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The best shampoo for dry hair to buy in 2023

Nourish thirsty, damaged tresses with our pick of the best shampoos for dry hair

Sometimes, it’s genes. Sometimes, it’s bleaching, over-styling, or a long-term relationship with a set of hair straighteners. Whatever the reason, having parched, thirsty hair is unlikely to deliver you a good hair day.

Thankfully, there are plenty of shampoos out there that can help to restore your locks to their silky-smooth, shiny and, most importantly, healthy-looking best. Of course, conditioning is a vital part of your hair care routine, but the best place to start is with a nourishing shampoo that’s specially formulated to care for your fragile locks.

The shampoo market is huge and therefore a bit of a minefield to navigate, with some formulas comprising ingredients that could be making matters worse. After all, finding a product to rid the scalp of product buildup and dirt, but without stripping the hair of its natural oils can appear a tough ask. To help, we’ve put a whole host of products that aim to strike that exact balance to the test, promising to leave hair squeaky clean while also delivering a much-needed moisture boost to dry hair, so you can make the right choice for your tresses.

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Best shampoos for dry hair: At a glance

How to choose the best shampoo for dry hair

What ingredients should I look for?

Anything natural is a great rule of thumb – you want to avoid moisture-sapping chemicals. Argan oils, cocoa butters, chamomile and coconut are all likely to give your hair some TLC.

How much should I be willing to spend?

The sad truth is that when it comes to shampoos, you tend to get what you pay for. If you have dry hair then you need to be even more mindful of a shampoo’s formulation, since a cheaper product will comprise cheaper ingredients that will inevitably strip hair of natural oils, leaving it looking dry and sad.

Aside from selecting an appropriate shampoo, what else can be done to help dry hair?

People with dry hair should wash it as little as they can get away with to avoid removing the natural oils from their hair. The more you wash, the more you need to wash.

Brush your hair as much as you can; this helps to move oils from the scalp down the hair shaft. This is nourishing and will help hair look sleeker.

Also, make sure you have your hair trimmed regularly to get rid of pesky split ends.

What if my hair is both greasy and dry?

It’s really tricky to address both concerns, but chances are your combination hair is a result of frequent washing. Hair will become both dryer and greasier from over-washing with poor-quality shampoos. Prioritise the dryness – if you opt for a shampoo designed for greasy hair then your hair will become even drier, whereas the opposite isn’t the case.

How we test shampoos for dry hair

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete information about a product. So we personally test all the shampoos we review. For consistency in our testing, our tester – in this case, someone who has dry hair – tests the products. All of the products are tested in the same shower, so that the same type of water is used throughout the process. Hair is towel dried and brushed through, using the same brush, after every wash.

We evaluate how the product feels mid-wash – whether the texture is soft or silky, and how much it lathers – but the real test is whether our hair feels soft or looks any different afterwards and whether our scalp feels soothed. We are also extremely mindful of whether the supposedly nourished hair quickly gives way to greasiness within a day or so of washingte .
Finally, we confirmed quantities.

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The best shampoos for dry hair to buy in 2023

1. HoliRoots Shampoo: The best for super-dry hair

Price: £26 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

This shampoo is so rich thanks to ingredients such as centella asiatica, coconut and aloe vera – all of which hydrate and nourish the hair and scalp. It smells utterly amazing, too, with an air of tropical holidays.

At first, the shampoo feels almost oily rather than soapy; but it creates a fabulous lather and rinses off cleanly. We don’t think you need to wash through twice, since the formulation is quite rich.

The result was an amazingly sleek head of hair, from root to tip. No flyaways and no frizz – and that was without using the conditioner.

A word of warning: if you have combination hair or roots that are prone to greasiness, this might prove too rich, causing roots to become oily quickly.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Cult Beauty

2. Rhyme & Reason Repair and Restore: The best budget shampoo for dry hair

Price: £6 | Buy now from Boots

This is such a stellar shampoo for a number of reasons that go beyond the ability to wash and care for dry hair beautifully.

First, the packaging is 100 per cent recycled. Second, it’s inexpensive, especially when you consider there’s close to 400ml of shampoo in each bottle.

The formulation itself contains argan oil for delivering shine, plus prickly pear and amino acid complex to help strengthen damaged hair. It smells delightful – a light breezy floral scent that won’t overwhelm sensitive nostrils – and a little goes a long way for creating a generous lather.

Hair was left feeling soft and light from a gentle, restorative cleanse.

Key specs – Quantity: 385ml

Buy now from Boots

3. Deep Hydration Shampoo: The best eco-friendly shampoo for dry hair

Price: £32 | Buy now from Abyssian

Before we get to the shampoo itself, this product earns major credit for its commitment to the environment. All packaging is 100 per cent recyclable and all manufacturing is sustainable. Perhaps best of all, for every single product the brand sells, it will plant a tree.

