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10 Best Shampoos for Active People Tested and Compared

last updated Feb 03, 2019
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.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Maple Holistic Tea Tree
95.8/100 our score
Versatility
98
Effectiveness
95
Features
97
Value
93
Maple Holistic Tea Tree
Why is it better?

Cures and prevents dandruff

Kills lice naturally

Good for dyed hair

Smells fantastic

Naturally hydrating

Thickens thinning hair

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Maple Holistic Tea Tree
Test Winner: Maple Holistic Tea Tree
Researched Sources
21
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1600
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
25
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Avatar
By EJ Callanan:

With this update, we added two new products to our buying guide and added more information about what shampoo actually is and how it works. The new products are American Crew Hydrating Shampoo and Maple Holistic Tea Tree. The latter is our new number one, and not only leaves your hair clean but is great for naturally treating dandruff and lice. 8/4/2018 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.

Sorting Options
Versatility Effectiveness Features Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Versatility
98%
Effectiveness
95%
Features
97%
Value
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$10.45
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Versatility
92%
Effectiveness
96%
Features
90%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$4.79
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Versatility
93%
Effectiveness
94%
Features
92%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$32.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Versatility
87%
Effectiveness
90%
Features
91%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$19.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Versatility
90%
Effectiveness
84%
Features
90%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$28.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Versatility
82%
Effectiveness
89%
Features
80%
Value
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$11.94
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Versatility
81%
Effectiveness
90%
Features
87%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$49.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.5
Versatility
85%
Effectiveness
90%
Features
85%
Value
74%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$29.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
Versatility
80%
Effectiveness
85%
Features
75%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$11.06
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Versatility
75%
Effectiveness
80%
Features
80%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$17.50
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Maple Holistic Tea Tree
  • Neutrogena Anti-Residue
  • Deva Curl No Poo Decadence
  • Fekkai Apple Cider
  • R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste
  • Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle
  • Pura D’or Advanced Therapy
  • Davines OI
  • American Crew Daily Hydrating
  • Healthy Sexy Hair
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Top 10 Best Shampoos for Active People

1. Maple Holistic Tea Tree

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Maple Holistic Tea Tree
Versatility
98
Effectiveness
95
Features
97
Value
93
best offer for today
$10.45
Pros:

Cures and prevents dandruff

Kills lice naturally

Good for dyed hair

Smells fantastic

Naturally hydrating

Thickens thinning hair

Cons:

Expensive

May dry scalp if used to often

This highly reviewed option is great for everybody, but is especially beneficial for people who have an itchy scalp, dandruff, or even lice. It contains tea tree oil, which is one of the most effective natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial substances in the world. Not only that, but it also smells great, and will leave your hair soft and shiny. It is a bit expensive but most reviewers felt it was worth the money.

Read more

Versatility

Pretty high. It's gentle enough for everyday use, but can also be used to treat dandruff and even lice, and is a great option for people with dyed hair who encounter these problems. It also encourages fast hair growth and helps to thicken thinning hair and prevent hair shedding.

Effectiveness

Users reported it works great for curing and preventing dry, itchy scalps, dandruff, and lice. Be sure to follow the directions for use carefully, and maybe not use everyday as the application of too much tea tree oil can cause additional drying of the scalp some users reported.

Features

It has rosemary and tea tree oil for natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, is sulfate-free, hypo-allergenic, and can be used to treat dandruff as well as head lice.

Value

It's a bit expensive, but most users felt that it was worth the money. Some users noted that the company has changed their formula to include more ingredients and that the new one isn't as effective as the previous version.

2. Neutrogena Anti-Residue

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Neutrogena Anti-Residue
Versatility
92
Effectiveness
96
Features
90
Value
95
best offer for today
$4.79
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

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.

Read more

Versatility

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.

Effectiveness

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 some residue.

Features

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. 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.

Cost and Value

Very affordable price and it may last you a while if you are only using it once a week.

