15 Best Curly Girl Approved Shampoos [2023 updated]

If you’re new to the Curly Girl Method, you may be wondering how you’re going to manage without shampoo. Don’t worry, there are plenty of shampoos that are safe to use, and in this article, we’ll run through 15 of the best shampoos for curly hair on the market today.

Best Curly Girl Approved Shampoos

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Can I Use Shampoo on The Curly Girl Method?

If you’re a strict follower of the Curly Girl method, then technically shampoo isn’t allowed.

However, this rule refers to regular sulfate shampoos and the method encourages you to ‘co-wash’, meaning conditioner washing, instead.

But over the past few years, many brands have developed sulfate-free shampoos that actually are Curly Girl safe.

These shampoos contain milder cleansing agents and the main difference is that they do not lather as sulfate shampoos do. They are also free from silicone and drying alcohols.

These types of shampoos are more commonly known as low-poo shampoos.

What we have to keep in mind is that the Curly Girl Method started back in 2011 when Lorraine Massey published her book ‘Curly Girl, The Handbook’.

A decade later, the haircare market has drastically changed and we are now spoilt for choice and can choose our ingredients with care.

So yes, there are absolutely many shampoos on the market that are curly girl approved.

All you need to do is to make sure that you check the ingredients list and choose shampoos free from sulfate, silicone, and drying alcohols.

An easier way is of course to pick a shampoo from our list of Curly Girl approved shampoos below.

Read my Easy Beginner’s Guide To The Curly Girl Method.

Best Curly Girl Approved Shampoos in 2021

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

1 SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

SheaMoisture is one of the most popular brands within the Curly Girl Community. Their formulas are specially developed for curl care and most of the products are paraben, sulfate, and silicone-free.

The SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo is no different. This shampoo gently cleanses your hair whilst restoring shine through every wash. It contains coconut which helps to moisturize your curls and replenish natural oils on your scalp. Hibiscus flower extracts help to reduce breakage and improve elasticity.

A great affordable shampoo for anyone following the Curly Girl Method.

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Camille Rose Naturals Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse

2 Camille Rose Naturals Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse

This cleansing shampoo from Camile Rose helps to clarify your scalp of build-up and product residue. It contains ginger root and aniseed oil which combats dry scalp and helps to promote hair growth. The shampoo is suitable for all curl types and has a wonderful sweet scent of ginger and lemon peel.

The Camille Rose Naturals Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse works great for those who are looking for a thorough cleanse without losing any moisture from their curls.

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Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath

3 Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath

This cleansing shampoo from Innersense is lightweight and helps to build body and strengthen hair. Suitable for all hair types but particularly great for fine to medium hair types.

The shampoo contains rice extract and Shea Butter which nourishes hair strands and leaves your curls feeling healthy and soft.

Furthermore, ingredients are harvested sustainably from trusted transparent plantations.

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Bumble and Bumble Bb Curl Moisturizing Shampoo

4 Bumble and Bumble Bb Curl Moisturizing Shampoo

This curl cleanser from Bumble and Bumble is gentle on your hair and enhanced with rich oil blends such as avocado, coconut, and jojoba. It’s incredibly hydrating thanks to its formula which contains shea and coconut butter and is an excellent choice for taming frizzy hair.

A great non-stripping, color-safe shampoo which leaves hair feeling soft and bouncy after each use.

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Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

5 Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash

A curl shampoo bursting with fruity goodness. This cleanser from Curls Blueberry Bliss collection contains blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice, and chamomile extract. It helps to hydrate dry curls and is recommended for all hair types. It has a rich and creamy texture that will help protect and restore your curls.

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6 SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

This shampoo is a must-have for those with damaged hair. The formula contains Jamaican Black castor oil which restores and strengthens curls while removing build-up from your scalp.

The shampoo also contains Shea butter which moisturizes even the driest of curls. It is a gentle cleanser that is suitable for all curl types.

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GIOVANNI 50:50 Balanced Hydrating Clarifying Shampoo

7 GIOVANNI 50:50 Balanced Hydrating Clarifying Shampoo

This moisturizing cleanser from Giovanni contains a blend of vitamins of nutrients that help to strengthen and rebuild hair. Can be used daily and is suited for all curly types.

The shampoo is also color-safe and is designed to protect damaged hair caused by chemical processes and heat styling.

The formula contains botanical extracts that help add moisture and vitality to your curls.

Giovanni is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

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Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream, Citrus Lavender

8 Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream, Citrus Lavender

This shampoo from Jessicurl has a gentle formula but is able to clarify and cleanse your hair without drying out your scalp.

It leaves you with moisturized curls and a great citrus-lavender scent that lasts for days. The shampoo also adds shine back into your hair and helps to detangle even the most unruly curls.

Suitable for all curl types.

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Burts Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo

9 Burts Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo

The volumizing shampoo from Burt’s Bees is formulated to help repair and rejuvenate dry, dull, and limp curls.

