Hair like straw? The weather, your hair type and your lifestyle are all factors that can contribute to your hair becoming dry, dull, and lacking moisture. Finding the right shampoo is a great first step to help combat this and put some life back into your locks.
At The Recommended, we’ve looked into the best shampoos specially formulated and designed for dry hair to bring you this handy hair care guide. We’ve also spoken to top hair experts for their professional advice and top tips to help you along the way.
From the causes of dry hair to the essential ingredients to look for in shampoos, read on for all you need to know about treating dry hair and regaining that refreshed bounce.
The best shampoo for dry hair at a glance:
- Best for all hair types: Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo, £17.85 at LookFantastic
- Best for silky smooth results: Redken All Soft Shampoo, £19 at LookFantastic
- Best for quick results: Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo, £5.99 at Boots
- Best for long-lasting results: L’Oreal Elvive Hydra Hyaluronic Shampoo, £7 at Boots
- Best for a bouncy finish: Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Hair Food, £6 at Boots
- Best for healthy hair growth: GF Fabulosity Shampoo No.5, £44 at GF Fabulosity
Our hair experts
Gustav Fouche is the owner of Notting Hill’s high-end salon Gustav Fouche and a top celebrity hairstylist. His clients include celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Gal Gadot and designer Oscar De La Renta, as well as styling iconic red-carpet looks, shoots and TV commercials. Gustav also spoke to us for our guide on how often you should wash your hair.
Jeffrey Alzenny is a top Trichologist at The London Hair Clinic, offering his expertise in hair and scalp care. He is an accredited hair loss specialist and national trainer for the hair replacement industry. He has been awarded several Trichology certificates from the world-recognised group IAT (International Association of Trichologists).
The best shampoos for dry hair
We’ve done our research to bring you a round-up of the best shampoos for dry hair, with some top recommendations from hair experts.
Best for all hair types: Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo
Treat limp, dry hair with this hydrating shampoo and revive your locks with moisture and shine. Infused with antioxidant-rich argan oil and vitamins A and E, hair will be left smooth and rejuvenated. This shampoo is free from sulphates and parabens and suitable for all hair types.
Best for silky smooth results: Redken All Soft Shampoo
Instantly moisturise your dry hair with this shampoo, formulated with Redken’s silk-luxe complex. The ultra-rich formula contains avocado oil, silk amino acids and olive oil to rehydrate and replenish moisture back into the hair, leaving your locks renewed and silky smooth.
Best for quick results: Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo
Refresh your locks with this shampoo - containing Australian macadamia nut oil, which has natural moisturising properties, it will rejuvenate dry, dull hair. It promises to add volume and shine in just one wash!
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Best for long-lasting results: L’Oreal Elvive Hydra Hyaluronic Shampoo
Bring dry hair back to life with this hydrating shampoo from L’Oreal. Infused with hyaluronic acid, it will nourish and condition your hair and leave it bouncy and shiny for up to 72 hours.
Best for a bouncy finish: Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Hair Food
Thirsty hair? Try this nourishing shampoo, made from an all-natural formula, to deeply moisturise and rejuvenate hair. Hair will be left feeling lightweight and fresh, bouncy and shiny, with a lovely banana and coconut scent.
Best for healthy hair growth: GF Fabulosity Shampoo No.5
Our expert Gustav recommends this creamy textured shampoo for coarse, damaged hair. He explains that those suffering from dryness ‘need to get moisture back in the hair to help smooth the cuticle and help the hair to have more bend’. This shampoo will deeply moisturise the roots and hair strands to promote healthy hair.
What are the key signs of dry hair?
Dry hair isn’t hard to spot - it will feel rough in texture and lack shine. Dry hair will also become brittle and easy to break, with split ends. Other signs include an itchy scalp and flakiness and hair easily tangling, knotting and frizzing.
What causes dry hair?
Your hair can become dry for several different reasons - there is no one cause. It occurs when your hair lacks the necessary moisture and oil to stay and look healthy. Causes can include:
- Underactive sebaceous glands in the scalp: These are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oil to keep hair healthy and moisturised. Greasy hair can occur if the glands are overactive, while not enough oil can cause hair to become dry.
