Having natural curls is like having a superpower, especially once you tame the beast. You can dress it up or down for any occasion, and it always looks good. Once you have your routine set and you know which products work well with your hair there’s nothing but great hair days ahead!
Luckily for the curly hair type 4C folks, I’ve reviewed 5 of the best shampoo and conditioner sets for our hair. I can tell you right now that my number one pick is the Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set.
Most people think a good hair care regimen and healthy hair growth rely on the styling products you use — but that’s not the case. Good, shiny hair days start in the shower (or on wash day). You need to ensure you have a hydrating shampoo and deep conditioner for your hair type and curl pattern and you must go beyond looking for labels that say “sulfate-free.”
Hair cleansing products contain all types of ingredients, and to find your perfect match you need to get down to the nitty-gritty. Which ingredients works well with your hair texture? Which ingredients dry out curly hair types?
Products to Review
- Best Overall: Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
- Best for Dry Hair: Botanic Hearth Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
- Best for Damaged Hair: tgin Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
- Best for Color Treated Hair: Pure Nature Argan Oil Conditioner and Shampoo
The five products I have reviewed are all high-quality and beneficial for your hair in their unique ways. However, some of these products are better suited for revitalizing damaged or dry hair, maintaining and protecting color-treated hair, or for a simple wash-n-go.
Let’s get into it.
I was highly impressed by this set, and it remains my number one combination to use when I wash my hair. The shampoo consistency is a little runny, but that allows me to use less product than I would of a thicker cream. Despite its light weight, you still get a good lather going. I noticed an immediate improvement in the texture and softness of my hair with just one wash and condition.
The gooey, lightweight formula in this shampoo and conditioner from Shea Moisture will leave your hair feeling refreshed and soft, and your wallet happy. Infused with Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Vitamin E, this sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner set does it all.
While the black castor oil clarifies and strengthens the hair follicles, the apple cider vinegar lowers the pH of your hair and scalp, rewarding you with soft, smooth hair ready to be detangled. If you struggle with dry, itchy scalp, this set can help reduce that.
The peppermint oil in this formula stimulates cells to promote lush, healthy hair growth and can help prevent hair loss. Organic shea butter gives this shampoo and conditioner a light and pleasing scent while it moisturizes your hair and prevents breakage.
I ranked this set best overall because of its moisturizing and repair properties and your ability to wash and go. This set is best for those who have slightly dry hair that could use some moisture and those who also want the option to wash and go.
This set by tgin is another good one. The consistency is similar to a watered-down gel and although there isn’t much lather, you can tell it’s cleansing your hair and scalp thoroughly. The conditioner is thick and creamy, and it penetrates each coil well.
The miracle repair and strengthening shampoo and conditioner set from tgin is heaven-sent for damaged hair, especially if you’re transitioning from relaxed hair back to natural hair. The intense restorative shampoo helps to reduce breakage and prevent split ends while repairing the damage. The products are formulated with black castor oil and biotin, so this shampoo and conditioner set is helpful for healthy hair growth.
This formula cleans hair gently, effectively, and is free of sulfates. There are also no parabens, petrolatum, lanolin, artificial colors, or (best of all) animal testing. Using this product regularly will remove excess build-up and enable your scalp to replenish its natural oils.
This set is best for those with extreme hair damage from split ends, heat, color treatment, etc.
Botanic Hearth was onto something with this concoction. I selected this product after many months of using heated styling tools, and my hair and scalp nearly sighed in relief. After a couple of wash days, my hair reverted to its natural, vibrant color and was soft as ever.
The fragrance on this product is almost non-existent, which isn’t a bad thing, but something I look forward to when selecting a new line. If you enjoy fragrance, you may have to adjust to this cleanser, but you will enjoy how refreshing it is for your hair and scalp.
Despite the lacking scent, this set is full of lots of goodies, like keratin and Moroccan Argan oil which are known to restore dried-out tresses. The protein in keratin will coat your hair and make it more damage-resistant, offering longer-lasting protection. Along with these natural ingredients, you can expect benefits from rice extract and shea butter.
This set is best for parched hair that needs a little TLC. If you use this set regularly for your wash days, you’ll start to notice huge differences in the way your hair feels and looks. Stronger, moisturized hair days ahead!
Pure Nature presents its Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set, perfect for curly, dry, damaged, and color-treated hair. I selected this product for a short time after I last colored my hair, as I was hoping to protect my curls and start growing them out.
I appreciated the UV and thermal protection in these products since I was still using heat on my hair at this time. My curls were soft and thick even after the constant styling and heat treatment.
This formula was developed by salon experts and is infused with the finest grade botanicals to work to invigorate and deeply cleanse your hair from root to tip. The protective and restorative qualities will leave you feeling like you stepped out of the salon after each wash day.
This set is best for those with dry or damaged hair from hair dyes and heat styling.
The last product on this list was my second choice for best overall, and another of my go-to’s: the NYM Naturals Curl Definition Shampoo and Conditioner. The smell is heavenly and the shampoo and conditioner both have a nice texture — not too light but not so heavy to weigh my curls down.
I selected this one as the best for wash-n-go because the Tahitian Gardenia flower and mango butter made my curls feel like silk and enhanced my pattern. After washing and conditioning, I could air dry and my curls would come to life.
