These 15 Shampoos and Conditioners Will Help Stop Breakage in Its Tracks


(Image credit: @jaimeridge)

Take it from someone who once had nearly half of her hair bleached off of her head: Hair loss, hair breakage, and, honestly, any huge change or shift to our hair's overall look or health, can be traumatic as hell. Sure, in the grand scheme, hair may seem comparably inconsequential, but hair also happens to be something that almost every human I've ever talked to regards as a key part of their identity. So it goes without saying that when our strands are unexpectedly compromised in some kind of way, it has the potential to cause a major blip in our self-esteem. 

Damage and breakage are pretty inevitable to some degree, but depending on your age, any underlying health conditions, lifestyle, and styling or coloring habits, both can greatly vary. For instance, the bleach-incurred damage I experienced back in college (during my self-proclaimed "bleach apocalypse”) is very different than the bleach-incurred damage I face now, years later, when I've found a trustworthy colorist who prioritizes my hair's integrity above all else. (Obviously, I still have damage—bleach is strong stuff—but my hair no longer falls from my scalp like a cascading waterfall.) Through every season of life, breakage, and damage, high-quality haircare products have made a huge impact on my hair's healing process and overall well-being—especially my chosen shampoos and conditioners.

The best formulas that address breakage will be different for everyone, but to help steer you in the right direction, we've compiled a 10/10 list of the breakage-banishing shampoos and conditioners according to us beauty editors and an amazing roster of celebrity hairstylists. Keep scrolling—15 of the best shampoos and conditioners to help stop breakage in its tracks are just ahead.

The Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Breakage, According to Hair Experts

Milbon Repair Heat Shampoo and Conditioner

"I highly recommend Milbon's new Repair Heat Shampoo and Conditioner to mend hair and combat hair breakage," says Anh Co Tran, celebrity hairstylist, and co-founder of Beverly Hills' famed Ramirez Tran Salon. "These products work together to mend heat-stressed hair while also protecting against future damage that can be caused from styling tools and even the sun's damaging rays. Using both of these products over time will leave your hair looking healthier than ever, and they'll also make styling your hair much easier."

(Editor's note: Milbon is only available for hair professionals to purchase, so use the brand's salon locator to find the retailer closest to you.)

Fanola Fiber Fix Fiber Shampoo and Save Me From Chemical Conflict Conditioner

"This shampoo from Fanola is great for retaining moisture, which helps stop breakage," notes celebrity hairstylist Ro Morgan. "The pH is on the lower end (4.3 to 4.7) to help seal the cuticle to prevent further damage to hair strands. The result is smoother, softer hair and is a great option for anyone looking to revitalize lifeless curls. For conditioner, I love this overnight treatment from Save Me From because of how fast you will notice results. With the help of carob seed, vegetable protein, and New Zealand wool keratin, hair's porosity is reduced and hair is reconstructed and strengthened. After a few uses, you will notice fewer split ends and less breakage. It can be used as a protein treatment or a leave-in conditioner."

Larry King Hair Good Life Shampoo and Liquid Hairbrush Conditioner

"The Good Life Shampoo is a concentrated formula of biotin, which improves the keratin structure of the hair," celebrity hairstylist Matthew Collins tells us. "It's filled with UV protection to help prevent damage from the sun, and it also moisturizes the hair, leaving a super-glossy finish. The brand's Liquid Hairbrush Conditioner is a lightweight formula that doesn't weigh the hair down as much as other damage repair conditioners. It utilizes key ingredients like pea protein, Tsubaki oil, and avocado oil to lock in moisture and combat tangles, reducing the need for brushing post-rinse, which can help curb excess breakage."

Milbon Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner

"I love using the Milbon's Restorative line of shampoo and conditioner for people with breakage concerns," shares Cervando Maldonado, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of 454 North Salon in West Hollywood. "The shampoo allows you to scrub your scalp while minimizing friction and further breakage. The conditioning treatment has silk proteins and keratin to protect and reinforce the hair, leaving it hydrated and healthy. It's the perfect shampoo-and-conditioner duo to keep in your shower as your new go-to."

(Editor's note: Milbon is only available for hair professionals to purchase, so use the brand's salon locator to find the retailer closest to you.)

Redken Extreme Shampoo and Conditioner

"The Extreme Shampoo and Conditioner from Redken are also amazing for hair that's prone to breakage—either from bleach or because you just have brittle hair," adds Maldonado. "These products are pH balanced and full of amino acids to strengthen hair and leave a soft and shiny finish once it's dried. I also recommend following up with the Anti-Snap Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment ($25) for even better results, as it provides five-in-one protection against heat, styling, and brushing."

Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

"When it comes to damaged hair, absolutely nothing is better than Olaplex's line of products," explains celebrity hairstylist Iggy Rosales. "I highly recommend the No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, in particular. Used in tandem, they'll help strengthen and repair damaged strands by re-linking the broken bonds from within." 

Prose Hair Custom Shampoo and Conditioner

"When it comes to hair breakage, choosing the best products really depends on your texture," celebrity hairstylist Dritan points out. "In general, fine hair needs lighter conditioners and shampoos to prevent over-cleansing or being weighed down, and coarse hair does better with heavier conditioners to replenish the nutrition that the hair shaft has lost. Most shampoos and conditioners aren't one-size-fits-all, which is why I love custom haircare brand Prose. Essentially, you get to create your own ultimate shampoo and conditioner based on questions you answer, and then Prose formulates a shampoo and conditioner for your hair based on where you live and the climate, your lifestyle, hair density, and all-around hair health."

The Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Breakage, According to Beauty Editors

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo and Conditioner

"I love that this shampoo and conditioner are pH balancing, so they combat the effects of hair damage and harsh water," shares beauty editor Katie Berohn. "This set helps repair bonds and mend split ends, so my hair always feels stronger and softer after I use them."

Fekkai Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner

"This is one of the most hydrating shampoo-and-conditioner duos I've ever used. My hair feels so soft after I use these products, and they help amplify my natural waves," says Berohn. "I also can't get over how good they smell. Thanks to all the intensely moisturizing shea butter, the scent is to die for."

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

The technology in hair products has come a long way in recent years, but this is the shampoo and conditioner that practically re-glued the hair back to my head after my bleach disaster in college, and I still swear by its magical reparative powers today, years later. Actually, it's not magic, per se, but Alterna's signature Caviar Bond Enforcing Technology, which, according to the brand and backed by my own experience, reduces breakage by up to 99%.

JVN Undamage Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner

If I'm going to trust any celebrity with my breakage-prone hair, it's going to be Jonathan Van Ness, the residential groomer on Netflix's hit show Queer Eye. JVN recently launched his very own haircare line (it's so, so good!), and this damage-erasing shampoo and conditioner has been a notable standout for me and my depleted strands. Both the shampoo and the conditioner utilize strategic, ultra-nourishing ingredients like jojoba esters and ceramides to increase strength and resistance while also repairing split ends and micro-tears. It's also great if you love impeccable-smelling hair. 

Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Shampoo and Conditioner

Editors and experts agree that Oribe makes some of the best hair products, bar none. I keep three or four of the brand's shampoos and conditioners in my rotation, but when I notice an uptick in shedding and breakage, I always re-prioritize the Gold Lust. Its gilded contents pretty much cover all the bases. Each dose contains tried-and-true healing extracts and luxurious oils along with the brand's signature bio-restorative complex (think plant collagen, caffeine, biotin, and niacinamide) to strengthen and re-gloss stress-ravaged strands. 

It's a 10 Miracle Plus Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner

Can I just say It's a 10 products are so underrated? This brand, along with Alterna, truly saved me when my bleach damage and shedding was reaching Everest-high heights. Compared to some of the other formulas on our list, this keratin-infused shampoo and conditioner are slightly more affordable, and in addition to breathing Wonder Woman–like strength into broken, weak hair, they also leave behind a soft, super-silky finish. My mom (who is 73) is also a fan. Just be careful not to use these too often. I recommend rotating this duo with a super-creamy moisturizing number that doesn't have a lot of extra protein in it. 

Biolage Hydrasource Shampoo and Conditioner

"This shampoo and conditioning set is heaven-sent for deep hydration," swears associate beauty editor Shawna Hudson. "My hair is extremely thick and curly, so it tends to get dry pretty easily. This set is formulated specifically for drier hair types and has aloe leaf juice to help strengthen from the inside out. The brand's Deep Treatment Packs ($15) are also amazing."

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser & Creamy Deep Conditioner

"I will never stop buying Bread Beauty Supply products," adds Hudson. "Its shampoo and conditioner are some of the best I've used for curly hair—and I've used a lot of hair products. Its Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser is so gentle and doesn't strip your curls, while the Creamy Deep Conditioner helps repair damage and split ends. Its products feature hero Australian ingredients like Kakadu plum and starflower oil, which are totally unique and very effective at combating hair breakage."

Next: I've Been Bleaching My Hair for 15 Years—Here's How I Still Have Hair on My Head

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.