Now for the shampoo, which is 94 per cent plant-based. It contains both abyssinian and chamomile oils to help restore hair cuticles and sooth scalps respectively.

This is another delicious smelling shampoo, with the scent lasting long after your hair has dried; you’ll find people asking what perfume you’re wearing! The formula lathers nicely and evenly, feeling super-silky during the washing process. Even without the use of conditioner after washing, hair was left smooth and untangled, soothed but thoroughly cleansed.

Note that we found we could go for longer between washes with this shampoo – which is always a bonus!

Key specs – Quantity: 500ml

Buy now from Abyssian

4. Hår Revitalising Shampoo Bar: The best dry hair shampoo for frequent travellers

Price: From £5 | Buy now from Grüum

This shampoo has a wonderful scent – in a natural, understated way that’s typical of a product that includes cocoa butter. The instruction is to simply apply the bar over wet hair in a circular motion. In our experience, this resulted in creating a generous lather with minimal effort – surprising, for such a small and solid bar. And it was so gratifying to experience the phrase “squeaky clean” in action!

Free from silicon, artificial colours, parabens, SLES, alcohol and EDTA, the hår Revitalising Shampoo Bar really did let the cocoa butter do its thing. The result was extremely clean hair – without any oily residue – that felt soft and light without being either fluffy or frizzy.

It’s a brilliant budget buy, too, with each bar promising some 60 washes. In addition, their small size makes them brilliant for travel; but to keep them clean, pick up one of Grüum’s special storage tins for £3.

Key specs – Quantity: 50g

Buy now from Grüum

5. Naturtint Nourishing Shampoo: The best dry hair shampoo with a mild fragrance

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Smelling of almost nothing, this is a great option for those who aren’t big on fragrance. Formulated with natural, organic products including grapefruit water and wheat proteins, this shampoo cleans gently and repairs damaged hair, including any pesky split ends.

One generous dollop proved sufficient for shoulder length hair, cleaning strands perfectly while leaving them soft and nourished.

It isn’t a wildly exciting shampoo, but it does the job.

Key specs – Quantity: 330ml

6. Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo: The best dry hair shampoo city slickers

Price: £36 | Buy now from Monpure

Could this be the shampoo with the most chic packaging of all time? There’s certainly a very grown-up aesthetic on display here, which is sure to please those who are picky about the products that adorn their bathroom shelves.

However, the positives don’t end with the packaging. This shampoo boasts silk protein as one of its star ingredients, and it works really hard, too; used twice it promises to deliver a deep clean. It’s sulphate-free, which usually means it won’t foam much – something that can make people feel as if a shampoo isn’t “working” – but we actually found there were plenty of bubbles. Hair dried evenly, with plenty of volume at the top and minimal frizz at the ends. There’s a sensation of fullness and substance.

In addition, peptides in the shampoo coat the hair and scalp like a “second skin”, delivering protection against pollution – perfect for anyone living in a big city – providing an insurance policy against damage and frizz.

The formula features a natural, botanical fragrance and comes with a wealth of eco-friendly credentials, too.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Monpure

7. Moisture Extreme Shampoo: The best dry hair shampoo for afro hair

Price: £22 | Buy now from Philip Kingsley

Afro hair often tends to be quite dry, prone to damage and breaking – and this Moisture Extreme Shampoo promises to offer a solution. It’s also the ideal salve for any hair type that’s parched and thirsty – including heavily bleached locks.

Comprising ingredients such as oligoquat M for moisture and repairing the hair cuticle, guar for smoothing and cocoa butter for conditioning and detangling, it packs a punch in delivering a fix for fragile hair.

In the hand, the formula appeared thick and almost oily; but it lathers easily. By the time it came to rinsing out the bubbles, hair was already feeling more sleek, almost like it does after washing out conditioner.

This shampoo smells completely divine, too, offering a clean floral fragrance.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Philip Kingsley

8. Nutritive Bain Magistral Shampoo: Best dry hair shampoo for achieving silky-smooth hair

Price: £22.40 | Buy now from Kérastase

Another lush-smelling shampoo tailored for super-dry, frizzy or over-processed hair. The formula feels soothing almost the instant it’s applied to your hair, perhaps in the knowledge that you’re in the hands of Kérastase, one of the most trusted hair care brands on the market.

Forming the softest and most gentle lather, on rinsing hair appears instantly glossier; before hair had even been dried, it looked more sleek. Dried hair has a weight to the lengths, which prevent it from being flyaway, with any coarseness smoothed out. All this without resulting in any excess oils in the roots. What’s not to like?

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Kérastase

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