“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Shampoo
  2. Best Shampoos for Normal Hair
  3. Best Clarifying Shampoos
  4. Best Moisturizing Shampoos
  5. Best Shampoos for Color-Treated Hair
  1. Best Volumizing Shampoos
  2. Best Curly-Hair Shampoos
  3. Best Baby Shampoos
  4. Best Dandruff Shampoos
  5. Best Cheap Shampoos for Men

Cheap Shampoo Buying Guide

Shampooing your hair two or three times a week, or even daily, is reason enough to reserve a spot in your shower caddy for one of the best cheap shampoos. Finding the product that works for you, however, may be a chore.

Related Guides:
Acne Treatments, Cheap Eyeglasses, Diet Pills, Electric Toothbrushes, Facial Moisturizers, Hair Dryers, Lipstick, Mascara, Men's Electric Shavers, Mouthwash and Women's Shavers
Witness the hundreds of brands and shampoo categories vying for your dollars. You'll find oily hair shampoos, dry hair shampoo, flat hair fixes, color-treated or damaged hair shampoo, and more. There are pricey shampoos and budget alternatives in every one of the shampoo niches.

We whittled down our list to nine categories of cheap shampoos and identified one or two best products that cost no more than about 40 cents an ounce, which for a 12-ounce bottle is a maximum of $4.80. (Shampoo containers come in all sizes, and usually the cost per ounce decreases as the volume increases, and vice versa.) In certain categories we had to look beyond this limit because of the specialized nature of the shampoo (e.g., dandruff shampoo) or the limited selection.

Here are our picks: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Daily Care (starting at 28 cents/oz.) and Dove Cool Moisture Shampoo (starting at 29 cents/oz.) for everyday/normal hair; Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo (starting at 9 cents/oz.) and Neutrogena Anti-residue Shampoo (starting at $1.06/oz.) for clarifying purposes; Aussie Moist Shampoo (starting at 17 cents/oz.) and Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Smooth Vitality (starting at 28 cents/oz.) to moisturize hair; L'Oréal EverPure Moisture Shampoo (starting at 71 cents/oz.) for color-treated/chemically-processed hair; Herbal Essence Body Envy Volumizing Shampoo (starting at 29 cents/oz.) to add volume; John Frieda Frizz-Ease Care Straight-Ahead Style-Starting Shampoo (starting at 59 cents/oz.) and TRESemmé Flawless Curls shampoo (starting at 16 cents/oz.) for curly hair; Johnson's Baby Shampoo (starting at 25 cents/oz.) and Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo (starting at 55 cents/oz.) for babies; Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control Shampoo and Selsun Blue 2-In-1 Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo, both starting at more than 60 cents an ounce, to control dandruff; and Suave for Men (starting at 22 cents/oz.) and Adidas 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash (starting at 37 cents/oz.) for men's hair-wash needs.

Each of these cheap shampoos is easy to find in the drugstore, supermarket, or online. In assembling the list we were guided by the dominant opinion expressed in shampoo reviews but factored in comments from consumers with less satisfactory experiences. Our research was hampered by the relatively small number of consumer and expert shampoo reviews for individual shampoos. This isn't too surprising, though, given the enormous variety of product offerings and the frequency with which manufacturers introduce slight variants on existing formulas. We also noted that the boundaries between the various shampoo niches is quite fluid, such that any given shampoo marketed for a particular hair type might work well for consumers with another hair type. And, of course, not everyone responds the same way to personal care products; one that proves gentle and effective for dozens of users may be irritating or drying or oil-inducing for others.

What's remarkable is how recently this explosion of hair care products came on the scene. In 1908 the New York Times explained the "rules" of shampoo: Women should aim for "soft and glossy" hair by singing split ends and applying and rinsing olive-oil Castile soap four times. In the opening years of the 20th century, specialists recommended shampooing once every two weeks, or up to every six weeks for hair in good condition. Then, in the 1930s, Dr. John Breck introduced a shampoo that was marketed with portraits of "Breck girls" who became role models for many American women, right up to the 1970s when the iconic poster of golden-tressed Farrah Fawcett hit the walls of men's dorm rooms.

