The 13 Under-$15 Shampoos Stylists Admit to Using at Home
You don’t need to spend a fortune to have amazing hair—and if you choose one of these cheap shampoos, you don’t even need to spend more than a few dollars!
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Slash your shampoo budget
If you’ve been searching high and low for the best shampoo for your hair type and coming up with mostly wallet-bending options, there’s good news. It turns out that top stylists actually like, and sometimes even prefer, cheap shampoo brands. Who knew?
So, if you have to cut your beauty budget somewhere, this is the place to do it. “It’s important to invest your budget in professional hair color and cuts,” explains Felicia Dosso, a top colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City, emphasizing the importance of paying for human skill. “Shampoos can be comparable in terms of ingredients even when there is a price difference, but the products and skill used for coloring are not.”
But, of course, not all inexpensive shampoos are created equal. That’s why we asked professional stylists to sort through the shelves and highlight the best budget-friendly products that they not only recommend to their clients but also use themselves. Here are their top picks for every hair type—all under $15 and some under $5! Another easy and affordable way to ensure your locks are lustrous? Learn the truth behind these common hair myths that are ruining your hair.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
For color-treated hair: L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Shampoo
“I like to keep a couple of different shampoos in my shower so that my hair doesn’t get used to just one. L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo is one of my go-to drugstore buys because it’s sulfate-free, so it’s hair color– and keratin treatment–friendly,” Dosso says of this inexpensive shampoo. She adds that its special formulation not only replenishes dry hair but also leaves it super shiny and silky. Another bonus? It’s a vegan product and can easily be followed up with a hair mask to seal in hydration.
For dry hair: OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo
Dosso’s work with all types of textures has taught her a lot about the value of hydrating ingredients in hair products. “I love the OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo in the winter months when my hair is feeling extra dry,” she says. “It’s made with real coconut milk, coconut oil, and whipped egg-white proteins, which leave my hair feeling strong and hydrated. It works as well as a $40 product!” This impressive hair helper is also paraben-free and sulfate-free.
For damaged fine hair: Hask Keratin Protein Smoothing Shampoo
“This budget shampoo is one of my personal favorites for most hair types, but particularly finer hair that has damage,” explains Sophia Porter, a celebrity hairstylist at Exclusive Artists in Los Angeles. “It has a gentle cleansing formula enriched with hydrolyzed keratin to help strengthen hair strands while cleansing. I would say this shampoo is good for those who like to wash daily or those who do not need intense cleansing power.” Quick check: Are you guilty of these fine-hair styling mistakes?
For tightly curled hair: Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse
Curly and highly textured hair needs extra conditioning and constant hydration, which is why Porter opts for a cheap shampoo that can both cleanse and detangle at the same time. “It needs to have enough slip to detangle hair while providing effective cleansing,” she explains. “This shampoo is great for tightly textured hair and for those in need of extra moisture. I still always follow with conditioner, though.”
For wavy hair: Alberto VO5 Moisture Milks Conditioner
Buckle up, because this is about to be a wild hair ride you might have never seen coming. “There are a lot of people starting to use the co-washing method previously only known by curly girls,” says Porter. “This cheap drugstore find is one of the Holy Grail products that is approved by the method and loved by many.” Co-washing is replacing your ordinary shampoo with just one product, specifically a light- to medium-texture conditioner, and using it as the exclusive source of both cleansing and hydration during your hair-washing routine.
“This cheap [Alberto VO5] conditioner works great as a co-wash for those with fine- to medium-density waves or curls that need protein. Co-washing helps retain moisture, helps curl definition, and minimizes frizz that damaging surfactants would cause, making this ideal,” Porter adds. “Many families who all or mostly have curly hair can really benefit from this due to the price point and its effectiveness on overall curl health.” And, yes, you’re reading that right—it’s only $1 at Walgreens! If your locks tend to have a mind of their own, you should also pick up this $10 frizzy hair product that has near-perfect reviews on Amazon.
For natural, textured hair: Tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo
This unique formula is enriched with aloe vera to gently cleanse without stripping strands, making it Porter’s top cheap shampoo pick for those with natural, textured hair and low porosity. “If you have highly textured hair that is low porosity and loves protein, this shampoo is a great one to throw into your wash-day routine,” she says. “Typically, I encourage co-washing on tighter textures, but some scalps need an extra bit of cleansing sometimes to bust through any buildup.”
