10 Best Shampoos for Active People Tested and Compared

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If you’re a runner then you know how important it is to be aware of the best shampoos out there. It’s also important for runners to find the best shampoos for athletes, so they don’t excessively damage their hair over time.

Since many runners end up washing their hair after their daily run, they often don’t realize how much damage they are causing their hair. So, finding the best shampoos that match the needs of runners is especially important!

While there are different needs for different hair, we think we’ve covered as many points as possible when we put together our list. Also, we realize that products change, with better stuff coming out often. For that reason, we’ll keep checking back to make sure our list stays true.

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By Giselle Killebrew:

This time around we have added the Amika Triple RX, Dear Clark, and the Healthy Sexy Hair shampoos. All three of these will leave your hair nice and clean and can be used daily without risk of damage. Be sure to consider your hair type before making your purchase and check out our FAQ section to learn more.

Dear Clark
  • Dear Clark
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • All Natural
  • Price: See Here
amika triple rx
  • amika triple rx
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Volumizing
  • Price: See Here
Healthy Sexy Hair
  • Healthy Sexy Hair
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Affordable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Shampoos for Active People

Dear Clark

Dear Clark
This shampoo is a bit pricey but it will give your hair life and is safe enough to use every day. It's free of harsh chemicals and uses essential oils for fragrance.
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Problem Solved:
This one helps fix your stressed hair. When you wash your hair every day it can quickly cause damage and this shampoo is here to replenish your hair back to its healthy beginnings.

Best for:
Those of you looking for an organic, natural shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals will absolutely love this pick. It's best for those of you who will need to wash every day, have colored treated hair, or are looking to rejuvenate and restore your hair.

Hair Feel:
This one leaves your hair feeling soft and smelling great.

Why it Works for Active People:
It works for active people because it can be used daily and is gentle enough to not harm your hair.

Smell:
This shampoo will have you in aromatherapy heaven. If you love essential oils then we recommend you grab this one and hop into a hot shower and enjoy the aromatherapy benefits.

Ingredient Notes:
It doesn't have any of the no-no ingredients and it's perfect for those of you looking for an all natural product.

Value:
While this one is pricey, it is definitely worth the investment.
Pros

• All natural ingredients

• Can be used every day

• Will help restore your hair

• Smells great

Cons

• Pricey


Amika Triple RX

Amika Triple RX
This one is great for those of you who want to prevent hair loss and those that need something gentle enough to use every day.
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Problem Solved:
Gives you volume and prevents damage as well as prevents hair loss.

Best For:
This one is best for those of you with fine, limp hair and will repair your damaged hair over time.

Hair Feel:
This shampoo will leave your hair feeling silky smooth, have it looking nice and full, and will prevent hair loss from occurring.

Why it works for active people:
It's gentle enough to use often and prevents damage form occurring. It leaves your hair silky without letting it look greasy and it really gets all of the sweat out.

Smell:
Smells great but not over bearing.

Ingredient notes:
This one is free of all harsh chemicals and made of clean ingredients.

Value:
This one is on the pricey side, but definitely worth the cost.
Pros

• Great for damaged hair

• No harsh chemicals

• Prevents damage

• Restores hair

• Leaves your hair silky smooth

Cons

• If you have overly greasy hair it may leave your hair

looking a tad greasy


Healthy Sexy Hair Soy

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy
This one is safe enough to use every day and is perfect for those of you who workout hard and need a shampoo that will keep your hair clean without destroying it.
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Problem Solved:
This is great for normal hair and will prevent damage from occurring. It's great for those of you who like styling your hair because it doesn't it weigh it down with moisturizing product.

Best For:
Best for those of you with normal to oily hair.

Hair Feel:
Leaves it soft.

Why it Works for Active People:
This one can be used often, as long as you don't have dry hair. It will safely cleanse your hair as well as strengthen and protect it from damage.

Smell:
While it has a mild scent, most people love it and find it to be just enough.

Ingredient Notes:
This one is not organic or all natural like the previous two, but it's still a great product.

