Skip to main content

4 of the Best Shampoos for Naturals and Transitioners

• Jan 9, 2013

76430227020_450x450_a

By Christina of The Mane Objective

Yeah, I said it. Shampoo. Although many naturals swear by co-washing and various clarifying rinses, you can’t deny the cleaning power of a good shampoo. These days, there are many viable alternatives to your OG sulfate shampoos that leave your hair and scalp clean, without totally stripping them stark naked of essential oils. Here are some of my favorite shampoos, and my best use scenarios for each. Even though most of the shampoos on here are sulfate-free, it’s always necessary to follow up any cleansing session with a regular or deep conditioning, depending on hair’s needs.

1. When your scalp is feeling flaky…
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo ($10–12)

I’ve recommended this particular shampoo several times over for those suffering from scalp conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff. It is one of those few legitimately sulfate free (you won’t find any derivative of a sulfate on this label) shampoos that does a great job of clarifying hair and scalp. Plantain enzyme, salicylic acid, and tea tree work to combat those flaky conditions, while willow bark and black soap cleanse and detoxify the hair. The light banana scent and dark brown (nearly black) coloring of the shampoo may be off-putting to some, but I’ll be gosh darned if it doesn’t get the job done.

2. When you’ve got a serious case of ‘The Buildups’…
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo ($3.99)

This shampoo is one of the few that produces the squeaky clean feeling on hair that is sometimes necessary — especially during these cold winter months when we slather on the heavy creams, butters, and jellies. If you’ve perused shampoos lately, many manufacturers are seeking alternatives to the dreaded SLS — or at least less-potent forms. So when you come across no “lauryl/laureth sulfates” on the Tea Tree Tingle bottle, Trader Joe’s isn’t lying (thank you Jesus…you know I love me some TJ’s) — they just found a less-harsh and coconut-derived formulation known as C12-14 Olefin Sulfonate. Without getting too in-depth with the science, let’s just suffice it to say that the sulfonate cleanses hair and scalp by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so they can be rinsed away. This shampoo definitely has a tea tree and peppermint smell to it, which I find pleasant and not overbearing. I also love the cool and light tingle I get when it sits on my scalp for a few seconds.

3. When you’re going to flat iron or blowout…
Ion Straightening Shampoo ($6.49)

I recently rekindled my love affair with this old favorite. Back in the day before I began my consciously natural journey, this shampoo was a staple when it came time to straighten my hair. Note: for OG Sally’s customers, the straightening line used to be hot pink — now it’s orange. After I began transitioning, I did away with the shampoo because it contained sulfates. A few weeks ago I went into Sally’s poking around for something to try on my upcoming straightening session, and I heard the Ion bottle say, “I know you want me”. And as a matter of fact, I did. With a change in color label also came a change in formulation. Instead of straight up Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, they changed to Sodium Myreth Sulfate, which is somewhat less drying to hair. It didn’t dry out my hair, but my hair definitely felt light and clean. Personally, when I’m going to flat iron my hair, I feel like the less oil and whatnot left behind, the better. I’d rather have silicones and other heat protectants shielding my hair, than have penetrated oils cooking inside the shaft. But that’s just me though… Anyway, this shampoo doesn’t relax or straighten the curl pattern any — all it does is allow the heat to straighten easier. In fact, when using this shampoo, I realized I cut my blow-drying time in half, and my flat ironed hair was more sleek. Reunited (every 3–6 months, lol), and it feels so good…

4. When you just feel like using shampoo…
Alaffia Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint Shampoo ($10–12)

Sometimes, you just want some suds in your hair for that “clean” feeling. I understand. The key to safe shampoo cleaning is finding one that doesn’t contain any sulfates or harsh surfectants. The Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint Shampoo uses liquid shea butter soap and saponified shea butter to cleanse the hair. It has a wonderful minty fragrance, and contains coconut and lavender essential oils. Sounds great, right? And to a certain extent, it is. But there is a little bit to be known about this product, and it took a little sleuthing on my part. To read up on the additional info on Everyday Shea, click here. But suffice it to say, this shampoo worked well to cleanse my hair and scalp, without it feeling overly drying. Plus, I love the super short ingredient list (when compared with other shampoos). And at $10 for a 32oz bottle, it’s a great bargain. P.S. — use it as a body wash too!