This gentle shampoo and conditioner delicately cleanses your hair while refreshing, hydrating, and defining your 4C curls without weighing them down. The formula consists of 98% naturally derived ingredients like Tahitian Gardenia Flower and mango butter and is free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, glutens, and dyes.
This set is best for the 4C curlies that are confident in their hair health and just need a product they can rely on for a refresh. Simply hop in the shower, wash, and go, smelling like peachy pineapple goodness as you do.
What is 4C Hair?
If you’ve come across this article, you probably already know you have 4C hair. But for those trying to figure out if you have 4C hair, look no further! I’ve broken it down right here in this section for you.
Good Housekeeping has a great curl pattern chart to help you identify your type. 4C hair has the tightest coil pattern and because of its delicacy, 4C hair is highly susceptible to breakage, dryness, and frizz. The tight coils have a hard time transferring natural oils from the root to the tip, which is why the use of oils like castor, lavender, or jojoba oil is often beneficial.
How Do I Maintain Healthy Hair?
Establishing your wash and style routines goes a long way toward preserving those delicate 4C curls and a healthy scalp. Choose a shampoo and conditioner that treat any issues like dryness or breakage, and be conscious of color-treated hair as it will need more moisture than hair that’s untreated.
In addition to the products you use, it’s important to wear protective styles in harsh climates and during very hot or very cold weather.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the products! Continue reading to see why I chose my number one and how the other four sets on this list did in the fight for the best shampoo and conditioner for 4C hair.
Your wash day is arguably the most important part of your styling routine. Here are some tips for finding the best products for your 4C curls.
When choosing a shampoo and conditioner for your delicate 4C curls, it’s important to start with the ingredient list. If possible, it’s best to avoid certain harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens. Beyond that, however, you need to choose a product that has the ingredients to treat your issues.
Some of the best natural ingredients to look for that support healthy, natural hair is:
Moroccan Argan oil
Start by inspecting your hair to determine if it looks dry or damaged. Some telltale signs include:
Shabby, split, or weak ends
Flat, dull curls
Long/painful detangling times
Strands that have knots or bumps down them
Dry and brittle feeling
No snapback — if you pull on your curl, it should snap back into shape
Once you identify an issue you need to treat, you can explore the different essential oils that will hydrate, moisturize, heal, and seal your hair. Or, if you find that your hair is perfectly healthy, that will expand your options.
Avoid sulfates, parabens, and any other drying ingredients, especially if you have dry or damaged hair.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here are some use cases by YouTubers detailing their experiences with the Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil set.
Youtuber hellotinashe shares her wash day routine with the Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil shampoo and conditioner. She likes how the shampoo lathers up and has nice slip, and admires that her hair doesn’t feel stripped of its natural oils once it has been rinsed away. Because of the deep conditioning properties of the conditioner, she sometimes uses it as a co-wash.
The conditioner does a great job of penetrating her curls versus sitting on top of the hair and provides deep hydration to spring her delicate 4C curls back to life.
Another loyal customer, Esther Nefertiti, shows us her experience using Shea Moisture on her wash day. She feels like this shampoo cleanses her hair and scalp well without stripping away natural moisture and oils.
As you can see in her video, a little bit of shampoo goes a long way which means you won’t need to restock this product very often.
Still, have some questions before you choose your next shampoo and conditioner duo? Check out some of the most commonly asked below.
What are sulfates?
Sulfates are a form of mineral salt that forms after sulfuric acid reacts with other chemicals. The main purpose of including sulfates in shampoo is for the lathering effect, which gives a stronger impression of the product’s cleaning power.
This is why you’ll often find “no-poo” shampoos. They won’t lather when you rub them between your hands because they don’t contain sulfates.
Can I use sulfates in my hair?
Contrary to popular belief, sulfates aren’t evil, and you can use them in your hair. They allow your shampoo to achieve that lathery goodness and help wash away the dirt and oil.
The bad part about sulfates, especially on naturally curly hair, is that in that cleansing process they completely strip away your natural moisture and oils, leaving you with dry, brittle, and easily damaged hair. This also causes your hair to frizz more, which could result in the use of more products and build-up. So, it’s best to avoid sulfates if you can.
What are parabens?
For the most part, yes. Since parabens are used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold in your hair care products, they sound like a good thing. However, parabens are known to cause many problems for your scalp and hair including dryness, scalp rashes, and in extreme cases, hair loss.
Parabens also cause your hair color to fade, which is detrimental (and expensive) for you if you have color-treated hair. So it’s best to stay away from shampoos and conditioners that contain parabens, too.
What is the best shampoo and conditioner for healthy hair?
The Not Your Mother’s Naturals Curl Definition Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for healthy curls and serves to lock in moisture and keep your hair shiny and light.
What is the best clarifying shampoo for product build-up?
The best clarifying shampoo from this list is the Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil, yet again! The black castor oil is not only a humectant but also hydrates your scalp as it gently cleanses. This shampoo is perfect for that once-a-week or month wash day.
Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set will win every time in my book. It has all the revitalizing, hydrating properties the other ones contain, but also gives your curls a nice shape and allows you to wash and go if you desire.
You can rest assured that you’re on your way to healthier, softer hair days with this product. Of course, good hair days aren’t all about the product, so make sure you have good wash day and styling routines in place and invest in some styling tools to help make your curls pop.
Hopefully, this product roundup has prepared you to choose your next best shampoo and conditioner for 4C hair. You can purchase the best overall set from this list on Amazon.