This article was published in partnership with Blu Atlas
Searching for the perfect shampoo takes a bit of experimenting and a lot of patience. Haircare isn’t one-size-fits-all. Finding the right product is essential. We’re here to help!
Black men have specific needs, since they predominantly fall into hair types 3 and 4, which have almost 20 percent less moisture than other hair types. For this reason, they require specially formulated shampoos.
It’s time to figure out once and for all which brands have the best shampoo for Black men. We have compiled a list of shampoos that are sure to turn your hair from lackluster to luscious, with ingredients that are tailored to your hair’s unique requirements.
What Should Black Men Look For in Their Hair-Care Products?
When it comes to the hair of Black men, a simple run-of-the-mill shampoo just won’t suffice. Black hair usually ranges from curly to coily, meaning that these textures require more maintenance and moisture than their looser or finer counterparts.
Many shampoo products marketed for men rely on promises that their shampoo will lead to the cleanest wash you have ever had. This may be the case, but at the same time you risk drying out your hair to the point of harm. When searching for products to treat hair between 3b and 4c on the hair type scale, look for the following ingredients and components.
Shea butter, a natural fat that can be used in its unrefined form; it’s easy to manipulate. It melts quickly and easily, though its raw scent is definitely not for everybody.
Luckily, the aroma fades quickly, but if you’re not willing to deal with that, you can opt for the refined version, which is less expensive. Many shampoos and products for natural hair care contain shea butter, which has many beneficial properties, including heat protection.
A lot of products designated for Black hair tend to boast various oils that usually either weigh down the hair or sit on top of it rather than penetrating the hair shaft. However, the oleic acid and monounsaturated fats in avocado oil allow the hair to soak up its moisturizing goodness.
This is a perfect ingredient for dry or coarse hair types, as moisture retention is imperative for maintaining strong strands. It promotes a healthy, moisturized scalp as well as hair growth, and leaves an incredible shine.
Glycerin, or glycerol, is a must-have ingredient in hair products for curly hair. Lauded for its antimicrobial and hydration properties, this key ingredient will prevent your shampoo from stripping your hair of its necessary oils, while managing sebum production in your scalp and reducing frizz, breakage and split ends.
A fantastic moisturizing agent and a great way to stimulate hair growth and prevent breakage and loss, jojoba oil provides intense hydration and volume. You can even use it on its own, as it is lightweight and similar to the natural oils your scalp produces.
When incorporated into your shampoo, it acts as a barrier against any harsh sulfates your product may contain, ensuring long-lasting shine and protection between washes
Here are the 10 best shampoos for Black men.
1. Blu Atlas Shampoo
Packed with natural ingredients such as aloe vera and jojoba oil, this shampoo from Blu Atlas will keep your coif in tip-top shape. Though this shampoo is noted to work well for all hair types, its conditioning properties and mild scent will leave you with a squeaky clean scalp and hair that is soft to the touch.
This shampoo is all-natural, relieving your scalp of oil buildup without leaving your strands frail and prone to breakage. All Blu Atlas products are free of harmful parabens and chemicals, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of professional-quality hair care without the fuss or trip to the barber. Without question, this is the best shampoo for Black men, with ingredients versatile enough to fit the needs of hair types and textures across the spectrum.Get it
2. 18. 21 Man Made Noble Oud
This three-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash is perfect for the man on the go. Whether you’re dealing with minimal suitcase space or a cramped shower caddy, or are just a low-maintenance kind of guy, Noble Oud might be what you’ve been looking for. Three-in-one products usually have a pretty bad reputation. Products that claim to have equal cleaning and conditioning benefits often fall short in one area or another. However, with the rising popularity of co-washes, we now know that you can get a quality wash and condition from just one product.
This item is more suited for type 3 folks, as their strands do not require as much moisture maintenance and tend to get more oily than their type 4 peers. Jojoba, macadamia and quinoa add strength and shine from root to tip, calming even the roughest of heads and beards.
This combo gives off a scent that is sure to stop people in their tracks, featuring delectable aromas such as bergamot, smoked oud, musk, amber and rosewood. It is rugged and masculine, yet relaxed, leaving you with a refreshed feeling from head to toe.
[$26; amazon.com]Get it
3. Kiehl’s Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo
For nearly two centuries, Kiehl’s has been providing luxury skin and hair care that is gentle yet effective. Most popular for their Ultra-Moisturizing Facial Cream, Kiehl’s is no stranger to the importance of moisture retention and barrier repair.
This shampoo is chock-full of green goodness, made with olive fruit and avocado oils. It will leave your hair quenched and supple. The lather is rich and creamy, but it doesn’t leave a heavy residue on your hair. This shampoo is great for those with type 4 hair who need a product that hydrates just as much as it cleanses while increasing manageability and allowing you to twist, lock and braid your natural hair with ease.
If you’re looking for salon-quality hair care with innovative bond-repair technology, then look no further. Olaplex has been a staple in the professional hair-care community for years, and their shampoo has been hailed by their consumers as life-changing.
