Trying to find the right shampoo for your hair type and your needs is tough.
If you have already identified that what you need is a hydrating shampoo, we salute you.
Your next step is picking the best out of the myriad of options that swamp the shelves and online stores all around you. This article can help you with that choice.
If you’re still not sure whether a hydrating shampoo might be right for you, you’ve come to the right place.. Let’s go through some of the reasons a hydrating shampoo might be exactly what you’re looking for below.
Why look for a hydrating shampoo?
First up, scalp issues. A hydrating shampoo can be life-changing if you struggle with any issues with the skin on your scalp, such as dryness, redness, sensitivity or dandruff.
This is because shampoo is generally applied directly to the scalp, whilst conditioners are generally reserved for the ends of your hair. Thus getting a shampoo with oils and similar moisturizing ingredients is useful in nourishing the skin from which the hair grows.
Ingredients that penetrate the scalp will also help nourish the hair right at the root. This means that anyone looking to improve their hair quality can benefit from a hydrating shampoo that targets roots.
There are many reasons why you might have dry-looking or dry-feeling hair. The dryness might be along the whole length of your hair, or just at the ends. It might feel crunchy or frazzled when you touch it, or maybe your hair just lacks shine and luster.
Maybe you’ve colored your hair, or spend a lot of time outdoors. Maybe your hair is long, or is becoming brittle with aging. You might even be experiencing some hair loss. These are all cases in which a hydrating shampoo can make a huge difference
You might also have hair that is not damaged, but has a texture that requires more hydration.
For example, curly hair generally needs much more moisture than straight hair. Thick hair may need more moisturization to penetrate the entire hair strand.
Fine hair is typically more susceptible to breakage, so needs strengthening and moisture, but can often be weighed down by thicker formulas. In this case, look for hydrating products that use lighter oils.
In all of these cases, a moisturizing shampoo can be a great step in the process for revitalizing or transforming your mane.
Now that we’ve established whether a hydrating shampoo is right for you, let's get to the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023, and kick-start your journey to your best hair yet!
Say hello to shiny, strong and revitalized locks! The Blu Atlas coconut apricot shampoo presents the full works when looking for a hydrating shampoo.
Good for your skin? Check.
Nourishing to your roots? Check.
Boosts your hair? Check.
And all of this is done with the power of naturally-derived ingredients that are good for your hair and good for the planet. This shampoo is also gentle enough that you can use it daily if that suits your hair type or needs.
And yes, it foams beautifully.
So what's in this shampoo, and why do we love it so much?
First up we have vegan biotin. Biotin is one of the best-known vitamins for supporting hair growth, strength and volume. Next we have saw palmetto which guards against hair loss and has anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s good for soothing scalp problems.
Third we have jojoba oil—a lightweight oil that doesn’t drag hair down or make it look greasy. Oh,and it's packed with vitamins A, E, D, antioxidants and fatty acids. Jojoba is a great carrier that can transport helpful molecules deeper into the scalp for maximum hydration.
Finally of note is aloe vera, a juicy succulent which adds vitamin C to the mix. All these vitamins and compounds ensure that the replenishing of the hair is not just a topical bandage to the problem, but a long-lasting solution through restoring health to the hair.
Oh, and we said it was natural, right? This means Blu Atlas products stay away from the “nasties,” so they contain no synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens or phthalates.
For extra points, they are also vegan, cruelty-free and manufactured in the USA!
Fans report loving the sweet and zingy fragrance of coconut and apricot. They also experience effective dandruff relief and a new softness and vibrancy to their hair that even others notice!
Be the next fan, with the stress-free experience of a money-back guarantee from Blu Atlas if you don't love their shampoo.
2. Gisou Honey Infused Hair Wash
We are all abuzz about this wash from Gisou, and we love the story of this company.
Gisou is all about the magic of honey. They blend historical knowledge, passed down through generations, with new innovations to truly showcase what honey can do.
And this is not any old honey, but honey from a special garden in the Netherlands that has been in the family for six generations.
So what can honey do? Primary for us is that honey is wonderful for adding hydration back to the hair, and soothing the scalp. Honey is also a humectant—something that helps with getting that moisture into your hair and keeping it there. It also has a smoothing effect on the hair shaft, promoting shine.
