Shopping for the ideal shampoo can be hard. There are so many different factors to consider and literally hundreds of brands and formulas to choose from.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to shopping for high-quality shampoos at super affordable prices. All of the shampoos discussed in this article are free of problematic ingredients like sulfates and parabens. And yes–they’re all available at Walmart.
- 1 What To Look For In Shampoo Products
- 2 Drugstore Shampoo vs. Salon Shampoo
- 3 Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
- 4 Best for Blonde Hair
- 5 Best Budget Shampoo
- 6 Best Dandruff Shampoo
- 7 Best Clarifying Shampoo
- 8 Best Moisturizing Shampoo For Dry Hair
- 9 Best Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
- 10 Tips For Keeping Your Hair Healthy
- 11 FAQs
What To Look For In Shampoo Products
The first thing you want to ask yourself when shopping for a new shampoo is, “What are my personal hair goals?”
Examples of hair goals might be…
- I want to support and enhance my natural curls
- I want to repair my dry or damaged hair
- I recently dyed my hair and I want the color to last as long as possible
Once you know what you want your shampoo to accomplish for you, you’ll know what kind of shampoo to look for.
Some different types of shampoo include…
- Moisturizing shampoos
- Color-protecting shampoos
- Shampoos for curly hair
- Dandruff shampoo
There are also some other factors to consider when shopping for your ideal shampoo, such as ingredients and formulas. Depending on your personal haircare needs, you will want to seek out or avoid certain ingredients.
For me, I try my best to stick with clean haircare products with minimal artificial ingredients. For my naturally curly hair (3a), I find that sticking with natural products that boost moisture and maintain the health of my scalp is the best method for me.
To qualify as a high-quality shampoo in my eyes, the product has to be…
- Paraben free
- Sulfate free
- Phthalate free
- Free of artificial fragrances (parfum)
- Free of artificial dyes and coloring agents
I also look for products that have as many naturally derived ingredients as possible and minimal artificial ingredients.
Of course, price also plays a factor when picking the right shampoo for you. Personally, I never spend more than $20 on a bottle of shampoo or conditioner, and I find that it’s totally possible (and even easy) to find the right products for me while staying within this price range.
Below, you’ll find a list of high-quality shampoos for sale at Walmart, all priced under $22.
Drugstore Shampoo vs. Salon Shampoo
Before we dive in any further, I want to address a common question–is there really any difference between the shampoo you buy at the drugstore and the stuff you get from your hair stylist?
The short answer is–yes and no.
The most obvious difference between drugstore shampoos and salon shampoos is the price. While drugstore shampoos are almost always priced under $20, salon shampoos can easily run you between $30 and $60 per bottle, or even more in some cases.
So, is it all a racket to get us to spend more money, or are salon shampoos really superior?
Honestly, it depends…
In some cases, salon shampoos contain higher quality ingredients that support hair health and fewer filler ingredients that could end up damaging your hair. Drugstore shampoos (especially ones that are extremely inexpensive) are much more likely to contain cheap ingredients that ultimately dry out and damage your hair.
However, it’s worth noting that many salon shampoos hike up their prices simply because they can (in other words, you’re paying for the brand name). Brands like Paul Mitchell and Olaplex charge a massive premium for their haircare products (some Olaplex shampoos cost more than $90 per bottle), but they still include ingredients like sulfates and artificial fragrances in their formulas. So, buying from a “salon-quality” brand does not guarantee that you’re getting a high-quality formula.
My advice is to familiarize yourself with the kinds of ingredients you want and don’t want in your shampoo, and then shop based on formulas rather than brand names or marketing phrases.
In short, I don’t believe the hype, and I don’t think anyone else should either.
The 7 Best Shampoos You Can Buy At Walmart
Finally, let’s get into this list…
All of the shampoos listed here are 100% sulfate and paraben free. Unfortunately, most of them do contain artificial fragrances as Walmart doesn’t carry many brands that avoid parfum.
Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Shampoo ($9.97)
This shampoo is made with an ultra-moisturizing formula perfect for coarse curly hair (3b+). It holds a solid 4.4-star rating on Walmart.com from almost 600 customer reviews. And best of all, it’s priced under $10 per bottle.
Keep in mind that this shampoo contains several heavily moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil. As a result, it might feel too heavy or thick for those with wavy hair or loose curls (in the 2a-3a range).
If you have wavy hair or fine curls, try OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Moisturizing Daily Shampoo with Honey instead, available on Walmart.com for just $5.53.
Best for Blonde Hair
Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Purple Treatment Shampoo ($7.42)
According to hair color experts, purple-tinted shampoo is an excellent way to maintain your cool blonde shine. In fact, many professional stylists tone blonde hair with purple tints to reduce unwanted hues.
This purple treatment shampoo just might be your answer for maintaining your bright, shiny blonde hair away from the salon. Purple shampoos have been shown to increase shine and brightness in both natural and dyed blonde hair by reducing brassy or reddish hues.
Best Budget Shampoo
OGX Thick & Full + Biotin & Collagen Shampoo ($6.48)
This shampoo is a best seller on Walmart.com. Designed to promote thick, full hair, this biotin and collagen-rich formula feeds all hair types to promote thickness, strength, volume, and shine.
My one complaint about this shampoo is that it contains quite a bit of fragrance, which can be drying for some hair types. That said, it’s pretty hard to find conventional shampoos that don’t contain at least some parfum.
Shampoos containing collagen, like this one, can be a great option for those suffering from hair fall. Collagen is a natural protein that can strengthen your hair, prevent split ends, and decrease the occurrence of hair loss in some cases. To learn more about topical collagen treatment, click here.
Best Dandruff Shampoo
Renpure Tea Tree & Aloe Refreshing Shampoo ($7.48)
This soothing shampoo contains both tea tree and aloe vera, which both soothe irritated scalps and reduce dryness and flakiness. When compared to other dandruff shampoos on Walmart.com, this one holds consistently better customer reviews. Right now, Renpure Tea Tree & Aloe Refreshing Shampoo holds a 4.4 out of 5-star average customer rating.
If you’re struggling with dandruff or dry scalp, it’s best not to wash your hair more than about twice per week. But as always, listen to your body! If you feel like you need to shampoo more often, go for it.
Best Clarifying Shampoo
OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo ($21.55)
Clarifying shampoos are important for those of us who use styling products or notice residue buildup from our basic haircare routines. Buildup can be caused by many things, from product usage to environmental factors like hard water.
This clarifying shampoo is made with charcoal powder, which has been shown to be an effective natural cleanser for hair that needs a deep clean. This OGX shampoo is one of the best-selling clarifying shampoos on Walmart.com and currently holds a 4.4-star average rating from almost 400 customer reviews.
Best Moisturizing Shampoo For Dry Hair
Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate Shea Butter Shampoo ($7.09)
This simple shampoo is gentle enough for daily use and ultra moisturizing for most hair types. It’s even moisturizing enough for super coarse, curly hair, but it won’t weigh down finer hair either.
It may not be ideal for hair that tends toward the oily side, though. If that’s you, I’d recommend trying Renpure Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo mentioned above.
Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate holds a strong 4.7-star rating from well over 1,000 customer reviews on Walmart.com. Based on reviews alone, this is by far one of the most popular shampoos on this list.
Best Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
L’Oreal Paris EverPure Moisture ($7.79)
If you’re someone who colors your hair, then you know that picking the right shampoo is super important. Choosing something too cleansing could end up stripping your hair of its color way faster than you want. So, it’s important to find something that’s just cleansing enough while still being gentle and moisturizing.
This best-selling L’Oreal shampoo not only protects your color-treated hair for long-lasting vibrance–it also hydrates dry hair for maximum shine, strength, and overall health. Like all the other shampoos on this list, this popular L’Oreal pick is free of sulfates and parabens.
