Which sulfate-free shampoo is the best?
No one wants to go through the day with oily hair, which is why it is essential to use an effective shampoo that removes the build-up of sebum on the scalp. But in some cases, traditional shampoos can do more harm than good. While the sulfates in conventional formulas cause abundant foaming action that can remove dirt and oil, they can also leave your hair dry and frizzy. A sulfate-free shampoo, on the other hand, can give you the clean, greasy-free hair you crave without removing beneficial natural oils and drying out your hair.
Having trouble finding the right formula? Our buying guide has all the tips you need to choose the best sulfate-free shampoo for your hair. We’ve also included specific product recommendations at the end, such as our top pick from Pureology, which contains antioxidants and sunscreen to protect your hair.
Considerations When Choosing Sulfate-Free Shampoos
Some types of hair are more prone to drying out than others. For these types, shampooing with sulfates can be especially damaging. Coarse, curly, and frizzy hair tends to be more porous and requires more hydration to prevent frizz and dryness. That’s why sulfate-free shampoo works so well for these hair types – it removes less moisture.
People with fine or oily hair can also use a sulfate-free shampoo, although they don’t have the same hydration needs. If this is you, keep in mind that you may need to massage your scalp a bit more with your sulfate-free shampoo to get your hair completely clean.
Sulfate-free shampoo is also a good choice for colored hair, as dyeing your hair can remove their natural oils. Using any of these formulas can also help prolong your color as sulfates tend to fade it faster.
Features of sulfate-free shampoo
Like other shampoos, sulfate-free formulas are available in different types of packaging. Many come in a squeeze tube or squeeze container with an opening lid. Larger sulfate-free shampoo bottles can come with a pump dispenser, making it easy to inject the exact amount of shampoo you need.
You can find sulfate-free shampoo in a variety of scents. Common scents include floral, herbal and fruity blends. Unscented formulas are also available.
You will typically spend between $ 3 and $ 30 for a sulfate-free shampoo. Drugstore brands can go anywhere from $ 3 to $ 10 and work quite well. Sulfate-free formulas ranging from $ 10 to $ 30 typically contain premium ingredients, such as keratin, which help strengthen your strands.
Sulfate-free shampoos faq
Q. Why are sulfates bad for my hair?
A. Sulfates flush the natural oils from your hair to clean it, but they are often extremely harsh. They dry out the hair, cause frizz and bleach the hair.
Q. Can my hair be this clean with a sulfate-free shampoo?
A. Because sulfate-free shampoo doesn’t lather like traditional shampoos, some people think it’s not as effective at cleaning your hair. But if you wet your hair thoroughly before applying it and massage it well into your scalp, it can be just as effective as a sulfate shampoo.
We recommend sulfate-free shampoos
Best of the best
Pureology Pure Moisturizing Shampoo
Our opinion : A favorite of professional hairdressers who cleans effectively with all vegan ingredients.
What we like: The formula includes herbs, antioxidants, and sunscreen. Leaves hair clean and soft. Produces foam unlike other sulfate-free formulas.
What we don’t like: Some users find the smell too strong.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
The best bang for your buck
L’OrÃ©al EverPure Sulfate Free Hydrating Shampoo
Our opinion : A quality sulfate-free shampoo from a trusted brand that won’t break the bank.
What we like: Works well on most hair types. Pleasant scent of rosemary. Has a creamy texture that foams well. The formula is vegan.
What we don’t like: Doesn’t hydrate as well as high-end shampoos. The cover tends to break.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Babo Botanicals Swimming and Sports Shampoo and Wash
Our opinion : Gentle sulfate-free formula with a clean, fresh scent.
What we like: All-natural and organic ingredients that effectively remove build-up. The brand does not test on animals. Gentle enough for children and adults with sensitive skin.
What we don’t like: The texture is a bit fine. Doesn’t foam as much as the other options.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Register now here to receive the weekly BestReviews newsletter for helpful advice on new products and great deals.
Jennifer blair written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.