While you don’t need to wash your hair every day (in fact, we advise against it), using the best men’s shampoo still plays a vital role in your shower routine. The right shampoo will leave your hair feeling clean and refreshed until the next time you wash, and a pleasant fragrance might actually make you feel cleaner, even if you’re the only one getting close enough to smell your hair. And while a lesser shampoo is unlikely to drastically mess up your hair, it’s still worth finding a high-quality shampoo that’s capable of making your hair better.
The truth is, the best way to find the right shampoo is with a little trial and error, as everyone’s hair care needs vary. But with so many options to choose from, it’s worth having a little guidance. That’s why the SPY team put their heads together to find the best men’s shampoo, testing drugstore brands, premium men’s grooming brands, and many that fall between the two.
The Best Men’s Shampoo At a Glance
How to Pick the Best Men’s Shampoo for Your Hair
Many shampoos take on double or triple duty, which many men seem to prefer. Some can be used for shampooing and conditioning, as well as a face wash or even a body wash. And while no multipurpose product can do a better job than one that’s specialized, we get why you might desire a wash that can do it all, which is why we picked out a few in that category, too.
One other kind of shampoo worth considering isn’t really a shampoo at all. What’s called “co-washing” has grown in popularity, and we’ve written about products like the Geologie Co-Wash, which was even dubbed the “anti-shampoo.” But co-washing is essentially washing with just conditioner instead of shampoo and can benefit those with thicker, curlier hair. We’ve included some options in that category as well.
At the end of the day, we just love grooming products here at SPY and figure the only way to know which are the best is by testing them ourselves. Read on to find out which shampoos for men performed best — did yours make the list?
Baxter of California’s Deep Clean Shampoo earned high marks across the board, and one SPY Tester enthusiastically endorses it as a product he’s relied on for years. Though it’s not billed as a men’s dandruff shampoo, it works as one, effectively combating flakes. Plus, this shampoo is made with ingredients like apple cider vinegar and ginseng, plus menthol for a cool, refreshing feeling.
Impressively, it does a good enough job on its own that you need to use it just once a week, though we recommend twice weekly washings. Ultimately, you’ll need to trust your own hair, but with Baxter, a little goes a long way. That helps justify the price, which is fairly steep. Baxter’s products are also backed up by over a half-century in the business.
If you’re the type to use styling products in your hair, this formula is one of the best shampoos we found for effectively removing it at the end of the day while also removing dirt and oil buildup. Baxter recommends following this shampoo with their Daily Fortifying Conditioner.
Baxter’s shampoo is made in the US and is free of sulfates and parabens.
- Fresh scent
- Can be used just twice a week
- Effectively removes product
- Somewhat pricey
- Limited size availability
When one of our top picks for the best men’s shampoo isn’t shampoo at all, you know it’s a brave new world. Please bear with us for a moment. Geologie landed on our radar because of their unique personalized skincare routine, which includes an online quiz to help you find and meet your hair and skin’s unique needs. But what we’ve been talking about lately is their new Co-Wash product.
Out of the gate, you’ll notice that Geologie’s Co-Wash is different. For one thing, it comes in a squeeze pouch, the purpose of which is to reduce plastic use. The consistency is also closer to that of a viscous cream than watery, soapy shampoo. As a result, it’s a low-lather formula, and it can take some getting used to. That said, we liked it enough to call it the best hair care product in SPY’s Best of 2022 Awards thanks to its natural ingredients and pleasant fragrance.
Geologie offers two versions of its Co-wash, including the Smoothing and Cooling formulas, the former of which is made with coconut oil and avocado oil, while the latter is made with tea tree oil and aloe vera. Both use squalane and Vitamin B5.
- Gently cleanses
- Low-plastic packaging
- Softens hair
- May take getting used to
- Somewhat pricey
Blind Barber’s Lemongrass Tea Shampoo topped one SPY Editor’s list as the best men’s shampoo, noting he “can’t say [he’s] had a more purifying shampoo that left [his] hair feeling as cleansed before.” He added, “Aside from how soft [his] hair feels after a rinse, [he] loves the refreshing scent of it as well.”
Blind Barber’s shampoo is sulfate-free and cruelty-free. Plus, it can be used as a body wash. Just remember — you can’t actually drink it. Blind Barber’s shampoo might be made with rooibos tea extract, lemongrass tea, and hops, but it’s still just a shampoo.
The stylish matte black bottle looks great on any bathroom counter, and there’s also a coordinating Blind Barber conditioner available to complete the routine. Plus, Blind Barber isn’t just a name; the brand started as a barber shop in New York, and now has outposts in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The “blind” part may refer to the hidden speakeasy in each barbershop. Head in for a shave and then head to the back for a drink.
