Our Favorite Shampoo: The 2022 List Beauty Awards

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There's nothing quite like leaving your visit to the hair salon with an extra bounce in your step — and in your curls! But trying to replicate the same va-va-voom volume at home is a whole other story. The trick is to find the perfect volumizing shampoo that will clean your scalp without stripping away your natural oils. 

Of course, there are plenty of shampoo brands out on the market — from salon staples to drugstore finds. In the sea of shampoos, it can be difficult to find that special one that won't let you down. Luckily for you, The List tried several shampoos from various price points to find the best shampoo for 2022.

We decided to test shampoos specifically designed to clear scalp buildup, as that's the main problem that weighs us down (literally). All of the shampoos were rated in six categories: formula, application, scalp build-up removal, degreasing capabilities, volume, and finished look. To keep testing similar to our usual haircare routine, we used the same styling products for each wash, including a hair mask, leave-in conditioner, volumizing treatment, bond repair treatment, detangler, and heat protectant. Then we finished our look using the Conair Inifinitipro Quick Styling Hair Dryer and Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizing Hot Air Brush.

So without further ado, here are The List Beauty Awards: shampoo addition!

Head & Shoulders Supreme Detox and Hydrate Shampoo: Winner

Well known for its anti-dandruff haircare line, the drugstore brand Head & Shoulders has come a long way. These days, it offers more luxurious oil-infused formulas, such as Head & Shoulders Supreme Detox & Hydrate Shampoo ($9.99). Along with pyrithione zinc that works as the anti-dandruff ingredient, this shampoo also contains coconut oil and argan oil to moisturize and salicylic acid to exfoliate. 

The shampoo, which boasts a 4.8-star rating on Ulta, claims to deeply cleanse and hydrate the scalp simultaneously. We found that the sulfate-free formula soothes the scalp and helps control dryness and itchiness. In our tests, it rated high for formula, application, scalp build-up removal, degreasing capabilities, volume, and finished look. 

Immediately, the creamy, rich formula lathered so well that it only took a couple of pumps from the bottle to cover our whole scalp. This was especially impressive considering the sulfate-free formula. This shampoo degreased our roots while imparting a healthy, hydrated shine that wasn't oily. Even though it's hydrating, the shampoo gave us plenty of volume and lift at the roots. 

This product also seemed to clear build-up from the scalp, as promised. However, because this is an exfoliating formula, you may see small flakes of dead skin appear. Fortunately, they're easy to brush off. As you continue to use the shampoo, the treatment should minimize build-up over time such that you won't have as much dead skin on the scalp. The finished look is phenomenal, and even more impressive is its affordable price.

Bumble & Bumble Bb.Sunday Shampoo: Runner-up

The salon brand Bumble & Bumble has quickly become a favorite among haircare enthusiasts, offering products for every hair concern, including the Bumble & Bumble Bb.Sunday Shampoo ($29). This shampoo is said to work on straight, wavy, and curly hair as a deep-cleansing shampoo perfect "for product lovers and infrequent washers" (via Ulta). Vogue UK named it the "best weekly clarifying shampoo" for its ability to deep-cleanse product residue, scalp buildup, and excess oil.

We have high-maintenance haircare routines and don't wash our hair often because the ends tend to get dry, so this felt like the perfect shampoo to test on our oilier roots. Unfortunately, this shampoo is not color-safe and we have pink ends. Since shampoo is applied to the scalp/root area, we figured it wouldn't affect the color in the bottom half of our hair, but this may be a con for some users.

The product contains ginseng (which acts as an astringent), anti-inflammatory rosemary leaf extract, and clarifying sage leaf extract. We gave this shampoo high marks in application, scalp build-up removal, degreasing capabilities, volume, and finished look.

The formula was slightly runny and smelled like a generic hotel shampoo. However, it lathered well to cover the whole scalp, so only a small amount of product was required. The deep-cleansing claims checked out as it removed the build-up on our scalp and degreased our roots. It wasn't over-drying in one use, but we think it's best used as a weekly clarifying shampoo. Our roots had plenty of volume and lift, and the finished look was stunning.

Biolage Colorlast Shampoo: Runner-up

Hairdresser Arnie Miller started Biolage back in 1990. The professional-quality brand is often used in salons and contains natural, botanical ingredients that are vegan and paraben-free. Life & Style named Biolage Colorlast Shampoo ($20) as the best overall color-safe shampoo for 2021, so we decided to try it out for ourselves. Infused with a sweet orchid scent, this shampoo allegedly keeps your hair color pristine for up to nine weeks.

According to the Biolage website, the shampoo is designed to gently cleanse and maintain color saturation. It contains exfoliating salicylic acid and wild orchid extract. In our test, it rated high in application, scalp build-up removal, degreasing capabilities, and volume. The cream-based formula is slightly runny but applied well through the scalp and roots, and we didn't need to use much product as it lathered well. The clean orchid scent was pleasing, and the shampoo removed all the scalp build-up we had.

Additionally, this shampoo degreases well and therefore gives a good amount of volume to the roots without stripping color, which is probably due to the salicylic acid in the formula. Our hair sprung up slightly and felt lighter after use. However, the shampoo seemed to make some of the hairs near our roots frizzy, as there were flyaways, which was ultimately what set back the finished look.

Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo, System 4: Runner-up

Eva Graham founded the restorative haircare brand Nioxin in 1987 after seeing her dad deal with hair loss. Later acquired by P&G, Nioxin has several systems categorized by hair type (natural, color-treated, chemically processed), and level of thinning (light/normal, progressed). The brand's focus is to create a "healthy scalp environment" with products that create shiny, thicker hair that's twice as full as before.

We tried Nioxin's System 4 shampoo ($21) for color-treated hair with progressed thinning. This detoxifying shampoo offers "medium moisture" and should remove buildup, toxins, and pollutants while offering UV protection. The shampoo contains exfoliating salicylic acid, peptides, and peppermint oil. In the end, we rated it highly in formula, application, and scalp build-up removal.

The gel formula lathers well, covering the whole scalp easily. Plus, it smells invigorating and feels refreshing. It removes build-up without dehydrating the scalp or stripping hair color, which backs up the product's claims. While our roots felt soft and hydrated, the product didn't de-grease as well as the other shampoos we tested. However, this might be due to the "balanced moisture" the product offers. 

Although it made our hair feel lighter at the scalp, we found our hair lacked volume and the shampoo didn't give the "twice as full" hair as promised. The finished look was polished, but we wanted more oomph!

RE-fresh Sea Minerals Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Runner-up

Founded by hair-care professionals in 2019, RE-fresh Scalp Care centers its product line around anti-dandruff treatments. All of its shampoos contain 2% salicylic acid, which is known to eliminate dandruff and scalp build-up. RE-fresh Sea Minerals Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($7.99) was named by Forbes as the best anti-dandruff shampoo for oily hair. Specifically, Forbes claims the shampoo will help control greasy hair but won't strip nutrients at the same time. The sea minerals and white willow are supposed to revitalize hair and boost shine.

We rated this shampoo especially high in its degreasing capabilities and volume. The formula was liquidy and didn't lather as well as the other shampoos, so it took a lot more product to cover the scalp. While it seemed to do a decent job at cleaning our scalp, it felt cleaner with the other shampoos we tested. Our scalp did feel hydrated though, rather than itchy or dry. 

While it's not a heavy-duty shampoo, it's great for those who are looking for a hydrating shampoo that won't strip away oils. The product also cleaned the roots well without drying them out. The shampoo gave some volume and lift to our roots, and the finished look was pretty decent. It's a decent shampoo for its price point, but we still have our favorite!