Today's cheap shampoos and upmarket shampoos are differentiated one from another by little more than their packaging, marketing, and obscure ingredients. Note, however, that all hair-wash products start with water and detergent. Fragrances, moisturizers, foamers, and what have you are the value added. The detergents are all FDA-approved and shouldn't irritate your scalp, although some do for some consumers. The detergents typically used in shampoos across all price categories include ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Some shampoos may also contain the gentler TEA or MEA. So-called organic shampoos without sulfates are also available, but generally don't lather well. And some "natural" ingredients, such as menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus, can irritate your skin. More importantly for frugal consumers, organic shampoos carry rich price tags.

Review continues below

During our research we noticed that many women are serial shampoo shoppers. That is, they find a low-cost shampoo they like and stick with it for a while and then go off in search of the next cheap shampoo that lathers well, makes their hair shine, doesn't dry it out or grease it up or irritate their scalp. Often the incentive to try something new is a coupon or sale that makes an already cheap shampoo even cheaper but worth trying. (It could be the shampoo you've been dying to meet but were too risk-averse to try and the incredibly low price means even if you hate it, you haven't wasted much money.) We also noted that women often choose the shampoo and write the review for the guys who use the product, so this guide should prove doubly informative to female readers.

by Maralyn Edid (Google+ Profile)

Back to top »

Filed in: Hair, Hair Dryers, Health,

Best Everyday Shampoo: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Daily Care
Gold Medal

Best Everyday Shampoo: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Daily Care

Our pick for the best everyday shampoo, Garnier Fructis Fortifying Daily Care wins the hearts of cheap shampoo consumers with its tropical ingredients and great results.

Best Clarifying Shampoo: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo
Gold Medal

Best Clarifying Shampoo: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

A pH balanced clarifying shampoo that is gentle enough for daily use, Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo earns bonus points for working equally well on wavy and straight hair.

Best Moisturizing Shampoo: Aussie Moist Shampoo
Gold Medal

Best Moisturizing Shampoo: Aussie Moist Shampoo

One of Real Simple magazine's picks for best shampoo products, Aussie Moist Shampoo is a great pick to add moisture to color treated, processed, or frizzy hair.

Best Color Shampoo: L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo
Gold Medal

Best Color Shampoo: L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo

L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo uses gentle ingredients to preserve the color treatment in your hair and keep it soft and moisturized.

Best Volumizing Shampoo: Herbal Essence Body Envy Volumizing
Gold Medal

Best Volumizing Shampoo: Herbal Essence Body Envy Volumizing

Fruity and fresh, the ingredients in Herbal Essence Body Envy Volumizing Shampoo are light enough not to weigh hair down.

Best Curly Hair Shampoos: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Care
Gold Medal

Best Curly Hair Shampoos: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Care

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Care Straight-Ahead Style-Starting Shampoo is one of our more expensive picks, but users are happy to pay more when they see the great results on curly or frizzy hair.

Best Baby Shampoos: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
Gold Medal

Best Baby Shampoos: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

Tried and true, Johnson & Johnson wins parents' hearts for being tear-free and wallet friendly.

Best Dandruff Shampoo: Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Shampoo
Gold Medal

Best Dandruff Shampoo: Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Shampoo

Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control Shampoo uses gentle ingredients to soothe scalps and reduce dandruff.

Best Shampoo For Men: Suave for Men
Gold Medal

Best Shampoo For Men: Suave for Men

Suave for Men wins for it's "manly" scent and effective but gentle cleaning.

 
Cheapism.com on Facebook
 
Where to Find Cheap or Free Condoms for Valentine's Day

Sources of free condoms are readily available, and several online vendors offer discounted prices and the chance to buy in bulk.

Weekly Update: Best Cheap Cruises, Pharmacy Rewards Programs & More

Halloween is fast approaching but don't let that spook you. ...

How to Score a Free/Cheap Haircut, Teeth Cleaning, and Massage

Pssst….Looking for a cheap massage (or haircut or Teeth cleaning)? Let students cut your hair, clean your teeth, and massage your body and pay discounted prices or nothing at all.