- Sulfate and paraben free
- Doubles as a body wash
- Refreshing feeling
- Limited size availability
- Limited scent variety
We think Baxter of California overall is pumping out the best men’s shampoo. Aside from their deep-clean shampoo, Baxter also makes a formula for daily use. Both are great options for different reasons. Whereas the Deep-Clean Shampoo should be used twice a week, this formula can be used (you guessed it) daily, or every second or third day.
The Fortifying Shampoo is made with wheat protein, coconut extract, and Vitamin E to strengthen hair follicles. In our testing, we found that it lathered well and left hair feeling clean and smooth. The shampoo also has a great mint scent that’s subtle and didn’t feel too artificial, even though it does have parfum/fragrance listed in the ingredients.
It’s available in several sizes, though the 16 and 33-ounce sizes seem to be often sold out. That leaves the 8-ounce and the 2-ounce travel size. The 8-ounce size has a flip-top lid, and after using it, we found that sometimes it accidentally spilled out more than needed.
- Lathers well
- Leaves hair feeling smooth
- Fortifying ingredients
- Somewhat pricey
- Some may prefer a pump top
We can usual count on Shea Moisture to make great products, as we found with beard balms and beard wash. But here, we may have found the best shampoo for curly hair. It’s specifically designed to hydrate dry and damaged hair, and it does so with natural ingredients like manuka honey, mafura oil, fig extract, and of course, shea butter. It’s also a cruelty-free product formulated without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum.
Shea Moisture is also a black-owned business, and this hydrating shampoo is a great option for black hair. In our testing, we found that SheaMoisture’s shampoo had a strong natural aroma, in the best way possible. The 13-ounce size is available for under $10, making it one of the best value options we’ve found yet.
- Hydrating for curly hair
- Good for damaged and dry hair
- Free of phthalates and petrolatum
- Some formulas contain fragrance, which may be too strong for some
Yup — you can use Dr. Bronner’s to wash your hair, too. We reviewed it as our top pick for the best body wash for men, but it works wonders as a shampoo. If lather is what you’re after, it doesn’t get sudsier than Dr. Bronner’s. We’ve often said a little goes a long way, but nowhere is that truer than with Dr. Bronner’s. It’s supposed to be diluted, and in our testing, we found that a small drop mixed with water lathered incredibly well, creating enough foam for washing hair and body.
Another thing we love about Dr. Bronner’s is the scent variety, which includes citrus, tea tree, lavender, and peppermint. All of the scents are great, and you can choose baby unscented if you prefer to go fragrance-free. Dr. Bronner’s leaves your hair feeling clean, but it won’t necessarily feel as smooth. Dr. Bronner’s even has an in-depth guide with their recommendations for how to best wash your hair with castile soap, and they recommend pairing it with an acidic conditioning rinse.
Dr. Bronner’s also suggests that it may take your hair a couple of weeks to adjust if you’re switching over from conventional shampoo. With several sizes available, from 2 ounces all the way up to a gallon, the 32-ounce size is the most common, and we’ve found, internally on our team, that peppermint seems to be the most popular scent.
- Lathers well
- A little goes a very long way
- Naturally effective ingredients
- Not specifically designed as shampoo, so can take some getting used to
We’ve been fans of Harry’s for a long time, and they’ve consistently ranked at the top of our list for the best razors. SPY team members Tyler Schoeber and Tim Werth both swear by Harry’s razors, and we’ve been just as impressed by the brand’s foray into skin and haircare.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, Harry’s offers three different anti-dandruff products, depending on what your needs are. There’s a non-medicated dry scalp shampoo for occasional flakiness, an anti-dandruff shampoo with 1% pyrithione zinc, and an extra-strength anti-dandruff shampoo with 2% pyrithione zinc.
SPY’s site director Tim Werth tested this shampoo, and said, “We truly believe this is the best dandruff shampoo out there.” He found that it was effective in fighting dandruff while also leaving “your scalp feeling super fresh.” This shampoo is paraben, sulfate, and dye-free, and the two-in-one formula conditions while it cleans.
- Great for dandruff
- Three formulations available
- Conditions and cleanses
- No variety in scents
If you want a shampoo you can pick up on your next Target run, Goodfellow & Co’s Moroccan Mint & Cedar won’t steer you wrong. We really enjoyed using this and would go as far as calling it the best men’s shampoo by a store brand — it’s impressive. This shampoo has a crisp, clean scent that’s refreshing without overpowering the nostrils. And while it’s not the most lathering option on this list, meaning you’ll likely need to use more of it, it’s still a fantastic deal. At $6 for a 16-ounce bottle, it’s a good value that you can stock up on. It also effectively leaves hair feeling clean and soft.
