What is the best shampoo and conditioner for long hair?

What is the Best Shampoo for Long Hair

It turns out caring for long hair is a balancing act. The top of your hair gets oily faster, while the bottom tends to remain dry. If you wash it every day, the ends get frizzy. If you don’t wash it every day, the scalp turns into oil central. The trick is to have 2 types of shampoo and 2 types of conditioner – one harsher and one gentler. You can adjust your use of each shampoo and conditioner depending on your hair’s needs!

Brush Before Washing & Use an Oil Pretreatment

Before stepping into the shower, I brush my hair. I basically never brush at any other time, because brushing wet hair is damaging and brushing dry hair breaks apart my curls and makes my hair triple in size. (Lord knows I don’t need more volume.) Also, brushing before washing makes it easy for me to distribute the shampoo and conditioner in the shower.

I then apply an oil pretreatment that I make at home. It is a blend of castor oil and black seed oil – which a friend of mine calls “black gold!” Black seed oil is amazing for hair.

Castor oil and Black Seed oil for hair

Two full dropper heads does nicely. I use this pretreatment daily, just before showering. Do not apply this above the ears. It’s meant to moisturize the driest parts of your hair and will cause lots of oiliness if applied to the scalp too often. You shouldn’t drench your hair with it either! I did that once, and definitely regretted it. It won’t seem like you’ve put enough on, but don’t worry about that. This one step will strengthen your hair greatly with time.

Rotate Between Nourishing and Harsher Shampoo & Conditioner

Choose a mostly natural, repairing shampoo that smells great, cleans gently, and softens hair. The idea is not to strip the hair of all natural oils!

Best gentle Shampoo for Long Hair - L'Occitane and Lush

Use only when you can tell that your hair is a little dry at least (for me it’s about 3-4 times a week). Apply all over (from head to tips). I use L’Occitane’s Repairing Shampoo and Lush’s Cynthia Sylvia Stout, which smells heavenly and actually has stout in it (among other things). Stout is apparently ‘extremely conditioning.’ Of course, you don’t have to have 2 gentle shampoos, but I love both of these so much that I’ve decided to use both. (And actually, I use the Cynthia Sylvia Stout every day because I’m addicted to the full-bodied smell!)

The harsher, possibly more chemically based shampoo does strip the hair of oils. A “clarifying” shampoo removes buildup and gives your hair a fresh start when it is getting too oily.

Clarifying shampoo for long hair - PanteneI love Pantene Pro-v, but the fact of the matter is – if I use it every day I do not end up with “luxuriously soft, smooth hair.” For some reason I used to, when I lived in California. Maybe it’s the humidity, or maybe in the 6 years I’ve been living in Boston, MA my body chemistry has changed. Whatever the reason, Pantene been demoted from everyday shampoo to clarifying shampoo, which I use 2-3 times a week.

Apply the clarifying shampoo to the scalp area only! (By now you get the idea :P) Applying it to the ends of your hair will dry it out too much. As I mentioned before, I use the Cynthia Sylvia Stout everyday. When I use Pantene shampoo I apply the Stout one afterward.

Phew! On to conditioners!

On days when you need emergency moisture, you should use a hair mask of some kind.

Conditioners for long hair - Ojon and PanteneI’ve been using a deluxe sample of Ojon’s color sustain PRO for emergency moisture lately, 2-3 times a week. I got it in a Birchbox a few months ago. I know it’s for color treated and damaged hair, but that’s just all the more reason for me to use it! I apply it all over my hair, count to 60 twice, and rinse.

Most days, though, I use any Pantene conditioner. In my experience, all of Pantene’s shampoos and conditioners do the same things to my hair, so I don’t pay attention to the labels that promise “sleekness!” “volume!” “rainbows!” or whatever. I also once heard from a friend that there is no difference – and he heard on good word from a friend of his, who worked in the shampoo industry or something. We’re talking science and fact here folks. (I’m starting to sound like Colbert..)

My only warning: don’t over-condition. If you do, expect fly away hairs en masse.

Use a Leave-In Moisturizer to Reduce Frizz

After showering I wait for my hair to dry partially. Then I apply the R&B cream from Lush as a leave-in, overnight moisturizer. I lurveeee the R&B cream.

Leave in Moisturizer for Long Hair

It smells great, and really does tame frizz, but it takes some fiddling to figure out the right amount to use for your hair. I never, ever apply it to the hair above my ears. It flattens the top of my hair as it dries and looks odd. I also apply a small amount when I wake up to calm the little bit of frizz that appears after moving around in my sleep. It makes a HUGE difference for my hair throughout the day.

