Suds Away: Sulfate-Free Shampoo Options For All Hair Types

Chances are, the shampoo you use to wash your hair contains detergent. When reading the ingredient label you will likely see the words Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). You may be asking yourself: “What is that?” The simple answer is that sulfates are a type of chemical compound used as a detergent to clean things that are not water soluble, like oil and hard-to-remove substances. SLS and SLES are popular ingredients in hair shampoo because of their deep cleansing properties and lathering effect. When used in high concentrations, sulfates have the ability to clean engine grease and to cause mutations that are linked to certain types of cancer. Which leads us to question whether or not anyone needs something that powerful – and possibly dangerous – to cleanse something as delicate as hair?


With consumers becoming more knowledgeable of the negative and harmful effects of sulfates such as hair loss, fast fading color, dehydrated strands, scalp dryness, and redness and itchiness, more companies have introduced sulfate-free shampoos. To gently cleanse tresses, sulfate-free shampoos rely on less chemicals and more natural astringents like rosemary extract and mint to remove product residue and oil.

Interested in making the switch? Take a look at our list of sulfate-free shampoos to try today:

Dry to Normal Hair

Many people like that sulfate-free shampoos use less chemicals to balance and strengthen the hair. To maintain a healthy mane opt for shampoos with shorter ingredient lists.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo ($8)
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($20)

Color-Treated Hair

Ever wonder why your color fades or begins to look dull after being shampooed only a few times? The answer: Sulfates! To protect your investment and maintain the integrity of your hair, choose a sulfate-free shampoo that is hydrating and reparative.

DevaCare No-Poo No Fade Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser ($20)
Verb Hydrating Shampoo ($12)

Curly/Kinky Hair 

Sulfates tend to be overly drying, which is the opposite of what curly and/or kinky hair needs. To keep your curls looking fresh and bouncy, opt for sulfate-free shampoos that hydrate and strengthen hair’s elasticity.

Mixed Chicks Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($17)
Deva-Curl No Poo ($20)

For The Kiddies 

To prevent the little ones from tearing up during hair wash time, steer clear of sulfates. Lots of brands claim to have “tear-free” shampoo but to be safe, read the label to make sure it’s sulfate-free.


Shea Moisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra Nourishing Shampoo ($10)
Jason Kids Only! Extra Gentle Shampoo ($8)

Summer Swimmers 

The best sulfate-free shampoos have little-to-no lather, which leads some consumers to think their hair isn’t clean. This simply isn’t true! To deep cleanse your tresses after a dip in the pool, choose a “chelating” shampoo, which are designed to remove chlorine and hard minerals.

Kinky-Curly Come Clean Shampoo ($12)
Davines Solu Refresh Shampoo ($10)