While this moisture-rich shampoo from Tgin is designed with natural hair in mind, the sulfate-free formula can actually be used on a variety of dry and damaged hair types, thanks to added pro vitamin B5 and absolutely no parabens, petrolatum, or artificial colors. For more stellar picks, don’t miss these Black-owned beauty products you should really own by now.
For an oily scalp: L’Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo
Some of the best shampoos for oily hair and scalp rebalancing can be had for less than the price of a latte. Porter loves this L’Oréal wonder liquid for thoroughly cleansing oily roots while leaving dry ends hydrated and protected from breakage. “I love this shampoo for anyone who has a naturally oily scalp or needs help to rebalance their scalp—it contains multiple types of clay to help soothe and balance oil production to maintain a healthy scalp,” she explains. “I personally use this if I’m ever traveling. It is very impressive for the price point.”
For brunettes with highlights: Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Shampoo
“I have always had trouble finding reasonably priced shampoos and conditioners that keep my hair from being stripped or damaged,” says Stephanie Angelone, the lead stylist and extensions expert at RPZL in New York City. “I’ve done my research and tested out dozens of products on myself and have found the Not Your Mother’s line is the best budget-friendly collection for retaining moisture.”
She suggests brunettes and those with partially color-treated hair try the brand’s Triple Threat shampoo, which reduces brassiness and orange tones in highlights and also preserves darker base colors and natural tresses that are still untouched by chemical treatments. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and never tested on animals. While you’re at it, check out the 40 best hairstyles for women over 40.
For thin and brittle hair: Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibers Shampoo
“I love the Maui Moisture line,” says Angelone. “It sells at drugstores, is easily under $10 a bottle for every variety, smells amazing, and is sulfate-free.” And if you’re plagued by thin hair, this affordable thickening shampoo is going to be your new best friend. A silicone- and paraben-free treat for brittle hair that needs a boost, it uses real bamboo fibers to bulk up existing strands so they look thicker and more voluminous. It’s also vegan and boasts 100 percent real aloe plant as the first ingredient. Pro tip: It ships faster from Walmart+ than from Amazon Prime, and you’ll also find it for less there.
For frequently colored hair: Nexxus Color Assure Shampoo
If you’re prone to changing your hair color, consider this favorite of Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “I like the great price point,” she says. “[Plus,] its sulfate-free formula aids in color retention, and it’s important to avoid drying detergents.” Thinking of changing things up? Watch out for these hair color mistakes that could ruin your hair.
For daily use: Dove Nutritive Solutions Moisturizing Shampoo
Stylists definitely know what makes hair look good, but when it comes to the science of what makes hair better, we should be looking at the research. Doris Day, MD, a New York–based doctor and clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, shares, “For day-to-day use, I like Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisturizing Shampoo. It’s formulated with a pro-moisture complex and has been shown to moisturize and reduce damage to hair over time. Their clinical trials show a ten-times reduction in hair breakage when combing when compared to a non-conditioning shampoo.” Here’s why one woman refuses to straighten her natural Black hair.
For sensitive skin and scalps: Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo
This paraben- and silicone-free cheap shampoo is under $3, and it’s great for sensitive scalp skin and untreated hair. “I love this for sensitive skin, as it’s free of parabens and heavy silicones and contains soothing aloe,” says Dr. Day, who can’t get enough of this cheapie at home for family members without hair color or chemical treatments. “It doesn’t build up on hair and leaves a simple, fresh clean.” Having vibrant, healthy hair is just one of everyday things that can make you look younger.
For boosting your existing shampoo and beating frizz: The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment
Believe it or not, you can boost almost any existing drugstore favorite with over-the-counter hair-boosting additives that boutique brands charge an arm and a leg for. “The best product for all hair types is hyaluronic acid, as it moisturizes, smooths, and protects every texture,” says Bjor Krischker, a session hairstylist and men’s groomer based in London, England. “It’s easy to use and the application is very straightforward. Try adding a few drops of The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment to any inexpensive bottle of shampoo or conditioner.” It’ll instantly transform a ho-hum drugstore formula into one worthy of salon prices, and since you’re only using a little bit, it’ll last forever. Now that you’ve got that squared away, make sure to avoid these 12 hairstyle mistakes that age your face.
- Felicia Dosso, a top colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City
- Sophia Porter, a celebrity hairstylist at Exclusive Artists in Los Angeles
- Stephanie Angelone, the lead stylist and extensions expert at RPZL in New York City
- Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago
- Doris Day, MD, a New York–based doctor and clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health
- Bjor Krischker, a session hairstylist and men’s groomer based in London, England
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