Biologically speaking, hair has evolved to protect us, to keep us warm. But over a few thousand years, it has become so much more. Hair is power. It’s identity; it’s confidence. It’s deeply personal, and it connects us to a larger world — to our family, our community, our culture. And at Allure, it connects us to you. That’s why the Hair Care category of our 2023 Allure Best of Beauty Awards involved testing (and retesting) hundreds of shampoos, conditioners, curl creams, mousses, gels, and at-home hair dyes to find the products that deliver real results for every hair type, texture, color, and length.
Here, meet the 48 top picks worthy of your crown (and our seal), because your strands deserve the best hair-care products of 2023. After you’re done, check out the rest of the winners of the year’s most prestigious beauty awards. Not sure where to start? We’ve got tons of reader faves in Skin Care, Tools (including blow-dryers and flatirons), Splurges, and Steals — all ready and waiting for a spot on your highly discerning vanity.
Best of Beauty Awards 2023: Hair
Jump to your favorite category to find your new favorite shampoo and conditioner combo, curl-styling cream, volumizing mousse, and more.
Best Hair-Styling Products
Hair Volumizer, Spray: Nexxus Unbreakable Care Root Lift Thickening Spray
Why it won: If you take more of a closer-to-God approach to volumizing, Nexxus Unbreakable Care Root Lift Thickening Spray is an answer to your prayers. Our fine-haired testers massaged it straight into the scalp post-shampoo and were very impressed with the all-day height.
Dry Shampoo, Spray: Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo
Why it won: A blast of Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo builds impressive height — without a trace of white.
Dry Shampoo, Powder: Oribe Serene Scalp Oil Control Dry Shampoo Powder
Why it won: If you prefer a nonaerosol option, sprinkle the rice, corn, and tapioca starch blend of Oribe Serene Scalp Oil Control Dry Shampoo Powder onto your roots and watch the oil disappear.
Curl Styler: Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Gel
Why it won: For sculpted curls with a slippery feel, Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Gel locks in luster and blocks humidity, so frizz can’t run rings around your style.
Hair Volumizer, Mousse: Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer
Why it won: Free of alcohol and sticky fixatives, Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer is that rare mousse that melts into hair, delivering root-to-tip fullness you can run your fingers through.
Hair Texturizer: SexyHair Texture Beach’n Spray
Why it won: Achieving “effortless” waves used to require a date with a curling iron — or a surf instructor. But SexyHair Texture Beach’n Spray provides instant texture with zero commitment.
Hair Texturizer, Voloom Very Airy Low Residue Dry Texturizing Spray
Why it won: If you prefer a more tamed than tousled texture, Voloom Very Airy Low Residue Dry Texturizing Spray builds weightless volume with a shiny finish.
Wave Enhancer: Ceremonia Pequi Styling Gel
Why it won: Ceremonia Pequi Styling Gel encourages bounce and exerts perfect control, so waves practically style themselves. No, really. One tester says she found the gel to “reactivate with water” — all it took was a couple of spritzes and her day-two hair looked better than ever.
Finishing Oil: Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil
Why it won: Like the name suggests, Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil contains pure honey — the undisputed queen of sheen. Rich in amino acids and antioxidants, it glazes over flyaways and protects against environmental stressors.
Frizz Smoother: Living Proof No Frizz Smooth Styling Spray
Why it won: Think of Living Proof No Frizz Smooth Styling Spray as a topcoat for your hair: With sunflower seed and castor oils, it forms a moisture-resistant barrier that preserves sleekness — no matter how high the humidity.
Hairspray: Fekkai Clean Stylers Volume Lock Hairspray
Why it won: Fekkai Clean Stylers Volume Lock Hairspray is strong enough to prop up your style and lightweight enough to double as a finishing mist.
Blowout Cream: BondiBoost Volume + Texture Styling Cream
Why it won: The choice between body and texture is usually an either/or proposition: Products that add fullness also tend to add stiffness. But BondiBoost Volume + Texture Styling Cream delivers the best of both worlds, producing airy blowouts with a polished feel.