3. Deva Curl No Poo Decadence

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Deva Curl No Poo Decadence
Versatility
93
Effectiveness
94
Features
92
Value
85
best offer for today
$32.00
Pros:

No detergents or sulfates

Defines curls and eliminates frizz

Transforms hair to require less washing

Adds moisture, shine, and protection

Cons:

There is usually an adjustment period when switching to this product

Pricey

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.

Read more

Versatility

This shampoo takes care of frizzy, dry or poorly defined curls. No Parabens, Sulfates or Phthalates. This shampoo features vitamin-rich Chufa Milk and strengthening Quinoa Protein to add moisture, shine, and protection.

Effectiveness

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.

Features

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. The scent is described as fresh, fruity and creamy.

Cost and 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.

4. Fekkai Apple Cider

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Fekkai Apple Cider
Versatility
87
Effectiveness
90
Features
91
Value
85
best offer for today
$19.99
Pros:

Sulfate-free

Natural ingredients

Deep cleaning

Fresh apple and pear scent

Cons:

Price

Not great for daily use

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.

Read more

Versatility

This clarifying shampoo is great for purifying hair and removing chemicals and product build up. If you rely heavily on products to refresh hair and avoid washes this is a great option for cleansing and resetting hair.

Effectiveness

Any hair type prone to product or chemical buildup. 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 cross-train with swimming.

Features

Clear, gel formula lathers up easily and leaves hair feeling soft, shiny and very clean. Users love the fresh green apple and pear scent of this shampoo.

Cost and 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.

5. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste
Versatility
90
Effectiveness
84
Features
90
Value
85
best offer for today
$28.00
Pros:

Dry shampoo saves time after a run

Easier to control than spray-on formulas

The scent is not overpowering

Adds volume, texture, and hold

Cons:

More expensive

Leaves some grit

This dry shampoo paste is a great alternative to typical spray-on formulas. The paste can easily be applied in small targeted amounts to absorb oil and refresh hair after a run.

Read more

Versatility

This particular product is a dry shampoo paste that is great for sweaty or greasy roots that you just don’t have time to wash. And it has amazing results.

Effectiveness

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.

Features

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 leftover product residue. 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.

Cost and 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.

6. Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle
Versatility
82
Effectiveness
89
Features
80
Value
93
best offer for today
$11.94
Pros:

Cheap and functional

Gentle enough to use daily

Works for all hair types

Leaves no residue

Cons:

Does not do much to nourish or protect hair

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.

Read more

Versatility

Because this shampoo has a sulfate-free formula, it is perfect for restoration of hair that is dried out from daily washing.

Effectiveness

It can be used for all hair types! This sulfate-free shampoo features seaweed extract to help rebalance hair’s moisture. This shampoo is gentle enough to use daily and will not cause damage or drying.

Features

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

Cost and 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.

7. Pura D’or Advanced Therapy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Pura D’or Advanced Therapy
Versatility
81
Effectiveness
90
Features
87
Value
80
best offer for today
$49.99
Pros:

Strengthening and thickening formula repairs damaged hair

Sustainable, plant-based ingredients

Gentle enough for daily use

Fresh citrus scent

Cons:

Price

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.

Read more

Versatility

This shampoo is perfect for damaged hair due to its restoration capabilities. It hence combats hair thinning or breakage.

Effectiveness

It is quite effective for anyone with thinning hair or damaged hair.

Features

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. It also has a
light citrusy/lemon scent that is pleasant but not overpowering.

Cost and Value

On the more expensive end of shampoos but the extra money will get you high-quality, sustainable ingredients that will improve the thickness and strength of hair.

8. Davines OI

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.5
Davines OI
Versatility
85
Effectiveness
90
Features
85
Value
74
best offer for today
$29.00
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

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 silky smooth texture that lathers into hair easily and leaves the hair feeling clean, soft and silky.

Read more

Versatility

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.

Effectiveness

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.

Features

The silky 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 cut back on or skip conditioner. 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.

Cost and 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.