Value:
This one is super cost-effective when compared to our top 2 picks.
Pros

• Great for normal hair

• Strengthens

• Can be used almost every day

• Works for color treated hair

• Affordable

Cons

• Great for normal hair

• Strengthens

• Can be used almost every day

• Works for color treated hair

• Affordable


4. Pura D’or Advanced Therapy

4. Pura D’or Advanced Therapy
This is a great strengthening shampoo for hair damaged from UV exposure, tight elastics and/or daily washing. High quality plant-based ingredients restore strength and thickness to damaged or thinning hair.
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Problem Solved:
Hair thinning or breakage.

Best For:
Anyone with thinning hair or damaged hair.

Why it Works for Active People:
You may not realize it, but an active lifestyle can be very damaging to hair. Pulling hair back with elastics can cause breakage and washing after daily runs can leave hair brittle, especially in areas with hard water. This shampoo addresses these issues and many people note improvements in strength and thickness with using these products.

Hair Feel:
This shampoo has a thick, honey-like consistency that lathers well into scalp. Users note their hair feels stronger and thicker after just a few washes with this shampoo.

Smell:
Light citrusy/lemon scent that is pleasant but not overpowering.

Ingredient Notes:
This shampoo features a Paraben-Free, Sulfate-free and Plant-based formula that includes Argan Oil and Aloe Vera for added protection. It is a good sustainable option as it is made up of 80% Organic Ingredients, has a 100% Natural Preservative System, and is produced in a 100% Solar Powered Facility.

Value:
On the more expensive end of shampoos but the extra money will get you high-quality, sustainable ingredients that will improve thickness and strength of hair.
Pros
  • Strengthening and thickening formula repairs damaged hair
  • Sustainable, plant-based ingredients
  • Gentle enough for daily use
Cons
  • Price

6. Neutrogena Anti-Residue

6. Neutrogena Anti-Residue
Affordable clarifying shampoo that can be used once a week for a deep clean. This shampoo is ideal for those who avoid regularly washing with shampoos and rely heavily on hair products to refresh.
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Problem solved:
Greasy roots and product build-up. This clarifying shampoo gently cleanses and removes sweat, grease and any residue left from products used during the week.

Best for:
Hair that is greasy at the roots, thick hair that is difficult to get clean and/or people who use a lot of products that leave residue.

Hair Feel:
This clear shampoo lathers nicely and makes hair feel clean while in the shower and once hair is dry. People note hair feels very clean and soft after use without feeling dried out or brittle.

Why it Works for Active People:
More and more hair stylists are recommending washing hair less, even when exercising daily. Whether we are following their advice or simply do not have the time for a full shampoo after every workout, we often turn to hair products such as dry shampoos or styling sprays to revive hair in between washes. This shampoo is a great option for blasting through the build-up leftover from these products. It gives hair a nice, deep clean so we can begin the cycle again.

Smell:
Most users note the mild smell as a positive and feel the lack of overpowering scent makes it a great option for both men and women.

Ingredient notes:
This does contain ammonium lauryl sulfate which is one of the more gentle surfactants. This sulfate is the reason hair feels so clean after use. Sulfates have potential to cause irritation and dry out hair but they are not universally damaging. If you do not have issues with dry hair or scalp, using this shampoo once or twice a week will not hurt your hair. The addition of conditioning glycerin adds back some moisture from this deep clean but most users highly recommend following up with a conditioner as well.

Value:
Very affordable price and it may last you awhile if you are only using it once a week.
Pros
  • Deeply cleans
  • Great for greasy roots and product build-up
  • Cheap
  • Mild scent
Cons
  • Contains aluminum sulfate which may be drying
  • Not ideal for daily use

7. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste

7. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste
This dry shampoo paste is a great alternative to typical spray-on formulas. Paste can easily be applied in small targeted amounts to absorb oil and refresh hair after a run.
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Problem Solved:
Sweaty or greasy roots that you just don’t have time to wash.

Best for:
Any hair type! This paste is great for anyone who wants to skip a shampoo. Like most dry shampoos, it will add some volume and texture so you can use this product for a second day refresh or add a little to damp hair before blow drying for a little extra boost.

Hair Feel:
This dry shampoo comes in a gritty paste but when rubbed between fingers the paste becomes powdery and can be easily worked into greasy areas of the scalp. Once worked in, users note hair feels volumized and texturized. Hair may feel a bit gritty but users are surprised by the lack of stiffness and left over product residue.