[$15.75; kiehls.com]Get it
4. Olaplex No. 4
Olaplex No. 4 is intended to be used as part of a hair-care system comprising other treatments and a conditioner; however, using this product by itself will do no harm. Results may take a while, so if you’re looking for a quick fix this isn’t for you. But, with some patience and commitment, you’ll find the wait is absolutely worth it.
Olaplex utilizes a patented ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, to repair broken disulfide bonds, taking each strand from brittle to brilliant. If you’ve found yourself on the wrong end of a bleach bottle, have no fear. Olaplex is safe for color-treated hair and will ensure each strand will return to its original glory.
[$28; amazon.com]Get it
5. SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil
Manuka honey is the humectant of the gods. Containing a plethora of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it is great for hair health, keeping your scalp well protected with its anti-inflammatory effects, and leaving your hair ripe for detangling with its follicle-softening properties. Mafura oil revives your hair with oleic acids, and the incorporation of African fig extract ensures your mane is the most vibrant it can be.
SheaMoisture has a whole line of Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil products, so if you enjoy the effects of this shampoo, consider picking up the treatment mask or the leave-in conditioner. If you want a budget-friendly shampoo that nourishes your hair with every wash, this should be at the top of your list.
[$10.49; target.com]Get it
6. Billy Jealousy Fuzzy Logic
As you get older, one of the main issues with your hair may be that you either can’t seem to grow it like you used to, or that you’re losing more of it than you’d like. You can spend beaucoup bucks on toupees and surgical hair treatments, but you may be able to solve your problem with something a lot less costly. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone that triggers a halt in your hair’s growth cycle, leading your follicles to shrink and making it harder to retain the hair you have.
Billy Jealousy refuses to let hair loss become a dominating factor in your life: Their strengthening shampoo formula acts as a DHT blocker, allowing adequate scalp circulation and unclogging your follicles, letting your hair grow to its full potential without obstacles.
The vitamin B5 in this product ensures your hair is hydrated and healthy. This shampoo provides a cooling peppermint sensation, so you’ll exit the shower feeling minty fresh and ready to conquer the world.
[$22; amazon.com]Get it
7. Jack Black True Volume Thickening Shampoo
The days of thin, boring hair are officially over. If you want to embrace the fullness of your ’fro, or if you’d like your locks to be larger than life, look no further. Jack Black’s exclusive expansion technology will help your hair rise to the occasion, utilizing creatine and wheat protein to increase hair thickness without making it less manageable.
Tea tree oil soothes an irritated scalp, freeing you from unsightly speckles of dandruff and an impossibly scratchy head. This product is great for those who love that squeaky-clean feeling without having to sacrifice moisture-rich components.
The scent is subtle, so it won’t overwhelm those with a sensitive nose. And, since a little goes a long way, this bottle will last you quite a while. Some men say they only have to purchase this shampoo twice a year, making it a worthy investment.
[$30; amazon.com]Get it
8. OKAY Black Jamaican Castor Oil
Black Jamaican Castor Oil is basically liquid gold. Not only does it do wonders for your hair, but it has been known to relieve pain and treat cases of acne. OKAY is an affordable brand that will quickly become a household fave if you let it. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids, this is perfect for those who are looking for all the benefits with no fuss.
The scent is reminiscent of the products your mother would use when you were younger, so it is definitely worth a try on the nostalgia factor alone. Its blend of castor and argan oils give you a shiny, hydrated crown, restoring elasticity and promoting bountiful growth. This is one of those products that is everywhere, so you should have no problem picking it up in a pinch.
[$7.50; amazon.com]Get it
9. Baxter of California Daily Fortifying Shampoo
There is nothing like the vivacious tingle on your scalp from a shampoo with mint. It’s an invigorating sensation that is sure to wake you up even before you’ve had your first coffee of the day. It also has a practical purpose: It stimulates the hair follicles, allowing your head to feel clean, clear and full of healthy hair.
Wheat protein and vitamin E are the main reparative components in this shampoo, taking your hair from blah to boastful, and adding a smoothness and shine like no other. This shampoo is a fan favorite and is often sold out, so if you want to get your hands on it, be sure to snatch it up as quickly as possible. It might not be there the next time you look!
[$44.87; walmart.com]Get it
10. AG Hair Natural Balance
Say goodbye to sulfates and hello to the best your hair has ever looked. AG Hair is a great brand for those who will only use the best of the best. This shampoo is suitable for all hair types, penetrating the hair shaft and allowing your strands to soak up all the moisture it has to offer.
For men who don’t cut corners and demand a strong cleanser without harsh stripping qualities, this is a great option. If you have color-treated hair, this will not dull the pigment, enhancing and prolonging your dye with its 98% plant-based formula.
You can reap all the benefits of an aromatherapy session with just one wash, enjoying all the perks of rosemary, lemongrass, lavender and clary sage. And did we mention that it’s vegan and cruelty-free?
