The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos
One of the latest trends in hair care you may have heard of is the term “sulfate-free.” It’s more than just a trend, however. It could be a life-saver. Okay, that’s dramatic - but it could at least be a hair saver!
First things first - what exactly is a sulfate? It’s a surfactant (or detergent) that causes foaming. It's generally in the form of sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium laureate sulfate (in order of decreasing strength/harshness), and it's fantastic at cutting through oil and dirt to clean your scalp and your hair.
“But if it’s so fantastic, why should I avoid it?” you may be wondering. Well, the truth is, you may not be in the group of people for whom sulfate-free shampoo is recommended. If you don’t produce enough oil to make you need to wash your hair daily (and we’ll count dry shampoo here), if your hair is dry, coarse, curly, frizz-prone, or damaged, or if you dye (or bleach) your hair, you're part of the sulfate-free fam. Your hair and scalp don’t need the big guns.
If your hair is already oily by the time that you’re done drying it (that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean!), then you can use the shampoos with the sulfates without worry!
For those who should be using sulfate-free shampoos, but don’t know which are best, here are a few suggestions! Just prepare for a less bubbly experience, since you’re without the surfactants.
The O.G. Option
I remember as a kid in the shower, reading “Awapuhi” and giggling at the name, but Paul Mitchell’s "Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lathering Shampoo" is no laughing matter. It works great and smells great - what more could you want?
For Dry Hair
If you’ve been paying attention to the most celebrated active ingredients in skin care, you’ve heard of hyaluronic acid. It’s super moisturizing! It makes sense that the best sulfate-free shampoo for dry hair would have it as a central feature, along with ceramides and moringa oil. Sound good? Then you should probably go get yourself a bottle of Kiehl’s "Damage Repairing and Rehydrating Shampoo."
For Damaged Hair
If you’ve been using sulfates (and maybe skipping thermal protectant), or otherwise have damaged your hair, you can rely on the sea to come to your rescue, in the form of Aveeno’s "Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo," which has seaweed extracts that provide excellent moisture to work on restoring your hair to new! Plus, it’s readily available at drugstores and is inexpensive!
For Curly Hair
The girls (or guys) with the curls will most likely be happiest with a gentle milk cleanser, like the DevaCurl "No-Poo Decadence Zero Lather Ultra Moisturizing Milk Cleanser," which has a luxurious feel and is full of vitamins to keep those curls healthy!
For Colored Hair
Those with color-treated hair can rely on the white orchid extract in Nexxus "Color Assurance Replenishing" shampoo to keep their color vivid and fresh, as well as moisturized and healthy!
For Fine Hair
If your hair has been falling flat, let MoroccanOil "Extra Volume Shampoo" come to the rescue! It’s full of nutrients and anti-oxidants that will help restore your hair’s thickness, without stripping it of its natural oils. It also is free of unhealthy parabens or phosphates. As an added bonus, it smells fantastic!
For Frizz-Prone Hair
Feeling frizzy? Fix it with French brand Kerastase "Bain Fluidealiste," which uses their signature formulas to drench hair in moisture, and provide flexibility - which will hopefully encourage those fuzzy strands to lie down!
A Clean/Green Option
If you’re looking for a sulfate-free shampoo that's great for the environment and doesn’t have harmful chemicals, check out Seed Phytonutrients. They have a wide variety of formulas for whatever your hair needs are, and all of them lack sulfates. Best of all, they come in mostly paper bottles that survive all the water in your shower, and have seeds in the packaging you can plant!
The Splurge Option
Bumble & Bumble’s "Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo" doesn't have sulfates, but it does have six different oils working together to give you soft, healthy hair. If you’re treating yourself, go this route...you deserve it!
The Budget Option
If you want great hair, but don’t have a ton of cash to spare, check out L’Oreal "Ever Pure Moisture Shampoo." It’s very moisturizing, helps keep your color fresh, and doesn’t break the bank!
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