Why it Works for Active People:
Dry shampoos give you the power to skip a wash after a run but still have great, clean looking hair. This paste is a great option because it can be thrown in a bag without worry of spilling out like many powder options. Paste also allows for more targeted application so you can control the amount and areas this is applied to, helping to avoid having a scalp full of white residue common with sprays.

Smell:
R+Co describes the fragrance as “a bright earthy composition” featuring notes of lemon, tangerine, eucalyptus and tree moss. Users report the scent is pleasant and not overpowering. For most this is a huge advantage over the stronger scented spray-on dry shampoos.

Ingredient notes:
This product is vegan and cruelty-free. It is also free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and gluten. Key ingredients include volcanic ash, coconut oil, zeolite and sunflower seed extract.

Value:
This is a bit expensive for a hair care product but the more controlled application means little product is wasted and will likely last for a while.
Pros
  • Dry shampoo saves time after a run
  • Easier to control than spray-on formulas
  • Scent is not overpowering
  • Adds volume, texture and hold
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Leaves some grit

2. Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle

An affordable option for a sulfate-free formula that is gentle enough for daily washing. This shampoo works well for all hair types and leaves hair feeling soft and shiny without being stripped of natural moisture.
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Problem solved:
Hair that is dried out from daily washing.

Best for:
All hair types!

Hair Feel:
Shampoo is thick and creamy and lathers well despite the lack of sulfates. Do not expect this shampoo to transform your locks or give you a super deep clean. However most users note this is perfectly efficient for cleaning, it does not leave residue and is not drying or irritating.

Why it Works for Active People:
Running can leave hair sweaty and greasy but washing with typical shampoos strips hair of natural oils drying it out. This shampoo is gentle enough to use daily and will not cause damage or drying.

Smell:
Light and a bit fruity. This scent does not seem to be overpowering and does not linger in hair.

Ingredient Notes:
This sulfate-free shampoo features seaweed extract to help rebalance hair’s moisture.

Value:
It is difficult to find cheap shampoos that do not rely on harsh ingredients that strip hair. This shampoo is one of the cheapest you can find that avoids these harsh surfactants and can comfortably be used daily.
Pros
  • Cheap and functional!
  • Gentle enough to use daily
  • Works for all hair types
Cons
  • Does not do much to nourish or protect hair

1. Davines OI

Davines Oi is a great moisturizing and protective shampoo that is gentle enough to be used daily and works for almost any hair type. This sulfate and paraben free formula has a milky smooth texture that lathers into hair easily and leaves leave hair feeling clean, soft and silky.
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Problem Solved:
Hair that is dried out from daily washing. This sulfate-free formula is gentle and moisturizing with proteins and antioxidants to protect hair from further damage.

Best for:
Any hair type! Most popular among people with drier hair especially with waves or curls. It does have some heavy moisturizers so it may not be ideal for thin, straight hair.

Hair Feel:
Milky smooth texture is easy to work through hair and lathers up well, especially when compared to other sulfate-free shampoos. Users note hair feels smooth, silky and clean after use and some note they can cutback on or skip conditioner.

Why it Works for Active People:
Daily washing is not great for hair, especially for those prone to dry ends. However, sweating during a run makes it more difficult to skip the shampoo. This moisturizing formula is gentle enough to use daily and leaves hair feeling clean without drying it out. Antioxidants and beta carotene also add some protection against damage from UV rays so this may be an added benefit if you find yourself running outside often.

Smell:
The scent is best described as powdery-floral and is a bit controversial among users. Some people absolutely love it while others find it overpowering and almost chemical-like.

Ingredient Notes:
This shampoo is paraben and sulfate free. It features Roukou Oil which comes from the fruit of an Amazonian Tree and is rich in beta carotene (also found in carrots) and antioxidants.

Value:
The price is the biggest downfall of this product. It is quite expensive and although you do not need much to get clean hair, you may run through it quickly if you are using it daily.

Pros
  • Gentle enough for daily use
  • Good for a variety of hair types
  • Moisturizing and protective
  • Leaves hair silky, soft and clean
Cons
  • Smell is not for everyone
  • Price

9. Fekkai Apple Cider

9. Fekkai Apple Cider
Another great clarifying shampoo that is ideal for runners reliant on hair products to get them from wash to wash. This shampoo is more expensive but many users love the gentle deep clean and apple scent from clarifying apple cider.
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Problem solved:
If you rely heavily on products to refresh hair and avoid washes this is a great option for cleansing and resetting hair.

