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Sulfates -- sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate, to be specific -- are industrial-grade detergents that not only remove dirt and product buildup, but also strip your hair of its natural oils as if removing an old layer of paint. Harsh. Natural curls need a gentler shampoo that preserves those moisturizing oils, because moisture is what prevents frizzing and tangles. So the best shampoos for curly hair will always be sulfate-free. Expect less sudsiness with a sulfate-free formula, but ultimately happier hair. Sounds like a deal.
Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo
Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo bucks the trend of most sulfite-free shampoos by providing a nice, rich lather; so if you miss your suds, this is the product for you -- especially since it still manages to leave your locks clean, moisturized and frizz-free. It has a nice "musky lemon scent," too.
Kérastase Bain Oleo-Curl
Kerastase Bain Oleo-Curl won an "InStyle" Best Beauty Buys 2011 nod as the best shampoo for curly hair. Thanks to an ingredients list that includes palm oil and smoothing, sealing silicone, stylist David Evangelista compared it to a "big drink of water" for your hair.
Bumble & Bumble Bb. Curl Conscious Smoothing Shampoo
"Real Simple" awards Bumble and Bumble's Bb. Curl Conscious Smoothing Shampoo its top honors for a curl-friendly shampoo. It contains glycerin and panthenol to help preserve moisture.
TIGI Catwalk Curlesque Curl Collection Defining Shampoo
"Good Housekeeping" loves TIGI Catwalk Curlesque Curl Collection Defining Shampoo. This salon brand boasts infusions of vitamin-rich seaweed and sea fennel plus cucumber water to help hydrate your curls and provide definition.
Herbal Essences Hydralicious Reconditioning Shampoo
"O, the Oprah Magazine" loves Herbal Essences Hydralicious Reconditioning Shampoo for its superlative ability to moisturize even dry and damaged curls. Bonus: it's also an inexpensive and widely-available drugstore brand.