These are the best shampoos for dry hair, starting from £2.79

·9-min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

If your hair is starting to resemble your cacti house plant - prickly and as dry as the desert - it’s time to inject some hydration with one of the best shampoos for dry, damaged hair.

To revive thirsty ends, you’ll need to invest in a supercharged formula that will deliver on glossiness. To make things simple, we’ve already put the best shampoos to the test to see whether they really live up to their moisture-boosting, de-frizzing and shiny claims.

Keep scrolling for our full reviews

Why does hair feel dry?

Having ends looking like straw is a red flag when it comes to hair health. It’s most likely a sign of damage, whether that be overdoing it with the heated hair tools or the bleach needed to keep those icy-blonde tones intact - chances are, your tresses have been through a lot.

Skipping a much-needed cut or too much time in the sun also play a role. Although we don’t have to deal with the issues that come along with living in a hot climate in the UK, chlorine from your morning swim, wind exposure or not protecting hair when the sun does come out are all also taking moisture from your hair.

As Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, explains: “Like your skin, UV rays can really dry out your hair. UV rays act on hair much like bleach – they degrade its protein structure and can make strands brittle, prone to breakage and overly porous.

Salt water and chlorinated water can also cause hair to become dry. I wouldn’t use salt sprays if you have dry hair. Salt water is osmotic, meaning it draws water molecules out of your hair – which will further dry it out.”

If you think your lengths are lacking in moisture, it’s time to switch to a shampoo that targets hydration.

How we test

Our panel of 534 testers - with a range of hair types, from straight to coiled - tried 40 shampoos for two weeks. Testers noted how well the products hydrated and cleaned hair, as well as how it looked and felt after the trial.

In the Women’s Health Lab, we used a Dia-stron instrument that measures individual hair fibres to see how smooth and hydrated hair became after being washed and dried with each product.

15 best shampoos for dry and damaged hair - reviews

1. Philip Kingsley Moisture Extreme Enriching Shampoo

Best for hydration

Vegan and restorative, this number aims to fortify hair cuticles and eliminate frizz. It really did moisturise ends, leaving hair less damaged and dry, and resulted in lengths feeling touchably soft. If that wasn’t enough, added silkiness was reported too, so you know this covers all the dry hair bases.

Key specifications
Volume:
250ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
No

2. Dove Daily Moisture 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Best budget buy

Not only will this set you back just a few quid, but we reckon it does a better job than some of the priciest shampoos out there. It’s a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner too, which is great if you only want to take one bottle to the gym, and it leaves lengths smoother and more moisturised, without causing any irritation to the scalp.

Key specifications
Volume:
400ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
No

3. Vita Coco Nourishing Coconut Shampoo

Best vegan shampoo

Coconuts aren’t just for sipping on a beach; this vegan formula promises to harness their hydrating quality to relieve your parched strands and leave you with a healthier head of hair.

The result? Most testers were left with smoother, shinier, quenched ends, while their scalps felt less irritated and itchy. Not only was it a hit with our testers, but the formula also scored highly in our lab test for smoothing.

Key specifications
Volume: 400ml
Paraben free: Yes
Silicone free: Yes
Sulphate free: Yes

4. It's a 10 Miracle Moisture Shampoo

Best for long-lasting results

We won't judge you for skipping a wash after a workout every now and then, and with this shampoo, you won't even be able to tell – that’s how long it keeps your hair clean.

The mix of vitamin C and aloe vera worked wonders when it came to smoothing hair in our lab test and left those with curls with more definition to their ringlets and less frizz. Testers were impressed that their hair looked immaculate and felt fresher for longer, with the shampoo making hair easier to style.

Key specifications
Volume: 295ml
Paraben free: Yes
Silicone free: No
Sulphate free: Yes

5. Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo

Best for dry scalps

We love a good bargain, and when they deliver results, too? Almost priceless.

This proved ace at smoothing frayed strands in our lab test, while our testers loved how strong and shiny their hair looked after washing. Fewer split ends occurred, with most seeing some welcomed body added to roots, too. If that wasn't enough, everyone also saw dandruff and itchiness reduced.

