It’s not easy to write about the best shampoo for men, given that no two guys have the same needs for their hair. Couple that with the fact that shampoo, on its own, is a no go. You need to pair it with an excellent conditioner (typically, the brand you use will have a matching conditioner; it’s best you just stick with that, and always follow the washing with the conditioning). But when we break down the various washing needs of most men, it’s easier to spotlight the shampoos we love best — and those we wholeheartedly recommend for you.
Think first about your own hair: Is it long, short, fine, thick, curly, thinning or some combination of those? Is it dry or oily, or neither? Are you prone to sun or heat damage, winter parching or even dandruff? Is it dyed any color of the rainbow, or perhaps platinum blonde or silver? Or is it naturally gray or silver, or even naturally blonde and at risk of turning brassy? Bald men, you’re not off the hook, either. Your scalp is just as prone to dryness, excessive oil, and dandruff and you need to keep a shampoo stocked accordingly.
So, with your specific needs in mind, peruse the list below. These are our favorite products in each corner of the field. Just don’t forget to pair them with a conditioner in order to ensure fully healthy, soft and vibrant hair. (Bald men, you’re off the hook on conditioner.) Ideally, you’ll shampoo 2-3 times week, always followed by conditioner. And, if you shower often, you can even condition on the days in-between. Guys with excessive oil may want to wash more frequently or can substitute dry shampoo spray in the mornings between washes (after a conditioner in the show) before they style their hair.
As we said above, it's nearly impossible to prescribe a shampoo that works universally — for all types of hair, whether it's coarse, curly, colored or barely clinging on. Oars + Alps' Hydrating Shampoo is a solid suggestion, though, because it's free from everything that could damage your hair — sulfates, for example — and infused with natural extracts like kelp and algae. It's nourishing, hydrating (as the name implies) and finished with a fresh scent.
Everything we said about our best overall shampoo, the one above by Oars + Alps, applies here: It's very hard to give you a shampoo recommendation without knowing exactly what type of hair you have and what you've recently done to it — whether you use pomades, just got it cut or dyed it. But Huron's lathers nicely, hydrates and soothes scalp issues, all for under $20 dollars. Plus, it's free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones and aluminum.
The SH2 Shampoo by Patricks promises a deep clean. Sure, you could use this option every day, but this is best reserved for those that shampoo sparingly — say two or three times a week. It works hard to remove stubborn build-up from products, dirt or even excess oil, all without damaging the hair itself. The SH2 is by far the most luxe shampoo on this list, and, as such, the price reflects that — but it's worth it.
If you have thin or fine hair, then you may want to give it the illusion of fullness. Sometimes, just a simple shampoo can do the trick, since it dries out the hair. However, that’s bad for your hair’s health at the same time, and those fine strands are fragile. Living Proof’s volumizing shampoo gives you all of the volume without the parching — like a dry shampoo spray, only healthier.
This “silver” shampoo is actually purple, as are all of the ones targeted at toning whites, grays, and silvers. Those hairs are at risk of turning brassy in the sun or through product use, whether the hair is natural or dyed. Sachajuan’s purple pigment shampoo tones the color to keep your hair bright and as desired, while also nourishing it and preventing thinning or breakage.
Whether your hair is dry or damaged by dyes and styling products, Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo, with added coconut oil, will soften it. The acids cleanse but keep natural moisture intact, while coconut oil softens the hair's look and feel, which ultimately adds volume, too.
We've broken our own golden rule. Shampoos and conditioners technically shouldn't be dosed simultaneously, meaning 2-in-1s aren't the best for your hair. But Harry's does a good job of mixing milder iterations of both for a dual action shampoo that does the job of both a cleanser and a conditioner. TLDR: this one cleans but it also hydrates.
Guys with thinning hair should do a full-court press on hair loss. In addition to considering medicines like finasteride and minoxidil (both of which Hims offers), they should also deploy shampoos like this one from the brand, which use saw palmetto to fight DHT, the hormone byproduct that suffocates hair follicles and leads to hair loss.
Got dandruff? I get it. Nearly 50-percent of the population does. Don't be ashamed; do something about it. Try Jupiter's Balancing Dandruff Shampoo. It won't stick out in your shower like Head and Shoulders does, and it does the same job — although better, I'd argue. It's effective yet gentle, and it costs roughly the same.
Are you a constant styler? The type that puts pomade or clay into your do every single day? You don't have to stop, but in order to continue forward without doing serious damage you need to enlist a clarifying shampoo — the kind that can clear the hair strands themselves and the scalp of buildup from these products. Forte Series' version does just that without doing any damage itself — which some shampoos can.
Bald heads need washing, too! And your standard-fare cleanser and bar-soap aren’t typically up to the task. Instead, keep a scalp shampoo in the shower—something that targets dandruff or oil toning. Neutrogena’s T/Gel medicated shampoo is exactly that. It prevents dandruff, itching, and flaking and ensures that your polished dome stays smooth as ever.
Maapilim relies on all-natural ingredients for its hair, face and body products. Its shampoo, a blend of Argan, Tea Tree, Kava and other oils, can be used daily and comes with a pleasant scent, courtesy of verbena, spearmint and vetiver.
If none of these strike your fancy, finding a customizable shampoo could do the trick. But most of those are costly... unless you order from Hawthorne. A short quiz will produce a formula for you, depending on how you answer questions about your hair's oil levels, texture and the products you use.
When your hair thins, unlike hair loss, it means the gradual loss of volume and texture. Jack Black's Thickening Shampoo can counteract this issue with its unique, volume-boosting formula. Proteins, extracts and acids join forces to not only cleanse but also nurture the hair and its follicles.
Like fragrances, your shampoo should shift with the seasons. It's only natural, you know: what your hair looks and feels like in the winter is, at least for me, drastically different than how it looks and feels in the dead of winter. Why? Well, we wear hats to keep warm, use products to keep our hair from diffusing in the wind and so on and so forth. Fellow's Winter Wash uses vitamins and extracts to invigorate the scalp and hair, cleanse it and also hydrate it.
Pillar styles, simplified.