The Best Sulphate Free Shampoos & Conditioners (And Why You Should Use It)
You may have heard that sulfates are bad for your hair. Certainly, in recent years, they have received plenty of bad press and generally, shampoos are manufactured using sulfates. As it so happens most conditioners don’t contain sulfates but there are some products out there that do include them as an ingredient.
So why should you avoid them? What’s wrong with them and what are the best Sulphate-free shampoos on the market?
What is SLS sodium lauryl sulfate?
Sulphates are part of the sodium family so it’s essentially salt. It is used in shampoos (and some conditioners) as a foaming agent and that’s its only role. It doesn’t clean your hair any better than a shampoo without sulfate and neither does it clarify it, add shine, body, bounce or anything else. It is purely responsible for those big, white, creamy bubbles.
SLS & SLF
Sulphates come in two different forms:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, on the ingredients label it is written as “SLS”. This chemical is a synthetic chemical compound that is thought to possibly be carcinogenic.
It’s also known for clogging up hair follicles and interfering with hair growth if it isn’t rinsed out properly. It is actually completely ineffective in shampoo, except for its foaming properties.
What are Silicones & Parabens?
As well as SLS and SLF, your shampoo may well contain silicones and parabens. Both of these are synthetic chemicals and could be causing you damage. Silicones are an inexpensive ingredient used by shampoo manufacturers to add shine to hair.
Some silicones are completely harmless to your hair but those that end in the word “cone” such as dimethicone could cause trauma to your scalp and interfere with the quality of your hair. That’s because they are not water soluble so they don’t evaporate when water comes into contact with them.
So, if you don’t rinse out shampoo containing silicones, they stick to your scalp, clog up the hair follicles, cause excessive sebum production and may even interfere with hair’s growth. They certainly contribute to hair looking dull, lifeless and flat if there is significant build-up.
Parabens are more dangerous than sulphates and silicones and you might well find a number of different types of parabens on your shampoo label such as Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben and more.
In recent years, it’s been discovered that parabens could be carcinogenic so the more you use them; the more you could be putting yourself at risk. Massaging shampoo into your scalp with parabens inside will penetrate through your hair follicles and into your skin.
As well as the carcinogenic element, parabens can aggravate the skin and are often the reason why people suffer from dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions.
So if you have dandruff, it’s more than likely down to the shampoo you’re using. The first thing to do is switch to a paraben-free product to see if it makes any difference.
Once you make the switch to a sulphate-free and paraben free shampoo you will reap the benefit. You might notice your shampoo doesn’t foam as much but this does not mean it isn’t cleaning your hair. You’ll notice less build-up in your scalp and actually, your scalp should look healthier.
A light pink or white scalp is a healthy scalp but a red or aggravated scalp is unhealthy and is usually itchy or uncomfortable. Once you make the switch your scalp will calm down. It’s much easier to rinse out sulphate-free and paraben-free shampoo so you won’t have build-up in your scalp and your hair follicles will be able to “breathe”.
This means a number of positives; hair that usually struggles to get through a blocked follicle will push through easily and grow better, reducing breakage and helping thin, patchy hair loss. Hair that can’t get through at all will be able to grow, helping to alleviate any patchy hair loss.
Sebum production will reduce because when a scalp is clogged up with product, sebum production increases. So hopefully your hair won’t be as greasy and will be in better condition. Dandruff will lessen and disappear eventually and hair will look naturally shinier with more elasticity and growth will improve.
Sulphate-free shampoos – Complete Guide
Best For Repair: L’Oreal Sulphate Free Shampoo Paris EverSleek Sulphate-Free Smoothing System Reparative Smoothing Shampoo, Sunflower
L’Oreal is haircare experts so you can expect a superior quality shampoo to deliver super-sleek locks with plenty of natural shine and bounce.
This shampoo is formulated without sulphates and silicones so far gentler on your hair, perfect for hair in distress and suitable for hair that has been subject to chemical straightening.
Best For Dandruff Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo for Anti Dandruff with Jojoba, Argan, and Organic Tea Tree Oil – Natural, Sulphate Free Treatment
This is one of the best-selling sulphate-free and paraben-free shampoos on the market and it’s extremely gentle, suitable for the most aggravated scalp. It promises thorough cleansing without any harmful ingredients and goes a long way to make hair feel weightless, soft, shiny and beautifully clean.
It’s suitable for dandruff sufferers and helps to reduce the symptoms of dermatitis. With hypo-allergenic ingredients and Keratin (the natural protein found in hair), it uses pure essential oils and it’s cruelty-free.
Best On A Budget Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
A cheap shampoo doesn’t need to be full of nasty chemicals. This Aveeno shampoo is a wonderful product that refreshes hair removing impurities. It cleanses without the use of sulphates and leaves hair feeling dreamily soft, extremely manageable and with plenty of body and bounce.
Best For Colour-Treated Hair Advanced Color Care Sulphate Free Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Colour Treated Hair with Argan Oil and Macadamia Oil By Arvazallia
Sulphates can also strip the color out of hair so it’s best to use something very gentle and this set is an excellent option because it gently cleanses, keeping hair color looking vibrant and with no sulphate whatsoever.
It seals in color and keeps your color looking good for longer, additionally, it promises to repair damaged hair and restore hair to its natural looking glory.
Ideal for dry hair, curly hair, treated hair and even natural hair it’s also paraben-free so there’s no chance of harming your scalp.
Best For Clarifying Hair ACURE Clarifying Shampoo, Lemongrass
The deep cleansing shampoo doesn’t have to mean lots of chemicals and this shampoo goes the extra mile to remove impurities, dirt, and oil from your scalp without any sulphate in sight.
It also doesn’t contain any parabens or silicones. Hair feels tingly-fresh and looks superbly soft, lightweight and silky after use.
