Choosing the ideal shampoo for your curly, coily, or wavy hair can be tricky. While many shampoos and cleansers are notorious in the textured hair community for being drying and stripping your hair of its natural oils (take a look at these sulfate-free shampoo suggestions), the fact is, clean hair is the absolute best base to start with before applying your favorite moisturizing products. The key is to find a formula that addresses your specific hair needs, and oftentimes that includes finding a shampoo that is both mild and leaves your scalp and hair feeling fresh and free of build-up.

When it comes to coily hair, SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo has been a community favorite for curlies for years and was voted the best cleanser for all hair types in the 2020 Best of the Best Awards. On my last wash-day, I tried this fan-favorite to see if it could pass the test of cleansing my fine coily strands without leaving them feeling dry and crispy.

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My first impression:

One aspect that I looked forward to in trying this shampoo was its list of ingredients, specifically the JBCO. I am a huge JBCO fan and it’s absolutely my preferred sealant of choice when moisturizing--my routine wouldn’t be the same without it. Seeing that this cleansing product’s formula included a highly moisturizing oil like JBCO gave me the impression that it just might be able to give me the gentle cleansing experience that I aspire to have on every wash-day.

In addition to my holy grail sealant, some other stand-out ingredients include shea butter for added strengthening of the hair, peppermint for a tingly scalp sensation, and apple cider vinegar to balance the pH of your hair and scalp. And in true SheaMoisture fashion, the Strengthen & Restore shampoo is also completely free of common undesirable ingredients. No parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, phthalates, propylene glycol, and more importantly no sulfates. Sulfates are usually the culprit behind a lot of overly abrasive shampoos.

If you tend to read the ingredients labels on your products with a critical eye, SheaMoisture doesn’t disappoint.

How I incorporated it into my wash-day routine:

Before getting in the shower, I prepped my hair by applying NaturAll Club’s Hydrating Avocado Conditioner and combing through my hair with my detangling brush, sectioning off my hair into about eight sections and twisting each one. After ensuring that tangles would be kept at bay, I applied dime-sized amounts of the JBCO Strengthen & Restore Shampoo to the roots of my hair, working it into my scalp. Concentrating on the roots gets the scalp clean and prevents unnecessary dryness--just let gravity move the shampoo and water down your strands instead of applying more shampoo.

While in my hair, the shampoo felt really smooth. The lather was really soft and the smell was really pleasant and light, which lingered after rinsing.

Final results?

Immediately after washing and before applying conditioner, I noticed that my hair felt really soft, all things considered. I’m used to my hair feeling dry after washing and then attempting to “revive” it with conditioners and leave-ins. While I wouldn’t say it felt hydrated after (I didn’t expect it to), it most definitely didn’t feel dry or “stripped,” and my scalp felt squeaky clean and buildup-free. All-in-all the JBCO Strengthen & Restore Shampoo undoubtedly prioritizes gentle cleansing, and I recommend it for any naturals who may be wrestling with pesky dryness on wash-day.

For moisturizing, I used Kinky Curly’s Knot Today Leave-In and Detangler, the Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey, and my all-time favorite, Jamaican black castor oil.

What shampoo gives you a good cleansing experience? Tell us about some of your favs below.