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When it comes to shampooing curly hair, it is no easy task; the first thing you need to do is look out for different ingredients left, right, and center, and then you need to find the perfect match for your hair thickness, in particular fine hair.

Fine curls need a little bit of oomph and a good volume kick.

Lucky for you, I have hunted down some of the best shampoos to hydrate thin curly hair without weighing the hair down. Out of all of the curly hair types, fine curls need products that will hydrate but won’t be too heavy on curls.

Fine curly hair can still get dry as the oils still have a hard time traveling down the hair shaft, so you’ll want curly hair shampoos that are moisturizing to prevent dry hair but still lightweight that you won’t be left with a greasy residue.

Wait until you hear this, though.

I have spent the time to complete in-depth ingredient research as well as trying and testing these curly hair products on fine curls, and I was shocked by the results; these products are some of my favorites on the market right now.

You won’t want to miss it.

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Top Picks Of The Best Shampoos For Fine Curly Hair

1.

Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo

best shampoo for fine dry curly hair

Up first is a personal favorite of mine for fine natural hair, mainly because it is super lightweight and helps to boost the elasticity of the hair– which any curly girl knows is super important during the washing process as hair is most fragile while wet.

Other curl shampoos don’t always bring out the best in your hair’s natural elasticity it can dry curls out and cause them to become crunchy and hard. This is why Davines LOVE Curls seals number one spot on my list, as this creamy, lightweight shampoo makes those curls pop!

Great news about elasticity, but what about hydration?

Well, the almond oil extract within the LOVE Curl Shampoo is rich in protein, magnesium, iron, and yummy vitamins like Vitamin E! Vitamin E helps support a healthy scalp and has natural antioxidant effects, which can help with hair growth.

It reduces the amount of oxidative stress and free radicals that cause the hair follicle cells within the scalp to break down. This means that this shampoo is not only brilliant for fine curls but also for fine and thinning hair– pretty cool, right?

Well, that’s not the only thing this shampoo is brilliant at; it also helps to tame curls and frizzy hair by offering superior frizz control; tackling frizz in every step of your routine is the key to unlocking the ultimate curls with none of the frizz.

But this shampoo is not just for curly hair. Thanks to its lightweight nature, it is also perfect for wavy hair too; it helps to enhance the volume and texture of curls and gives fine curly hair the boost it needs to look luscious, hydrated, and super bouncy.

After using this on my clients, they found that their hair was much softer and more manageable up until the next wash day, no frizz, just bounce– that’s a winner if you ask me. If you have dry hair that needs a bit of boost.

To top it all off, Davines Love Curl Shampoo is Curly Girl Method approved!

Pros
  • Curly girl method approved
  • Infused with vitamins and minerals
  • Gives curls a bit of volume and super lightweight
  • Helps infuse elasticity into the curls
Cons
  • None

Latest deal: Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo

2.

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Best lightweight shampoo for curly hair

Although Olaplex is not specifically designed for curly hair, it is brilliant at reviving all damaged, brittle hair. Have you bleached your hair which killed your curls? Well, Olaplex may be the only thing that can save them.

Olaplex is perfect for those with chemically treated hair!

Curls are the most fragile hair textures; Olaplex is designed to rebuild broken disulfide bonds in the hair, linking them back together to create healthy bonds. This is vital for curls that need to be repurchased to life.

Whether you’ve exposed your once luscious curls to too much heat, breaking too many hair ties, exposure to chemical services, or just excessive brushing, then Olaplex will not only revive damaged ends but eliminate frizz flyaways and prevent breakage.

Olaplex infuses curly hair with moisture and conditions dry ends for beautiful, bouncy, and resilient curls. It is designed to strengthen curly hair, improving manageability and shine. Olaplex is a lifesaver for reviving damaged hair.

But why is it so great for fine hair?

Well, the formula is super lightweight and won’t weigh down your curls like other products, and it doesn’t dry out the hair like some of the products for finer hair I’ve used. I have always been a fan of Olaplex and so have many other professionals.

It isn’t just made for straight, damaged hair; those with curly hair can also benefit from it, too, thanks to it being sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, gluten-free, phosphate-free, nut-free, cruelty-free, and even vegan.

This color-safe shampoo that protects and repairs damaged, split hair also helps tame frizz. It is a highly moisturizing shampoo that leaves hair looking fresher and healthier.

It may be a little pricy, but it is definitely worth it as it truly does revive damaged hair.

Pros
  • Revives damaged curls
  • Free of all harsh chemicals
  • Deeply moisturizing
  • Helps tame frizz and color safe 
Cons
  • None

Latest deal: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

3.

SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Coconut Shampoo

best drugstore shampoo for fine curly hair

When it comes to nourishing curly hair, SheaMoisture has it down to a T. I have always been a personal fan of their products. Their Coconut and Hibiscus and their Black Castor Oil range have a special place in my heart. 

They’re also approved by the Curly Girl Method, which is like the bible for curly hair. 

This natural formula is free of all the nasties like sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and even petroleum– all the nasties which strip your hair. Their product line is also completely cruelty-free, which is a total plus in my eyes. 

Another thing I love about SheaMoisture is that they are continuing to formulate with Raw Shea butter created and handcrafted by women in Africa, and every purchase is reinvested into communities which is a nice touch. 

This shampoo is gentle on curly hair; it doesn’t weigh your curls down nor feel heavy on your hair. It leaves hair feeling soft and manageable, which is everything we need to hear when buying shampoo for our curly hair.

So while it does state specifically for thick curly hair, the lightweight formula is also perfect for those with fine curly hair, the coconut oil is lightweight, and all in all, this is a super hydrating curl shampoo to nourish each and every hair strand.

Want to hear the best bit?

This shampoo gently cleanses naturally curly hair to improve health and restore shine. It contains coconut oil to moisturize and protect hair while restoring natural oils on the ends, where extremely curly girls struggle to retain moisture. 

This silicone-free shampoo also contains hibiscus flower extracts to improve the hair’s elasticity and reduce breakage; it smooths curls making brushing your hair while wet a breeze. It leaves your hair frizz-free with luscious, defined curls. 

This shampoo also contains a silk protein that helps smooth hair for a silky feel, while the neem oil helps tackle frizz while adding shine. Using this shampoo between co-washes will transform your curls. 

You can’t beat that their products are ethically traded, sustainably produced as well as being cruelty-free– it is rare nowadays, which is why Shea Moisture will always be a winner in my eyes. 

Pros
  • Free of all harsh chemicals and ingredients
  • Cruelty-free, ethically, and sustainably made 
  • Leaves hair feeling silky and manageable
  • Gentle ingredients which improve the hairs health and elasticity 
Cons

None

Latest deal: SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Coconut Shampoo

4.

Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration Shampoo

Another drugstore brand that is absolutely brilliant for fine curly hair is Maui Moisture. With exotic hibiscus water, lush passionfruit, and juicy watermelon, it is free of all the nasty chemicals, and it is curly girl method approved.

I personally love their curl quench range, but lightweight hydration is my personal fave for finer curly hair types.

What I love about this product is that it offers lightweight hydration without residue or heaviness. You can moisturize and refresh your curls with a touch of the tropics; it is infused with hibiscus water, passionfruit, and juicy watermelon to leave curls fresh.

Hibiscus water is brilliant at preventing hair loss, promoting hair growth as well as balancing the pH of the scalp. It also helps curls retain their natural curl shape and coats the curls to strengthen them from within without feeling too heavy.

You can easily refresh dry and parched hair with this lightweight hydration and refreshing feeling. It is blended with antioxidant-rich passionfruit, which is infused with vitamin B6 and vitamin B2. These vitamins are great at strengthening follicles from within.

Watermelon is also great at hydrating the strands from within as it is made up of 99% water content. It is a great emollient for moisturizing your stands, but it is ultra-lightweight, so it does not clog pores and prevents dirt from accumulating on the scalp.

So you can count on it being extremely moisturizing without being overly greasy– perfect for fine curly hair!

But it is not only suitable for fine curly hair but all hair types; it is even safe to use on color-treated hair– so no matter if you have wavy hair or fine coily hair, this shampoo is perfect for you. It is packed with vitamins and delicious, nourishing ingredients that your curls will lap up.

This shampoo hydrates the hair and improves scalp health without feeling too heavy.

Pros
  • Smooths and fortifies the cuticle
  • Strengthens and hydrates hair
  • Infused with manuka honey, mafura oil, and fig extract
  • Sustainably produced and profits go back into local communities
Cons
  • None

Latest deal: Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration Shampoo

5.

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Quenching Shampoo

If you’re looking for a super-moisturizing shampoo for fine hair that provides enough conditioning without leaving your hair limp? Well, look no further than this great Coco Creme Curl Quenching Shampoo by Carols Daughter.

I personally love their Coconut Creme Curl Quenching range, with their deep conditioner being number four on my best deep conditioner for curly hair guide. Their shampoo is pretty amazing too! It is infused with coconut milk, oil, mango, and murumuru butter.

While coconut oil in products can be slightly heavy on fine hair, if you have fine high porosity hair, then it is one of the best oils for the job. It works to create a seal over the ends to lock in moisture with the strands as well as revive protein loss.

