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It’s common knowledge that the human body is 60% water. But did you know that each strand of your hair contains 25% water? Just as you need to replenish your body every day with plenty of hydration for optimal health, it’s also important to keep your hair hydrated so it always looks and feels its best.
Keeping your hair well-moisturized isn’t as easy as drinking enough water every day. Many factors contribute to dry and brittle hair—and some are easier to control than others. But how do you know if your hair is in need of some extra hydration? And what can you do to get it? Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to identify and restore dry, dehydrated hair.
How To Tell If Your Hair Needs a Hydration Boost
Hair that’s well hydrated is smooth, soft, and flows from the roots without much assistance from hair products or constant combing. You shouldn’t need to spray down a lot of wayward hairs that stick out every which way (also known as “flyaways”).
Dry hair usually develops frizz, which is the term used for a large amount of flyaways bunched up, almost creating a layer of dry hairs all around your head—this issue can make your hair impossible to style and is usually the first sign that your hair is dry or damaged.
Other signs of dehydrated hair include split ends, breakage, and even hair loss. Your hair may not hold styles easily, the color may become dull, or you’ll notice that instead of bouncing around, your hair remains limp and motionless around your head. If you experience one or more of these issues, your hair could probably benefit from some added hydration.
Causes of Dry or Dehydrated Hair
Dry hair can be caused by environmental damage like pollution or harsh weather. Certain medications or a change in diet can cause your body, and in turn your hair, to dehydrate quickly. Hormonal changes can be another contributing factor.
The most common cause of dry or damaged hair is the way you take care of it. If you love to go to the salon and change your hair color every few weeks, or if you chemically straighten or perm your hair, the chemicals used in those treatments can do some serious damage.
Another big contributor to dry hair is using heat styling tools like hair dryers, straightening irons, or curling irons too often. Excess heat can damage the hair shaft so that it loses its ability to absorb moisture and repair itself.
Too much product buildup on the scalp can also cause damage—healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp as that’s where the roots of the hair shaft live. If your scalp is dry, itchy or irritated, any of those issues can lead to dandruff, oily hair (as the scalp may produce excess oil to compensate), hair loss, or dry hair that’s prone to breakage.
How To Restore and Hydrate Your Hair
The quickest way to add essential hydration to your hair is through a shampoo and conditioner targeted for dry or damaged hair. An abundance of these products are available to choose from, so we’ve compiled this list of the best hydrating shampoos and conditioners on the market to help you make a more informed decision.
1. Blu Atlas Shampoo and Conditioner
Don’t let the minimalist packaging fool you—Blu Atlas Shampoo and Conditioner are bursting with high quality natural ingredients that hydrate and strengthen your hair. Both products are formulated with an impressive 98% ingredients from natural origins like plants, minerals, and fruit extracts.
The shampoo thoroughly cleanses your hair with nourishing coconut-derived cleansers rather than harsh, moisture-stripping sulfates. It also adds essential hydration with jojoba oil and aloe vera, which strengthen and protect the hair as well as moisturize.
Blu Atlas Conditioner is lightweight but not light in effectiveness for hydrating your hair. Natural moisturizers, argan oil and avocado oil, provide antioxidants and essential fatty acids that help repair and fortify your dry or damaged hair. White tea has also been added for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, so it helps repair your strands as it soothes the delicate skin of your scalp. The formula also includes barley protein, which contains growth-promoting vitamins and leaves your hair smooth and shiny.
Made with 95% naturally-derived ingredients, Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! products do a fantastic job of deep cleaning your dry or damaged hair while infusing it with lasting hydration that helps prevent future damage. While removing dirt, excess oil, and product buildup from your hair and scalp, the algae extract in the shampoo also adds antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that protect the hair from heat and environmental damage. The formula also includes panthenol, a B vitamin that helps improve the elasticity of the hair while helping to lock in the added moisture.
Don’t Despair, Repair! Conditioner uses a unique microencapsulation technology to deliver argan oil into the hair shaft, repairing the damaged strands and leaving your hair fortified and hydrated. This product also contains the same nourishing algae extract, as well as sodium PCA, a natural humectant that helps seal in the moisture your hair needs. The duo contains no sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, or artificial dyes, so both the shampoo and conditioner are safe and effective for all hair types.
Amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner provide an intense hydration boost that’s clinically proven to last 72 hours. This powerful duo is ideal for very dry, damaged hair, and works especially well for curly, wavy, or textured hair types.
The shampoo and conditioner are both packed with natural moisturizers, such as squalane, bio-fermented coconut water, blue algae, and hyaluronic acid. Squalane helps lock in the moisture so your hair stays hydrated for days between washes. After a gentle cleanse, the conditioner fortifies and plumps the hair, leaving it well hydrated without weighing it down.
These products are safe for color-treated or keratin-treated hair, and they don’t contain any moisture-stripping ingredients like sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, or artificial dyes. Hydro Rush Intense Shampoo and Conditioner won’t disappoint if you’ve been struggling with dry, frizzy hair. Get it today, and thank us later.
Drunk Elephant uses concentrated silk amino acids and proteins in their Silkamino Mega-Moisturizing Shampoo to not only soften but also strengthen and protect even the most dry, damaged hair. With virgin marula oil to bring natural fatty acids into the hair shaft, your locks will begin to shine from the inside out. No sulfates, silicones, fragrances, dyes, or drying alcohol have been added to this cruelty-free formula, so it’s safe to use for any hair or skin type.
Silkamino Conditioning Leave-In Milk contains the same silk amino acid blend as the shampoo to help rebuild and repair weakened hair bonds, while plant-derived oils—Abyssinian, argan, and marula—help protect the hair from future damage without leaving a heavy residue or buildup behind.
The light, sweet scent of vanilla fruit extract also provides antioxidants that can calm the skin of the scalp, keeping your hair growing healthier and stronger from the roots.
Your hair will be softer and more manageable after using this pair consistently, so you’ll be less likely to need heat styling tools that may dry or damage the hair yet again.
If your hair is dry and dull due to aging or other damage, Kérastase created Bain Régénérant Shampoo with your needs in mind. Featuring natural and gentle ingredients like abyssine to regenerate and reinvigorate your hair, and vitamin E to fortify and protect the hair from environmental damage, your hair will feel instantly smoother and softer from your first wash with this product.
Paired with this powerful restorative shampoo, Lait Vital Conditioner will bring natural hydration without weighing the hair down. This lightweight conditioner features iris rhizome extract, which protects your hair from oxidation, and energy-promoting glucids that nourish the hair fibers from their roots down to the ends. Natural lipids also help your hair maintain its health and strength, leaving you with a shiny, bouncing mane that you’ll show off with confidence.
If your color-treated hair needs intense hydration but you don’t want to lose the intensity of the color, Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner is the perfect pair for your hair. Formulated for thick to medium hair types, this sulfate-free blend of jojoba oil and rose extract provides hydration and nourishment, gently cleansing the dirt and impurities from the hair as it locks in the moisture your hair needs.
Other additives include green tea extract to strengthen the hair and infuse the scalp with antioxidants and essential nutrients and multi-weight proteins to add depth and volume that leave your hair feeling healthy and strong.
Pureology developed a patented Antifade Complex that protects color from fading or losing its luster. You’ll see and feel the difference from the first wash with Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner.
Curly hair can usually use a hydration boost, and you can’t go wrong with “the curl experts,” Ouidad. Their Curl Quencher Shampoo and Conditioner provide essential moisture for all types of curly hair, but work especially well for tight curls or coily hair.
The shampoo replenishes the hair with moisture as it gently cleanses with natural soothing ingredients like chamomile and vitamins A and E. It also uses hydrolyzed wheat proteins that help fortify and restore your strands without adding extra weight to your curls.
Curl Quencher Conditioner replenishes hydration, leaving your curls soft and smooth. The thick, creamy formula also contains nourishing plant extracts like meadowfoam seed, arnica flower, and algae extract, which help plump and define your curls, making them healthier and much easier to detangle.
This lightweight formula uses Icelandic moss and larch tree sap to gently cleanse and add moisture to the hair without weighing it down. With 94% naturally-derived ingredients, Aveda Sap Moss Weightless Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner increase the hydration of the hair by 81%.
An excellent choice for all hair types, this duo helps smooth out your frizz and leave your hair lighter and easier to maintain. The fragrance is subtle and earthy, with certified organic olibanum, jasmine, and cypress. You’ll step out of the shower feeling like you just returned from a nature walk—calm, collected, and freshly hydrated.
