By Fiona McKim
We all want amazing hair. But it can be hard to find the best hair products just for you—whether you're curly, straight, long, short, naturally glossy or in need of a condition boost. That's why team woman&home, along with our esteemed industry judges have done the hard work for you, to reveal our 2021 woman&home Hair Awards.
After months of trying, testing and assessing the best hair products and tools for every hair type and styling need—from the best hair dryers to the best shampoo and conditioner for every hair type—our panel of industry professionals have whittled down the very best that the hair industry has to offer into this definitive list of recommendations.
Every product here is has our w&h seal of approval and is guaranteed to make your hair happier, styling easier, and to be as genuinely life-enhancing as we all know know a great hair day can be.
2021 woman&home Hair Awards categories
- Hair health
- Special recognition
Our judging panel
Special thanks to our panel of judges whose hard work and expert insights made the woman&home Hair Awards 2021 possible. This year's judging panel included:
Group Beauty Director
Group Beauty Director
Hairstylist and co-founder of Lockonego salon
Creative Director at John Frieda Salons
CEO of Hershesons salons
Hair artist and afro hair specialist
Beauty Influencer and host of the Emma Guns Show podcast
Best hair products—presenting our 2021 woman&home Hair Awards winners
Best hair products 2021—Haircare
Whatever your hair needs, this is our pick of the best hair products for the ultimate in hair cleansing and conditioning. Keep these essentials in your bath or shower for great hair days every day.
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo
Winner: Afro haircare
Blended with softening ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil, this gentle cleanser is one of the best hair products to give curls, kinks and coils the texture factor.
'Afro hair is surprisingly delicate and needs a hydrating shampoo to attract moisture to the hair and keep dry, brittle strands in check. This one is a must for gentle cleansing and ensuring fragile strands stay in great condition.' Sarah Cooper-White
Kerastase Chronologiste Masque Intense Regenerant
Winner: Anti-ageing haircare
Rewind the clock on stiff, brittle and straw-like hair with skincare-inspired ingredients that reinstate a soft and silky swish.
“Leaves hair nourished, stronger and with a youthful shine. But the intense formula won’t weigh your hair down." Zoe Irwin
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo
Highly commended: Anti-ageing haircare
Max out on hydration and restore elasticity with this healing hair duo. Expect a smooth, shiny, frizz-free finish.
“This feels really luxurious and leaves hair feeling very soft and nourished.” Josh Wood
OGX Hydrate & Defrizz + Kukui Oil Conditioner
Winner: Frizz haircare
Enriched with Hawaiian Kukui nut oil, this frizz-fighting conditioner acts like an invisible helmet against humidity. The new pH balanced formula is much kinder on the hair and scalp, too.
Living Proof Restore Repair Mask
Winner: Intensive conditioner
One of the best hair products for dry, damaged hair. After just one treatment with this superhero treatment there’s a 70% reduction in broken, split ends.
“I love the smell plus the squeezy tube is easier to use than a messy tub. Leaves hair feeling soft, looking shiny and in great condition.” Sarah Cooper-White
Schwarzkopf Professional Fibre Clinix Fortify Treatment
Highly commended: Intensive conditioner
For over-processed, over-styled, over-it hair, this magic mask rebuilds the hair structure from within for stronger, healthier hair.
“A noticeable difference from the first use. It does not leave any residue on the hair. Hair felt stronger after a few uses.” Luke Hersheson
TRESemmé Moisture Rich Shampoo & Conditioner
Winner: Daily high street haircare
No frills bottle, all the thrills results. It hones in on damage with laser-like focus, locking moisture in to the areas that need it most.
“Leaves hair soft and silky and I like the very large bottles that last a long time. Eco wise it’s good.” Charley Williams-Howitt
Wild Science Lab Leaf + Seed Root Reboot Damage Rescue Shampoo & Root To Tip Damage Recovery Conditioner
Winner: Daily haircare (high end)
Give weak, low-energy hair a proverbial shot in the arm with this energising, restorative combo, enriched with organic hemp seed oil and aloe vera to enhance shine and softness.
“I loved these products. The herbal scent is unusual and they leave hair looking and feeling soft, lightweight and shiny. I used every last drop, which is unusual for me as I'm always moving on to the next thing!” Sarah Cooper-White
John Frieda Blue Crush for Brunettes Blue Shampoo & Conditioner
Winner: Colourcare for brunettes
Crushed blue pigments knock out and neutralise the orange, brassy tones that creep into brunette hair. Expect shiny, salon-fresh coolness.
"Perfect for perking up dull, drab looking brunette strands without reaching for a bottle of hair dye." Sarah Cooper-White
Pureology Hydrate Colour Care Shampoo & Conditioner
Winner: Best haircare for coloured hair
Thick, coarse, coloured hair? Meet your hair’s saviours. This caring pair softens and silkifies the rough, dry feeling of dyed hair.
