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How to Choose the Best Sulfate Free Shampoo for Your Hair Type


Sulfates are ingredients that are found in many shampoos and soaps. They help these products foam up and they help remove dirt and debris from the surface of hair and skin. Common sulfate ingredients include sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laurel sulfate. Many people with color-treated hair feel that sulfates may strip away hair color prematurely. Others worry that these ingredients are to harsh for hair and skin, and could strip away necessary natural oils and moisture, or even cause irritation for sensitive individuals.

When shampoos without sulfates were first launched, the foaming action was curtailed, and people wondered if their hair was being cleansed effectively because there were no “suds.” But as time has gone on, sulfate free formulations have evolved, and now everyone using sulfate free shampoos experiences a clean, fresh feeling and well-cleansed hair that doesn’t feel stripped or dry!

6 Shampoos Without Sulfates to Try

sulfate free shampoos

If your hair is dry, coarse, thick and/or textured: Biolage 3Butter Control System Shampoo

This sulfate free shampoo is heaven-sent for anyone in need of serious moisture and gentle cleansing. The shampoo is infused with three, rich butters (hence the name)—shea butter, cupuacu butter and murumuru butter—to help replenish parched, frizzy hair. A little goes a long way—the lather is billowy, and it leaves hair soft and frizz-free. Fans report this product helps control natural curls and also supports a sleek finish.

If your hair is fine: Biolage R.A.W. Uplift Shampoo

The R.A.W. collection features natural-origin ingredients that are defined as unchanged from their natural state or have undergone processing yet still retain greater than 50% of their molecular structure from the original plant or mineral source. In Uplift shampoo, these natural-origin ingredients include black sesame and grapefruit. This sulfate free shampoo purifies flat, fine hair without stripping it, and produces airy, lightweight body.

If your hair is damaged: Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo

One of the standouts in the sulfate free R.A.W. collection, this shampoo treats stressed, over-worked hair with a blend of revitalizing yucca and goji berry. Clients who have taken their hair to the limits with hair color, thermal styling or environmental exposure report this gentle cleansing shampoo brings their locks back to life. Like all R.A.W. formulas, it’s not only sulfate free, but also free of parabens, silicones and artificial colorants.

If your hair is thirsty and dull: Biolage R.A.W. Nourish Shampoo

Dryness depletes hair of its natural shine and luster, which does no favors for any hairstyle or for any hair color for that matter. R.A.W. Nourish sulfate free shampoo sources quinoa husk and honey to feed parched hair, adding the moisture and nutrients it needs to return to its original state of shining glory. And, bonus points for all R.A.W. products: the bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic!

If your hair is color treated: Biolage R.A.W. Color Care Shampoo

This sulfate free, gentle cleansing milk bathes color-treated hair in a mixture of coconut oil and meadowfoam. It carefully coddles your hair color—whether you’re on the natural end of the color spectrum, or you express yourself with one or more of the colors of the rainbow. (We’re talking to you, Ms. Unicorn Haircolor!) Make the most of your hair color investment with a color-caring sulfate free shampoo that leaves your hair soft and shiny and preserves hair color vibrancy.

If your hair is weak and seriously in need of repair: Biolage Advanced Keratindose Shampoo 

Keratin protein shores up weak, damaged hair, because keratin is the natural protein found in hair. It gives it strength and resilience. Formulated with a pro-keratin complex and silk, this sulfate free shampoo revives damaged hair and transforms it so it’s satin-smooth and manageable, while controlling frizz and damage.

5 Sulfate Free No Poo Cleansing Conditioners to Try

sulfate free cleansing conditioners

Cleansing conditioners offer another level of gentle when it comes to sulfate free cleansing. These unique cleansing conditioner formulas are low-lathering, fast-rinsing and can be used in place of conventional shampoo, or alternated with your favorite shampoo when your hair needs low-impact refreshment.

If your hair is coarse: Biolage Cleansing Conditioner for Coarse Hair

Avocado provides thorough cleansing and deep conditioning in this no-poo cleansing conditioner. It restores smoothness and manageability for increased shine and suppleness.

If your hair is curly: Biolage Cleansing Conditioner for Curly Hair

Preserve and define the structure of your curls with this cleansing conditioner that’s packed with pomegranate. After use, your hair will feel cleansed and lightly conditioned.

If your hair is damaged: Biolage Cleansing Conditioner for Damaged Hair

Nourishing mango seed oil and ceramides work together in this ultra-gentle cleansing conditioner formula. It helps strengthen damaged hair while restoring shine and softness.

If your hair is medium: Biolage Cleansing Conditioner for Medium Hair

Cleanse away dirt and oils without stripping hair of its natural moisture with this dual action (cleansing and conditioning) formula. You’ll save time, preserve your hair color and your hair will feel soft and bouncy.

If your hair is fine: Biolage Cleansing Conditioner for Fine Hair

The secret ingredient in this low-lathering cleansing conditioner is citrus. It gently whisks away debris without leaving behind anything that may weigh down fine hair. It controls the static that can plague fine hair, especially in dry winter months, and detangles like a dream!

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