With the lightweight ingredients, it can also be used on low porosity hair but is best suited for high porosity.

Quench the thirst of those nagging curls, this coconut cream sulfate-free shampoo is brilliant for extremely dry hair, and it offers a major moisture kick. It is perfect for those curls that struggle to retain natural oils from the scalp.

The only thing I would suggest is that you should do rinse well after use; this will prevent any heaviness on your curls. Despite this shampoo being perfect for fine curls, rinsing out properly is key, as some users found that it was perfect for finer hair as long as you rinsed it out properly.

But all in all, this is yet another hydrating shampoo that matches fine curls perfectly.

Pros
  • Nourishing ingredients
  • Great for fine high porosity hair 
  • Curly girl method approved
  • Strengthens hair from within 
Cons
  • None

Latest deal: Carol’s Daughter Curl Quenching Shampoo

6.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

Best clarifying shampoo for fine curly hair

Right for fine curls, we do need a good hair detox from time to time; this is when a clarifying shampoo comes in. Personally, if you’re looking for an affordable, safe to use on curls detox shampoo, then Neutrogena is pretty incredible.

Doing a detox clarifying wash is recommended once every 2-3 months just to remove any excess buildup and keep curls looking fresh and bouncy. With fine hair, this is extra important as when products build up, it causes curls to become limp and lifeless.

When buildup occurs on our hair, our curls look very dull, lifeless, and greasy. This is when your curly hair is telling you to grab clarifying shampoos and give your hair the wash it deserves– after all, 90% of dulling is caused by buildup!

Whether that is shampoo, conditioner, or styling products.

So let’s talk about this clarifying shampoo by Neutrogena; it is rated one of the top clarifying shampoos. It cleanses your hair to instantly rinse away buildup residue. It is a great budget-friendly clarifying shampoo.

It removes up to 90% of heavy, dulling residue, which is built up by shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. It is the first product to contain sulfates on my list, but this isn’t a bad thing if you’re trying to remove non-soluble silicones.

This clarifying shampoo will be sure to get your hair as clean as possible by deeply removing stubborn buildups. It is recommended that you use a clarifying shampoo before starting the Curly Girl Method to remove buildup and once every month or two after.

This mild formula offers gentle cleansing, it is non-irritating, and it will be sure to remove all the dirt and grime building up on your scalp. It can also help restore volume and leave hair feeling thoroughly cleaned; no more bad curly hair days!

It is a great option for those on a budget!

Pros
  • Great budget option
  • Removes up to 90% of grime
  • Mild and non-irritating
  • Ideal for removing silicones
Cons
  • none

Latest deal: Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

Best Shampoo For Fine Curly Hair-- A Buyer's Guide

When it comes to shampooing fine curly hair, its all about looking for products that are lightweight and will inject volume into the hair while also being friendly on curls– let me tell you it is no easy task, but it is possible, as long as you’ve got the right products.

You could have the tightest of coils and suffer from frizz which makes your hair look thicker than it actually is, but in reality, when your curls are in the best condition, they look the thinnest. But it doesn’t need to be like that; you just need the right products to do the job!

Lucky, I’m here to show you how to wash fine curly hair as well as help to infuse a bit of volume into your curls without damaging the curl shape or pattern. So stay tuned; you won’t want to miss this.

How Often Should You Wash Fine Curly Hair

The top issue we fine hair curlies face is oily roots and dry ends the day after washing; washing our curls is hell as it feels like the next day it is as dirty as it was the day before washing. It’s a constant, vicious cycle.

The best method for cleansing fine hair is with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo rather than a co-wash. But if your hair is particularly dry, I would still recommend you do a co-wash rather than a shampoo.

Co-washes may cause your hair to appear greasy at first, but naturally, over time, your hair will adapt, trust me. I would experiment with co-washing, and if it doesn’t work after a couple of weeks, then switch back to a sulfate-free option.

If co-washing isn’t working for you, I would recommend cutting down shampooing your hair to 2-3 days a week, doing a water wash in between to help with excess oils. But this may be different for everyone.

It also depends on your city’s water quality, your hair type, so whenever your hair feels dirty, or if you feel you have buildup, then that’s a sign to wash. Of course, your hair type is not the only contributing factor to how often you should wash your hair.

For example, your porosity and your city’s water qualities will also affect what might be best.

High porosity hair:

With this hair type, you will struggle to retain moisture, but applying heavy oils to your hair will just make it appear greasy, which is the last thing we want. Instead, you should opt for a lightweight oil to help seal in moisture and only apply a fine layer to the ends of your hair.