Never Sleep on Your Hair

I try not to sleep on my hair. I make a long, loose twist and let it trail above my shoulders on the bed. Tossing and turning on your long hair causes breakage and frizz. I’ve been doing this for years. Once you get into the habit of it, it doesn’t feel unnatural anymore 😛

Happy Frizz Fighting,




14 thoughts on “What is the best shampoo and conditioner for long hair?

  1. Content Catnip says:

    Hi Aruna, I have the same problem as you. We must have the same frizzy curly hair. I use leave-in conditioner too. It’s really hard with long hair to not sleep on it. I have battled with that all my life. Thanks for your advice and I will do what you advise.

    • arunagee says:

      Hi Athena!

      Grr, frizzy curly hair can definitely be a struggle 😐

      What kind of leave in conditioner do you use? Definitely try twisting your hair into a long spiral and laying it directly above your head (wayyy away from the shoulders). It doesn’t work perfectly, but does help. In the morning, use just a touch of leave in conditioner by patting, squeezing, and smoothing down (not running your fingers through) your hair. I hope this helps!!


      • Content Catnip says:

        I don’t use leave-in conditioner really. I tend to just use a good quality conditioner and rake it through with my fingers in the ends in the morning before going out, that tends to work. I am gonna try this hair twist you recommend. Ah the pain we go through having long hair!!

      • arunagee says:

        Haha! Definitely 🙂

        Hmm. I’ve never heard to using high quality conditioner as a leave-in treatment. That’s a cool idea. I don’t want to suggest you to buy something you may not be happy with in the end, but I’m tempted to buy the R&B cream for you as a gift just to try out. It made such a huge difference for me. Would you refuse the gift? 😛 Of course, I TOTALLY understand either way!

      • arunagee says:

        Of course it’s okay with me! In fact, maybe I can put together a little package with a sample of the R&B Cream, tea, snacks, etc.! Can you email me at agnanas (at) gmail (dot) com? 🙂

  2. Sophia says:

    I would recommend using Morrocco Method Shampoos (https://www.morroccomethod.com/index.php)
    Their shampoos are amazing and I can guarantee you will love their products and their all natural, so they’re good for your hair as well. Before I purchased their products I read everything on their website thoroughly and their shampoos will not damage your hair. I did a review on my blog of their shampoos a while back.

    • arunagee says:

      Hey Sophia, Thanks so much for the recommendation. The website is beautiful and the products look legit. I’ll definitely check out the shampoos (and your review)!

  3. Content Catnip says:

    @Sophia and Aruna…about what you posted. What’s your opinion on Moroccan Argan oil for hair? I tried it and it didn’t do anything to make my hair softer. I don’t know if it’s marketing spin or maybe it’s that the product I tried was crappy and I should give another one a go.

    @Aruna re your other comment I’ll send you an email. I want to send you some yummy chocoloate goodies from NZ, unless you would prefer me to send something else like a furry kiwi souvenir or hair products from here.

    • arunagee says:

      Honestly I’ve never tried Argan oil for hair. I use black seed oil and castor oil. @Sophia, you probably have more experience with argan oil. But After looking online, it looks like most Argan oil hair products you can get are not effective. And apparently even the products you can get from professional salons will wash out completely in the shower, so I guess you should think of it as having a short-term effect.

      @Athena, That sounds great 🙂 It’d be fun to do a NZ – US exchange. I can try to get things that you can’t get in NZ. Do you like sweets too? Or do you prefer salty snacks? Are there other things besides hair products you’ve been itching to try?

      • Content Catnip says:

        Hi Aruna,

        You are a darling! Yes I love chocolate and sweets although I am trying to be good and lose weight at the moment. I have tried herseys and must admit I didn’t like it at all, a bit bland.

        Will get back to you about a list of some interesting hair or beauty products – kiwi fruit face cream or something that is from here and couldn’t be bought over in the US maybe would be nice.

        I think based on what you’re saying I will avoid Argan Oil in the future.

      • arunagee says:

        I can’t blame you, Athena. Herseys isn’t my preferred chocolate either 😛 I’m trying to lose some weight, eat less sugar, and get fit too, haha. So I won’t include too much chocolate in your package.

        I’ll come up with a list as well. This’ll be fun!

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