These shampoos got me through 2012. What are some of your favorites, and why?

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

Leave a Reply

52 Comments on "4 of the Best Shampoos for Naturals and Transitioners"

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Iman
Guest

I swear by Elasta QP’s creame conditioning shampoo. It’s not natural, but it leaves my hair clean and still manageable when I use it. It is my favorite shampoo, but I think I’ll try the Trader Joe’s out in the new year!

Naomi
Guest

I like Aubrey Organics honeysuckle rose shampoo and conditioner. No unpronounceable ingredients, smells great and they don’t test their products on animals. After shampoo and before conditioning, I sometimes use apple cider vinegar/water rinse for “squeaky-clean” feeling.

Jasmine
Guest

I like Komenuka Bijin shampoo. It’s paraben and sulfate free and it has natural rice bran and jojoba oil in it. It’s a little on the pricey side at about $27-$28 per bottle, but it lasts a long time. A little bit goes a long way. Lathers up really well and it helps prevent split ends and dandruff. Plus it smells really good, to me at least. I’m just waiting for this Dark and Lovely Au Naturale line to be more widely available so I can try that shampoo and conditioner.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/bijin.jpg[/img]

DreamGirl
Guest

I really like Tresemme Luxurious moisture shampoo,it detangles my hair as I wash but its not sulphate free :-/. We have limited products here in South Africa but I think I’ll go sulphate free this year,use Dr Miracles or ORS for naturals.

Hilda
Guest

Even though it’s got sulfates in it (I’m not steering away from sulfates, silicones and all that stuff. My motto for my transition is if it works for my hair, it works for my hair lol)- but Herbal Essences Hello Hydrations, it cleans my scalp and doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped =)

B
Guest

All of Shea Moisture Shampoos and Creme of Nature Sulfate Free Shampoo
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/shampoo1.jpg[/img]

Caramelcurls
Guest
I have tried shampoos from Bee Mine, Giovanni, Shea Moisture, L’Oreal, you name it…ALL of them left my 4a/b hair feeling super dry. Even after conditioning my hair would still lack moisture, especially in the crown. Shampoo bars were a God send for me, and if I need a deep cleanse/detox the As I Am Cleansing Cream works wonders. It removes all product build-up from my hair and scalp without stripping my hair. Since letting go of liquid shampoos, my hair has thrived tremendously and dryness is no longer an issue for me. Everybody’s hair is different, but this is… Read more »
Sassy24
Guest

I use Giovanni products works wonders for my hair. Now Im using Suave Professional Almond and Shea Butter shampoo and conditioner.I have used She Moisture Black soap shampoo didn’t work for me.

Michelle
Guest

TRESemmé Deep Cleanse, hair feels clean which all I ever want from a wash day.

Smallfro
Guest

Elucence balancing shampoo is my favorite right now. Probably has something that is a no-no. But it is great on my hair and aides in detangling. Cheap. I think a liter will last over a year.

Masuka M.
Guest

[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/rainforest-moisture.jpg[/img]

My favourite is The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Shampoo. It is the gentlest and softest shampoo I have ever used and sometimes I have been known to forget and skip the conditioner as my hair feels so lovely. The fragrance is also wonderful.

Olivia J.
Guest

Recently, I’ve actually started using Miss Jessies’ Super Sudsy shampoo, and my hair loves it. Detangles my hair well and leaves it soft.

Kayla
Guest

Has anyone ever tried pure African black soap to wash their hair? I use it on my skin and have tried it on my hair once and my hair very clean. I ask because I usually use V05 cheapie shampoo to clarify my hair but it makes my hair so dry! Is black soap a good alternative?

avirline
Guest

i have used the black soap a couple pf times and it doesnt leave my hair dry and stripped. it has been one of the best for me so far.