“LOVE these products. The shine on my hair was incredible and the smell was great. Great for keeping coloured hair looking fresh and vibrant.” Sarah Cooper-White
Best hair products 2021—Styling
For salon-worthy styles look no further than these the best hair products for styling. These everyday heroes will help you zap frizz, boost volume or smooth wild strands.
Hairstory Hair Balm
Winner: Curl definer
The perfect daily moisturiser for curls and coils. Creamy, not too heavy, calms frizz without going all crunchy.
"Great on curly and even very dry over processed hair. Its rich formula really nourishes dry ends," Ben Cooke
Living Proof Curl Definer
Highly commended: Curl definer
‘I loved this. It smells great, not too overpowering and it doesn't leave a residue on your hands. Definitely one of the best hair products if you have curly or wavy hair. Ken O’Rourke
Lee Stafford Scalp Love Skin-Kind Dry Shampoo
Winner: Dry Shampoo (high street)
A great value alternative to moisture-sapping dry shampoos, with hydrating ingredients and gentle oil absorption.
“This clever product ticks all the dry shampoo boxes - absorbs excess oiliness and creates volume but it's also formulated with hyaluronic acid meaning sensitive scalps are calmed and there is no residue left on the skin.” Charley Williams-Howitt
Alterna My Hair My Canvas Another Day Dry Shampoo
Winner: Dry Shampoo (high end)
As fancy as it’s possible for dry shampoo to be - featherlight in texture with a summery floral scent.
Aussie SOS Heat Saviour Conditioning Spray
Winner: Heat Protect
Light, unsticky protection for hair in a handy lightweight spray - smells delicious too.
‘I wash and blow-dry my hair most days and this keeps my strands protected and looking healthy and shiny.’ Charley Williams-Howitt
Beauty Works 10-in-1 Miracle Spray
Highly commended: Heat protect
‘Love the 10-in-one benefits. This left my hair looking and feeling healthy and soft after using heated tools. Sarah Cooper-White
Redken Oil For All Invisible Multi-Benefit Oil
Delivers on its promises - light enough for fine hair yet nourishing enough for thick, curly types. Clever and versatile.
“Left my hair looking sleek and shiny after blow drying without any annoying flyaways.” Sarah Cooper-White
Authentic Beauty Concept Nude Powder Spray
A silicone-free formula that strikes the perfect balance of boosting texture without being gritty or claggy.
“I'd recommend this for adding bulk on the parting and as one of the best hair products for shorter hair, to add a little grip at their hairline.” Emma Gunavardhana
White Hot Shooshing Crème
Highly commended: Volumising
"I get loads of questions about grey hair styling, so it's fab that there’s specific products to help. Gives great texture, shine and can be reworked throughout the day. Really nice smell too." Michael Douglas
Best hair products 2021—Colour
Whether you colour your hair at home or need something between salon appointments, these must-haves are the best hair products for beautiful colour.
Wella Professionals Color Fresh Mask
Winner: Instant colour
A 10-minute colour fix for hair in need of a refresh, use in place of your regular conditioner for a healthy, vibrant finish.
“A brilliant way to give hair a temporary update. Lots of fun shades or choose something closer to your natural colour for a toning effect.” Sarah Cooper-White
Schwarzkopf Oleo Intense Permanent Oil Colour
Winner: Permanent colour
Infused with nourishing oils, this multi-tasking formula works to hydrate and colour hair all at once. It boasts 100% grey coverage too.
“I can’t remember the last time I coloured my hair at home, but needs must and this covered greys and got rid of tell-tale roots. It was easy to use too.” Charley Williams-Howitt
Clairol Nice’n Easy Root Touch Up
Winner: Root Touch Up (permanent)
A stopgap solution for stubborn greys in between salon appointments, this fuss-free root touch up works in just 10 minutes. Results last for up to 3 weeks.
"Inexpensive and usually on offer, this is easy to use and creates very little mess. The final result is glossy and seamless." Emma Gunavardhana
L’Oréal Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray
Winner: Root Touch Up (temporary)
Diffuses a veil of colour over salt and pepper strands for a natural finish. It’s refreshingly low maintenance too, and will stay put until your next shampoo.
Best hair products 2021—Hair health
Worried about hair loss or density? Add some of these SOS products to your shopping list. These are the best hair products for thicker looking, healthier hair.
Toppik Hair Building Fibres
Winner: Hair Loss (instant)
Perfect for creating the illusion of thicker, fuller hair, these naturally derived fibres seamlessly mask thinning hair.
“It's easy to use, delivers the desired result and doesn't have a huge amount of transfer despite the fact the pigments are loose and sprayed.” Emma Gunavardhana
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
A must-have remedy for slow and sparse hair growth. Its powerful peptide complex and potent natural extracts transform your locks.
“Baby hairs started growing within the first month. Leaves your hair fuller and thicker within weeks. Easy to use.” Luke Hersheson
Hairstory Scalp Brush
Winner: Scalp care tool
Remove product build-up, massage your scalp and stimulate hair growth in one - it’s fantastic for deep cleansing dirty roots.