It contains avocado oil which is a great moisturizer and antioxidant-rich pomegranate seed oil provides volume and shine to your curls.

This shampoo is great for those who have fine hair and can be used daily.

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As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Olive Oil & Tea Tree Shampoo

10 As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Olive Oil & Tea Tree Shampoo

As I Am is another popular brand amongst Curly Girl followers and this olive and tea tree oil shampoo is fantastic for those who suffer from dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis. The formula contains 1.00% Zinc Pyrithione and helps to restore and rebalance scalp health.

The shampoo is a gentle cleanser and effectively removes build-up without leaving your scalp feeling dry.

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Not Your Mother's Naturals Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Nutrient Rich Shampoo

11 Not Your Mother’s Naturals Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Nutrient Rich Shampoo

This shampoo from Not Your Mother’s is perfect for those looking to detoxify their hair and scalp. The formula is nutrient-rich and effectively removes product and oil build-up. The shampoo contains a blend of matcha green tea as well as apple blossom, both rich in antioxidants that help cleanse your hair.

Suitable for all curl types.

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Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo

12 Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo

This shampoo from Giovanni is moisturizing and formulated for dry, damaged hair. It contains apple and aloe extract and protects your hair against chemical and heat damage as well as environmental stressors.

The shampoo is color safer and provides a smooth, soft, silky finish after each use.

Gentle cleanser but effective against build-up.

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CURLSMITH Wash and Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic

13 CURLSMITH Wash and Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic

This detox shampoo from Curlsmith is an excellent clarifying cleanser that gently but effectively gets the job done. It removes impurities, build-up, and excess oil from your scalp and leaves your hair feeling clean and revitalized.

The shampoo contains apple cider vinegar which is known for its bacterial fighting abilities and is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

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Dippity Do Girls with Curls Curl Shampoo

14 Dippity Do Girls with Curls Curl Shampoo

The Dippity-do Girls shampoo contains a gentle cleansing formula that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils. The shampoo leaves your hair shiny and manageable and reduces frizz after each wash.

The product is lightweight so well suited for those with fine or medium hair.

Contains coconut oil and shea butter which helps to hydrate dry, unruly curls.

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Love Beauty And Planet Blooming Color Sulfate, Paraben, Cruelty & Silicone Free Shampoo

15 Love Beauty And Planet Blooming Color Sulfate, Paraben, Cruelty & Silicone Free Shampoo

This shampoo from Love, Beauty, and Planet is a color-protecting shampoo that offers a thorough but gentle cleanse. It does so without stripping your hair of its vibrant color and actually contains plants such as rose peals which help maintain your hair color.

The formula offers a rich, healthy shine and contains natural coconut oil for added goodness.

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And that’s it. I hope this list of shampoos help you on your Curly Girl journey.

If you want to try and ditch the shampoos – check out my post on the best Curly Girl Approved Conditioners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sulfate-free Shampoos: What Ingredients To Avoid?

It’s easy enough to find low-poo shampoos when roaming the aisle at your favorite drugstore or supermarket.

Any word that contains ‘sulfate’ or ‘sulfate’ is a no-go.

Here’s a more extensive list:

  • Alkylbenzene sulfonate
  • Ammonium Laureth or lauryl sulfate
  • Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
  • Sodium Laureth sulfate
  • Sodium myreth sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
  • TEA- dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
  • Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate

Most sulfate-free shampoos will be marked very clearly on the label, but it’s always good to know how to tell sulfates apart from other cleansers.

Is  Low Poo Shampoo Good For Curly Hair?

There are divided opinions on whether low-poo shampoos are actually good for you.

Those who are strict followers of the Curly Girl Method will probably tell you no because low-poo shampoos can contain other types of cleansers which can be almost as bad as sulfate.

Others who follow a modified version of the CG method say it’s fine.

The question really is, can you manage co-washing which may cause your hair to become greasy and oily, or do you feel that you need a shampoo to combat product build-up?

The transition period can be anything from two weeks to a few months, so you’d be forgiven if this is something you just can’t fit into your life.

There’s no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, it’s your hair and you decide what’s best for you.

Choosing a CG-friendly shampoo is still better than using sulfate shampoo and it may be more suited to your lifestyle.

Curlies who suffer from scalp conditions for example don’t have the luxury of co-washing as they need to cleanse their scalp more often.

Co-washing can do wonders for you, but it does take time to get used to it.

So to answer the question, do your research when it comes to low poo shampoo as some may contain ingredients that are just as bad as sulfate.

However, it’s entirely possible to find gentle, effective Curly Girl approved shampoo.

What Does Clarifying Mean?

Clarifying is the process of removing build-up from your scalp and hair caused by products, environmental stressors, and minerals in hard water.

It’s effectively a rare shampoo for those who don’t shampoo but choose to co-wash. Clarifying shampoos can contain sulfate and that’s why you shouldn’t do it more than every 4-6 weeks.

If you use shampoo on the CG method then you probably don’t need to clarify.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.