The best shampoo for damaged hair to help repair broken strands

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Best shampoo for damaged hair

by Emma White |
Updated on

We put our hair through the wringer on the daily. Whether it’s heat styling, colouring or over-brushing, there’s no surprise our tresses sometimes send out an SOS. If you’re struggling with dry strands and split ends, do not panic. As well as hunting down the best leave-in conditioners for some extra TLC, we’ve also found the best shampoo for all types of damaged hair, so you can get your locks looking lush again.

Swapping your shampoo to a formula specifically designed to combat damage and repair strands can be super beneficial. In the same way limp hair would benefit from the best shampoo for fine hair, your damaged strands will heal faster with the right formula. You and your hair will be thanking us later, we promise.

Knowing which type of damaged hair you have is also super important when it comes to choosing the correct shampoo. We've chatted to Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist at Philip Kingsley to get her expert advice on understanding your locks. From bond-repairing complexes that strengthen split ends to nourishing ingredients that quench dryness, we’ve rounded up the ultimate hair heroes below.

heat's best shampoos for damaged hair at a glance:

Best shampoo for breakage: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, £22.40 on Beauty Bay

Best shampoo for dryness: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo For Damaged Hair, £33 on Cult Beauty

Best shampoo for colour damage: JVN Undamage Strengthening Shampoo, £18 on Cult Beauty

Best budget shampoo for damaged hair: Noughty To The Rescue Shampoo, £5.99 at Lookfantastic

With a mix of high-end brands such as Olaplex and Amika and high-street knockouts like Pantene and L’Oréal Paris, we've researched and rated the best shampoos for damaged hair that actually make a difference. But first let's get an insight from Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, so we can understand damaged hair a little better.

What are the key signs of damaged hair?

Spotting the early signs that your tresses are struggling is the first step to repairing them. The sooner you identify the problem, the easier it will be to treat. Kingsley explains the three key signs that your hair is damaged. Here's what to look out for girls...

  • "Breakage: Dry hair is a key sign of damaged hair, and as dry hair is more brittle it is likely to snap off and break easily. This is a tell-tale sign that your hair is damaged."

  • "Split-ends: Another one is split ends. This is why regular trims are very important. If ignored, split ends can split further up the hair shaft, causing even more damage."

  • "Frizz: Damaged hair is more porous, which means it allows more ambient moisture in through the cuticle. Additionally, dry hair absorbs more moisture from the atmosphere causing each hair cuticle, or outer layer, to swell up instead of lying flat making your hair frizzy. While frizz can be caused by several reasons, it is often due to dryness and damage to the hair shaft or moisture in the air. Even though how frizz-prone your hair is depends on its natural structure and how porous it is, if you notice your hair getting more frizzy than usual it could be a sign of damaged hair."

What causes damaged hair?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of daily habits and practices that lead to our hair having a freakout. “So many factors can cause hair to become damaged – from over-styling and UV exposure to chemical processes such as bleaching and highlighting, and of course frequent use of heated styling tools like hairdryers, tongs, straighteners or curling irons,” says Kingsley. Even things like tying your hair up too tightly and over-brushing can cause breakage.

Don't worry huns we're not here to tell you to ditch your straighteners for good. Luckily there are several shampoos on the market that you can incorporate into your routine to not only repair damage but also help prevent future problems. We're talking stronger and healthier strands all round. Here are our shampoo saviours...

SHOP: The best shampoo for damaged hair, to repair breakage and cure dryness

Best shampoo for breakage

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Ulta$15.00View offer
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This super restorative shampoo uses a patented bond-building technology to heal all kinds of damage caused by colouring, bleaching and heat styling. Say goodbye to frizziness and split ends, and over time welcome hair that's easier to manage, shinier and healthier.

Customer review: "Spent years avoiding the hype and finally gave in when I was bought it for Christmas and got hooked - Now I can’t stop buying! Makes my bleached hair feels amazing - I only wash my hair once/twice a week so well worth the money and lasts for ages as a little goes a long way."