“If someone liked scalp massages then I'd say this is a nice way of slotting a DIY one into their day. It's small, easy to use, easy to store and recyclable.” Emma Gunavardhana
Innersense True Enlightenment Scalp Scrub
Winner: Scalp care product
A luxurious pre-cleanse treatment that works hard to remove impurities and soothe an irritated scalp. A hair care hero in our books.
Nioxin Recharging Complex
"The most effective hair growth supplements you can buy. They’re your essential nutrients to ensure healthy, beautiful hair." Zoe Irwin
Best hair products 2021—Tools
For a salon-worthy style make sure your tools are the creme de la creme. This is our our pick of the best hair products and tools, from detangling brushes to ultra luxury straighteners and everything in between.
One of the gentlest, most flexible detangling brushes we’ve tried, now with a very useful mini-mirror on the grip.
“Easy to use as it fits in the palm and does the job of detangling very well.” Sam McKnight
Tangle Teezer The Wet Detangler
Highly commended: Brush
"Makes light work of tangles, relatively pain free and easily cleaned so very hygienic," Sam McKnight
Revamp Progloss Deepform Ceramic Straightening Brush
Winner: Styling Brush
Styles, detangles and de-frizzes in one swipe. Great smoothing without leaving hair rigidly poker straight.
“I'd recommend it for home use, definitely. Easy to use and a very nice design.” Ken O’Rourke.
BaByliss 9000 Cordless Waving Wand
Finally, a wire-free curling and waving wand that performs as well as it’s plugged-in predecessors. Extra points for reassuring safety features.
“I would certainly recommend this, it's now a permanent part of my kit.” Ken O’Rourke.
GHD Helios Professional Hair Dryer
The fastest, kindest and - let's be honest - sexiest dryer we’ve seen from GHD. A true all-rounder that justifies every penny of it’s price.
Slip Pure Silk Turban
Luxurious overnight protection for curls, coils, braids and more. Made from 100% silk in chic designs including our favourite, leopard print.
“Highly recommended for hair health - hair felt lovely and silky.” Charlotte Mensa
Cordless, stylish, damage-reducing and as adept at waving as it is straightening. Unless you’re on a tight budget there’s nothing not to love about this luxury styler.
“I love the flexible plates and the cordless ability and of course its of very high quality build". Michael Douglas.
Best hair products 2021—Special recognition
In our special final category we want to shout about the best hair products and brands that are doing great things. These deserving winners are well worth having on your radar.
Josh Wood The Miracle System
Winner: Best at home
Incomparable to standard box dyes, this incredibly nourishing home hair colour system creates a professional, salon-worthy experience.
Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water Shampoo
Winner: Best for teens and tweens
“Ok, not specifically for kids, but my tween daughter loves using these products on her hair. She actively enjoys washing her hair - a feat in itself. The packaging is ideal for girls and the pleasant smell isn't too sickly. Great at helping detangle long hair that doesn't get brushed enough! Great value too.” Sarah Cooper-White
Monat Junior range
Winner: Best for babies and toddlers
Gentle but effective on little ones' hair, the tear-free range makes bath time an enjoyable experience all round.
“This works a treat on kid's hair that's prone to tangling.” Charley Williams-Howitt
Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo Bar
Winner: Sustainable product
Say hello to plastic-free hair care that doesn’t compromise on efficacy. Hair is cleansed, hydrated and shiny without excessive, polluting packaging.
“These are incredible. Lather up so well, but don't leave hair feeling dry and squeaky. Just nourished and shiny. They smell great too. Bravo Garnier for doing their best to be completely sustainable and certified cruelty-free too.” Sarah Cooper-White
L’Occitane en Provence
Winner: Best sustainable brand
A brand that’s shown wholehearted commitment to sustainability and environmentally-friendly initiatives. We salute you and your green thinking L’Occitane.
‘Using L’Occitane is always a treat on hair wash days, but the fact that the products are now more sustainable and environmentally friendly makes it even better.’ Charley Williams-Howitt
Save our salons
Apart from friends and family, who did you miss most during lockdown? We guess it may be your hairdresser. And we are so thankful to how speedily salons rallied round to help us in our times of need, with emergency care packages, online tutorials and by making their spaces safe for us when we do return.
So with salons so cherished to us, it’s startling to know that since our first lockdown '56% of salon owners are now having to consider closing their business,' says Luke Hersheson. '79% of salons owners say they are unlikely to take on any apprentices due to COVID-19 and 71% of salon owners said they had no support from their landlords by way of rent reduction, which is enormous.'
So, how can we support our salons?
Show your love for your hairdresser by sharing images on social media tagging your salon in the posts. This will help hair salons to get new clients through their doors as soon as they can reopen.
You can also write a letter to your local MP expressing your support for salons and asking for a reduction in VAT. The #ChopTheVAT campaign is asking the UK Government to cut the VAT for hair salons from 20 percent down to 5 percent, as they have done for the hospitality industry.
“Salons are doing their bit to keep clients safe and it feels time for the Government to do its bit and keep the industry afloat,” says Josh Wood.
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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