Best for:
Any hair type prone to product or chemical build up.

Hair Feel:
Clear, gel formula lathers up easily and leaves hair feeling soft, shiny and very clean.

Why it Works for Active People:
This clarifying shampoo is great for purifying hair and removing chemicals and product build up. Many fitness enthusiasts rely on dry shampoos, co-washes and a variety of other products to avoid washing daily. This gentle but deep cleansing formula is perfect for resetting hair once or twice a week without drying it out. This product is also great for removing chlorine if you crosstrain with swimming.

Smell:
Users love the fresh green apple and pear scent of this shampoo.

Ingredient Notes:
This sulfate-free shampoo features apple cider as a clarifying agent that lends itself to the fresh smell.

Value: This product is on the pricier end but you are paying for quality ingredients and a lovely fresh scent. Additionally, the bottle should last a while if you are only washing once or twice a week.
Pros
  • Sulfate-free
  • Natural ingredients
  • Deep cleaning
  • Fresh apple and pear scent
Cons
  • Price
  • Not great for daily use

10. Deva Curl No Poo Decadence

10. Deva Curl No Poo Decadence
This detergent and sulfate-free shampoo transforms hair so it does not need to be washed as regularly. “No Poo” has been a popular trend in recent years and can be very beneficial for curly and natural black/African American hair. DevaCurl Decadence is a fan favorite for DevaCurl loyalists and dabblers alike.
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Problem Solved:
Frizzy, dry or poorly defined curls

Best For:
Curly hair of all kinds! Fine or coarse, thick or thin, tight or loose. Deva curl products are a beloved line for transforming and defining curls. Although the line is targeted at curls, many people with wavy and even straight hair love this shampoo for joining the No Poo movement.

Hair Feel:
This creamy formula does not lather at all due to the lack of detergents and sulfates. It does take some work to massage onto scalp and once massaged in it must be scrubbed out as well. Some people note some increased greasiness when initially switching to no poo but most agree the end result is worth the wait. Once adjusted, hair will feel clean and curls will be well-defined and soft with very little frizz. Many devoted DevaCurl users prefer the Decadence shampoo to the original as it is more moisturizing.

Why it works for active people:
The No Poo method is not for everyone but is worth considering for active individuals, especially those with curly hair. Girls with curls know that washing hair daily can be drying and dry curls mean frizz. No poo options help to rebalance the scalp’s natural oils and reduce grease production, requiring less regular washing (even after exercise). All Deva Curl products are water-activated meaning that once curls are formed using these products they can be easily refreshed by simply adding a bit of water.

Smell:
Scent is described as fresh, fruity and creamy.

Ingredient notes:
No Parabens, Sulfates or Phthalates. This shampoo features vitamin-rich Chufa Milk and strengthening Quinoa Protein to add moisture, shine and protection.

Value:
A little pricey and a big commitment but many users note a complete hair transformation and report not needing to wash nearly as much.
Pros
  • No detergents or sulfates
  • Defines curls and eliminates frizz
  • Transforms hair to require less washing
Cons
  • There is usually an adjustment period when switching to this product
  • Pricey

The Metrics We Used to Find the Best Shampoos for Runners

Shampoo can be tricky to pick out due to the extensive selection available to target a wide variety of problem areas and hair types. We looked for the 10 best options that work best with runners and fit an active lifestyle. To best compare the range of options we evaluated each contender on the following criteria.

Problem Solved

First we wanted to make sure that each option addressed an issue that may be affecting runners. One problem many runners (or active individuals in general) have in common is dry hair from overwashing. It can be difficult to fight the desire to wash hair after every workout so we looked at a variety of ways to wash hair gently or skip the standard shampoo. Other common hair problems include dandruff, frizz, hair thinning and damage.

Best for (Hair Type)

Hair type is an important factor when choosing a shampoo as different hair types have different needs. We took hair type into account when compiling this list to ensure there are some options for everyone. Some shampoos are great for a wide range of textures, while others have a more narrow scope. We looked for reviews from a variety of textures and types and made sure to note which groups had the most success with any given product.