- Overwashing your hair: Washing your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils, which can damage the hair and make it feel dry.
- Exposure to harsh chemicals: Chemicals such as chlorine, hair dyes and bleaches can dry the hair out, causing it to become more sensitive and prone to damage.
- Using hot tools frequently: Using styling accessories such as hair dryers and straighteners can dry out the hair due to their heat.
- Environmental factors: The weather and different climates can affect the dryness of your hair. Extreme cold weather or hot, humid climates with strong UV rays from the sun can cause hair to become damaged and dried out, lacking moisture.
- Diet: What you eat and drink can affect the condition of your hair. For example, a lack of vitamins and proteins can lead to dry hair, which can break easily. Dehydration can also cause dry hair.
- Health: Dry hair can sometimes be caused by deficiencies or hormone imbalances - if you think this is the reason for your dry hair, you should consult a doctor for expert advice.
How to combat and avoid dry hair?
As dry hair can occur for several reasons, there are several ways to also avoid it. These include:
- Hair products: Use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dry hair to regain moisture in your locks. Look for hydrating ingredients which are gentle on the scalp - there’s more on this below.
- Limit hot tools: Avoid over-using hot equipment on your hair, such as hair dryers and straighteners, as this can lead to dryness. When you do use these tools, ensure to spritz hair with heat protectant spray beforehand to prevent damage.
- Don’t overwash your hair: Overwashing can strip your scalp and hair of its natural oils - limit the frequency of washing your hair to lock in moisture for longer.
- Protect from the elements: Make sure you keep your hair protected in the sun, cold weather and windy conditions - harsh external elements can lead to dryness.
- Balanced diet: Ensure you have a healthy diet with enough vitamins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats to avoid deficiencies that could lead to dryness. Make sure you also keep hydrated, drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
What ingredients should you look for in a shampoo for dry hair?
When looking to buy a shampoo to help rehydrate your dry hair and replenish it with some much-needed moisture, there are several ingredients that you should look out for. These include:
- Natural oils: e.g. coconut, argan and jojoba. These will help replenish your scalp and hair with moisture.
- Natural butters: e.g. shea butter, cocoa butter. Similar to natural oils, certain natural butters will deeply nourish your hair and scalp. Our expert Jeffrey recommends looking for formulas that provide added hydrations, ‘so think coconut oil, Abyssinian oil and shea butter.’
- Aloe vera: This has naturally hydrating properties that can help soothe and hydrate the scalp.
What ingredients should you avoid in a shampoo for dry hair?
Several ingredients in shampoos should be avoided if you are prone to dry hair - these tend to strip your hair of moisture and contribute to dryness. Some of the ingredients to avoid include the following:
- Sulphates: These can be harsh on the scalp and hair and strip them of naturally occurring oils - hair expert Jeffrey Alzenny stressed the importance of avoiding these.
- Silicones: These can build up on the hair and prevent moisture and hydration from reaching the roots. Hair expert Gustav explains that ‘even though they may leave the hair feeling smooth, it's only a short time fix - avoid silicones as this will dry the hair even more’.
- Alcohol: This ingredient can dry out the hair and scalp.
- Petrolatum: Jeffrey recommends avoiding petrolatum ‘as it’s a known ingredient to block the hair cuticle.’ This can cause irritation.
- Fragrances: They may give a nice scent, but fragrances can be irritating for some hair types and contribute to dryness.
How often should you wash dry hair?
In general, it is recommended to wash dry hair less frequently to avoid stripping it of its natural oils, and when you do, ensure you are using shampoos specifically formulated for dry hair. The frequency of washing your hair can also be different for different people, depending on several different factors.
Thick or fine, curly or straight? Different hair types will require different needs. Fine, dry hair may require slightly more regular washing in comparison to thicker hair. For fine hair, try every two to three days, whereas for thicker hair, try once or twice a week.
Your lifestyle will also dictate how often you wash your hair. You will need to wash it more frequently if you are exercising a lot to remove sweat and any buildup of dirt and residue.
Looking for more expert-recommended round-ups and hair product guides? Check out our Haircare and Cosmetics page, where you’ll find more more on beauty recommendations, including the best hairdryers, the best hair straighteners, and the best shampoos, recommended by experts.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.