Tiffany
Guest

Yes I use it all the time and my hair never feels dry

Sassy24
Guest

I have heard a couple of people say that they used it and loved it.

lockstress
Guest

I love Dr.Bronners peppermint soap or almond soap. THe shea moisture line does me solid as well.

Angelica
Guest

Hello, I’m very new at being natural and taking care of my hair the proper way. I just had a question. For shampoo number 2 on this lest, what do you mean by “when you’ve got a serious case of “The Buildups”?

teppuM
Guest

Buildup as in “product buildup;” when you’ve been using a lot of products and there’s a lot of residue left over in your hair. Sometimes it makes your hair feel sticky, sometimes it prevents hair from absorbing moisture, it can cause itchy scalp and clog up hair follicles. It’s good to get rid of it every now and again. 🙂

Marj
Guest

I agree with teppuM. It can also refer to buildup on your acalp.

CurlyDK
Guest

Love Karen’s Body Beautiful Juicy Shampoo Bar. Super gentle and really cleanses my curls well. Gotta add that this bar last for-ever.

AC
Guest

Renpure Organics My Pretty Hair Is Parched Moisturizing Shampoo!

I really want to try their cleansing conditioners too!

Rene
Guest

Some great Natural Shampoo’s and Conditioners for your daily hair regime… @ http://healingherbsbyrene.weebly.com/shampoo-and-conditioners.html
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/hhbrnaturals3small.jpg[/img]

Jen
Guest

OMG Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle should be on that list! The price is right & the product is a gem, one wash & hair is clean! I love it

luvnM3napturally
Guest

I currently use Jessicurl Cleansing Cream to co-wash my hair & for a deep cleansing I use Terressentials Organic Lavender Garden. Its non-lathering & detergent-free, it cleanses & conditions your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

Dee
Guest

I also like the conditioner that is made by Shea Moisture and available at Target for cleansing my hair. I alternate it with other products like WEN and a combination of conditioners I have left over.

Joy
Guest

I love using black soap. It gets all of that old oil off my hair. Plus, it makes my hair fill so light when I flat iron it!!

Marj
Guest

I am 6+ months into my transition. I started out using the gold label Shea Moisture products. Although they are great, they didn’t agree with me. I have extremely sensitive skin so the fragrance made me break out. I have since switched to Jane Carter products and my hair absolutely loves them. I wonder if my hair needs/products will change when I’m completely natural…any thoughts?
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/JaneCarter.gif[/img]

How black women can avoid fibroids
Guest
How black women can avoid fibroids
How black women can avoid fibroids and Ovary Cyst 1. Do not go to a University Hospital where they do Research. You dont want to be a guinea pig. 2. Find a gynecologist with a good bedside manner that shows respects towards you and does not seem to see as a black patient or treat you as such. 3. Be serious with your doctor but try to make a relationship were they take you serious and bond with you. 4. Eat organic as much as possible. Avoid cheese at all cost. And if you must only eat dairy on occasions… Read more »
Dani
Guest

I personally find that some shampoos that are sulfate free actually have left my hair feeling more stripped than any sulfate shampoo I have ever used. A sulfate free alternative that is more economical is liquid Castille Soap. You get a big bottle that last a long time since you don’t need much for it to be effective.

kinkyCoils14
Guest

Dani I agree with you my hair feels so dry and stripped especially with sulfate free shampoos. I am currently on the hunt for a new shampoo that doesn’t strip my hair and makes it feel like straws!

Lisa
Guest

I use sulfate free and was receiving the same results…dry hair. A friend of mine told me I have to deep condition my hair after using the sulfate free products. My hair much softer now and I do not have to worry about the dryness.

Linda
Guest

I would really like to have the strength hair shampoo here in Jamaica but I don’t know how that could be possible.

Brittney
Guest

There is a shampoo at Lush called Curly Wurly and it has chunks of coconut in it. Its a hassle to get it out sometimes, but it makes your hair feel SO soft.

