As someone who unabashedly subscribes to the cult of conditioner, it’s the rare shampoo that can wiggle its way into my heart. With curls, honestly, it’s all about the conditioner. The very idea behind the no-poo movement is that curls need all the hydration they can get, and shampoos, with their “we’ll get your scalp clean” antics, can contribute to dry, fragile strands. It’s led some people to swear off shampoo altogether, but that’s never been an option for me (maybe TMI, but I live a life of dander). Instead, I used to soldier through shampoo as a basic necessity, following it with heavy-duty conditioner to add moisture back afterward. That all changed when I found Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo, hands down the best shampoo for curly hair that I’ve ever used.
Not to brag, but we met right before the beginning of the coconut oil craze. Back in those days, coconut oil was still hanging out with olive oil in gourmet food shops, but a random stroll through the Whole Foods beauty aisle found Desert Essences’ tube of shampoo in my basket. I was lured in by the smell—imagine the freshest, most decadently delicious coconut frosting smell in the world. It was love at first whiff. My sweet tooth knows no bounds; I wanted that smell all over my head.
But while the smell is incredible, that alone wouldn’t be enough to hook me for the years that this shampoo and I have been together. That passion—that commitment—is thanks to how moisturizing and detangling the shampoo is. I squirt a palmful out, run it through my hair, squish it around until a mild lather shows up, and then wait, like, two minutes. And in that time, all of the knots fall out of my hair.
I don’t say that lightly. My curls snarl like a mofo, and I usually spend 10 minutes standing under the water detangling spider knots with a wide-tooth comb. For that reason, I reach for the Coconut Shampoo on the mornings I’m either so brain-dead I want to keep sleeping while standing up or just need a good curl day to happen. It always delivers. Despite the phenomenal coconut smell, I chalk it up to the trifecta of oils included in the formula. With coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil, this is the gentlest shampoo I’ve ever found—it leaves my curls clean, but it also makes that “squelch” sound that means you can skip conditioner if you want to, because your hair is full-up on moisture. As a creature of habit, I never do. But I like having the option.
Desert Essence Organics Coconut Shampoo, $8.99, walgreens.com
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