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Dove Ultra Care shampoo review: A $7 savior for dry winter hair

The $7 drugstore find made my brittle hair so soft and smooth.

Dove shampoo
Dove Ultra Care Shampoo for Dry Hair is an amazing drugstore option for restoring moisture to winter locks. (Amazon)

The season may have just begun, but winter’s harsh winds and frigid temperatures have already started to take their toll on my hair. I’m used to it: Most years, cold outdoor air and dry heated indoor air strip my hair of moisture, leaving it brittle and frizzy. Normally, I spend many winter evenings slathered in hair masks to revive moisture. But over the holidays, I found a faster (and more affordable) solution at my mom’s house. She’s been a Dove devotee for as long as I can remember and had the guest bathroom at her house stocked with Dove Ultra Care Shampoo for Dry Hair. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and healthy my hair felt after I’d used it for just a few days.

Infused with coconut oil, marula oil and grapeseed oil, this shampoo leaves strands feeling soft, hydrated and silky smooth. While 92% of the shampoo consists of natural ingredients, the formula also includes sulfates and other ingredients some people may not be comfortable using on their hair.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Pleasant scent
  • Lathers well
  • Leaves hair soft and shiny
Cons
  • Contains sulfates, not a "clean" formula, includes chemicals
$7 at Amazon

Review: Dove Ultra Care Shampoo for Dry Hair

Since individual experiences with hair care vary person to person, it’s important to consider your own hair type and specific needs before switching shampoos. There’s a slight wave to my own hair, but for the most part, it’s pretty straight, but it can — unfortunately — get frizzy. I’m also fairly basic when it comes to styling. I haven’t dyed my hair in 10-plus years and, mostly, I let it air dry, especially since I work from home. Occasionally I’lI do an at-home blowout if I have somewhere to go. Besides the occasional hair mask to combat winter dryness, I don’t use many products beyond shampoo and conditioner.

The first things I noticed when using this Dove shampoo were how nicely it lathered and how light and fresh it smelled. It rinsed out easily. I followed it with the corresponding Dove conditioner, being careful not to leave it in too long. (I don’t want to weigh down my hair.)

On my initial go-around, I towel-dried for a few minutes then let my hair air-dry the rest of the way. I was amazed by how easy it was to comb through — there wasn’t a knot in sight. When it was completely dry, my hair was not only super-manageable, but it was also so soft and smooth. And there was no frizz!

The second time I washed my hair with Dove Ultra Care Shampoo, I decided to blow it out with my Revlon One-Step, and I couldn’t get over how shiny it looked. After a blowout, my hair normally looks good for two to three days then starts getting greasy. But after using Dove Shampoo, I was able to go four days without washing — and it looked good the whole time. I didn’t notice any buildup after using the shampoo and felt like it gave my hair a deep clean. Overall I found Dove to be a sold drugstore-brand shampoo for dry hair that left my hair silky, soft and moisturized. And I haven’t had to use a hair mask for extra hydration since switching to Dove.

Is Dove shampoo sulfate-free?

While the specific shampoo that I used is not sulfate-free, the brand does have a sulfate-free line called Dove Hair Therapy, which has shampoos available for a variety of hair issues. The sulfates and other chemicals in this Dove Shampoo did not bother my hair, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t affect yours. Typically people with sensitive scalps or processed hair are told to avoid sulfates and other chemicals, so there are a couple of reasons to opt out. No problem, though: Whether your hair needs hydration, strengthening or help with breakage, Dove has sulfate-free shampoo options.

If you want a sulfate-free shampoo that will combat dryness, check out Dove's Hair Therapy line. Shoppers say it helps moisturize and soften their hair without the unwanted chemicals. 

$41 at Amazon

The Dove Ultra Care Shampoo for Dry Hair ingredients

The hero ingredients of this particular Dove shampoo are coconut oil, marula oil and grapeseed oil, which work together to soften, moisturize, restore shine and make hair feel more manageable. But, as I said, there are sulfates in the formula too. So take your pick between Dove Ultra Care Shampoo for Dry Hair and this sulfate-free alternative.