We can style our hair as much as we like, but it will never look its best if we don't get the basics right first.
Thankfully, whatever your haircare needs, there are shampoos, conditioners, masks and treatments out there tailored to you. And now our judges have tried and tested today's leading products so you don't have to.
Keep scrolling to discover the best of the best in wash and care for every hair type.
Best Colour Shampoo
Keeping brass at bay is one of the most important parts of maintaining colour. This shampoo rebalances your hue without stripping moisture from your hair, thanks to the plant-derived humectants in the formula that hydrate and detangle hair. But the real star ingredient of the show is the Alpha Keratin, which repairs damage by filling and smoothing any rough patches on the hair shaft.
Best Colour Conditioner
As Hair Awards judge Zoë Irwin says, this conditioner is “consistently good.” The reparative formula is packed with antioxidants to help mend breakage, strengthen hair and most importantly protect colour at every wash. The bonus is that when you rinse it out your hair smells like spring (think lavender, raspberry and peach).
Highly Commended: Alterna Caviar Infinite Color Hold Conditioner, £19.90 | All Beauty
Best Shampoo for Curly Hair
“This is the most beautiful shampoo I have ever used,” said judge Olivia Rose. High praise indeed, but you can see why. With 92% naturally-derived ingredients including a blend of shea butter, desert peach and ceramides, this shampoo helps to improve moisture on the hair and scalp while also cleansing away product build-up and keeping curls bouncy and voluminous.
Highly Commended: Happy Naturals Curl Defining Shampoo, £3.50 | Amazon
Best Conditioner for Curly Hair
This conditioner may be lightweight but it’s an all-around heavy hitter. The formula includes manuka honey and ceramides to aid with detangling and hydration. Plus, if you worry about frizz and humidity ruining your definition this conditioner keeps them at bay for at least 24 hours.
Highly Commended: Rhyme & Reason Quench & Curl Conditioner+, £8.99 | Amazon
Best Shampoo for Damaged Hair
This rich lathering shampoo helps to strengthen damaged hair by up to 47%. A standout in the ingredients list are the rejuvabeads. These, along with the rest of the formula, repair three layers deep into the hair shaft, leaving the hair visibly healthier and glossier.
Highly Commended: Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo, £19.35 | Lookfantastic
Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair
For seriously damaged hair we all know that consistently applying a good mask is the key to softer, shinier locks. This pick from Klorane is a game-changer. As judge Nicola Clarke describes, this mask is "buttery and rich”, but doesn’t weigh hair down. In fact, you can use it in the shower, overnight or as a leave-in conditioner.
Highly Commended: Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Conditioner, £29.50 | Lookfantastic
Best Hydrating Shampoo
Who would have thought pomegranate oil could pack such a punch? Its ability to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp helps this shampoo revitalise dull and lifeless locks. It also gently cleanses without drying out hair, with organic Coconut Oil and Mango Butter aiding the conditioning process.
Highly Commended: Tropic Nourishing Hair Cleanser, £18 | Tropic
Best Hydrating Conditioner
From quinoa to babassu oil, this rich conditioner is packed with nourishing ingredients. Thanks to the concoction of filler-free components, it enhances shine, locks in moisture and smooths the hair shaft for long-lasting results.
Highly Commended: HIF Hydration Support Cleansing Conditioner, £25 | Deciem
Best Haircare Range for Kids
Made with the gentlest ingredients for your little ones, this range is dermatologically-tested and paediatrician approved. The light custard controls, defines and smooths all hair textures, from light waves to kinks and coils.
Best Natural Ingredient Shampoo
“I loved everything about Hairstory's New Wash — the scent, the sustainable (and Instagrammable) packaging and particularly the innovation,” said judge Jenny Proudfoot. If you normally find hair wash day an arduous task, this cleanser removes product build-up and conditions hair effectively in one step.
