My Favorite Drugstore Shampoos
After having used most of these shampoos over the course of the last one year and having tried and tested them in various scenarios - with hair that's air-dried, blowdried, with waves, super straight - I'm convinced I don't need to actively look for more. These are all drugstore brands so they're super affordable and they've really helped fix my hair from the mess that it used to be a few years ago.
Before I begin, while these shampoos HAVE helped my hair, there is no shampoo (or product) that will work in isolation. You need multiple factors working together - clean water (that means a shower filter for places with exceptionally hard water), decent enough eating habits, controlled use of heat styling tools, a regular haircut/trim, to name a few. My hair had gone from bad to worse when I moved to Dubai and after working on it with some simple methods I can tell you, my hair has almost fully repaired itself. You can read more about my hair fix here.
All of that being said, a good shampoo does alter the appearance of your hair. It can add volume, bounce, shine, and keep it clean for longer. And the following are the five on my happy shampoo list.
But first, my hair type: My hair is naturally straight (but not poker straight) most of the times but can have a slight wave depending on what shampoo I use, how I airdry it, whether I brush it after washing or not, etc. Some shampoos/conditioners can make my hair very straight so on a good hair they can look like someone blowdried them amateur style. Some shampoos/conditioners can make my hair wavy. Hope that helps with perspective.
Now these exact variants in the list below may not work for you, depending on what hair type you have. What you can do is test out the variant for your hair from these shampoo ranges that work for me and see if they give you good results. For example, if the pink Sunsilk works for me, but your hair type is different, then you can try the purple one (or any other) to see if your hair agrees with that one.
1. Sunsilk Shine & Strength (Pink) Shampoo & Conditioner AND Sunsilk Nourishing Soft & Smooth (Yellow) Shampoo & Conditioner: I actually stopped using Sunsilk a long time ago and only tried them out when I did a project with Sunsilk last year. I loved both of these shampoos instantly and have continued using them since. The pink one makes my hair very straight so if I don't want to heat style my hair straight, I use this to get a close enough look. The yellow gives some volume/wave. I alternate based on what I'm feeling like.
2. Garnier Ultra Doux Honey Treasures Shampoo & Conditioner AND Garnier Ultra Doux Avocado Oil & Shea Butter Shampoo & Conditioner. I was actually sent these shampoos by Garnier a long time ago and I'm SO glad they did because these actually make your hair baby soft. When my hair was recovering about a year ago from terrible damage, I started using these and I couldn't believe how much they helped. I love both these variants, but love the honey treasures a bit more. I reviewed them in detail once too, you can read about that here.
3. Loreal Elvive Color Protect Shampoo & Conditioner: I used to have this as my go-to shampoo about 10 years ago (even when my hair was not colored) and don't remember why I stopped using it (I think it stopped working for a bit so I switched). I rebought it a few months ago when I got my hair colored and wanted to be extra careful with it. Instantly I remembered why I'd always loved this shampoo. It makes your hair bouncy and it's back on my love list.
4. Pantene Clinicare Hair Time Renewal: I've always hated on Pantene, its always given me hairfall or done absolutely nothing for my hair. I received a few bottles of these in a gift pack and randomly gave one to someone I know to get rid of my stash. She met me a few days later and said that the shampoo was amazing. I looked at her usually-dry hair and it was noticeably softer. I was stunned so I went and quickly tried the one I had on me and loved it too. It made my hair soft and added bounce and volume which was just fab. I used it a few more times just to be sure (trust issues) and it's only gotten better. I'm surprised that Pantene doesn't push this more, considering it's such a great product.
5. Anaphase Stimulating Cream Shampoo: This is a medicated shampoo and it makes your hair very dry unless you use a conditioner with it (with conditioner it's decent). Why it's on my list is because I started using it on a hair doctor's recommendation to cleanse my hair and after using it for a month and switching back to a regular shampoo, I found that it had taken away all the grease/buildup I had on my hair and repaired lots of it. I used it again this year (for about 2 weeks) when I felt my hair was becoming all heavy/greasy again and it did the job. I plan on using it once a year for a couple of weeks. It's available at pharmacies.
Why do I have so many favorite shampoos? Why not just one? Personally, I feel like my hair needs a break from any shampoo after a couple of months. So I use one, finish it and then switch to another. Currently, I'm finishing off the Pantene.
Finding your soulmate shampoo is a journey, bros. Don't lose heart. Keep trying until you find the one.
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+ How dry and damaged my hair was two years ago
+ + You can read about my hair fix-up process when it was in really bad shape and what I did to try and repair it.
+ + + The shower filter I currently am using.
+ + + + My favorite hairdryer.