Best Sulfate Free Shampoos

If you find it hard to find a shampoo that doesn’t dry out your hair, or feel that your skin and scalp are easily irritated, it may be due to the harsh cleaning agents found in traditional shampoos. There has been a lot of talk about the harming effects of sulfates recently, and the damage they can do to our hair and skin. But what actually are sulfates, and should we be avoiding products that contain them?

The Science Of Sulfates

Reading the back of a shampoo bottle can seem like reading a totally different language. I tried pronouncing some of the ingredients the other day and gave up halfway through.


What I did notice though was that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfite (SLES) both featured at the top of the list in different brands of traditional drugstore shampoos.


So what are sulfates, and what do they do? Basically, they are strong detergents that clean by cutting through dirt, grime and oil, get rid of product build up, and help create the the frothy, foamy effect we are used to (WomensHealthMag).


Are Sulfates Bad?

The problem is there is a lot of contradictory information about the effects they have on our skin. But sulfates are chemicals which can also be found in industrial cleaners and washing detergents, and recent reports state they can cause skin irritation and dryness (SulfateFreeShampoos).


Other possible effects which can occur from using products which contain sulfates include irritated eyes, irritated scalp, tangled hair, difficulty taming frizz and split ends. In extreme cases it can cause allergic reactions such as swelling of the hands and face (NaturalHealthInformationCentre).


Should I Try A Sulfate Free Shampoo?

If you don’t like the idea of using a shampoo that contains harsh chemicals, there are many on the market which are sulfate free and will be kinder to your hair and skin.


They contain more mild detergents that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils, and should help protect your skin’s natural moisture. They usually don’t froth as much as traditional shampoos, which can take a little while to get used to (SulfateFreeShampoos).


Some specific hair types could also benefit from sulfate free shampoo. As sulfates can contribute to dryness and split ends, naturally dry hair which is coarse, curly or fragile could see an improvement by choosing a shampoo with a more gentle formula WomensHealthMag.


Shampoos that don’t contain sulfates often need more ingredients to make a thicker formula, so don’t be surprised if the ingredients list on these shampoos also seem long and complicated.


Benefits Of Using Natural Ingredients

There are many benefits to switching to a sulfate free shampoo. You should see an improvement to damaged hair quite quickly, as you’ll be cutting out the chemicals which may have been contributing to breakages, split ends and colour loss.


Colour treated hair should preserve its colour for longer. As sulfates are designed to effectively get rid of product buildup and dirt, they can end up stripping your hair’s colour too. Switching shampoos could help you save money by spending less on colour treatments too, which is an added bonus.


You should also benefit from using a sulfate free shampoo if you have sensitive skin, a dry scalp or eczema. New York dermatologist David Bank, M.D. states that sulfates can cause redness and dryness on sensitive skin and irritate it further (WomensHealthMag).


There seems to be a growing trend for products that contain fewer chemicals and basic, natural ingredients. Without knowing the long term effects of chemicals such as sulfates, many people are switching to brands with more natural products.


What To Look For In A Sulfate Free Shampoo

One of the most important features sulfate free shampoos have to offer is the ability to help retain your hair’s natural moisture by protecting that all important natural oil.


There are many different types of shampoos on the market, and choosing the right one depends on your hair and skin type. You can see my top picks in sulfate free shampoos further down.


Organic shampoos can be best suited for people with sensitive scalps or eczema prone skin. Using a product with natural ingredients means your skin and hair is cleaned more gently. However, if you have particularly oily skin these might not provide the deep clean you’re after.


Sulfate free shampoos can contain sulfate derivatives in order to achieve some lather and appealing fragrances, but these tend to be much kinder to your skin than the sulfates I mentioned earlier (SLS and SLES).


Some people can be put off by the ingredients listed in sulfate free shampoos if they are expecting 100% natural products. However, these shampoos should’nt contain harsh chemicals designed to dissolve grease (NaturalHealthInformationCentre), so even if they contain sulfate derivatives they should be healthier for your skin and hair.


How To Get The Best Out Of Your Shampoo

When it comes to shampoos, I used to think the foamier the better. But understanding more about the ingredients we use in everyday products has helped me realise that a shampoo that lathers well isn’t necessarily better for my hair.


There are a couple things you can do to get the best results from sulfate free shampoos.


As they usually don’t lather as much as traditional shampoos, it’s better to work a small amount in your hands first, and then apply it to your hair.


Letting your shampoo sit in your hair for a few minutes will help to absorb the nutrients present in many sulfate free shampoos, and giving your scalp a quick massage can help stimulate blood circulation which is good for your skin.


Sometimes you might need to shampoo twice, especially if you’ve been in the gym or have particularly oily hair. You shouldn’t be needing the same amount of shampoo per hairwash as you did with traditional shampoos though, so you’ll still be getting more out of each bottle.


