Shoud you use sulfate-free shampoo? Sulfate is commonly found in many soaps and shampoos due to its natural oil stripping properties. Shampoos usually contain sulfate in the form of ammonium lauryl sulfate (which is different than ammonium chloride, also commonly found in shampoo), sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. This means that the sulphate strips your hair of its natural oils. For many, those with thinner more oily hair, this is great, the oil is stripped and you balance it out with a good conditioner. For others though, especially those with coarse or curly hair, conditioner isn’t enough to keep their hair moisturized. Sulfate free shampoo doesn’t strip your hair’s natural oils, which is great for dry hair. For more on our favorite sulfate free shampoos and conditioners check out our ultimate list!
How do you know if you should or shouldn’t use sulfate free shampoo? Here is a little list of some indicators clarifying that maybe sulfate free is the way to go:
1. You Just Dyed Your Hair
Sulfate is a natural ingredient that can, over time, strip color from the hair. If you just colored or treated your hair, you don’t want sulfate fading it. Sulfate lifts the hair cuticle, which is what locks in your hair dye. If you just dyed your hair and are looking to preserve your color, sulfate free is probably the way to go.
2. You Have Naturally Dry or Coarse Hair
As previously stated, sulfate strips the natural oils from your hair. This sounds bad at first, but sulfate shampoo can be great for people with oily hair. For those with dryer hair, though, sulfate shampoo can cause damage and dryness of the hair. To keep your hair healthy, try to use a sulfate free shampoo or sulfate free conditioner.
3. You Have a Dry or Sensitive Scalp
With a dry scalp, you are probably having a lot of trouble with dandruff. You will want a moisturizing shampoo. If this is the case, then shampoo without sulfate might be really great for you. If you happen to have thin, fine hair and a dry scalp, you may want to look into a shampoo that specifically targets dandruff, because the sulfate free shampoo may make your hair heavy and oily. Sulfate free shampoo is also very gentle. If you have a lot of allergies, a sulfate free shampoo is ideal. Shampoos without sulfate are also safe to use on a baby.
Should You Be Using Shampoo Without Sulfate?
Now don’t leave thinking that having sulfates in your shampoo is a terrible thing. There are a bunch of different hair types, some are majorly oily (like mine) and some are super dry. For super oily hair, shampoos with sulfate are great! The real reason that the anti-sulfate revolution is happening is because we are realizing that there are many different types of hair and that each one needs to be cared for differently. Shampoos you want for curly hair are different than the shampoos we recommend for fine hair.
You may be thinking that a sulfate free shampoo may be hard to find, but a local drugstore from India to the US to the UK should have it. For example, Loreal has a whole line of sulfate free shampoos, conditioners, and hair care products. Loreal’s products are all organic, and come in several scents, including laurel, and coconut. Pureology is also one of the best brands of sulfate free shampoo on the market. It is highly effective, however, it does contain silicones. Silicone can be harmful to hair when used over an extended period of time. Be wary of cheap shampoos and conditioners. You don’t want a shampoo with a lot of parabens, like alcohol, in it. Parabens can cause your colored hair to fade, which you don’t want, especially if you have darker hair like black or blue.
If you decide to go sulfate-free, here is a great list of shampoos and conditioners combinations to consider. Or, use this guide to make your own.