Hair Mousse: Hours Full-Time Plumping Mousse
Why it won: We’ve burned too many calories and blown too many fuses in the service of blowouts that last one day. Enter Hours Full-Time Plumping Mousse. The airy whip dissolves on contact and gives your style incredible staying power. Bonus: The floral scent leaves a trail so enticing, we could follow it in the dark.
Edge Styler: Kiss Colors & Care Edge Fixer Wax Stick
Why it won: Not to wax poetic, but Kiss Colors & Care Edge Fixer Wax Stick will transform your edges — if not your life. The twist-up stick is a cinch to apply and the nongreasy texture coaxes baby hairs into place.
Pomade: Jillian Dempsey Roadie Hair Pomade
Why it won: The magical pants of hair pomade, Jillian Dempsey Roadie Hair Pomade fits every style and conforms to every shape. The non-tacky formula musses the ends of short cuts, sculpts long layers, and smooths flyaways with a cool, semimatte finish.
Twisting Cream: TPH by Taraji Twist and Set Moisture-Rich Twisting Cream
Why it won: The mango seed and shea butters in TPH by Taraji Twist and Set Moisture-Rich Twisting Cream define curls and elongate twist-outs.
Heat Protectant: Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer
Why it won: Bring on the curling irons! The music festivals! The outdoor weddings! Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer resists humidity, guards against UV rays, and protects against scorching temps.
Best Shampoos and Conditioners
For Fine Hair: Andrew Fitzsimons Body Volume Shampoo + Conditioner
Why it won: Like a double shot of espresso, Andrew Fitzsimons Body Volume Shampoo + Conditioner caffeinate and reanimate listless hair with a potent blend of strand-strengthening protein (for more density over time) and follicle-stimulating caffeine (for temporary thickness).
For Dry Hair: L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron Plump Hydrating Shampoo + Conditioner
Why it won: Not to split hairs, but hyaluronic acid is technically more than a skin-care ingredient. Added to L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron Plump Hydrating Shampoo + Conditioner, the sugar-based molecule binds moisture to individual strands, locking in sleekness and shine.
For Damaged Hair: Biolage Strength Recovery Shampoo & Conditioning Cream
Why it won: Biolage Strength Recovery Shampoo & Conditioning Cream help to erase all evidence of chemical and heat-styling damage. The creamy duo smooths down cuticles and reforms split ends with squalane — the very lipid that routine abuse strips away.
For Color-Treated Hair: Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo & Conditioner
Why it won: The antioxidants and UV filters in Pureology Strength Cure Sulfate Free Shampoo & Conditioner prevent fading and protect against breakage, leaving hair as glossy as the day you stepped out of the salon.
For Curly Hair: Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo & Deep Conditioner
Why it won: Too much moisture flattens your roots; too little sucks the life from your curls. With the ideal balance of lightweight oils and coconut-derived cleansers, Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo & Deep Conditioner keep things from spiraling out of control.
For Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner
Why it won: Head & Shoulders Shea Butter Shampoo & Conditioner minimize flakes with gold-standard zinc pyrithione but won’t undermine shine, thanks to the addition of omega-rich shea butter.
For Clarifying: Monday Haircare Clarify Shampoo
Why it won: Monday Haircare Clarify Shampoo gets right down to business with grapefruit extract (to lift away product buildup) and coconut oil (to quiet flyaways).
Shampoo Bar: Good Time Hydrating Shampoo Bar
Why it won: Packed with glycerin, the Good Time Hydrating Shampoo Bar gives us the gentlest of cleansers with the longest of lifespans (one bar outlasts three bottles of liquid wash with no plastic trash at the end).
Hair-Conditioning Bar: Kitsch Purple Toning Solid Conditioner
Why it won: The purple pigments in every hunk of Kitsch Purple Toning Solid Conditioner make maintaining your cool blond or gray a literal piece of cake.
Best Purple Shampoo
Dove Love Your Silver Sulfate-Free Purple Shampoo
Why it won: With its built-in violet tint, Dove Love Your Silver Sulfate-Free Purple Shampoo neutralizes yellow tones, rendering a maximum platinum (or silver) effect.
Best Treatment for Thinning Hair
Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam
Why it won: Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam boasts the highest dose of the only topical ingredient proven to treat hereditary hair loss. It might sound intense, but the airy foam is just as undetectable as the scent.