Tips For Keeping Your Hair Healthy
Of course, picking the right shampoo isn’t the only part of maintaining a healthy mane.
Here, I’ll list down some powerful ways to make sure your hair is as happy and healthy as possible.
To maintain the health, strength, and shine of your hair, make sure to…
Avoid excessive washing
Limit washes to 1-3x per week. Washing too often can strip your hair of its natural oils or throw off the pH of your scalp (which can lead to excess oil production).
Reduce heat exposure
Avoid using hair tools that produce high heat, such as straighteners, curling irons, etc. If you have to blow dry your hair, try using a lower heat setting. And if you can’t live without your heat tools, try using a heat protecting oil or spray to reduce the risk of damage.
Use gentle products like the ones listed above
Avoiding harsh ingredients in hair products is one of the most important parts of maintaining healthy hair. Check out this list of ingredients to avoid in haircare products, including many of the ingredients discussed throughout this article.
Give your hair plenty of moisture
Preventing dry hair is one of the key tenets of maintaining hair health. If you think you might have dry hair, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are moisturizing and consider using a leave-in conditioner or hair cream.
Pick the right products for your hair type
Even if you’re using high-quality products, you could still do damage to your hair if you’re not using the right products for your hair type. Make sure to learn about what your specific hair type needs to look and feel its best.
Stop touching your hair
Did you know that handling your hair too often can lead to dry, brittle hair? It’s true! Although it’s a hard habit to break for some of us, learning to leave our hair alone is an important part of maintaining healthy hair.
Take care of your scalp
Some say that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. That’s why taking care of your scalp is so important to maintaining the health of your hair. If you’re having scalp issues, try looking for products that specifically address your concerns.
Use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil
To maintain the moisture content in your hair and protect it between washes, consider using a nourishing leave-in conditioner or hair oil. Hair oils that contain argan oil are particularly nourishing and lightweight for all hair types. If you choose to use a leave-in conditioner, make sure it’s free of any potentially damaging or drying ingredients.
Use deep conditioners and hair masks
For those with especially dry or damaged hair, you might find that occasionally using a deep conditioner or hair mask can help rejuvenate your tired locks.
Eat a healthy diet
As the old cliche goes… we are what we eat. And it’s true. Eating a healthy diet full of whole foods, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals is the ultimate way to ensure the health of your mane.
Along the same lines of eating a healthy diet, taking the right supplements for hair health can help maintain your mane and even speed up new growth. Try taking supplements that contain Vitamin C and biotin for best results.
Is aloe vera shampoo good for hair?
Yes! Aloe vera is known for strengthening hair and hair follicles due to its vitamin content and fatty acids.
Do exfoliating shampoos work?
They can, but it depends on which product you buy. Exfoliating shampoos can be great for people who struggle with flaky scalps or excessive product buildup. Many dermatologists and hair experts claim that regular scalp exfoliation can promote healthier, shinier hair.
How often should you wash your hair?
This depends. Everyone’s hair is unique, so some people will need to wash their hair more often than others. Most experts recommend leaving at least 2-3 days between washes to avoid stripping your hair of natural oils, which can lead to dry, brittle hair. Those with coarse or curly hair might only need to wash their hair once per week while those with finer hair might find that they need to wash multiple times a week. Experiment with what works best for you! And when in doubt, listen to your scalp. An oily or itchy scalp is usually a good indication that it’s time for a wash.
What is the most popular shampoo in the US?
Head and Shoulders. Not only is this Proctor & Gamble-owned shampoo brand the most popular shampoo in the US–it’s also the most popular shampoo in the world by far, selling about 30 million bottles per year.
Is there a shampoo that dyes your hair?
Yes. Known as “color-depositing shampoos,” shampoos that temporarily dye your hair can be purchased from brands like John Frieda, Redken, Aveda, and more. Check out this list from Byrdie of the best color-depositing shampoos in 2023.