Struggling to Find a Shampoo for Your Afro Hair? Here's Some of the Best

I've never really considered shampoo one of my most loved products. You just can't compare the functionality of a shampoo to the smell of a heady burnt leather perfume or a thicker-than-mascarpone night cream, can you? Although, then again, having afro hair, I've always been limited with my shampoo options—or so I thought. For too long, I have resigned myself to buying heavy-duty shampoos in black hair shops or choosing from the three available formulas branded "for afro hair" on the high-street shelves.

What I really wanted was choice. I wanted to be faced with as many shampoo options as I have highlighters. And then, thanks to social media, the natural hair movement kicked in, and the beauty industry started to feel (finally) a little more inclusive. As this return to natural texture made me rethink all of my deep-set beliefs about my afro hair, I soon began to realise my options weren't as finite as I first thought.

Turns out, searching for "afro hair" on the bottle isn't actually the main priority when shopping for shampoo. It's all about what's inside. According to Melissa Sinclair, founder of natural haircare brand Big Hair Beauty, "The right shampoo is such an important step for afro and curly hair. However, it's where people usually cut corners. The wrong shampoo will strip the natural oils and then some from your hair, leaving it prone to damage whilst wet and in its most vulnerable state."

As long as the formula in question serves the specific needs of afro hair (such as replenishing moisture, gently cleansing to remove product buildup and not disrupting the curl pattern), you'll soon notice that your options become pretty abundant. "The best shampoos for afro hair have extra emollients and are paraben and sulphate-free," explains Charlotte Mensah, founder of the Hair Lounge salon and her eponymous haircare line, "but relaxed hair needs a shampoo that has a proper balance of protein and moisture."

Let's face it—wash days for afro hair are not an easy 15-minute process, so if you're putting that time in, you want results. Fortunately, the shampoos I've listed below certainly deliver.