Key specifications
Volume: 300ml
Paraben free: Yes
Silicone free: Yes
Sulphate free: Yes

6. Imbue Curl Liberating Sulphate Free Shampoo

Best budget buy for curly hair

Products dedicated to caring for curls try to charge you a fortune for sulphate-free formulas, but not Imbue. This will cost you less than a tenner and will help cater to kinks and coils ranging from 3A-4C.

It provided a gentle but thorough clean, which managed to deliver moisture to dry curls, and one tester loved the definition it provided. All testers saw dandruff eradicated and were pleased to that their scalps felt healthier.

Key specifications
Volume: 400ml
Paraben free: Yes
Silicone free: Yes
Sulphate free: Yes

7. Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Hair Food Banana Shampoo

Best for a variety of hair types

If your hair just needs some general TLC, this will cover all your bases. Everyone was pleased to see hair looking more hydrated, smoother and shinier, all with less frizz.

If you're guilty of whacking your hair in a bun during a workout, this helped improve breakages too, with all testers saying their colour looked refreshed after washing.

Key specifications
Volume: 350ml
Paraben free: Yes
Silicone free: Yes
Sulphate free: Yes

8. Redken All Soft Argan Oil Shampoo

Best for dyed hair

We’ve accepted the fact that colouring our hair leaves it looking a bit worse for wear but this shampoo manages to help rectify the problem. Aiming to soften even the most distressed hair, this boosted hydration and helped repair the look of frazzled ends on test.

Key specifications
Volume: 300ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
No

9. Bumble and bumble Curl Moisturizing Shampoo

Best for curly hair

As incredible as curls look, they do tend to be on the drier side, due to the twisty, coily curl patterns making it harder for oils produced at the scalp to reach ends. This aims to rectify the problem for curl types ranging from 2A to 4C, to hydrate and detangle. The lather wasn’t rich (down to the fact it doesn’t contain sulphates) but it did a great job at moisturising and softening ends.

Key specifications
Volume: 250ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
Yes

10. Aveda Nutriplenish Shampoo

Best for fine hair

Fine dry hair is quite the minefield - too much moisture and you weigh hair down, too little and it ends up looking like straw. This shampoo manages to find the middle ground, cleansing hair of any dirt without stripping natural oils. We found it provided scalps with a great clean, and noticed less frizz by the end of the trial.

Key specifications
Volume: 250ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
Yes
Sulphate free:
Yes

11. OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo

Best for added shine

Although the main ingredients sound like a healthy breakfast recipe - coconut milk and whipped egg whites - trust us, this shampoo works. Hair appeared shinier after washing, with scalps feeling soft and refreshed. The strengthening formula really got to work, which resulted in testers seeing less damage and dryness.

Key specifications
Volume: 385ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
Yes

12. L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Gold Absolute Repair Shampoo

Best for dry scalps

Enriched with quinoa and proteins, this shampoo aims to reduce the look of split ends and damage by repairing broken bonds, leaving your lengths with mirror-like shine. Testers said it added hydration to dry strands while still managing to give scalps a rigorous clean.

Key specifications
Volume: 300ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
No

13. Herbal Essences Bio Renew Sulphate Free Aloe & Hemp Shampoo

Best for anti-frizz

This iconic hair brand has paired up with Kew Royal Botanical Gardens to harness the hydrating power of the most potent version of the hydrating aloe vera plant. This shampoo did the trick when it came to reducing frizz, with the nourishing formula managing to smooth any flyaways. When it came to dry, damaged ends, testers found they were either reduced or eradicated by the end of the trial - impressive!

Key specifications
Volume: 380ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
Yes
Sulphate free:
Yes

14. Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo

Best for smoothing

As summer has finally arrived, it’s time to start prepping hair for any heat-induced frizz. This shampoo aims to tackle the issue, addressing everything from static to flyaways - so your time styling hair doesn’t go to waste. It left ends with a glossy finish and provided pretty decent protection against frizz, leaving lengths feeling smoother and softer.

Key specifications
Volume: 236ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
Yes
Sulphate free:
Yes

15. Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Best for over-processed hair

This brand is usually a hairdresser’s go-to for trying to mend damage on over-processed hair (one of the biggest causes of dryness). This shampoo claims to replenish and restore, which we found it really delivered on. Not only did stressed-out ends appear less damaged, but hair looked more hydrated overall.

Key specifications
Volume: 250ml
Paraben free:
Yes
Silicone free:
No
Sulphate free:
Yes

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