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Sulfate-free shampoos have become increasingly popular within the last couple of years. I’m a fan, but I wanted to answer a couple questions about these type of shampoos as well as list 15 of the most popular on the market today.
Is sulfate-free better for your hair?
After I transitioned from chemically straightened hair to my naturally curly hair, I quickly saw my hair rebelling against my traditional shampoo. Regardless of how much conditioner, oil, or product I slathered on, it was no help. It was dry, frizzy and almost unmanageable. And split ends … let’s not even go there!
Stylists like Lorraine Massey and Anthony Dickey point to sulfate shampoo as the culprit. They have challenged consumers for years to opt for “low ‘poo” (i.e. low sulfate) or sulfate-free shampoos. These sulfates are usually listed as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate and abbreviated as SLS.
What’s the deal with SLS?
It can’t be that bad if it’s been in our shampoo for decades, right? Wrong. While it’s not a carcinogen despite unfounded rumors, it is a common detergent found in tons of household items including laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste … the list goes on. If you don’t believe me, just read your labels. (I did.)
For this reason alone I would opt for sulfate-free shampoo. I don’t want to wash my hair, skin, or baby with the same detergent that cleans my clothes and dishes.
I have used sulfate-free shampoo, body soap, and baby wash exclusively and I have definitely noticed less flare-ups of eczema and dry scalp/dry skin, my hair is less frizzy, and my body feels softer — my hair even seems to respond better to my hair products after each shampoo!
So if you’re thinking of going sulfate-free, here’s a list of 15 sulfate-free shampoos to consider:
1. Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo is infused with the power of balancing “active naturals” Seaweed Extract and naturally derived cleansers. This formula with sulfate-free technology works to lift away impurities without over-stripping. It helps to rebalance hair’s optimal moisture levels leaving it shiny, healthier-looking, and full of life. Also safe for color-treated hair!
2. Bee Mine Moisturizing Shampoo
Bee Mine Botanical Moisturizing Shampoo is loaded with botanical extracts to gently cleanse hair, remove residue, and moisturize while enhancing natural shine. It leaves hair touchably soft and smooth. This formulation will nourish the scalp and strengthen the hair without stripping or weighing it down. Cleanse, hydrate, and quench your thirsty dry hair with this botanical moisturizing shampoo.
3. Curls Curlicious Cleansing Cream
Curls Curlicious Cleansing Cream is not a shampoo at all but a cleansing cream which means little or no suds. It’s extremely gentle. Bonus: many of Curls products are made with certified organic ingredients.
4. Eden BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo
Eden BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo is made from the purest botanical ingredients to naturally cleanse impurities and nourish your hair without the use of harsh detergents. It’s formulated to remove dirt and oil build-up, while replenishing the hair and scalp’s natural moisture balance.
5. L’Oreal EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System
L’Oreal EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System contains L’Oreal’s patented Amino Acid Complex which helps weak, thinning hair to look thicker while caring for the scalp.
6. Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo
Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo was early on the sulfate-free scene before others jumped on the bandwagon. It was one of the first that I tried and I still use it today.
7. Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream
Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream is a moisturizing no suds shampoo by (the previously-mentioned) Anthony Dickey. It was created to treat your hair with the same philosophy as skincare, namely that if you have dry skin, chances are you wouldn’t use a harsh detergent to wash your face and so you therefore shouldn’t use traditional shampoos that contain sulfates (found in detergents) because they similarly deplete the hair and scalp of moisture.
8. Audrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo
Audrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo restorative herbal emollients help you achieve ultra-softness and manageability while rehydrating hair fibers to overcome dryness and brittleness and leave hair irresistibly fragrant and silky-soft.
9. Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo
Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo won’t weigh your hair down — it’s perfect for any type of hair.
10. Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo is a sulfate-free cheleating shampoo. “Cheleating” is just a fancy way of saying it removes hard water minerals. This shampoo is also great for removing chlorine from dips in the pool this summer!
11. Living Proof Full Shampoo
Living Proof Full Shampoo is a sulfate-free daily shampoo formulated specifically to care for flat, lifeless hair; it thoroughly cleanses hair of dirt, oil, and product residue in a way that’s gentle.
12. Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo
According to Organix Hair all of their collections are sulfate-free. I chose to feature Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo specifically because it nourishes and strengthens hair.
13. Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo
Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo is actually pretty late to the sulfate-free party. This particular line is fairly new and only carried at limited salon locations, so keep your eyes peeled.
14. Sheamoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
Sheamoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo is a shea butter based sulfate-free shampoo made with certified organic ingredients. I’ve reviewed many of Sheamoisture products and, you know, I have yet to come across one I didn’t like.
15. Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo
Aveda does not label the Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo as a sulfate-free product but in reviewing the full ingredient list there are no SDS or SLS listed.
16. Function of Beauty Personalized Set
Ever dreamed of having shampoos and conditioners made just for your hair? Well, now you can! Function of Beauty uses an easy online quiz to understand the current state of your hair as well as what “hair goals” you would like to see it achieve, to then create the perfect formula for you. Best of all? It’s sulfate-free!