Best Salon Shampoos – Top 5 Picks for 2021

This is our official list in search of the best salon shampoo on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product as well as an overview of salon shampoos.

Quick Look:

  1. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars Paul Mitchell Awapuhi
  2. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars Ultrax Labs Hair Surge
  3. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars AG Hair Color Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo
  4. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo
  5. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind

We know time is of the essence, so the above is a cheat sheet of what’s ahead, just in case your’re in a hurry. Otherwise, keep scrolling down for more detailed and constructive info on each item.

5 Highest Reviewed Salon Shampoos to Consider

For a lot of us, salon shampoos can seem intimidating. After all, they cost a lot more than their drugstore counterparts, which can lead to worry that they won’t deliver on their promises and literally be money down the drain.

However, hair experts and stylists almost universally agree that salon shampoos are worth the investment and are much better than their drugstore counterparts. Women’s hair expert Kendra Aarhus, who says she hasn’t used drugstore shampoo in years, compares salon shampoo to a fine wine.

“A professional wine steward can tell subtle differences in [one type of] wine when compared to another,” Aarhus writes. “A professional [stylist] feels the same way about shampoo.” Indeed, while drugstore shampoos might seem like they do the job just fine, a stylist can easily identify hair that’s been washed with drugstore products versus hair that’s treated with salon shampoo. Plus, most salon shampoos eschew sulfates, the lathering agents used in most drugstore shampoos. According to Essence Magazine, sulfates might give you a great lather, but they can leave hair dry, stripped of natural oils and frizzy.

If you’re ready to upgrade your shampoo but aren’t sure which is the best salon shampoo for you, then keep reading. Here are the five best salon shampoos, with an option for just about every hair type and concern.

1.) Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Salon Shampoo


Some beauty products surpass the title of cult classic and are instead considered downright iconic. The Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo is one of those products. This shampoo was sulfate-free before the sulfate-free crazy even began. It lathers beautifully and has a distinct herbal scent that its devotees utterly adore.

This shampoo incorporates the extract of the Awaphui plant, a type of ginger native to Hawaii. It’s extremely moisturizing and gives hair bounce, lift, manageability and shine. It’s ideal for all hair types and works well with just about any conditioner.


  • A cult classic shampoo that’s perfect for any hair type
  • Gives hair great manageability, lift and shine
  • Lathers well and thoroughly cleanses, without stripping the hair of moisture


  • While the Paul Mitchell Awaphui Shampoo is one of those almost universally-loved shampoos, some say that it failed to live up to the hype.
    • Mainly: While it’s a great product, don’t expect miracles if you’re not following up with an equally excellent conditioner

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2.) Ultrax Labs Hair Surge Shampoo

Ultrax Labs Hair Surge

As we age, our hair can begin to thin and lose volume. The Ultrax Labs Hair Surge shampoo is one of the best shampoos on the market for restoring hair grown and reducing thinning and shedding.

Designed for both men and women, the Ultrax Labs Hair Surge shampoo uses a caffeine blend to encourage new hair growth and preserve the hair that you already have. It also includes 0.2% Ketoconazole, an antifungal that has been proven to reduce hair loss. It has an appealing, unisex light mint scent.


  • Will reduce hair thinning and promote new hair growth over time
  • Has a light and minty scent, making it perfect for both men and women
  • Women who aren’t experiencing hair loss but who want to grow out their hair report that this shampoo helps to speed along their growth


  • Some report that it takes about six to eight weeks before you’ll actually see results

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3.) AG Hair Color Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo

AG Hair Color Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo

No one wants to pay to have their hair colored at the salon only to see their beautiful new color rinse down the drain when they take a shower. This is why it’s crucial that those with color-treated hair use the right shampoo.

The AG Hair Color Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to keep their color rich and vibrant. Even though it’s completely sulfate-free, fans of this product rave about how well it lathers and how little product they need to get their hair thoroughly cleaned.


  • Keeps hair color intact and vibrant
  • Lathers great and gets the hair truly clean without sulfates
  • Has a pleasant smell


  • While ideal for color-treated hair types, it’s not the best shampoo for non-color trated hair on this list.

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4.) Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo

Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo

If you have frizzy or difficult to manage hair, then chances are you’ve had to depend on sulfate- and silicone-heavy shampoos to keep it under control. If you’re looking for a salon shampoo that’s organic but will still tame your wild tresses, look no further than the Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo.

This shampoo will smooth your hair without coating it with harsh chemicals and makes styling the hair a lot easier. It’s full of nourishing ingredients, such as aloe, rosemary and chamomile. It has a light, but pleasant scent.


  • Smoothes difficult, wavy and hard-to-style hair
  • It’s organic and free of sulfates and harsh chemicals
  • It makes styling hair much easier


  • While ideal for most hair types, those with very fine hair might find that this shampoo weighs their hair down

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5.) Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Clarifying Salon Shampoo

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind

The Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo is the perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a shampoo that provides salon results, but that’s also cruelty-free, gluten-free and safe for vegan lifestyles. It’s made of almost entirely all natural ingredients and is ideal for all hair types.

It removes buildup from styling product and the minerals in hard water without stripping the hair of its natural moisture. Fans of this natural shampoo praise its light and refreshing scent and its ability to get the hair truly clean without leaving it dry or frizzy.


  • Since it’s free of animal products and isn’t tested on animals, it’s a great choice for vegans
  • It’s all-natural, which means it doesn’t use harsh chemicals to clean your hair
  • It’s safe for colored hair and hair that’s undergone keratin smoothing treatments


  • Since it’s free of silicones, it won’t leave that shine that many fans of salon products prefer

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Wrapping Up

Finding the best salon shampoo for your hair comes down to determining your hair’s needs and finding a quality product that will address your specific hair concerns.

If you’re trying to improve the texture and manageability of your hair, then ditch those subpar drugstore products and try a quality product that is recommended by hairdressers.

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