ImaniW
Guest

I have a question, so when your transitioning you don’t use shampoo?? Bc I’m really new to this I started transitioning in Dec. So I’m still learning a lot of different things and I’m trying to see what works with my hair and what don’t oh and is it bad to use a bunch of different hair products even if it’s all natural things?? Please help thank u 🙂

Nicole
Guest
I’m transitioning too I started in October, I still use shampoo just not that often. Since I’m in Afghanistan my hair gets a lot drier than normal.Shampooing my hair makes it harder to get the moisture back in. I became a PJ (product junkie) out here, for me it’s fine for now. I use all the products that I buy to see what works best for me and my hair especially in this climate. I say that now is the time for you to see what works for you. Mske sure you use what you buy so youre not wasting… Read more »
Jordyn
Guest

dove intensive repair shampoo makes my hair really soft

Nicole
Guest

I was wondering what were some good deep conditioners?

Zeeshan Malik
Guest

I think Dove is best shampoo for hair i use it

linux hosting
Guest

Hello there, just turned into aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate in the event you continue this in future. Lots of folks can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!|

Tijuana
Guest

Pantene relaxed and natural intensive moisturizing conditioner I one of the best I have found

trackback

[…] It also is highly recommended for African-American hair. […]

Beverly
Guest

Hi,I been transitioning since June or July, I brought a shampoo and it’s name is Ology Sulfate free shampoo, I would like to know is this a good product to use,I would also like to know if Box Braids is a good protective with extensions, I’m new to this I would like some advice. Thank You
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/1460143_570456869675160_1509797028_n.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/1460143_570456869675160_1509797028_n.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/1460143_570456869675160_1509797028_n.jpg[/img]

Gabby D
Guest

I’m transitioning since 1/15/14 and my scalp gets very flaky in the winter so that Shea moisture will do me good. Is there any more Shea moisture products you can recommend for me?

Sandy
Guest

Can any on tell me where I can find Traders Joe shampoo $3.99??

Lisa
Guest

I have used lot of shampoo for my natural hair but not very good results…I will try one of the above definitely..thanx

Jeanne
Guest

Hello Christina!

Thank you very much for sharing this list. I will definitely check them out. Just like you, I would also recommend the products made by Shea Moisture. My favorite organic shampoo is actually Shea Moisture Raw Shea Retention Shampoo. I have been using this product for almost a year now and I am really satisfied with the result. My hair looks healthy and strong. I would recommend that we use organic shampoo for our hair.

Audrey
Guest

Shea Moisure shampoo and conditioner really works well for me. I have eczema and it really calmed down my itchy scalp. I usually wash my hair every week but even if I go two weeks without washing my hair, I am still fine. The shampoo lathers up well so you won’t have to use too much to feel like you have washed your hair well. I would definitly reccomend this to people with itchy scalp issues.

Napturally Kia
Guest

the SM african black soap shampoo the GOAT!!

Chelsea
Guest

Well, i have this hair care kit that comes with organic shampoo and conditioner designed to make hair soft, shiny and healthy especially if you use heat tools or hair dye. It also comes with a deep conditioning hair mask and an argan oil heat protectant that works miracles for frizz. You use it after a shower, it’s not oily at all and it’s actually real argan oil. The kit is called Pro Naturals argan oil system or something along those lines so look it up on their website or wherever you find it.

M Dandon
Guest

This is a great list.

I just want to remind people, though, that there are more natural shampoo and conditioner products out there.

The best way to treat hair is to determine your hair type and use the best organic shampoo for that hair type. So if you have dry hair, use shampoo specifically made to nourish and moisturize your hair.

Kookies
Guest

I actually enjoy using the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo. It works well since I have a sensitive scalp and it can get your hair squeaky clean. I’ve tried other brand of shampoos, they either irritated my scalp or made my hair feel very brittle. I also like the Shea Moisture African Black Soap New Dandruff Control Shampoo. It gives a really good cleansing to my scalp and it doesn’t strip my hair. I try not to be a product junkie, so I stick to what my hair likes and every blue moon I’ll try something new.

Shopping Cart