This powerful shampoo and conditioner set by L’Oreal claims to coat and protect the cuticles of the hair, rehydrating it for a full 72 hours after use. The key moisturizing ingredient in this Hyaluron Plump duo is of course hyaluronic acid. More commonly used in face moisturizers, hyaluronic acid is a molecule naturally found in the body that can retain 1,000 times its weight in water. This means that it not only hydrates the hair, it can also help lock in that moisture between washes for lasting hydration.
The conditioner also contains nourishing lipids that help keep your hair smooth and shiny for a healthier look. If your hair needs serious hydration, Hyaluron Plump Shampoo and Conditioner will bring those locks back to life in no time. These products are suitable for all hair types, and it’s best to use them together for maximum results.
Olaplex hair care products are each targeted for specific hair types, so you can choose the one that suits your needs. We found their best hydration-promoting duo is No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner. These formulas use Olaplex’s patented bond-building technology to repair and restore any broken bonds in your hair.
This shampoo and conditioner combo protects your hair from further damage from split ends, humidity, and heat styling, leaving you with shinier, softer hair that’s easier to maintain. They’re also color-safe and suit most hair types and textures. If you’re looking for a lasting solution to repair and manage your dry or damaged hair, this Olaplex Bond Maintenance set is the perfect option for you.
When you have dry, damaged hair, you really need to be careful to choose products that promote healing as well as hydration. Maui Moisture Heal and Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner use only the most natural restorative ingredients that coax your damaged hair back into its natural healthy state.
The primary hydration element in this sulfate-free duo is shea butter, which infuses the hair with moisture along with coconut and macadamia oils. This combination restores your strands and nourishes the hair with essential fats without weighing it down. Your scalp will be invigorated as the shampoo clears out all the excess oils and product buildup, and your hair will feel stronger and softer than ever with this gentle infusion of protective moisture.
SheaMoisture is known for the hydrating effects of its products due to the certified organic Fair Trade shea butter they include in all of them. Their shampoo and conditioner were formulated with even more moisturizers to nourish and repair the hair from the inside out. Manuka honey provides extra hydration along with antioxidants, while yogurt powder and yogurt extract add natural proteins that help reconstruct and revive damaged hair.
For even more hydration, SheaMoisture also includes baobab oil, coconut oil, and mafura oil, a powerhouse blend that gently cleanses the hair, removes impurities, and leaves behind a soft and smooth texture that will look and feel much healthier than before. This shampoo and conditioner is sulfate-free and color-safe, so it’s suitable for most hair types—but it’s especially effective for extremely dry and brittle hair.
Redken designed Frizz Dismiss Shampoo and Conditioner specifically for those of us who constantly battle with frizzy hair.
The gentle hydrating shampoo features sustainably sourced Babassu oil, which coats the hair as it cleanses, taming the frizz and promoting shine. It’s free from sulfates and sodium chloride, so it cleanses your hair thoroughly without stripping moisture as it rinses away.
The conditioner contains twice as much Babassu oil as the shampoo to provide even more hydration and a protective barrier to prevent the frizz from recurring. Your hair will feel soft and more manageable than ever, and you’ll be able to detangle with ease. Try Frizz Dismiss Shampoo and Conditioner, and win your battle with frizzy hair once and for all.
This creamy shampoo by Malin+Goetz uses a balanced blend of amino acids and coconut-derived surfactants to nourish the hair as it cleans. Panthenol is also included to strengthen and hydrate damaged strands, protecting them from further damage. Malin+Goetz Gentle Hydrating Shampoo is sulfate-free and contains a rustic neroli and basil fragrance.
An excellent pairing with this Gentle Hydrating Shampoo is Intensive Hair Conditioner, which was designed to restore much-needed moisture to dry or dehydrated hair. This conditioner includes essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols with amino acids to replenish and repair the hair. It conditions your hair deep into the fibers, adding nourishment and shine without leaving any residue behind.
The conditioner has a natural, neutral fragrance so it won’t interfere with the scent of other products. Malin+Goetz Gentle Hydrating Shampoo and Intensive Hair Conditioner are both safe and effective for all hair and scalp types, so if your skin is sensitive or allergy prone, this may be the haircare routine you’ve been looking for.