We also know that honey has all the good “anti” properties—it’s antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Honey is therefore great for the cleansing function of shampoo and for protecting and restoring your scalp and hair.
Of course, honey is not the only powerhouse in this product. We also love the inclusion of gentle argan oil for smoothing; l-arginine, a protein-building amino acid, for strength; and the patented Baobab Tein NPNF blend, an oligopeptide that powers youthful revitalization.
We also love that this product is 92% naturally derived, containing no parabens, sulfates or silicones.
Oh and yes, this one lathers too. No it's not sticky, and yes it smells fantastic.
Give this luxury wash a go to treat your hair to queen-bee status.
3. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
If you know anything about the hair world, you’ve heard of Olaplex. We couldn’t make a top-ten list of the best hydrating shampoos in 2023 without bringing this crowd favorite to the table.
Clinical Treatment at Home
Olaplex is one of the only brands that can make the claim that their product actually rebonds and repairs the hair strands. This is not a topical band-aid with a mirage of silicones—the Olaplex products really get to the root of the problem.
We love the Olaplex ethos of bringing salon quality at a more affordable price to all. Whilst Olaplex was typically applied in a deep treatment at salons, these days you can create a custom haircare system at home by combining their products.
This Olaplex product uses quite a different approach to other shampoos on this list. For example, there are no oils in the product. This could work for you if you typically struggle with overly oily hair.
However, you should be careful about how much you use, and what products you combine it with, so that your hair is not left too dry.
We also love that this blend is pH balanced, so it’s unlikely to irritate the skin anywhere on your body. Along with many of the classic nasties, this product also does not contain DEA, aldehydes, formaldehydes and common allergens and animal products.
It's Olaplex, enough said.
4. Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo for Damaged Hair
If your hydration needs are linked to some significant hair damage, aging, or skin issues, this could be the hydrating shampoo for you. It's not called a super-moisture shampoo for nothing!
Our favorite ingredient has the creators of this product dipping into the cool waters of the ocean and retrieving some algae extract.
What issue can't this super extract address? First, algae extract is known to be great for those with sensitive and problem scalps. Hair loss? Dandruff? Let the ocean carry these worries away.
Algae extract is also effective in cleaning out buildup in the hair and then injecting strength-giving building blocks back into the root. In combination with the antioxidant vitamin A, this makes for healthier hair in the long term.
We also love the use of rosehip oil, a sweet and lightweight oil made from the fruit of roses. Don't be fooled by this sweet face; rosehip is packed with fatty acids and vitamins C, E and B for instant shine and longer term repair.
This shampoo also includes our two favorite B vitamins for hair—biotin and panthenol—vitamins that promote volume, moisture and elasticity in the hair.
As is becoming a theme, number 4 on our list of the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023 is sulfate-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and contains no artificial dyes or DEA. It is also vegan and cruelty-free.
We also love that this product derives 95% of its contents naturally, from either coconuts, vegetables or other plants.
Brioego has stated it perfectly on the packaging; there's no need to give up on overly dry or damaged hair—don't despair, repair!
5. OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo
Next up on our list of the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023 is an option that is a little easier on the pocket. OGX is an Australian brand that looks to make beauty pure and simple. Simple as life by the beach.
So what is there to love about this product?
Hair is made up of protein. As such, one of the best ways to smoothen and strengthen is to deposit proteins into the scalp and hair. And one of the best sources of whole protein are eggs!
Move over smoothies, this unique product harnesses the smoothing power of an egg white protein blend to bring that spark back into your hair.
Can’t get enough of everything coconut? This blend uses coconut in two forms—milk and oil—and is laced with that delectable sweet-coconut scent.
Coconut milk is one of those ingredients with a cult following for its hair-growth-encouraging properties. It is loaded with helpful compounds such as vitamins B,C andE, and zinc to target hair right at the root.
Coconut oil is great at relieving skin issues and moisturizing the hair strand, with the ability to penetrate deep into the shaft thanks to helpful acids contained within. It is also well suited for those with curly hair who need a heavier oil for full hydration.
So if you want your hair to remind you of a tropical paradise, opt for the OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo.
