Last Updated: May 4, 2023 @ 1:46 pm.

What is the best set of moisturizing shampoo and conditioner? To find out, we asked our readers for their favorites. Then we tried a dozen brands with our staff. What is the best for color-treated hair? For curly hair? Here are the ones we like most.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Finding the Best Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: Our Tests & Tips

Here at the home office in Colorado, we know dry weather. At high altitude, the humidity is often measured in the single digits—which makes a shampoo and conditioner that moisturizes more of a necessity than a luxury!

So when we tested a dozen different brands that are popular with our readers, we had no shortage of staff with dry hair that needed moisture!

How We Test

To keep things fair, we poured the shampoo and conditioner into generic bottles. That way we weren’t influenced by brands or fancy packaging!

We also tested these brands by using them for a full week to judge their moisturizing results.

Tips & Tricks: Finding Your Hair Type

One of the biggest challenges to finding the right shampoo and conditioner is determining your hair type. And while some hair types are obvious (curly after is, well, curly), other hair types take a bit of detective work.

There are three main factors that determine hair type: texture, density and porosity. 

Here is the 411 on hair types, based on our interviews with salon veterans:

1. Texture. While texture and density sound like the same thing, texture is actually the size of a follicle of your hair—larger diameter hair is more coarse, small diameter is considered fine. So how do you determine the texture of your hair?

Take a strand of hair from your comb or hairbrush and feel it—if it is barely there, you most likely have fine hair. Coarse hair is like holding a strand of thread. (Of course, your hair could be somewhat in between—that is medium texture).

2. Density.  This is the amount of hair you have—the less you have, the thinner your hair’s density. So how do you tell this in real life? Look at your scalp with a mirror. If you can’t see your scalp, you have thicker hair. The scalp is more visible with thinner hair, especially when your hair is parted.

3. Porosity. Have you ever noticed your hair changes when it is more humid outside? Some hair changes more with more humidity (porosity)—basically, the absorption and retention of moisture.

Some folk’s hair is simply more porous than other folks—and color-treatments can make someone’s hair more porous than it was before.

A good way to test for your hair’s porosity is to float a hair in a glass of water (try hair from different parts of your scalp, as your hair’s porosity can be different from place to place). If your hair sinks in the water, it has high porosity. If it floats, it is low.

Here are the best moisturizing shampoos and conditioners from our hands-on tests:

Best For Color-Treated Hair

Pricey but worth it
We couldn't decide what we liked more about this set—the impressive results (soft and luxurious) or the amazing scent. Caveat: not everyone likes the mint.

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Best For Driest Hair

Great for fine to medium hair
We love the smooth and soft results from this set—perfect if your hair is dry or brittle. Lovely scent.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Calms the frizz
This set costs less per ounce than others we tried, but the results were almost as good—very hydrating! Great on color-treated hair as well.

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Best For Curly Hair

Wonderful scent
Shea butter is the star feature here and we are impressed with how well it lathers—readers who have curly hair tell us they love this brand.

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About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.