Argan oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil are great hydrating oils that won’t leave a greasy residue on your hair, making them ideal for fine curly hair.

Low porosity hair:

Having fine hair with low porosity can be quite a challenge since hair products like to sit on top of the hair strand, so it will likely leave a greasy residue.

For this type of hair porosity and with curly or wavy strands, I would recommend deep conditioning heat treatments and a hydrating cleanser; you can also use lightweight oils, as I mentioned above, to help nourish if your hair is particularly dry.

How To Wash Fine Curly Hair:

So now we’ve covered how often you should be washing your fine curly hair; how do you actually wash fine curly hair  to ensure that you’re removing all of the grease buildups, adding volume without damaging the curl shape? Well, stay tuned.

Step 1: Rinse with water for a minute:

Before we go in without shampoo, we want our hair to be sopping wet; I tend to do a 1-minute rinse with just water, massaging my scalp. This is brilliant for fine hair as it helps to break down the natural oil buildup on the hair before shampooing.

This also helps to stimulate blood flow and help break down oil buildups. If you have low porosity hair, this is when you do a warmer rinse to help open the cuticle. This can help with hair loss, perfect for those with thinning hair as it can help to promote natural hair growth.

Step 2: Massage Cleanser into your scalp:

You must use a sulfate-free shampoo; all the products you use should also be free of non-soluble silicones and waxes to prevent buildup. Traditional drugstore shampoos are packed with detergents that can really strip the natural oils in your hair and dry out the ends.

Since curly hair is already brittle and dry, it is not recommended that you use sulfate shampoo.

Whether you’re using a low-poo shampoo or cleansing conditioner to wash your hair, make sure that it has gentle ingredients. Check out the full list of ingredients to avoid in my breakage down on the Curly Girl Method guide here.

 I massage my scalp for a further 60 seconds with the tips of my fingers and continue to massage while rinsing; the only thing that REALLY cleans your scalp is a good massage; this will help to remove oils from your hair and stimulate the scalp.

Make sure you don’t massage your curls above your head; this will make detangling your curls a painful and a hell of a long process. Try to apply your shampoo or cleanser to the root and work it through to the ends.

This will help keep your curls knot-free and won’t disrupt the natural curl pattern.

Step 3: Apply Conditioner and Start Detangling:

With curly hair, you are brushing your curls while dry is a no-go. Instead, you have to detangle while wet, being extra careful as your hair is most fragile while wet.

This is why I recommend detangling with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb while the ends of your hair are soaked with conditioner; this will give your hair slip and help easily detangle knots.

Be patient and do this step in sections, starting underneath and working your way to the top; I do a rough detangle while the conditioner is on, then thoroughly after rinsing out and applying my leave-in conditioner.

Combing your hair while the conditioner is on the ends also helps encourage as much moisture as possible to enter the cuticle– which is ideal if you have low porosity hair.

As I said earlier, you have to be sure to avoid silicones in your conditioners, these leave a plastic film over the ends of your hair, and while your hair will look shiny, it will lead to buildup and can be quite drying.

Silicones can only be removed with a sulfate shampoo, so if you accidentally use silicones, be sure to do a ‘reset’ wash with regular, clarifying shampoo.

Step 4: Apply styling products to sopping wet hair:

After showering, I prefer to work in sections when applying my styling cream or gel. Instead of applying them in the shower, I use a water spray, soak each section before applying my gel, and then style with my Denman Brush.

Most curly girls prefer to apply all their products in the shower before drying their hair, but I find I have a more defined curl when I use this technique.

Step 5: Dry your curls:

Once you’ve washed your curly locks, you can either plop, diffuse or squeeze out the excess moisture with a cotton t-shirt or microfibre towel and leave it to naturally dry.

Check out my full guide here for the best way to dry curly hair.

curly hair shampoo

How To Get More Volume In Curly Hair

For fine curls, volume is absolutely key, but there are a few different ways that you can help give your curls a bit of volume at the roots, so they appear thicker and fuller than they actually are.

The best way to style fine curls is to use products that will help add volume. Make sure all your products are lightweight so they won’t weigh down your curls, not just your shampoo. Here are some of my top tips for increasing volume!

Diffuse Upside Down:

I would recommend using a diffuser or plopping your curls rather than leaving it to air dry; this will prevent your curls from losing volume from gravity as your curls will sit on top of your head. Diffusing upside down should help lift your roots too.

Blow drying upside down with a diffuser should help your curls look more volumized than just air drying. Hold your head to one side and then the other to help your curls dry away from your scalp; this should help provide a bit of lift.