Best For Curly Hair Curly Sexy Hair Curl Defining Sulphate- Free Shampoo & Conditioner
This shampoo helps to define your curls without any frizz or flyaway and it doesn’t contain sulphate so it’s much better for your scalp too. Gentle, yet effective it also strengthens hair so it performs better when under stress.
Without parabens, it keeps curls looking bouncy and shiny so hair looks and feels healthy and happy.
Best Drugstore Sulphate Free Shampoo Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo
Nourishing and enriching, this formula promises a fabulous head of healthy hair with plenty of body and bounce. It’s made without sulphates yet foams up beautifully and it’s so light that hair feels instantly weightless and soft.
Containing coconut milk, hair looks unbelievably shiny and with continued use, hair feels gloriously silky to the touch.
Best For Fine Hair Luxe Organics Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Free of Sulphates Sodium Chloride Parabens
Fine hair needs gentle shampoo because if you clog up your hair follicles with sulphate you put your hair at risk of stunted growth and breakage, not to mention excess sebum production.
Moroccan oil is known for its gentle properties, it’s kind to hair and enhances shine, body, and bounce. This one from Luxe Organics contains organic ingredients and no sulphates or parabens.
It’s also packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins so it’s really good for the hair and kind to the scalp, nourishing and repairing the hair. With plenty of moisturizing benefits, it goes a long way to boost volume and fullness so even the finest hair looks thick and healthy with plenty of bodies, shine, and elasticity.
Best For African-American Hair Ethnic Hair Shampoo for Thick and Curly Hair Sulphate-free Natural Oil Treatment w/ Avocado Oil
When you’ve got African-American hair you need to take great care of it as it tends to be quite dry although you may also have too much oil production in the scalp area.
That’s why a good quality sulphate free shampoo will do your hair the world of good and this one is infused with avocado oil so hair feels frizz-free and silky-smooth.
Suitable for frequent use it’s moisturizing and nourishing designed to balance PH and deliver super-shiny, fabulously soft and frizz-free curls.
Best For Oily Hair Degrease Shampoo for Oily Hair & Oily Scalp – Natural Dandruff Treatment for Women & Men
When you’ve got the oily hair you need to choose your shampoo carefully. The wrong type can exacerbate your problem so it’s best to choose something that’s gentle but effective.
A shampoo free from sulphates will go a long way to reducing oil production, leaving the scalp free to breathe without encouraging it to produce even more oil.
We love this moisturizing shampoo which is gentle enough for frequent use. It really gets deep into the scalp to remove oil and grease but it doesn’t strip hair or build-up in the hair follicles.
It also contains many natural ingredients to restore PH balance and leaves hair feeling soft and manageable. Suitable for dandruff control and oil control scalp and hair feels far healthier and if you’re suffering from patchy hair-loss, it’s the right shampoo for you.
Best Dry Shampoo Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle
Pepping up your hair in-between washes might be something high on your agenda but choosing the wrong dry shampoo can cause excessive product build-up especially if you don’t wash it out thoroughly.
This aerosol dry shampoo is formulated for oily hair and it’s infused with nettle so it absorbs oil and grease without leaving product sitting on your scalp, therefore, making it easier to rinse out when you do wash your hair.
Free from parabens and sulphates it won’t harm your hair or your scalp.
Best For Keratin treated Hair Natural Argan Oil Infused Sulphate Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Argan oil is excellent for moisturizing hair and this sulphate free shampoo and conditioner is designed for hair that has been relaxed through Keratin treatment or chemically processed.
Deeply hydrating, it’s a protecting shampoo that delivers plenty of hydration and a gorgeous shine. Use it regularly and breakage will be reduced, with less split ends and good looking bounce and manageability.
Best For Men’s Hair Paul Mitchell Men Mitch Double Hitter Sulphate Free 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
This shampoo has been created from one of the biggest names in hair care, Paul Mitchell. It’s gentle but effective and cleanses deeply without any sulphates so it’s very kind to hair. Hair feels soft and healthy with shine and elasticity.
Best For Dry Hair Art Naturals Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Moroccan and Argan oils are superb for alleviating dryness and leaving hair feeling moisturized and hydrated. This shampoo and conditioner set is excellent for dry, brittle and broken hair, encouraging softness, boosting elasticity and repairing the damage.
It’s also protective so hair can cope with heat and it’s suitable for color treated and chemically processed hair.
Best For Blonde Hair Joico Color Endure Violet- Sulphate Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Blonde hair tends to be more brittle and dry than darker shades especially if it’s been colored or chemically processed. We love this duo because it hydrates and moisturizes without leaving any residue on the scalp so hair follicles are free to breathe.
It also boosts blonde color so it looks radiant, rich and shiny.
Best Sulphate Free Conditioner Maple Holistics Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner
If you want to go all the way and eliminate sulphates entirely from your haircare regime then this best-selling conditioner will hydrate, moisturize and protect without harming your scalp.
This conditioner has amino acids and vitamins to infuse the scalp with goodness and encourages healthy, soft and shiny manageable hair.
It’s suitable for color treated hair, curly hair and also reduces frizz and flyaway. Hair is super-silky, voluminous with great elasticity.
Best For Hair Loss Hair Loss and Hair Regrowth Shampoo for Men & Women From Majestic Pure
This is a herbal treatment with no sulphates, parabens or silicones and is so gentle it actually encourages hair growth.
It’s fortified with plenty of wonderful vitamins and minerals to promote hair growth and it helps to heal aggravated scalp so the hair follicles are open and welcoming to new growth.
Suitable for men and women and perfectly safe for those with colored hair, it’s a gorgeous shampoo that delivers superior soft, silky and voluminous results.