Best and Worst Shampoos and Conditioners

Short à la Emma Watson or ultra-long like the Kardashians, hair is your best, and often most challenging, accessory. The key to gorgeous locks isn't just a top-notch cut and salon quality color; great hair begins in your bathroom where the right products can help hair shine or leave locks listless.  

We've tested and tried hundreds of shampoos and conditioners to round up an updated list of the Best and Worst Shampoos and Conditioners, available both in high end hair boutiques and on the shelves of your local mass marketer.

Best ShampooLove it! Kevin Murphy Washes

We love Kevin Murphy. We swear by his dry shampoo ($25 at And the Kevin Murphy collection of hair care continues to impress with four washes (read: shampoos) that are paraben and sulfate free, biodegradable, and housed in recyclable, plastic bottles.

The collection is available in a selection of formulas to suit many hair care types including AngelWash for fine hair; BalancingWash, a protective formula; BornAgainWash for dry hair; and, HydrateMeWash, infused with Kakadu Plum for added moisture. The washes sell for about $25 each at upscale salons.

Leave it. White Sands Shampoo and Conditioner

The morning after washing and conditioning our hair with the White Sands collection, we woke up with greasy locks. We must have done something wrong, even though we've been successfully washing our hair for years.

Perhaps the amount of Soybean Oil, the fourth ingredient in White Sands' Moisturizing Conditioner, proved to be too much for our locks? Two more tries and, both times, a few hours after cleansing and conditioning hair with White Sands, we were rewarded with a greasy new 'do, earning this product a definitive spot on our leave it list.


Best ShampooLove it! Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner

We were introduced to the Keratin Complex collection after booking an Express Keratin Straightening treatment at a local salon.  And, while we loved the blowout, we're also enamored with the Keratin Complex Color Care shampoo and conditioner ($21 each).

The shampoo is free of Sodium Chloride and Sulfates but, thanks to mild surfactants, color treated hair is cleaned gently without stripping hair of color. The conditioner moisturizes locks while protecting color, calling upon Keratin, wheat and soy proteins to protect hair from the heat of blow drying, flat ironing and the like. Shop the collection online at or at upscale salons that carry the Coppola Keratin Complex collection.


Leave it. TRESemmé Anti-Breakage Shampoo

The search for affordable hair care, readily available, led us to grab TRESemmé Anti-Breakage Shampoo with Vitamin B12 & Gelatin from the shelves of a local drugstore. At about $5 a bottle the price is certainly right, but this product left our hair feeling dry and waxy.

Soon after drying our hair, and seeing the results, we were forced to re-wash with a different shampoo to get rid of the residue the TRESemmé had left on behind. Effectively washing our "savings" from picking up this bargain priced beauty product down the drain.

Best ShampooLove It! Eufora

Eufora’s Urgent Repair Shampoo is a sulfate-free shampoo that calls upon top-notch ingredients, think Lychee Berry and organic Aloe Vera, to keep locks looking lustrous.

Paired with the Urgent Repair Replenishing Treatment, this duo makes even damaged hair seem suddenly manageable. Plus, Eufora has signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Compact, pledging not to use chemicals such as phthalates, petrochemicals, parabens and sulfates. Smart and pretty… just like you.

The collection retails for about $30 per product; log on to to find a salon retailer near you.


Leave It:  Sebastian Drench

While beauty companies are often charged with overspending on packaging, the Sebastian Drench collection leaves a lot to be desired in the packaging department.

We tested the 8.4 oz. conditioner and shampoo, both housed in hard plastic containers that make getting the product out a real challenge.  And as for that product and its promise to nourish dry or fizzy hair, we felt it left our hair looking frazzled.


Best ShampooLove It! Aveeno’s Nourish and Moisturize

Aveeno’s Nourish and Moisturize promised to “feed” hair, repairing damage in just three washes. 

And while we inflict more heat damage styling our locks than any one shampoo or conditioner could ever hope to repair, the collection did leave our locks feeling soft and silky.

Get ‘em for $7.49 each at Walgreens.


Leave it: Carita for Color Treated Hair

Carita’s Intense Colour Shampoo and Daily Protective Cream ($32 and $35 respectively) didn’t deliver on their promise to “boost shine, body and softness.”

Plus, this high-end product that is shockingly full of parabens, a chemical preservative that many consumers are now trying to avoid.


Best ShampooLove it! Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Collection

This collection is affordable -- $6.99 a bottle at your local CVS --  but it’s the product quality and pretty scent that really sold us.

Housed in eco-friendly bottles that boast a blend of organic cherry blossom and ginseng extract within, the shampoo and conditioner effectively cleanse and hydrate hair leaving it smelling oh-so-sweet.

The cherry on top?  Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Collection is  free of sulfates and parabens.


Love it! Ookisa Fortifying Shampoo and Replenishing Conditioner

Ookisa’s paraben-free, sulfate-free shampoo and color protecting conditioner left our hair soft, Best Shampoosmooth and healthy looking. At $39.95 each this duo is far from cheap, and while we wish we could say it wasn’t worth the dough, it’s practically a beauty bargain given the shiny locks left behind.

According to the company, the shampoo is designed to Increase hair strength, reduce split ends, and prevent color fading.  And it works, which means we’ll be lucky to afford even a D-list knock-off of that new Gucci bag we’ve been coveting. Not to worry, we’re sure to find comfort in our A-list hair.

Leave it: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Cream Conditioner and Shampoo

At less than four dollars a bottle, this product is well within most budgets, but despite promising to moisturize hair, it left our locks dry and unruly. Plus, we’re not thrilled with the bargain basement ingredients listed on the bottles including parabens and sulfates.

Best ShampooLove it! Rusk Sensories’ Shampoo and Conditioner

Your dishwasher and your washer/dryer may very well run on “High Efficiency” products and now, thanks to Rusk, your hair can, too.  Rusk’s Compressed Formula Technology (CFT) promises to deliver all of the results while requiring 30% to 50% less product to get the job done.

Freshly colored locks will heartily approve of the Brilliance Grapefruit and Honey Color Protecting Leave-in Cream Conditioner ($13), a vitamin C packed product that seals in hair color. Another winner is the Full Green Tea & Alfalfa Bodifying Conditioner ($13). The Rusk Sensories collection is available at local salons as well as

Leave it: Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar

We love Burt, truly we do, but this shampoo bar fell short ($6). This bar just isn’t right for long locks, ladies. Meaning, unless you’re sporting a G.I. Jane ‘do, the Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar will leave you a tangled mess.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us all about your favorite products and post your own reviews here!

Need more hair help? Read our article, Expert Help for Damaged Hair or read our article: What is Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

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