6. Kitsch Strengthening Solid Shampoo Rice Water Protein
Speaking of powerful proteins for building back your hair, we love this strengthening solid shampoo from Kitsch, with the surprising fragrance of white tea and mandarin! Bubble tea anyone?
Shampoo bars are a great way to reduce your plastic waste, and this one comes with rave reviews.
Shampoo Bar Myths
Efficacy: Many people worry that a bar shampoo just won't spread through their hair the way a bottled gel formula would. It is true that the texture and application will be different from what you are used to. However, this does not mean that the product is not effective. We love the way a shampoo bar does not harshly strip away all of your oils, but generally leaves a gentle protective layer over your hair. This makes these products perfect for sensitive heads and those with hair and scalp problems. Bars work with you rather than on you.
Price: Some people are also initially taken aback by the cost of a shampoo bar. However, bars tend to be used very slowly, outlasting bottles by 2-3 times. When you split that cost they often end up cheaper than bottled options.
Ethics: Some people feel that shampoo bars make only a limited impact on the environment, but every piece of plastic reduction counts. In addition, the Kitsch shampoo bar is made of natural ingredients in the USA and contains no “nasties” for you or the waterways.
7. Kevin Murphy Hydrate-Me Wash
For our next recommendation we head back to the salon. Kevin Murphy is a well-established brand in the fashion industry, founded by master stylist Kevin Murphy himself. He began making these high-end, high-performance products after being frustrated by the (lack of) performance of products on set.
This particular shampoo works well for those looking for hydration due to either natural or exposure-related dryness.
So, what’s to love in the Hydrate-Me Wash?
First of all, we love the blend of antioxidants in this mix, including vitamins A and C, and the exotic bergamot fruit extract. Together these serve scalp-balancing and hair-smoothing functions, as well as promoting long-term hair health and growth through increased elasticity.
We also love the deep hydration provided by shea butter and evening primrose oil. Together these are fantastic for softening the hair, drawing in moisture, and protecting the strand from root to tip.
We also love what's not in this luxurious product—a pleasant surprise for a salon brand. Kevin Murphy guarantees their products are “5-free”free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, DEA and harsh surfactants.
When you go with a Kevin Murphy product, you know you’re choosing something steered by advancement in skin care and technology, whilst also caring for animals, the environment and your health.
Kevin also offers a matching rinse and mask to complete the deep-hydration treatment.
8. Tree to Tub Soapberry for Hair Relaxing Lavender
Some of you reading this list may be looking for an easily accessible product, maybe even one at your local Target, and something that is super kind to the skin.
You’re in luck, with the Tree to Tub branded shampoo stocked at Target being next on our list, powered by the gentlest of soap substitutes.
Top of our list of favorite ingredients in this formulation is the wild soapberry extract. Wild soapberry has been touted by some as the most gentle soap substitute you can find.
This berry generates a lovely foam that is pH balanced so as not to irritate the skin. Soapberries also have antimicrobial properties, keeping your scalp in balance too.
We also love the inclusion of some powerful organic ingredients including argan oil, olive leaf extract, aloe vera juice and chamomile flower extract. Chamomile and aloe vera are well known for their skin soothing properties, and argan and olive for their gentle shine and hair-strengthening qualities.
Oh and how can we forget—who doesn’t love the relaxing smell of lavender? Whether to gently bring yourself to awareness in the morning, or help soothe you after a long day, lavender is a great choice for a dash of aromatherapy as you shower.
9. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
Coming in sharp at number 9 is the Pureology Hydrate Shampoo. This is a highly concentrated blend that delivers near-instant softness, and lasts for over 75 washes.
This intense moisture treatment is especially great for thick hair, curly hair,and also hair that has taken some damage from coloring. This sulfate-free formula will work with you to retain that color you've worked hard for.
For those who liked the sound of lavender in our previous recommendation, this blend also uses the fragrance of the delicate purple flower, along with the muskier tones of patchouli and bergamot. Delicious!
Three ingredients are the stars of the show in this bottle, each picking a different battle in hydrating your hair back to health. These are jojoba oil, green tea extract and sage, also backed by multi-weight proteins and rose extract.
