair, try to avoid touching it before it’s fully dry, says Ashley. “If the hair is not dry and you're constantly touching or tousling your hair, you will create frizz.”

You also may consider adding oil to towel-dried hair, says Taylor, who swears by the the Deeper than Hair’s First Class to Jamaica black castor oil as an efficient frizz-fighting product.

How do you dry wavy hair?

The easiest way to style wavy hair is by letting it air dry — albeit the technique requires a little more patience. “The key to letting it air dry is using a leave-in conditioner to help tame flyaways and define your hair’s natural texture,” says Taylor. To enhance your waves, Dueñas says that you can scrunch your wet hair with a t-shirt or microfiber towel or braid your strands into large sections while you wait for them to dry.

On days that require heat, a diffuser is your best bet at seeing those defined, bouncy waves come to life. Ashley recommends starting with your dryer on medium heat and airflow as you work it around your head, being careful not to “fully insert it into the hair as the outer cast of the hair needs to dry first.” For more volume, “flip your head upside down and place the diffuser into your hair,” she adds.

Don’t forget to finish with a cool shot, says Taylor. “This locks the look together and helps the style last longer.”

Why Shop With Us

Irene Richardson is a writer covering fashion and beauty trends. For this story, she researched dozens of shampoos for wavy hair, tried several on the list, and consulted three celebrity hair stylists and experts, Annagjid Kee Taylor, Brendnetta Ashley, and Michael Dueñas.

Related: The 9 Best Shampoos for Oily Hair in 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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