The 12 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Dry Hair, According to A Beauty Expert

I have always had extremely dry hair. In fact, for years, no matter how many masks I applied or how often I would get it trimmed, my hair’s natural texture would remain slightly frazzled and always parched. Every time I visited a new hair salon, the stylist would basically always comment on how dry my hair was and I’d be upsold an intensive hair treatment immediately. Yes, despite writing about hair trends, new colours, and emerging hairstyles for my job, I just didn’t know how to get my hair into a more permanently hydrated state. That was, until, I started focusing on the basics—the shampoos and conditioners that I was using.

Much like looking after your skin with the right cleanser, paying attention to the first steps of your haircare routine—namely your shampoos and conditioners—can be something of a game changer when looking after dry hair. For too long, I’d been focusing on the hair treatments and styling products as a way of restoring moisture and neglecting the formulas I was using to actually cleanse and condition my strands.

The test as to whether you’ve been using the right products on wash day? “Check the moisture retention of your hair strands by gently pulling a single strand of wet hair to see if it springs back,” advises Venner James, celebrity hair stylist and Amika’s UK Education Ambassador. If it does then your hair is likely to be well-hydrated, if it doesn’t then your hair is likely to be dry or have low porosity—meaning that moisture isn’t as easily absorbed. “Once your hair is dry, the texture is then also likely to be brittle and dull in appearance,” says James.

Luckily, though, there are some things that you can look out for in your shampoos and conditioners to combat this dryness. Nourishing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil or argan oil are brilliant natural moisturisers for dry hair. And things to avoid? “Parabens and sulphates are two ingredients that can actually strip the hair of its natural oils, resulting in dry and brittle hair,” explains James.

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