Starting at the base, green tea extract is great for overall scalp health, battling dryness, flaking, and sending support down to the roots for growth and strength. Sage also goes down to the roots, stimulating growth within the follicles. Lastly, jojoba oil targets the hair itself, an effective smoothing emollient, imparting a gentle shine to the strands.
When it comes to repair, the multi-weight proteins of oat, wheat and soy come in to rebuild broken strands and strengthen existing hair. To finish, rose calms the scalp.
For those who love their colored hair, but don't want to put up with frayed texture, get the best of both worlds by using this intense hydrating shampoo from Pureology.
10. Biolage Hyrdra Source Shampoo
Last but not least on our list of the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023 is the Hydra Source from Biolage Professional.
While this shampoo is specifically formulated to target dry hair, it’s also one of those rare products that seems to work well for all thicknesses and textures, from fine hair that is easily weighed down, to thick, curly hair.
If you have a range of hair textures in your household, then this could be a great option for you.
We also love that this brand is stocked by some salons, but is more reasonably priced than most. And the fragrance is just to die for.
Key to providing the deepest hydration in this product is aloe vera. Aloe vera is a succulent plant you might come across as a houseplant, or as the infamous soothing remedy for sunburn.
Two key properties that help in the case of sunburn also help with the nourishment of your hair and scalp.
First, aloe vera is a deep natural moisturizer that will truly quench the hair fiber. Secondly, aloe has cooling anti-inflammatory properties that soothe any irritation in the scalp that could be affecting the strands at the follicle.
And for those who are concerned about plastic, but aren't willing to switch to a shampoo bar? Rest assured that this bottle is made from 100% recycled consumer plastic!
What about Conditioner?
The old paradigm
Most people tend to follow a shampoo with a conditioner. This is because in general, shampoos have been harsh formulations, designed to clean and strip away all the dirt from the hair, often taking your natural hair oils away in the process.
A conditioner is then required to restore that shine and moisture. Often these conditioners are only a topical band-aid—they coat the outside of the hair to look shiny, but don't actually penetrate and restore the hair.
In this way classic shampoos and conditioners work on a mutual dependency cycle, and tend to require use of the products often as the scalp tries to compensate with making more oil, more quickly.
This is where many scalp issues arise, as well as the phenomenon of having dry ends and an overly greasy scalp.
The new generation of shampoos
Of course, this depends on the shampoo you use. In recent times, more products, especially in the natural scene, seek to clean your hair without stripping away all of your oils.
These shampoos work with your hair, rather than against it. A great example of this is the Blu Atlas shampoo that topped our list of the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023.
In this way, a conditioner should complement rather than compensate for the shampoo you’ve used.
So with this in mind, we recommend that you take note of what conditioner you’re using as well as your shampoo. You might have converted to a fantastic shampoo but the conditioner could still be causing you issues.
It is good practice to get a matching conditioner to the shampoo that you have—like the Blu Atlas coconut and apricot conditioner. Not only are sets of matching shampoos and conditioners designed to work together, you won't have too many competing scents in your hair either.
Making the choice
You’ve done all your research and now it's time to try your products out. It’s important to keep in mind that experimentation will always be part of the game, as long as we have the beautiful diversity of the human race.
This does mean sometimes a product that sounds like it should work perfectly for your hair type just won't.
Don’t let this discourage you. We suggest starting with brands that offer money-back guarantees or small samples, to ease the stress both on your mind and on your wallet.
It also pays to start playing detective with the products on your shelf.
For example, some oils work fantastically on some hair types, whilst causing other hair types to become weighed down and flat. Spend time researching your hair type and which ingredients tend to go well with it.
If you’ve tried a few shampoos and find that none of them work for you, see if you can spot ingredients in common that might contribute to your issues.
And as we’ve mentioned with the conditioner considerations, look to other factors that could be affecting the health of your hair. This could include sun exposure, chlorine, water temperature and diet, among many other factors.
If all else fails, it can pay to ask friends and family as well as hair professionals for personalized recommendations.
We hope something on our list of the 10 best hydrating shampoos in 2023 forever transforms your locks into their most luscious, shiny and hydrating form they've ever been in!