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While most beauty pros can wax poetic about their favorite cheap mascaras and bargain hairsprays, they give the world of affordable shampoos and conditioners considerably less love. Don’t take these products lightly, though — especially if you’re on a budget. Besides cleaning and conditioning, this duo can keep your color true, your scalp healthy, and your miscellaneous woes (frizz, split ends, and so on) in check.
Ahead, members of our own beauty team and a few A-list Hollywood hairstylists share the drugstore hair products they love — all of which clock in at under $15.
The Expert:Khalea Underwood, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Color-treated curls and coils
“After getting my very first dye job in December, my curls started shedding like crazy because color-treated hair craves moisture. It was difficult to wash-and-go during the winter months, so I always made sure to do some really intense conditioning every few days. Cantu’s anti-fade conditioner works just as well as my pricy Oribe products — my curls are always soft and defined, and my copper color looks gorgeous afterward.”
Cantu Anti-Fade Color Protech Conditioner, $5.99, available at Target
The Expert:Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Dehydrated, fine hair
“My scalp is about as temperamental as I am when I’m hungry. If it’s washed too much, it dries out. But if I use formulas filled with moisturizing properties, it’s oil city. This shampoo is middle ground. It clarifies to remove all the gunk, hydrates, and adds just enough lift.”
OGX Anti-Gravity + Hydration O2 Shampoo, $8.29, available at Ulta.
The Expert:Thatiana Diaz, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Weak strands
“Someone recommended this formula to me years ago when I was dealing with breakage and I haven’t stopped restocking it in my shower since. It not only strengthens my hair, which helps my strands to grow longer, but it really gets the job done when it comes to cleansing. I always feel brand new after just one wash.”
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo, $11.99, available at SheaMoisture
The Expert: Scotty Cunha, hairstylist to Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, and Lucy Hale
Best For: Any hair type
“It’s natural, paraben-free, blah blah, but it really works! And it’s great for all hair types because it’s really conditioning, but not too heavy, so it won’t weigh down straight hair. It’s great for conditioning color-treated hair, and it will also help control frizz on curly hair.”
Burt’s Bees® Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner, $8, available at Burt’s Bees®
The Expert: Underwood
Best For: Textured and curly hair
“It usually takes a whole lot of pre-poo oil, loads of product, and a prayer to detangle my hair when it’s dry… but with this thick conditioner, the process is cut in half. It works like a deep conditioner, and takes out the hassle of fussing with a goopy mask.”
Aussie Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment, $2.99, available at Drugstore.com
The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Normal to dry hair
“I’m a huge fan of this brand’s body wash, so I was stoked when I discovered the shampoo. The hydrating formula didn’t disappoint and left my hair feeling clean, but not deprived of moisture. It’s a win-win!”
The Seaweed Bath Co. Argan Shampoo, $12.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Chan, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Any hair type
“As a beauty writer, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try pricey shampoos, but I always go back to this one. Seriously, I rave about this shampoo to anyone who will listen. The scent is super-refreshing, and [it’s] really pleasant to use. I wash my hair every day, which I know some people will scold me for, but this one has such a gentle-but-clarifying sulfate-free formula that it doesn’t cause me any problems at all.”
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo, $3.99, available in-store at Trader Joe ‘s.
The Expert: Underwood, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Dehydrated coils
“I’m always skeptical when products promise to deliver a ‘salon-grade’ experience. But I quickly ate my words after getting a wash with the new Damage Slayer system. My ‘fro was really dry — like, tumbleweed dry — but once my stylist finished my coil-out, I was surprised at how springy and soft my hair was. Maybe I’ll skip a few bi-weekly appointments and treat myself at home…”
Dark and Lovely Damage Slayer The Restorer Shampoo, $5.99, available at Target
The Expert: Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director
Best For: Color-treated, dry, or damaged hair
“I grabbed this from my roommate’s shelf the other day when I ran out of my own $28 conditioner and was seriously impressed by the results. While I didn’t love the smell (a bit too honey-sweet for my taste), I air-dried my hair and put it in a bun and when I took it out it was so smooth and shiny it looked like I had gotten a blowout.”
Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Conditioner, $3.49, available at Target.
The Expert: Sasso, R29 beauty writer
Best For: Heat-damaged hair
“I bought this shampoo on a whim and it blew my mind. I’ve never experienced such a transformation with such an inexpensive product. My ends had never been softer and my shine levels are through the roof — even after air-drying.”
L’Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo, $3.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Ryan Richman, hairstylist to Lorde, Ashley Tisdale, and Sarah Hyland
Best For: Dry hair
“This shampoo is great for damaged and coarse hair, because it helps to strengthen it and leaves hair really smooth.”
Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo, $3.48, available at Walmart
The Expert: Richman
Best For: Color-Treated Hair
“This shampoo protects color treated hair and enhances color!”
L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Shampoo , $2.99, available at Target
Best For: Fine- to medium hair
“When I want really clean, full roots, this always does the trick. I’ve been using it since high school.”
Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Salon Shampoo, $5.99, available at Target
The Expert: Aviva Perea, hairstylist to Brittany Snow and Beth Behrs
Best For: Medium to thick hair
“I call this my go-to product… The silicone-free formula gently cleanses hair, and preps it perfectly for conditioning.”
Nexxus Emergencee Reconstructive System Shampoo, $9.99, available at Target.
The Expert:Lexy Lebsack, R29 senior beauty editor
Best For: Fine to thick hair
“This clarifying shampoo is super – strong, so don’t even think about using it every day. However, if you use it a few times per month it will cleanse every bit of buildup out of your hair. I have highlighted (and therefore, more fragile) hair, so I only use it once a month, but even so, I can immediately tell the biggest difference. It’s strong, but when used correctly, it will make your hair bouncier and respond better to all your other products.”
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo, $4.83, available at Walmart
The Expert: Lebsack
Best For: Damaged hair
“This mask is incredibly thick, smells great, and you notice a difference in your hair after one use, which, for under $10, is pretty impressive. It makes my hair feel softer — even right after I get it bleached!”
L’Oréal Advanced Haircare Total Repair Extreme Emergency Recovery Mask, $6.99, available at L’Oréal.
The Expert: Underwood
Best For: Natural hair
“For a solid 10 years, Creme of Nature was all I knew. My mom and aunts used the brand’s shampoos and conditioners on their relaxed hair for years. The packaging has changed, but the refreshing scent and ridiculously creamy formula remains the same.
Crème of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo With Argan Oil, $4.99, available at Target.
The Expert: Lebsack, R29 senior beauty editor
Best For: Dry hair
“This rich conditioner has long been my drugstore stand-in when my hair feels parched, or just after bleaching, and I don’t want to splurge on something more expensive. It makes my strands feel smooth and soft without weighing them down.”
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner, $4.22, available at Walmart.
The Expert:Sheridan Ward, hairstylist to Chloë Sevigny and Lana Parrilla
Best For: Dry hair
“This is infused with naturally-derived cleansing extracts including seaweed. It works best at balancing the hair’s moisture levels.”
Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo, $7.99, available at Walgreens.
The Expert:John Ruggiero, hairstylist to Chrissy Teigen and Ashley Bell
Best For: Dry coils
“This formula automatically transforms the most brittle hair, leaving it soft, silky, and smooth,” Ruggiero says.
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo, $12, available at Sephora.
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