[$69; ulta.com]Get it
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Though water is the most essential aspect of hair care, and you have to make sure you’re maintaining well-moisturized tresses, overwashing can be harmful to hair. Feel free to give it a rinse every day, but don’t overdo it.
Growing up, you were probably used to hearing that you should wash your hair every time you bathed, or maybe every other day. However, because hair types 3 and 4 are more prone to breakage and drying out, washing your hair too much will remove all those great natural oils that keep your hair strong.
Furthermore, your scalp is at more risk of irritation if you spend too much time scrubbing and cleansing. Be gentle, and try to only wash your hair once a week – twice a week at most. At the end of the day, your hair isn’t always as dirty as you think it is, and there are plenty of other products besides shampoo that will work to rid your hair of dirt and product buildup.
What Are Some Alternative Shampoo Options?
The lifestyle of every man differs, and and so does each man’s hair. For athletes, it may not be reasonable to reduce their wash day to once a week. Sweat buildup, environmental stressors and other factors create a need for a cleanser that won’t harm your hair, and that is where a co-wash comes in.
A co-wash is a cleanser that is actually a conditioner, and though many conditioners may be a suitable co-wash, it is better to pick one that is solely for cleansing purposes. The main issue with using a traditional conditioner as a co-wash is that many tend to have silicone. Silicone leaves build-up on your hair, so instead of feeling clean in between wash days, you might actually feel dirtier than ever.
Co-washes are formulated to contain no silicones, sulfates or parabens, and are especially useful for low-porosity hair, which requires more moisture attention and care. Treat your conditioning wash as you would your shampoo: wash, rinse and repeat.
If you feel your hair is still thirsty, add a post-shower moisturizer or a mild leave-in conditioner to supplement. Here are a few co-washes to add to your weekly routine.
1. As I Am Olive and Tea Tree Oil Co-Wash
Tea tree oil has a potent scent, so if you’re not a fan of strong perfumes, be wary. If you don’t mind it, then this co-wash is definitely worth a try. Formulated to combat a dry, itchy and dandruff-burdened scalp, As I Am’s gentle and powerful conditioning wash provides you with the relief you need to resist the call of the shampoo bottle.
2. TGIN Quench 3-in-1 Co-Wash Conditioner and Detangler
When your coils are knotted and you’re on the verge of submitting to the big rinse, opt for this multi-use co-wash. With cleansing and smoothing properties of shea butter and sweet almond oil, this can serve as a midweek curl refresher. Your hair will thank you.
3. Mielle Organics Detangling Co-Wash
Black-owned business Mielle has been dominating the hair industry with their accessible, high-quality hair-care products. Their co-wash has a thin consistency with a no-suds lather. This smooth formula hydrates the hair and leaves it soft and ready for detangling.
4. Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
This is another no-foam, rich-lather goody. A tad pricier than the other options, Curlsmith is great for all curl textures and is even used for straight, fine hair.
You can use this co-wash every other day if necessary, so this is an optimal conditioning wash for athletes or those who spend most of their day toiling and sweating. Avocado, coconut and sunflower oil combine for a premier detangling concoction. You may never return to regular shampoo after indulging in this.
5. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Hydrating Co-Wash for Curly Hair
Briogeo’s curl maintenance products have a great scent and primarily natural ingredients. This co-wash’s combination of shea butter and avocado oil provide lightweight hydration and slip.
Consumers rave about this co-wash, and if you tame your mane with lots of gel or mousse, you should pick this up ASAP. The only complaint you’ll have about this product is that you’ll wish the bottle was bigger. Or bottomless.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
Let’s face it: No matter how nice the product smells or how cool the bottle looks, not every shampoo is good for your hair. You want to nourish every strand, not suffocate it, and you definitely don’t want your products to cause you any future health issues. Here’s a list of ingredients you should stay away from.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and its buddies are a no-go for Black hair care. Since Black men do not produce as much oil on their scalp as their peers with finer hair, there is really no need for these detergent-dominant cleansing products.
Opt for sulfate-free products whenever possible, and if you do happen to use a shampoo with sulfate, make sure you’re providing your hair with adequate moisture after the fact. Wash your hair with warm water and then, after conditioning, seal the strands with a dousing of cold water. The warm water will help the moisturizing agents in your conditioner penetrate the hair more effectively, and the drying effects of your sulfate usage won’t be as debilitating.
Parabens are preservatives that halt the growth of mold and fungi. Though this may seem like a good thing, parabens are known to cause skin and eye irritation. They have also been recorded to mimic estrogen cells, which can lead to breast cancer. So, it is best to toss out any shampoo or conditioner that isn’t paraben-free.
These are chemicals that we hear fewer warnings about. Phthalates are used to extend the life of fragrances, and though they are found in many hair-care products and aren’t always listed, your best bet is to try to use products without them if possible. These chemicals are connected to endocrine and reproductive issues, as well as cancer.
If you’re ready to take the next big step in your hair journey, try out one of the products listed above. It may take some trial and error, but there is a perfect shampoo for everyone, and yours is probably on this list.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!