16 Cheap Shampoos That Are Just as Good as Expensive Ones
I've spent most of my time as a beauty journalist working directly with hairdressers covering trends, news, and advice. And for the most part, I treat the hair advice I've received as gospel, and I drill home the importance of listening to pro hairdressers about at-home maintenance. But there is one point, in particular, where I veer from hairdressers' advice: cheap shampoo. I use it all the time.
Professional and salon-quality haircare and styling products are really important for healthy hair. I just needed to say that before we continue. For the most part, you'll find that they have fewer filler ingredients and synthetics that cheat the feeling of smooth hair and actually have a higher concentration of nourishing and protective ingredients. But when it comes to shampoos, this is a step in which you can't really add much to the quality of your hair; you can only take away. So if there is any place to save money on in your haircare routine, it's here. You just have to be aware of the ingredients in the bottle and how susceptible your hair is to being stripped of moisture.
If you already have pretty dry hair or you bleach it, you'll want to avoid shampoos with sodium laureth sulphate (SLS). This is the foaming agent in a lot of shampoos, and while many higher-end shampoos have developed clever alternatives, such as using coconut-derived foaming aids, most cheaper ones still opt for this. The same goes for people who color their hair, as SLS can lift the color too. But if you have natural, moisture-balanced hair or oily roots, SLS isn't damaging to your locks. Whatever shampoo you do opt for, just make sure you're treating your lengths and ends to hydrating masks and protecting your hair from any heat styling you're doing.
So without further ado, please find the best cheap shampoos that a beauty editor like me would actually stand behind.
The Best Cheap Shampoos
1. Garnier Ultimate Blends Almond Milk Weightless Moisture Shampoo
This shampoo really delivers if you wash your hair daily and you want something that'll clean an oily scalp but doesn't dry out hair.
2. ORS Moisture Restore Creamy Aloe Shampoo
The aloe vera and panthenol in this formula counteract any dryness that shampoo can sometimes cause Afro-textured hair, and although it's far from a cleansing cream, the texture is quite creamy for a shampoo.
3. Monday Haircare Smooth Shampoo
I love this range of cleansing products. The vegan formulas are super simple, and this one focuses on smoothing hair with vitamin E and coconut oil.
4. Noughty Tough Cookie Shampoo
Noughty formulas are free of silicones and sulphates, so you know that the soft feeling post-wash is thanks to the infusion of ingredients rather than your hair being coated in a faux-silkiness.
5. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo
First, if you're a fan of sugary-cocktail scents, you'll love the smell of this shampoo. It's marketed as a cleansing cream, but I would say it errs more on the side of a rich, creamy shampoo.
6. The Ordinary 4% Sulphate Cleanser for Body and Hair
Just like its skincare offerings, the haircare from The Ordinary is super simple and effective. This contains SLS at a gentle level so is perfect for washing oilier roots a few times a week or clarifying curly or Afro-textured hair.
7. OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo
This shampoo and the matching conditioner have a healthy dose of argan in them, which is known for its ability to help with shine and softness.
8. John Frieda Vibrant Shine Shampoo
You'll be hard-pressed to find a high-street haircare brand that has as much of a focus on color as John Frieda does. While I think the claims of this shampoo illuminating hair from within is a bit of a stretch, it does cleanse color-treated hair without stripping color.
9. Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo
I've found that a lot of professional hair-color houses have amazing shampoo and conditioner formulas, but they're all on the more expensive side of the market. Matrix is one of the most affordable and effective. This shampoo is specifically for finer hair types to cleanse, and when used with the conditioner and volumizing foam in the same range, it creates an aerated fullness.
10. Toni & Guy Damage Repair Shampoo
This shampoo is a part of the Toni & Guy fibre-strengthening system to help repair weaker hair. If you have hair that retains moisture well but use heat tools multiple times a week, this is a good pick. It contains SLS and silicones, but as long as you're using a clarifying shampoo as a refresher every so often, you won't notice silicone buildup.
11. Percy & Reed All Lathered Up Cleansing Shampoo Bar
Using a shampoo bar is one of the most cost-effective ways you can wash your hair. This bar is quite clarifying, so I would avoid it if you have color-treated or naturally dry hair, but it's free from SLS so it can be used daily for oily scalps.
12. L'Oréal Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo
Skincare ingredients in haircare have never been more prominent, and this shampoo contains hyaluronic acid, which helps to balance any dryness from the SLS in this formula.
13. Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Wash Shampoo
I'm a huge fan of the Curl Jelly range, and this shampoo is great for wavy-to-curly hair to gently lift dirt without causing frizz.
14. Bleach London Reincarnation Shampoo
The Reincarnation mask from Bleach is one I recommend all the time for dry, bleached hair, and this new shampoo pairs so well with it. (There's also a conditioner if you want something lighter.) The lather is light but effective, and the formula contains microproteins to aid with repairing weakened strands.
15. Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Nourishing Shampoo
Straight hair that's moisture-balanced and fuss-free? This is a good option for cleansing every couple of days thanks to the argan, Abyssinian, coconut, Tsubaki, and macadamia oils littering the ingredient list.
16. Maui Moisture Weightless Hydration + Hibiscus Water Shampoo
Ultra-fine hair can be weighed down during cleansing and conditioning, but this shampoo and matching conditioner are very lightweight and help to balance oily roots and dry ends.
Up Next: This New Curl Collection Uses "Naked Technology," so I Tried It for a Week
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.