Highly Commended: NEOM Organics Super Shower Power Shampoo, £20 | Liberty
Best Natural Ingredient Conditioner
We dare you not to feel more awake and refreshed after using this conditioner as the final step of your morning hair wash. The spearmint and eucalyptus scent is super invigorating while the omega-rich, UV-protecting algae, blended with coconut and sweet almond oil, nourishes and protects the hair for long-lasting shine.
Highly Commended: Sakrid Smooth + Silky Organic Conditioner, £18 | Amazon
Best Shampoo for Natural/Textured Hair
When picking a cleanser for naturally coily hair it can be difficult to strike a balance between maintaining a soft condition and effectively removing product build-up. This cleansing cream leans on ingredients like amla, neem and shikakai to cleanse scalp bacteria while the abyssinian oils keep hair feeling moisturised and nourished.
Highly Commended: thebeautyworX AFRICA Hydrating Shampoo, £7.99 | thebeautyworx
Best Conditioner for Natural/Textured Hair
Sometimes leave-in conditioners can be so lightweight that thicker hair textures can’t fully reap the benefits. This creamy leave-in infuses moisture into coily hair, helping to smooth and define.
Highly Commended: Umthi Restoration Conditioner, £12.99 | Umthi
Best Smoothing Shampoo
Calm frizz without weighing hair down with this nutrient-focussed formula from Rossano Ferretti Parma. Made with 95% natural ingredients like avocado, green tea and macadamia, frizz is forgotten as soon as you lather up.
Highly Commended: Shampora Shampoo, £12.60 | Shampora
Best Smoothing Conditioner
The anti-static complex in this conditioner is a real game-changer for flyaways and frizz. It’s made with a blend of keratin, peptide complex, Avocado oil, Marshmallow Extract, organic Shea Butter and essential oils making detangling a breeze and the hair shaft super smooth.
Best Luxury Scalp Treatment
This luxe serum is small but mighty. With a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts and proteins this serum eases scalp discomfort and adds natural volume to the root. When used daily for a month you’ll notice a marked difference.
Highly Commended: Monpure London Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask, £53 | Feelunique
Best Purifying Scalp Treatment
Stimulate and invigorate your scalp with this ginger-infused scalp saviour. Ginger is a known antiseptic while the neem in the formula also treats irritation thanks to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. This makes for the perfect way to reset an irritated scalp.
Highly Commended: MONAT Scalp Purifying Scrub, £48 | MONAT
Best Purse-Friendly Scalp Treatment
This pro scalp treatment is ideal for soothing and protecting even the most delicate of scalps. The ingredients help strengthen the scalp’s protective barrier, leaving it feeling calm and moisturised. A great way to holistically care for your hair and scalp that your hairdresser will definitely approve of.
Highly Commended: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, £5 | Cult Beauty
Best Intensive Hair Mask For Damage Repair
With sustainably-sourced fennel, this silicone-free formula hydrates hair thoroughly. “It really does boost moisture and when used over time leaves some real results. Loved it,” says Judge Grace Warn.
Highly Commended: Aussie SOS Supercharged Repair Hair Mask, £8 | Ocado
Best Nourishing Intensive Hair Mask
This pre-wash mask is a saviour for dry, brittle hair. If you’ve found your hair breaks easily this will reinforce elasticity and in turn calm frizz and dryness. If it was good enough for Audrey Hepburn, it’s good enough for us.
Highly Commended: Living Proof Restore Repair Mask, £33 | Cult Beauty
Best Natural Formula Intensive Hair Mask
“Gorgeous smell,” notes judge Emily Ferguson. “And it left my hair feeling voluminous for days after.” This mask is a must for dry, damaged and chemically-treated hair, it nourishes from root to tip thanks to the herbal extracts of jatamansi, japapatti and brahmi on the ingredients list.
Best Purse-Friendly Intensive Hair Mask
This conditioner can be used in multiple ways but the outcome is the same: healthy, shiny hair. Whether you opt for a pre-treatment, a post-wash conditioner or an indulgent mask the sunflower oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter nourish and restore hair ensuring intense softness.