Best Scalp Treatment
Scalp Treatment, Scrub: Fekkai Apple Cider Detox Scrub
Why it won: The rice powder, apple cider vinegar, and ginger extract in Fekkai Apple Cider Detox Scrub work in concert to loosen flakes and boost circulation, giving hair unprecedented oomph.
Scalp Treatment, Tonic: Drybar Crown Tonic Pre-Shampoo Scalp-Balancing Cleanser
Why it won: Drybar Crown Tonic Pre-Shampoo Scalp-Balancing Cleanser gets to the root of a scalp-buildup problem with a two-pronged solution: Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids dislodge dead cells, while a scrubby applicator whisks it all away.
Scalp Treatment, Serum: Aveda Scalp Solutions Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum
Why it won: No time to indulge in a shower treatment? The Aveda Scalp Solutions Overnight Scalp Renewal Serum soothes and moisturizes the scalp while you sleep, thanks to calming Centella asiatica (cica) and hydrating hyaluronic acid. “It’s a godsend when my scalp is at its itchiest,” says commerce writer Jennifer Hussein.
Best Leave-In Conditioner
Redken All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment
Why it won: A detangler wrapped in a defrizzer wrapped in a heat protectant, Redken All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment is basically the turducken of conditioners: It promotes shine, repels humidity, and insulates hair from temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Hair Masks
Pre-Shower Hair Mask: SheaMoisture Aloe Butter Scalp Moisture Masque
Why it won: In 30 minutes a week, SheaMoisture Aloe Butter Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque can transform a dry, angry scalp into a soft, supple, itch-free one.
In-Shower Hair Mask: Sachajuan Hair Repair Treatment
Why it won: Like a seaweed wrap for your hair, the algae extract and silicone in Sachajuan Hair Repair Treatment form a vitamin-rich sleeve around each strand.
In-Shower Hair Mask: Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense
Why it won: When we’re looking for a really rich treatment, a reformulation has reignited our love affair with classic Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense, which last won a Best of Beauty Award in 2005. It now has niacinamide plus wheat and corn proteins to repair damage from the inside out; dimethicone and glycerin still smooth on contact.
Best At-Home Hair Color & Dye
Hair Color, Permanent: eSalon Custom Hair Color Set
Why it won: Fill out a questionnaire, upload a photo, and the pros at eSalon Custom Hair Color Set formulate a box of dye tailored specifically to your hair type, skin tone, and color history. The only thing this kit doesn’t do is massage your scalp during the rinse.
Hair Color, Semipermanent: Good Dye Young DYEposit
Why it won: A semipermanent dye with the soul of a deep conditioner, Good Dye Young DYEposit cushions hair with fatty acids and botanical extracts while depositing vibrant color.
Hair Color, Temporary: Hally Shade Stix
Why it won: Available in an array of punky shades that wash out after one shampoo, chunky, Crayola-esque Hally Shade Stix allows you to indulge your creative side. And your playful side. And your has-to-be-at-the-office-at-9 a.m. side.
Hair Color, Hair Gloss: dpHue Glossy Glaze
Why it won: Foolproof, goof-proof, and entirely mess-proof, dpHue Glossy Glaze goes on in the shower straight from the bottle, visibly enhancing color and shine (the only proof we actually need).
Root Coverage, Powder: Madison Reed The Great Cover Up Root + Brow Filler
Why it won: Ideal for a quick fix, the tinted pigments in Madison Reed The Great Cover Up Root Touch Up + Brow Filler cling to grays, camouflage regrowth, and won’t budge until you shampoo.
Root Coverage, Spray: Clairol Root Touch-Up Color + Volume 2-in-1 Temporary Spray
Why it won: When your colorist can’t squeeze you in, a blast of Clairol Root Touch-Up Color + Volume 2-in-1 Temporary Spray provides seamless coverage — and shameless volume.
Best Shampoo/Conditioner for Dogs
Paw Silky Smooth Pet Conditioner
Why it won: The peptides and aloe in Paw Silky Smooth Pet Conditioner keep coats shiny in between baths and grooming appointments (that’s a lifetime in dog years) — a feat our testers, Bernie and Billie, were all too thrilled about.
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