Goodfellow and Co’s Moroccan Mint & Cedar shampoo is also part of Target’s clean line, meaning the products are cruelty-free and free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and synthetic dyes — all things we consider when testing products here at SPY.
Above all, one feature we found most useful was the pump top dispenser. It adds to the convenience of this shampoo, making it easy to use just the amount you need without spilling.
- Good value
- Good subtle scent
- Free of dyes and silicones
- Not the most effective lather
- Target only
Suave may be best known as a budget-friendly drugstore brand, and it still is, but this was also the best men’s shampoo we tested at $5 and under. But given the trend toward natural ingredients, the big brands have noticed. That includes the Unilever-owned Suave.
Their Tea Tree and Hemp Seed Oil formula lathers well and is made cruelty-free with 100% natural tea tree and hemp seed oil. It’s also silicone free and made without dyes, parabens, or phthalates. As a bonus, the packaging is made from 100% recycled plastic. We found it has a mild, natural-smelling tea tree scent, even though fragrance is added. A matching conditioner is also available.
As far as drugstore brands go, Suave’s tea tree & hemp seed oil is the best men’s shampoo for guys who don’t want to spend a lot.
- Affordable and widely available
- Natural tea tree and hemp oil
- Recycled plastic packaging
- Lid could be better
- Some may prefer a more pronounced scent
If subtlety is what you’re after, this probably ain’t it. If you’re after one of the best men’s shampoos to wake up with, look no further than Anthony’s Hair + Body Wash. This teal shampoo is so vibrant it’d make Mountain Dew blush, but in a good way. It also has a strong aroma, with a crisp, cologne-inspired fragrance.
But invigorating is what they’re going for, and this shampoo certainly meets that criteria with eucalyptus, balsam, and birch leaf to leave you feeling refreshed, clean, and ready to face the day. Plus, it can be used as a body wash, and in our testing, it worked very well for washing both hair and body.
Anthony’s shampoo isn’t tested on animals, and it’s also free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, GMOs, DEA, triclosan, and gluten. The bottle has a disc top lid for easy dispensing. With the easy control from the lid, we found that a little went a long way.
- Works for hair and body
- Paraben and sulfate-free
- Lathers well
- Scent can be too strong
- Somewhat pricey
How We Reviewed the Best Shampoo For Men
It’s not easy to apply objective standards to something as personal as your shower routine, so we considered many different factors, including price, ingredients, and lathering. We also considered formulas and crucially, what ingredients aren’t in the bottle, awarding points to brands that prioritize cruelty-free practices and emphasize natural ingredients.
To determine the best men’s shampoo, we weighed several factors, including but not limited to:
Ingredients — We looked at what is and what’s not in the ingredients, awarding points to brands that prioritized natural ingredients and avoided sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. Today, the best men’s shampoo doesn’t have to be made with, and shouldn’t be made with, harmful chemicals.
Animal-friendly — We scored higher for products committed to cruelty-free practices, meaning they’re not tested on animals. Again, today, we have ways to circumvent things like animal testing.
Lather and Cleansing — Some things you can only find out by using a product, which is why testing categories like lathering and how clean we felt after using it made up the biggest percentage of our testing criteria.
Why Trust SPY When Choosing the Best Shampoo
SPY’s team spends a lot of time reading ingredient labels and finding the best new grooming brands, but at the end of the day, we know the most effective way to find the best stuff is to test it ourselves. And while we can’t do that for every product we write about, all products featured on our list were tested by our editors, including men with short, curly hair and guys with thin, straight hair.
Other than the best men’s shampoos, SPY has extensively tested other grooming products. Recently, we’ve tested, reviewed, and written about the best lip balm, the best hair tonic, and also the best shave butter.
If you’re interested, you can read more about How We Test Products at SPY.
About the Author
Commerce Editor, Jonathan Zavaleta, is a Los Angeles-based writer who has tested everything from sound gear to fragrances and has a love for awesome men’s accessories. Recently, he’s shared his experiences with the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds 2, the best solid cologne for men, and also the best men’s tote bags. Outside of journalism, he has a passion for style, biking to work, and music.
Co-reviewing the best men’s shampoo alongside him were SPY Site Director, Tim Werth, and E-commerce Editor, Joseph Cheatham, who both contributed testing notes.