15 best shampoos for Afro hair - for a delicate and nourishing wash

Our expert picks of the best shampoos for Afro hair for your freshest wash day yet

Collage of three of the best shampoos for Afro hair featured in this guide from Redken, Dizziak and Clean Curls
(Image credit: Redken/Dizziak/Clean Curls/Future)

When it comes to shopping around for the best shampoo for Afro-textured hair it can be a bit of a minefield, right? There’s a bit of a precarious balance of sufficiently cleaning the hair and scalp without drying or stripping hydration from your texture.

Because of the shape of coily strands, oils from the scalp don’t tend to reach the tips of the hair and it can therefore feel drier than other hair types. It can also be weaker than other types, too, so you have to be mindful of how a shampoo can leave your hair feeling in case of tangling. On the plus side, as Afro-textured hair doesn’t tend to get greasy quickly, it doesn’t need to be shampooed as frequently as other hair types. Result. Therefore, if you’re shampooing less often, your product will last you longer, hence the need to choose your shampoo more wisely.

As a coily-haired girl myself, I have experimented with hundreds of shampoos at different points in my hair journey – from when I needed a protein-rich routine due to my hair being super weak to when I needed to protect my freshly-dyed red hair and when I needed to clarify my hair after using way too much wax for a slicked back look.

So, if you're in the market for an update to your choice of shampoo for Afro-textured hair, here are the picks we would choose depending on your hair concerns, from weakness to frizz and chemical damage.

The best shampoo for Afro hair, reviewed by a beauty expert

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Meet the tester
Keeks Reid
Meet the tester
Keeks Reid

Keeks Reid is an award-winning freelance beauty editor and broadcaster. As well as woman&home she has written for titles including Stylist, Women's Health and Who What Wear, and has held positions at Cosmopolitan, Hairdressers Journal and Blackhair Magazine

How to choose the best shampoo for afro hair

There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a shampoo for Afro-textured hair. “Choosing the correct shampoo for curls for me depends on two things: the job I want it to do or the type of hair I'm working with,” says Louis Driver, Avlon educator and freelance stylist. “For example, if the hair and scalp have a heavy build-up of product on them, then I'm going to use a detox or clarifying shampoo.”

“If the hair is really dry, then we want moisturising. If the curls or coils have been coloured, then we’re looking at something colour-safe. I'm also looking for a shampoo that's nutrient-rich and devoid of harsh sulphates or chemicals.”

And we can’t forget our scalps. “Scalp health is super important, so a shampoo that supports that, along with the hair’s requirements, gets extra points from me," Driver continues. "A good shampoo should leave your hair and scalp feeling clean without being brittle or crunchy.”

How often should you wash afro textured hair?

This answer really varies depending on the person. "I think the frequency of washing curly or coily hair depends on the individual or lifestyle, but at a minimum, the hair should be washed once a week," says Driver. "The curlier the hair, the greater its need for moisture."

Keeks Reid

Keeks is a London-based beauty writer and content creator. She has worked with titles including Cosmopolitan, VOGUE, Refinery29, Red, Elle, OK! and woman&home. While she has a well-rounded beauty obsession, her specialism is all things hair.

When she’s not testing the latest hair tool on camera or waxing lyrical about styling tips, you’ll find her re-watching old episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (or New York or Atlanta). She loves a social scroll as well as a romantic book, but nothing beats Sunday afternoon lunches with her friends and family. You can catch Keeks on all social platforms @keeksreid.