Biolage designed HydraSource Shampoo and Conditioner to help reduce frizz and split ends by optimizing the moisture content of your hair. The key ingredient in this blend is aAloe, which is a natural source of hydration and calms irritated skin while softening the hair.
The aloe plant is also featured in HydraSource Conditioning Balm, which helps control static in the hair, eliminating frizz and flyaways. Of course, the main purpose of a conditioner is to replenish hydration in the hair, and Biolage ensures that your hair will be 15 times more moisturized when you use these products together—from the very first application.
Shampoo and conditioner combos are usually not the best choice for dry hair because most of them are primarily shampoo with a few conditioning ingredients mixed in. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration 2 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner is one of few exceptions to that rule, which is why we included it on our list of the best hydrating shampoos and conditioners.
This product infuses your hair with moisture while the shampoo ingredients rinse away dirt, excess oils, and product buildup. It was tested by dermatologists who confirmed that it’s safe for sensitive skin. It’s also paraben-free, mineral oil-free, and certified by PETA to be cruelty-free as well.
Ideal for minimalists who don’t like to clutter their shower with lots of products, or people who want to save time (and water) in their hair-washing routine, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration 2 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner will leave your hair feeling clean, moisturized, and ready for the day within minutes. With the scent of coconut essence, you’ll also leave the shower feeling like you just returned from a tropical vacation.
If you’re looking for a trusted brand but you don’t have an unlimited budget for hair products, Dove’s Hydration Spa Shampoo and Conditioner could be the perfect choice for you. This line was created to introduce the average person to a luxury spa experience at home.
The key hydrating ingredient in this set is hyaluronic acid, a molecule that nourishes the hair at the cellular level and helps your hair retain moisture between washes. Instead of harsh surfactants, Hydration Spa Shampoo gently cleans your hair with natural glycerin and coconut-derived cleansers that won’t strip the essential moisture from your hair.
Dove claims that when you follow up your shampoo with Hydration Spa Conditioner, your hair will stay smooth and hydrated for a full 24 hours. If you need a lasting moisture boost and a home spa experience, Dove’s Hair Therapy Hydration Spa Shampoo and Conditioner are worth a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes dry or frizzy hair?
Dry or frizzy hair can be caused by a number of factors that aren’t always obvious. Continuous hair coloring or chemical treatments can dry out the hair. Overusing heated styling tools like straighteners, curling irons, or even blow-dryers too often also dries out your hair and causes frizz.
The environment can also cause your hair to dehydrate. This includes extreme hot or cold weather, humidity, or pollution in the air or water. Hair products, especially shampoos and conditioners, can also contain ingredients that dry out the hair.
Dry hair can lead to frizz, breakage, brittleness, and split ends. Luckily, dry and damaged hair can be repaired and restored to its natural healthy state. You first need to identify what caused your hair to dehydrate in the first place, then make any changes necessary to reverse the condition
Some changes in your hair care routine that could improve the health of your hair include limiting color treatments and heated styling, and looking for new hair products that help hydrate and repair your locks.
How do I choose a hydrating shampoo and conditioner?
The best hydrating shampoos and conditioners are made up of natural ingredients rather than a long list of chemicals that no one can pronounce. Look for shampoos that use moisturizing, plant-based cleansers like jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, or argan oil. Other nourishing ingredients like vitamins, minerals, ceramides, and amino acids can help restore damaged hair and lock in the moisture, too. This can really speed up the healing process, so your hair will once again be smooth, shiny, and frizz-free.
Sometimes what’s not included in a shampoo or conditioner can be just as important as what is included. Sulfate-free shampoos are usually more effective at rehydration because sulfate-based surfactants can strip away essential moisture and natural oils from your scalp, leaving your hair dry and more susceptible to damage.
Other ingredients that can damage your hair include parabens, phthalates, silicones, alcohols, and mineral oils. If you have sensitive skin, you may also want to look for products without artificial fragrances or dyes that can irritate your scalp. Healthy, hydrated hair begins with a well-moisturized and nourished scalp.
Choosing a new shampoo and conditioner can be a daunting task. Everyone has an opinion, and you have so many products to choose from in the hair care aisle. That’s why we made this list of the best hydrating shampoos and conditioners on the market today. Choose a set from this list (or mix and match) and you won’t be disappointed.
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