Start with your roots and make sure that your roots are 100% dry, it doesn’t matter if your ends are slightly damp still, but the roots should be bone dry; otherwise, it will leave your curls looking flat at the crown once your hair is dry then flip it upside down and give it a shake.

This should help add a bit of body to your curls and increase the volume within the hair.

Use Volumizing Products:

If you have fine curly hair, then you’ll want to invest in some volumizing products like mousses or foam formulas overusing gels in your curly girl styling routine. Mousses have a very lightweight texture that doesn’t weigh down curls but provides extreme volume.

Cream or oil-based stylers tend to have the opposite effect, which is why those who have thick, coarse curls benefit from using a cream or gel. But volumizing foams or mousses help to give the root a bit of lift and can even help define your curls.

If you want a bit more hold, then you can also scrunch a bit of styling gel into the ends of your hair to prevent frizz and provide your curls with a hold that will last all day; it will also protect your curls against humidity related frizz.

Clip Your Roots:

Another great way to increase volume is by clipping your curls to your roots as they dry. It helps provide a bit more lift at the root and increases the volume on top of your head instead of your curls weighing down your roots because of gravity.

Instead, your curls will be left bouncy, and your roots will look very lifted and voluminous; just make sure you’re clipping away from the scalp; once your hair is 100% dry, then remove the clips and massage the scalp to release the curls.

What To Look Out For When Buying Shampoo for Fine Curly Hair

There are a few chemicals to avoid; some chemicals can be really damaging to the natural curl and cause breakage, frizz, and even damage the way the curl looks. In the Curly Girl Method, here are the top chemicals to avoid after the ‘reset’ wash.

Sulfates: 

Remember the foamy, creamy, forthy lather when you wash your hair with normal shampoo– it is the ‘ahh’ moment that everyone loves; well, this is actually caused by sulfates and can be very damaging for your hair, especially curly hair.

Although the sensation of lathering your hair up with shampoo is lovely, sulfates can actually STRIP your hair of its natural oils, making it more prone to frizz, breakage, and overall leaving the hairdryer.

Plus, since curly hair is naturally dry to begin with, regularly using sulfate shampoo is a terrible idea, even worse the curlier your hair type is.

In the Curly Girl Method, Lorraine recommended you do one last ‘reset wash’ with a shampoo filled with sulfates to get rid of the silicone and wax buildup before switching to a sulfate-free shampoo.

She also strongly suggests switching to the No Poo method, which cuts out all shampoos completely and switching to a cleansing conditioner instead. Cleansing conditioners are brilliant for cleansing any dirt from your hair without causing dryness.

Silicones:

So if you’re following the curly girl method, you will also need to avoid silicones, silicones are like plastic, and they’re used in conditioning products to smooth down the cuticle, making your hair feel softer reduced frizz.

However, without a sulfate shampoo to remove them, it can lead to product buildup, and over time, this makes hair frizzier, look limp and lifeless. It will also lose the life of your curl.

Silicones can only be removed with sulfates, and without sulfates, it causes buildup– not ideal, so it is best to cut it out completely. But don’t worry, you can still achieve silky soft hair without silicones; some people will tell you it’s even softer too!

Mineral Oils and Waxes:

Mineral oil and petrolatum are other ingredients you should try to avoid when doing the curly girl method or just caring for curly hair, they can weigh down your hair, and without sulfates to remove them, they build up like silicones. 

Some waxes use natural ingredients which are safe to style curly or kinky hair. However, most waxes are s non-hydrous, meaning they won’t wash out with just water or co-washing.

If you find yourself accidentally using waxes or silicones, then you can use your reset shampoo to remove them, then go back to the Curly Girl Routine.

Parabens:

Parabens are used in many hair products to prevent and stop the growth of bacteria in your hair, but there are far more negatives than positives to using parabens. 

Glycerin:

Glycerin is another ingredient you should avoid if you have curly hair, especially if you live in a humid climate. If you live in a hot, humid environment, glycerin will absorb moisture from the hair and cause the hair to swell. 

This is not ideal for curly hair as it raises the cuticle and disrupts the curl pattern, creating coarse, frizzy hair. If you live in a hot, humid environment, then you should definitely avoid products with glycerin. 

Summary

So there you have it, everything you need to know of how to wash fine curly hair, my top product recommendations, and tips on how to increase the volume within your curls. No matter if you have fine coils or fine waves, caring for your curls properly is key to unlocking volume.

Give a few of these tips a go today, and give a few of these shampoos a go on your next wash day. You can count on these shampoos to keep your hair hydrated without weighing it down or damaging your natural curl pattern.

After all, every day should be a good curly hair day!

jess rowley

Jess Rowley

Cheif Editor & Nail Technician Expert

ABOUT

Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.