Curls | Curly Hair Products

10 Best Curly Girl Approved Shampoos – Sulfate Free & Silicone Free

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If you're following the curly girl method, you need to make sure you're using a cowash or curly girl approved shampoo! Here I'm sharing the BEST curly girl method approved shampoos out there.

With the exception of clarifying, the shampoo you use on a regular basis should be sulfate free, silicone free, and drying alcohol free.

And while many curly girls cowash, for others like me, it works better to use a low poo, also known as a sulfate free curly girl method approved shampoo, whether it's every wash day or alternating with a cowash.

I get lots of questions about how often you can use a low poo shampoo. If your shampoo is curly girl approved – meaning it doesn't have silicone, sulfate, or drying alcohols, then you can use it as often as you want!

Ready to transform your frizz into defined, bouncy curls and waves? Join my free Quick Start Guide To Mastering Your Curls email course below and be on your way to fabulous curls in just a few steps!

If you're struggling with cowashing then give a low poo a try to see if it works better for you. Especially for those with thin or fine hair, low poo shampoo tends to work better since it's not as moisturizing and heavy.

Also, don't forget to clarify! Find curly girl clarifying shampoo and tips here.

curly girl approved shampoo

You can also check out my product matching guide to help you choose the right products for your hair type. This guide will show you how to identify your hair type and characteristics, provide some styling tips, and list exact products that will work on your hair type. Click here for more info.

The Curly Product Handbook to help you choose the right products for your hair type.

Now let's get to the 10 best curly girl approved shampoos!

I chose the following products based on a few points:

  • effectiveness at cleansing
  • ease of use
  • ingredient quality
  • concentration – how much you need to use
  • buildup potential

I have assigned a number from 1 to 5 for each category, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.

1. Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath – best overall for all hair types

Innersense has 3 lines but the Pure Harmony is loved by all curl types. If you want more moisture go with the Hydrating line and for color treated hair the Color Radiance line is equally amazing.

They all have a light scent, are made with organic ingredients, and are extremely concentrated so they should last a while. All lines require water to get them to foam. Shop Innersense Shampoo here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 4
  • ease of use – 4
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low

2. EVOLVh SmartCurl – best lathering low poo

EVOLVh is one of my favorite lines for my fine hair. It's less moisturizing than others, providing a deeper cleanse but still delivering moisture to my curls. It may be too drying for anyone with thick, dry curls so keep that in mind. It has a grapefruit scent and produces a nice, fluffy lather without much product. Shop the EVOLVh SmartCurl Shampoo here. Code HE15 saves you 15%.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 5
  • ease of use – 5
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low
The Innate Life herbal shampoo natural nontoxic shampoo

3. The Innate Life Herbal Shampoo – best for problematic scalp & thinning

The Innate Life uses the most herbs and essential oils of all the brands here and may be considered the most “natural”. This shampoo lathers nicely without stripping hair and has a strong lemon scent. It's formulated to soothe an irritated scalp and boost new growth. Shop The Innate Life Herbal Shampoo here. Use code INNATE15HOLISTIC to save 15%.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 4
  • ease of use – 5
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 4
  • buildup potential – low
TreLuxe Curl Renew & Restore shampoo review

4. TreLuxe Curl Renew & Restore – best for dry, thirsty curls

The TreLuxe cleanser is the most hydrating shampoo on this list. It has the least lather and the strongest scent. It's very popular for those with dry and thick hair that don't like really cleansing shampoos but need something more than a cowash. Shop the TreLuxe Curl Renew & Restore Shampoo here. Code holisticenchilada15 saves you 15%.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 3
  • ease of use – 4
  • ingredient quality – 3
  • concentration – 3
  • buildup potential – moderate

5. Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo – best unscented option

The Jessicurl shampoo is also really popular and I love that you can get their products unscented if you want. The quality is great and it works on all curl types. It creates a gentle creamy lather that doesn't strip hair of moisture. Shop the Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 4
  • ease of use – 4
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low
Raw Curls - Organic Cleanser & Wavy Swavy Cleanser - Best Organic & Water Soluble Shampoo

6. Raw Curls – Organic Cleanser & Wavy Swavy Cleanser – best organic & water soluble shampoo

This is the brand that revived my curls, but it is a little tricky to figure out. The original cleanser is very low foaming and best for hair that needs more moisture. The Swavy line foams more and provides a better cleanse. Both require water to activate and create a lather. May need to use twice for a deeper clean. Shop the Raw Curls Shampoos here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 3 for Original /4 for Swavy
  • ease of use – 3
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low

7. Briogeo Curl Charisma – most like conventional shampoo

This shampoo is the most like traditional shampoo. It lathers well but isn't drying and has a slightly strong scent. Shop the Briogeo Curl Charisma Shampoo here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 5
  • ease of use – 5
  • ingredient quality – 4
  • concentration – 3
  • buildup potential – low to moderate

8. Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo – best affordable curly girl shampoo

This is the most affordable low poo on this list but the quality is still there. While the ingredient quality is not of the other high-end brand, it's a great option because of how effective and gentle it is while still being water soluble. It's the most moisturizing option from Giovanni, so if you want less moisture check out the 50:50 and Root 66 lines. Shop Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 5
  • ease of use – 5
  • ingredient quality – 3
  • concentration – 3
  • buildup potential – very low

9. MopTop Salon Gentle Shampoo

This shampoo has a nice light scent, foams nicely, and doesn't dry out your hair. This also needs more water to activate it. Shop MopTop Salon Gentle Shampoo here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 5
  • ease of use – 4
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low
Boucleme Hydrating Hair Cleanser - Best Option In The UK

10. Boucleme Hydrating Hair Cleanser – best option in the UK

This low foaming cleanser is vegan and cleans without stripping your hair. It has a light fragrance and you don't need to use much. Shop Boucleme Hydrating Hair Cleanser here.

  • effectiveness at cleansing – 4
  • ease of use – 4
  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • buildup potential – very low

If you're new to the curly girl method, I recommend you check out my post on affordable curly girl approved products to start off.

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our curly hair movement! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Instagram for more curly hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

Check out these other curly hair posts:

Fabulous Curls Academy curls education and digital products to help you on your curls journey

Once you get the products figured out, make sure you master styling!

For help with styling, check out my Fabulous Curls Academy membership. Phase 2 of this membership will help you transform your frizzy hair into defined bouncy curls in just one day, by learning how to use the products you already have (even if they're not CG approved)!

Join the Facebook group!

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If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.

curly girl method pdf guide download

Curl Coaching

I now also offer Curl & Clean Beauty Coaching sessions virtually! You can book a 15-minute, 30-minute, or 45-minute session with me to help you solve your curly hair or clean beauty struggles. Click here to learn more.

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2 Comments

  1. Super helpful! I definitely need to check the ingredients list, but this gives me a good place to start. I especially appreciate you address fine hair and buildup issues! I’m fine but dense, low porosity, I’m ~3.5 months into the journey and am still struggling with the balance of cleans wee enough/moisturizes enough/isn’t gonna frizz me up with glycerin and other humectants.

    I was wondering if you can tell me what porosity you are…always on the hunt for low-po/fine haired curlies to see what works best for them

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