Best Drugstore Shampoo
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We Tried 8 Drugstore Shampoos and This Is the Best

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Best Drugstore Shampoo
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SPLITTING HAIRS

There are so many shampoos and conditioners on drugstore beauty shelves, from L'Oreal to John Frieda to Pureology, that it can be hard to find the best one. Hair type is only the beginning. Some products are sulfate-free, some feature keratin, others rely on tea tree oil or goji berries. Many shampoos and conditioners advertise salon quality for less. But do they keep their promises to make hair shinier, silkier, and more manageable — and are they right for you?

To save you time and money, we tried eight drugstore shampoos on thick, normal to oily, color-treated hair with a slight wave, using each one daily for three days. We paired all the shampoos with the same conditioner and abstained from using conditioner on one of the three days to see the effects. Here are our reviews of the contenders, starting with the cheapest (by price per ounce) and culminating in our top pick for best drugstore shampoo.

Prices and availability may vary.

Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo
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TRESEMMÉ KERATIN SMOOTH COLOR SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $4.99 for 22 fl. oz. | Available at Target | Buy it
Scent: Pleasant, sweet, and floral
Best For: Dry, damaged, curly, and color-treated hair
Not Recommended For: Straight, oily hair
What It Claims to Do: Tresemmé's recently revamped Keratin Smooth system is designed to fight humidity and damage with its frizz-calming formula and give hair a natural, healthy-looking shine. Tresemmé shampoos and conditioners were originally marketed as salon products for professional hairstylists.

Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF TRESEMMÉ KERATIN SMOOTH COLOR SHAMPOO

This Tresemmé product goes on smooth, forming an ultra-rich lather. In our experience, it leaves hair feeling nice and silky and helps repair split ends and even out frizz. If you already have straight, shiny locks (and, well ... good for you), you may find this Tresemmé line a bit too intense for your hair type. It leaves hair heavily conditioned, and while it feels great, it doesn't always look great. After multiple washes, it leaves hair on the oily side. And you don't want your hair to look flat and greasy after you've just washed it. But if your hair is frizzy and damaged, this keratin-based shampoo from Tresemmé is an excellent option that may be right for you.

Suave Professionals Black Raspberry and White Tea Nourishing Shampoo
Courtesy of walmart.com

SUAVE PROFESSIONALS BLACK RASPBERRY AND WHITE TEA NOURISHING SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $2.94 for 12.6 fl. oz. | Available at Walmart | Buy it
Scent: Wild raspberry
Best For: Unmanageable, frizzy hair
Not Recommended For: Fine hair
What It Claims to Do: Use the antioxidant properties of black raspberry and white tea to replenish moisture and keep color-treated hair looking vibrant. In combination with its conditioner, this Suave shampoo is "salon-proven" to get the same results as more expensive Aveda products, according to the bottle.

Suave Black Raspberry and White Tea Nourishing Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF SUAVE BLACK RASPBERRY AND WHITE TEA NOURISHING SHAMPOO

The best thing about this drugstore shampoo is that it's very inexpensive, delivering what seemed to us like salon-quality results at a fraction of salon shampoo prices, even without the corresponding conditioner. The second-best thing about this shampoo is its yummy smell — akin to a freshly baked raspberry pie. We found that it's effective for battling split ends and frizz and leaves hair with a polished, satiny gloss. If we have a complaint, it's that a few days of using this shampoo left our hair needing a volumizing pickup.

Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths Shampoo
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PANTENE PRO-V BEAUTIFUL LENGTHS SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $4.99 for 12.6 fl. oz. | Available at CVS | Buy it
Scent: Powder-fresh linen
Best For: Long, dry hair
Not Recommended For: Oily hair
What It Claims to Do: Strengthen hair against breakage and split ends and nourish the scalp so hair grows faster. Ingredients including pro-vitamin B5, or panthenol, along with lipids and antioxidants, are credited with restoring hair to its original luster and beauty.

Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF PANTENE PRO-V BEAUTIFUL LENGTHS SHAMPOO

We love the way Pantene Beautiful Lengths smells. Think about snuggling with your favorite, freshly laundered blanket. This shampoo delivers rich lather, effortless detangling, and lasting shine at a low price. If your scalp tends toward the oily side, you'll find that you need not use conditioner after washing, and consider using this Pantene shampoo every other day to avoid buildup. This is a beauty product devoted to more than just hair health: Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program has collected more than 800,000 ponytail donations to be made into wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
Courtesy of walmart.com

AVEENO PURE RENEWAL SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $5.97 for 10.5 fl. oz. | Available at Walmart | Buy it
Scent: Scintillating sea foam
Best For: Any hair type, from curly to color-treated
What It Claims to Do: This moisturizing, protein-rich shampoo is infused with seaweed extract to naturally cleanse the hair and scalp and remove impurities. It's also sulfate-free (formulated with Johnson & Johnson's Natrasurf, a bio-renewable, plant-oil-based polymer) and safe for color-treated hair.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF AVEENO PURE RENEWAL SHAMPOO