Pros

  • Visibly repairs breakage and helps to prevent future damage
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Safe for coloured hair

Cons

  • Not the best for moisturising and hydrating

Best shampoo for dryness

Uniting the cleansing powers of a shampoo with the nourishing benefits of a hair mask, Briogeo's formula is perfect for dry and damaged hair. A combination of algae extract, panthenol, biotin and rose oil hydrates without weighing hair down and the non-stripping formula is also super gentle on sensitive scalps too.

Customer review: "I always repurchase this shampoo and the matching conditioner. The shampoo actually cleans and cleanses your scalp and hair without drying it out or stripping its natural oils. My hair is prone to dryness but these really keep it hydrated. These bottles are also huge!"

Pros

  • Doesn't leave hair feeling greasy
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Very strong smell
  • Hard to get all of the product out of the bottle

Best for colour damage

Deeply cleanse without stripping your hair of essential oils with JVN's special sustainable ingredient - sugarcane-derived hemi-squalane. A fortifying blend of jojoba and ceramides mimics hair lipids, healing damaged cuticles and repairing split ends. It's especially great for keeping colour-treated hair feeling silky soft.

Customer review: "I have dyed hair (balayage) and this is the best shampoo I have used. My hair feels light and hydrated and I don't get a horrible build-up after a few days. Love this shampoo, worth the price."

Pros

  • Super gentle on delicate locks
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Less of a lather compared to other shampoos

Best budget shampoo for damaged hair

Achieve luscious locks with this rich and hydrating formula. It's packed with sunflower seed extract and sweet almond extract to increase moisture and boost elasticity. The nourishing shampoo also helps to protect hair from environmental aggressors. Plus it's made using 97% natural ingredients!

Customer review: "I absolutely love the Noughty range, particularly the To the Rescue one. It’s such great value for money for a range that is silicone and sulphate-free. I recommend it to all my friends."

Pros

  • The super hydrating ingredients leave hair feeling ultra soft and moisturised
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Cons

  • The richer formula might be too heavy for oilier hair types

Best shampoo to help strengthen hair

Are your locks feeling fragile and looking broken? If so this is the shampoo for you. Vegan proteins deliver keratin-like benefits, while a blend of plant butters that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids leave hair feeling stronger and more resilient.

Customer review: "I waited a bit to review this because I wanted to use the product for a while to get a good sense of how it worked with my hair long term. I really love this shampoo! The scent is great yet not overpowering. With some repair shampoos, I feel that they don’t clean my scalp as well as a clarifying shampoo, etc. Usually, I have to use a different shampoo on my scalp than the repair shampoo on the rest of my hair. I don’t have to do that with this! It cleans my scalp and hair well without leaving it dry! I also have fashion hair colours and most shampoos strip the color off really fast. I find my colour lasts longer with this shampoo! Definitely recommend!"

Pros

  • Creates a lovely luxurious lather
  • Powerful bond cure technology that helps heal and strengthen broken strands

Cons

  • Doesn't help as much with frizzy hair

Best nutrient-rich shampoo to reverse signs of damage

Repairing stressed-out locks doesn't have to cost a fortune. Treat your tresses to Patene's active Pro-V nutrients which work to heal broken strands for visibly healthier and stronger hair. The formula also helps to calm frizziness for smooth and shiny results.

Customer review: "Love Pantene shampoos and conditioners. When I started using Pantene the first time I was surprised how well it worked. Alone applying it was great. Other shampoos make my hair sticky and when drying it stays sticky which is weird. Pantene makes my hair feel restored, easy to comb and smells fresh. Have tried various Pantene shampoos and this is one of the ones I use the most."

Pros

  • Gently cleanses hair
  • Helps to prevent split ends

Cons

  • Not vegan friendly

Best shampoo for silky-smooth locks

Bring your hair back to life with L'Oréal's hardworking duo of ingredients - wheat protein and gold quinoa extract. They work to cleanse your tresses of impurities while visibly repairing surface damage and rebalancing moisture levels.

Customer review: "This has really helped my lightened, damaged hair and ends to come back to life. My ends are extremely dry from heat damage and colouring and this shampoo helps to soften and detangle, as well as more expensive brands in my opinion. Subtle scent, and beware of a slight shimmer!"

Pros

  • Hair feels super soft and clean afterwards
  • Doesn't weigh down hair, instead feels light and bouncy

Cons

  • Not sulfate free
  • Not vegan friendly
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