Hair Feel

We looked for shampoos that feel great in hair while washing and make hair feel great once it is dry. In the shower we looked for efficient products that disperse easily and are easy to work into hair. Once dry, the most important factor is that hair feels clean and does not feel worse (more dry or greasy) than before you used it. Once those two boxes were checked, we looked for shampoos that provided additional benefits such as making hair stronger, softer or silkier or adding more texture or volume.

Why it Works for Active People

Here we considered what characteristics of each shampoo make it suited for runners’ hair or an active lifestyle.

Smell

Scent is largely a personal preference. However, when it comes to shampoo, most people prefer scents that are subtle and fresh as opposed to artificial and overpowering. We looked closely to user reviews to determine which shampoos had smells that were pleasant or agreeable to most.

Ingredient Notes

A few years ago most shampoos relied on sulfates to create lather and cleanse hair. However, in recent years, sulfates have developed a damaging reputation and we are seeing more and more shampoos finding alternative active ingredients to clean hair. Most of the products on this list are sulfate free. A few options do rely on sulfates but are unlikely to damage hair.

Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate belong to a group of molecules known as surfactants. This group has the ability to partially dissolve with both water and oil which causes shampoo to lather when combined with water and grab onto oils to remove them from hair. The bad reputation arises from the potential of sulfates to cause hair dryness by removing good essential oils from the scalp along with the grease and they can also be irritants causing dry, itchy scalps. If your hair is dry or frizzy or if you have a sensitive scalp, you may benefit from a sulfate-free formula. However, those who continue to struggle with grease, despite regular washes may not see much benefit from jumping on this trend.

In addition to cleansing agents, we looked at additional ingredients unique to each formula that create added benefits. Some examples are essential oils that provide moisture, proteins for strengthening and antioxidants for protection.

Value

To determine value price, how long you can expect the product to last and any added benefits were all considered. The shampoos on this list range from less than $10 to over $40 per bottle. Each one will work effectively to clean hair without damaging it. When you invest in the more expensive bottles you are paying for higher quality (usually more natural ingredients) and added benefit to your hair. If you are seeking a hair transformation, you may need to increase your budget. If you just need to get the job done, don’t bother spending extra on ingredients you don’t care about.

 

Other Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Shampoo

Your Routine

Choose a shampoo that fits the running and beauty routine you already have. What time of day do you run and what are you planning to do after? If you’re a morning or lunch-time runner dry shampoos may be perfect for saving time. But if you run more regularly on weekends, why not take the time to wash hair completely or let it air dry?

Pay Attention to Hair Type

Various hair types have different needs. It is important to consider what hair type you have and how you want it to look. No shampoo will make your straight hair curly or your curly hair straight but some can help add volume or reduce frizz. Hair type will also determine how often you wash. Straighter and thinner hair will want to wash more frequently while curlier and thicker may want to go a bit longer.

Consider Your Hair Risk Factors

Regular UV exposure, chlorine from swimming pools, hard water and heat tools can all play a role in the health of your hair. When choosing a shampoo consider any additional elements that would benefit your hair.

 

FAQ

Q: How often should I wash my hair?

This is going to vary from person to person and hair type to hair type. However, most people are washing their hair too often and many experts recommend not washing every day but aiming for once or twice a week instead. Supplementing regular shampoo sessions with Co-Washing (conditioner only washing) and dry shampoos can return moisture to your hair and lead to producing less grease in the long run.

Q: Do I need to shampoo after a workout?

No! Most experts agree it is not necessary to shampoo after every workout. Salt content in sweat and excess oil can make hair feel dirty but, if the hair was clean, before washing with shampoo is not necessary. Instead, try using a CoWash or a combination of dry shampoo and a blow dryer to dry up sweat.

Q: Should I avoid sulfates in my shampoo?

If you have dry hair or a sensitive scalp, sulfate may be the culprit and you could benefit from sulfate-free options. However, if you do not have these issues or maybe are finding that your hair is too greasy, you may benefit from a gentle sulfate to help get your hair clean.

 

Sources

  1. Coleman, Eric, R.D., L.D., Seborrheic Dermatitis & Cardio Exercise, Webpage, Aug 14, 2017
  2. Shortsleeve, Cassie, The Athlete's Guide to Hair Washing, Webpage, Feb 17, 2016
  3. Migala, Jessica, Should You Be Using Sulfate-Free Shampoo?, Webpage, Jun 20, 2017
  4. Jin, Jenny, Do You Really Need Shampoo?, Webpage,
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