With many sulfate-free shampoos, you may find that you need a lot to get a good lather going. Not so with Aveeno Pure Renewal, which makes it economical. It can be used daily, along with conditioner, without fear that it will weigh down your hair or leave a dingy residue over time. Add this beauty product to your hair arsenal to combat frizz and dryness and restore hair to its natural shine and health — and keep it that way.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
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NEUTROGENA ANTI-RESIDUE SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $4.89 for 6 fl. oz. | Available at Target | Buy it
Scent: Men's aftershave
Best For: Oily and fine hair
Not Recommended For: Dry or color-treated hair
What It Claims to Do: Touted as a gentle formula that won't cause irritation, this shampoo is supposed to remove 90% of dulling residue caused by conditioners, styling products, and other shampoos. Recommended by celebrity beauty experts, it's a clarifying shampoo designed to combat greasy oil buildup on the hair and scalp and leave hair squeaky clean — the picture of health.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF NEUTROGENA ANTI-RESIDUE SHAMPOO

Yes, Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo does indeed remove residue from conditioners and other hair products, but watch out, because it may leave hair on the dry side, depending on your hair type. It's best to use it only from time to time (once a week, according to the instructions on the packaging), and you may need to use a deep conditioner afterward. This is a good product to choose for fine hair, as it tends to add volume while clarifying. On our color-treated hair, however, it stripped away gray coverage. It definitely makes hair feel clean — just maybe a little too clean.

L'Oréal Everpure Repair & Defend Shampoo
Courtesy of bedbathandbeyond.com

L'ORÉAL EVERPURE REPAIR & DEFEND SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $6.99 for 8.5 fl. oz. | Available at Bed Bath & Beyond | Buy it
Scent: Metallic
Best For: Dry, damaged hair
Not Recommended For: Straight, oily hair
What It Claims to Do: The EverPure line from L'Oréal is designed to provide luxurious formulas free from harsh salts, parabens, and sulfates — nasty particles that destroy the hair cuticle, make it harder to dry your hair, and strip it of its natural oils. Goji berries are said to strengthen and protect color-treated hair.

L'Oréal Everpure Repair & Defend Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF L'ORÉAL EVERPURE REPAIR & DEFEND SHAMPOO

This 100% vegan shampoo produces an incredibly rich lather, which is a surprise, because in other shampoos, sulfate-free typically means lather-free. One downside to this product is the slightly metallic smell, which is not at all appealing. A slight residue remains on the hair after rinsing, but supposedly it's connected to keeping hair perfectly conditioned. Although our locks felt sticky when wet, they were perfectly soft and lustrous once dry. L'Oréal EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo smoothed split ends and left our thick hair supple.

Paul Mitchell Original Awapuhi Shampoo
Courtesy of target.com

PAUL MITCHELL ORIGINAL AWAPUHI SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $10.59 for 10.14 fl. oz. | Available at Target | Buy it
Scent: Hibiscus and coconut
Best For: Any hair type
What It Claims to Do: Gently cleanse hair and prevent moisture loss with awapuhi, which is from the ginger family. Paul Mitchell learned of the Polynesian "canoe plant" and its use in modern beauty products during trips to Hawaii. This line has been recommended by more than one stylist with celebrity clients.

Paul Mitchell Original Awapuhi Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF PAUL MITCHELL ORIGINAL AWAPUHI SHAMPOO

We love the smell of this product. It's light, fragrant, and reminiscent of hibiscus flowers. If you have oily hair and need to clean it daily, you can count on this effective shampoo to cleanse hair and keep it moisturized without stripping essential oil from your scalp. If you have dry or curly locks, it will smooth the ends and lend a brilliant shine to your look.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Courtesy of target.com

PAUL MITCHELL TEA TREE SPECIAL SHAMPOO

Est. Price: $17.99 for 10.14 fl. oz. | Available at Target | Buy it
Scent: Peppermint and lavender
Best For: Dry and color-treated hair
Not Recommended For: Oily hair
What It Claims to Do: Rid hair of impurities and promote vitality and luster. Tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender invigorate the scalp and leave it tingling. Tea tree oil is also recommended by some dermatologists as a natural remedy for a flaky scalp. This shampoo is touted as paraben-free, vegan, and color-safe.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo Review
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OUR REVIEW OF PAUL MITCHELL TEA TREE SPECIAL SHAMPOO

There's way too much peppermint and lavender in the mix to make this tea-tree-oil shampoo smell pleasant. The scent is simply too strong. We also found that, after a few days, a slight oily residue builds up on the hair — enough to warrant limited use. This shampoo is also the most expensive one we tried.

Paul Mitchell Original Awapuhi Shampoo
Courtesy of target.com

AND THE WINNER IS ...

The scent, the lather, the versatility — Paul Mitchell's Awapuhi Shampoo is hands-down the best drugstore shampoo we tried. No matter how many times we washed our hair, it came out soft and luminous. This product was also consistently the best for combating frizz for a smooth look. Although it was the second-most expensive, at about $1 an ounce, the price easily beats salon brands the pros use. Some consumers may need a more specialized shampoo (say, for dandruff), but this is our top pick for most hair types. If you see it in stores or online, get it today and give it a try.