Best Sulfate Free Shampoos

This daily shampoo by Puracy Naturals is designed for all hair types, and contains essential oils and natural cleansers. It is plant and mineral based, and should clean your hair without drying it out.


It contains botanical extracts and vegetable emollients which help create a richer lather, and it has an appealing citrus mint fragrance. It also contains vitamins E and B5 to help restore dry or damaged hair.


Its natural, coconut based cleansers shouldn’t cause skin irritation, and its essential oils can help soften your scalp and prevent dryness. Their formula comes in a biodegradable bottle which is also kinder to the environment.

What I Like

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    No harsh chemicals or petroleum based ingredients
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    Helps restore essential nutrients
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    Hypoallergenic and vegan
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    Hair feels softer with less breakages

What I don't Like

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    Some hair types can feel dry
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    May not be suitable for oily skin

This invigorating sulfate free formula can help rejuvenate your hair and scalp. It contains essential oils, herbs, minerals and vegetable protein.


Their Triple Treat shampoo is enriched with tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint, which can act as a natural antiseptic and moisturiser. This can be a good choice if you have a dry scalp, as it can help alleviate dryness and flaking.


It also leaves a tingly sensation on your scalp after hair washing, as its natural ingredients can help increase scalp circulation and unclog pores. You hair should feel stronger with less breakages after a few weeks of use.

What I Like

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    Helps soothe irritated scalps
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    Works well on colour treated hair
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    Has a nice lather
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    Hair feels smooth and silky
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    Scalp feels cool and refreshed

What I don't Like

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    Fine hair can feel dry
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    Can cause stinging in eyes

This caffeine shampoo by Tea42 helps restore moisture and shine to dry or damaged hair by delivering essential nutrients and vitamins. You should also see an improvement in dry scalp symptoms such as itchiness as your skin gets more nourished.


Their formula contains keratin and silk protein to help smooth and repair hair, as well as organic green tea extract with antioxidants to help nourish your scalp and hair follicles.


Herbal ingredients such as rosemary and mint can promote hair growth, and should help retain your hair’s natural moisture. It also has thickening and volumising agents to help revitalise your hair.

What I Like

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    Works well on all hair types
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    Revitalises hair
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    Hair feels smoother
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    Lightweight formula that moisturises

What I don't Like

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    Fragrance is slightly synthetic
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    Doesn’t lather much

Their moisture repair shampoo contains natural plant extracts and is enriched with keratin to help repair chemically damaged hair.


This sulfate free shampoo gently cleanses hair, and helps improve your hair’s overall health by infusing it with argan oil, fatty acids, proteins and nutrients.


Damaged hair can be more porous, dry and fragile. Their formula should help restore your hair’s moisture and elasticity, making it stronger and less prone to breakages.

What I Like

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    Sulfate, phosphate and paraben free
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    Hair feels soft and shiny
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    Has a creamy lather
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    Safe for colour treated hair
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    Contains essential oils and hair nutrients

What I don't Like

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    No volumising properties

This sulfate free shampoo by Kerastase is designed to add nourishment to your hair without added weight. It contains keratin to help restore the outer fibers of hair follicles, and should help tame frizzy hair and protect it from the effects of humidity.


This shampoo seems to do everything; hair appears smoother, softer and detangles more easily, making it a great choice for all hair types. Chemically treated hair should also feel more fluid and nourished, especially if until now you’ve been using a traditional shampoo containing sulfates.


Its gentle ingredients offer a natural restoration to hair, making it softer and easier to manage. If you have very dry hair their conditioner works well too.

What I Like

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    Hair maintains body between washes
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    Frizzy hair looks smoother
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    Doesn’t weigh down fine or thin hair
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    Foams nicely
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    Hair feels soft and healthy

What I don't Like

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    Slightly more expensive

Conclusion

Taking care of our skin is often overlooked when we’re trying to be healthy. We make sure we go to the gym and eat healthy food, but often forget that our body needs care on the outside too.


Using a sulfate free shampoo means you won’t be using harsh chemicals to clean your hair and scalp, which should help retain moisture and be much kinder to your skin.


Some can be too heavy for thin or fragile hair, but I would recommend Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Sulfate Free Shampoo by Kérastase. It helps restore elasticity and moisture to all hair types, including chemically and colour treated hair.


Although it is a little more expensive, I feel it’s worth using a product which is gentle on your skin but effective in taming frizz and creating more manageable, healthy hair. It makes a welcome change to the straw like effect I get from some traditional shampoos.


REFERENCES


http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/sulfate-free-shampoo


http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/irritating-skin-care-ingredients


http://sulfatefreeshampoos.org/why-are-sulfates-bad-for-hair/


http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.html#axzz4RKc0D44N