9. American Crew Daily Hydrating

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
American Crew Daily Hydrating
Versatility
80
Effectiveness
85
Features
75
Value
90
best offer for today
$11.06
Pros:

Gentle enough for daily use

Comes in a large bottle that will last a while

Smells good

Good value

Cons:

Some users reported receiving a counterfeit product, always order from a reputable seller

This one comes in a large bottle that lasts a long time and is gentle and moisturizing for daily use. It smells fresh and clean but the scent isn't overpowering. You'll want to be sure to order from a reputable seller as we did find some reports of people receiving products they suspected weren't the real deal.

Read more

Versatility

This one is a standard shampoo that will leave your hair moisturized but doesn't do anything additional such as cure dandruff or kill lice. It is nice and gentle however so you can use it every day and it will leave your scalp and hair feeling moisturized.

Effectiveness

It does what it's supposed to do and cleans hair without drying it out like some other products. It's also moisturizing for the hair and scalp.

Features

Nothing additional beyond typical cleansing properties.

Value

It's a little more expensive than other options when you look at it from a per bottle point of view, but the bottle is large and lasts a long time making it a pretty good deal for a quality shampoo. We did note several users who felt they had received a counterfeit product, so please be sure to order from a reputable seller if you buy it online.

10. Healthy Sexy Hair

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Healthy Sexy Hair
Versatility
75
Effectiveness
80
Features
80
Value
90
best offer for today
$17.50
Pros:

Great for normal hair

Strengthens

Can be used almost every day

Works for color treated hair

Affordable

Cons:

Contains sulfates

Some users prefered old formula

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.

Read more

Versatility

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 a moisturizing product.

Effectiveness

Best for those of you with normal to oily hair.

Features

It leaves the hair soft, and while it has a mild scent, most people love it and find it to be just enough.

Cost and Value

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

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Versatility

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. Dandruff and lice are two other hair and scalp issues that can happen to anyone, so products that helped with these received high scores in this area. Some shampoos can also be used as body washes, which means fewer products to buy and a quick shower as well, and we always love products that stack functions, meaning they do more than one thing, so we wanted to add products that are effective at cleansing not just the hair but different parts of the body as well. However, in our research we found that these types of products tend to not be that effective at cleaning hair as ones that make that a dedicated, single function, so we didn't add any shampoos/body washes to our list.

Effectiveness

We'd be remiss if we didn't look at this all-important factor when choosing products for our list because no matter how nice a shampoo smells or how soft and shiny it leaves your hair, or how much it moisturizes your scalp if it doesn't get your hair clean what's the point? That's what shampoo is meant to do, so products that did a good job of removing dirt and unwanted oils from your hair while leaving it soft and healthy got high marks in this factor.

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.

Features

Some products just clean your hair. But some will clean while also killing lice, curing dandruff, or be ultra-moisturizing for your scalp. Usually serving more than one function is a great quality in a shampoo, but not if it means sacrificing functionality in another area. We've all heard the saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none" right? Well that can be all well and good for people, but when it comes to shampoo, we really want something that is at the very least a master of cleaning your hair. If it does other things, great, that's a bonus. 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.

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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
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#1
Versatility
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#2
Effectiveness
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#3
Features
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#4
Value
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Don't overwash

The shampoo companies don't want you to know this, but the natural oils in your hair are actually healthy and beneficial. Overwashing your hair removes these healthy oils and can lead to dry hair and a dry scalp. We recommend using shampoo no more than every other day. We're not saying don't take a shower and don't rinse your hair and scalp with hot, fresh water, just don't overdo it with shampoo.

Skip drying, curling and flatironing

We know your hair looks great when you style it with these tools, but all these things are slowly drying out your hair and causing breakage. You're beautiful just the way you are. And worst case scenario, hats are really cool and stylish these days.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How often should I wash my hair?
a:

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?
a:

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?
a:

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.

q: Can I use shampoo to wash other parts of my body?
a:

It depends on how picky you are. Shampoos are formulated for hair, not your skin. Yes, shampoo will clean other parts of your body, but it may dry out your skin. There are several products on the market that are designed to do both so if this is important to you, you shouldn't have any problems finding a good one.

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,