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I Have Curly Hair, And This Is My New Favorite Shampoo And Conditioner

Some days my curls are robust and bouncy and sometimes they’re like toddlers who cry when you tell them not to eat sharp rocks — completely unreasonable. But I recently started using the Ion shampoo and conditioner from Sally Beauty and my curls have never behaved better.

SPY writer Jakob Menendez shows the effects of using his Ion shampoo and conditioner duo in his curly hair. Jakob Menendez | SPY

You see, I’ve got the type of curly hair that seems to take on a different style every day without my permission. Growing it out hasn’t helped. But after switching to the new Ion shampoo and conditioner, designed for getting laborious locks under control, brushes are now friend and not foe.

Let me explain.

The Ion Curl Defining Shampoo is the best shampoo for curly hair and has become my daily driver. For my curly-haired kin out there, you know it’s an uphill battle trying to find consistency up top. But this lion tamer of a shampoo is paraben and sulfate-free but it hits hard, shining manes and eliminating frizz.

Before heading out to an event at which I need to look good, I make sure to use this shampoo in the shower at least an hour prior to leaving. That way, it allows curls to spring up and develop during the drying process. The frizz-fighting capabilities alone almost make it usable without a conditioner. But since I’m prone to dandruff, I follow it up with the next product.

Ion’s Healthy Scalp Conditioner is a gem. As mentioned, I tend to find myself developing dandruff, particularly in the dry winter months of the Northeast. I won’t say that this conditioner totally solves my problems, but it hydrates my scalp enough to decrease how often I need a dandruff shampoo. That’s great for saving money but also, many of those types of hair care products are chock full of harmful chemicals.

Instead of using ingredients like charcoal, this conditioner for curly hair is infused with erythritol to help moisturize and minimize flaking from dandruff. It is also free of gluten, sulfates, and parabens and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, as a grooming product in 2023 should be.

While Ion does also sell a Curl Defining Conditioner that I’m sure would help my curls that little bit more, this is the regimen that I find works best.

The Verdict: Should You Try the Ion Shampoo and Conditioner System?

Jakob Menendez | SPY

I give a well-earned endorsement to this Ion shampoo and conditioner system. I actually use two other shampoos from Ion and use them as well, albeit sparingly. I also recommend trying the Ion 2-in-1 Anti Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner, which I only have to use sparingly, and the Ion Swimmer’s Shampoo, which does a phenomenal job at rinsing chlorine out of your hair after swimming in public pools.


  • Consistent
  • Bouncy full curls
  • Anti-frizz leaves no crunchiness
  • Affordable


  • Shampoo is likely not best for other hair types
  • Healthy Scalp Conditioner might not work for your curls