• 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed)

Sulfates are effective cleansing agents and are commonly found in shampoos. However, they might strip your hair of its moisture, leading to hair breakage. For those with color-treated hair, sulfates might lead to premature fading of your hair color, too. So, if you're looking for a non-drying, color-safe shampoo, consider one that's formulated without sulfates! Also, keep in mind that not all sulfate-free shampoos are suitable for every hair type.


To help you choose a product that works for your specific hair condition, we've compiled a list of the 10 best sulfate-free shampoos available online. Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo from Carol's Daughter was our top pick as it has an ultra-moisturizing formula to keep dry, curly hair nourished. For more options, keep reading! And check out our buying guide reviewed by a licensed cosmetologist for some tips that will help make your selection process easier.

Featured in this article

Denise Campbell
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-24-2022
Table of Contents

Why Should You Choose a Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

Why Should You Choose a Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

Sulfates are surfactants that are commonly used in cosmetic products, especially shampoos. They impart lather in shampoos and also act as cleansing agents to keep your hair free of dirt and daily grime.


Undeniably, sulfates are highly effective in getting rid of impurities. However, they might strip your hair of its natural moisture. For those with a sensitive scalp or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, shampoos with sulfates might cause irritation reactions such as redness and itching.


If your hair is color-treated, sulfates can make your hair color fade faster, too. They can also dry out curls. So, if you want a gentle formula that won't irritate your scalp or dry out your hair, consider a sulfate-free shampoo!

How to Choose a Sulfate-Free Shampoo - Buying Guide

There are many sulfate-free shampoos available on the market, so you might feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure which one to choose. Don't worry! This buying guide will walk you through all the factors that you should keep in mind, such as your hair type and what ingredients to look for.

Avoid These Common Types of Sulfates

Avoid These Common Types of Sulfates

Some brands advertise their products as free from harmful substances and similar claims, so it can be tricky to pinpoint exactly what's the shampoo is free of. That's why we suggest looking through the ingredient list to make sure it contains no sulfate ingredients!


The major types of sulfates used in shampoo include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. To replace these surfactants, manufacturers might use ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, sodium lauroyl isoethionate, and sodium cocoyl isoethionate.


Although their names sound similar to sulfates, they're actually derived from coconut oil and can provide creamy lather. They are effective cleansing agents as well. Those kinds of surfactants should be safe for your hair.

Pick a Shampoo That's Suitable for Your Hair Type

There's no shampoo that meets the needs of all hair types. For example, products that are packed with emollients might be great for dry hair but might end up adding extra grease to oily hair. Therefore, take your hair type into consideration when choosing a sulfate-free shampoo!

For Dry, Brittle Hair, Go for a Moisturizing Formula

For Dry, Brittle Hair, Go for a Moisturizing Formula

If you have dry, brittle hair, make sure the formula contains moisturizing ingredients! Supplying moisture is important to keep your hair frizz-free, too! So if you're trying to smooth down your hair and make it more manageable, a moisturizing formula will help.


Oils and plant-based butter such as olive oil, argan oil, and shea butter can trap moisture in your hair to keep it hydrated for a long time. They are also packed with fatty acids to add a nice shine to your hair, leave it soft to the touch, and promote healthy hair growth.

For Fine, Thin Hair, a Lightweight Shampoo Can Do Wonders

For Fine, Thin Hair, a Lightweight Shampoo Can Do Wonders

For those with fine, thin hair, avoid a formula that contains heavy oils like castor oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. They are ultra-moisturizing but might weigh down your hair and make it look greasy, limp, and lifeless.


It's still important to supply your hair with moisture, however. Consider lightweight yet moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone. They can increase the moisture level in your hair and won't add unnecessary oiliness or weight to it.


You might also want to choose a clarifying shampoo to help get rid of the grease from your hair and scalp. If you're looking to add volume to your hair, see if the formula contains starch or talc, which can create volume. Vitamin E, polymers, and panthenol help your hair become more voluminous, too.

Strengthen Damaged Hair With Keratin and Silk Protein

Strengthen Damaged Hair With Keratin and Silk Protein

If your hair is weak or severely damaged from heat styling or coloring, go for a sulfate-free shampoo with keratin, collagen, or silk protein. They can fortify your hair strands and at the same time promote hair regeneration.


Exposure to environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution might also weaken your hair. That's why you should look for ingredients with antioxidant properties like avocado oil and vitamin E.


For those with color-treated hair, using a sulfate-free product is a great choice as it's less likely to strip the color out of your hair. However, you should still check the review section and product description to see if the shampoo can help prolong the color of your hair.

Curly Hair? Stay Away from Waxes and Silicones

Curly Hair? Stay Away from Waxes and Silicones

Compared to straight hair, curly hair is more prone to frizz and dryness. So make sure to choose a shampoo with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, or shea butter. Try to steer clera of drying alcohols such as ethanol alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and alcohol denat.


On the other hand, fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol and lauryl alcohol are actually moisturizing to your hair, so don't avoid those. Also, waxes, silicones, and mineral oils are not water-soluble and might lead to build-up. That's why you're better off avoiding those.

Treat Dandruff and Itchy Scalp With Antifungal Ingredients

Treat Dandruff and Itchy Scalp With Antifungal Ingredients

If you have an itchy scalp or are suffering from dandruff, consider ingredients with strong anti-inflammatory properties such as aloe vera and lavender extract. Antifungal ingredients like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and rosemary oil can soothe your scalp irritation as well. 


To keep your scalp healthy, look for ingredients that can improve blood circulation in the scalp. Peppermint oil, thyme oil, and cedarwood oil are some options for your consideration. They will promote healthy hair growth, too!

10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos

After combing through the Internet, we've tracked down the 10 sulfate-free shampoos that work for different hair types. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Denise Campbell.

Image
1
Carol's Daughter  Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo 1

Carol's Daughter

2
Pure Nature Lux Spa Argan Oil Deep Hydra Nourishing Shampoo 1

Pure Nature Lux Spa

3
Vanicream  Free & Clear Shampoo 1

Vanicream

4
Kick Active Shampoo 1

Kick

5
Garnier Curl Nourish Fortifying Shampoo 1

Garnier

6
Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo 1

Pureology

7
Hair Food Tea Tree & Lavender Water Purifying Shampoo 1

Hair Food

8
Alfaparf Milano Lisse Design Keratin Therapy 1

Alfaparf Milano

9
L'Oreal Paris Ever Pure Volume Shampoo 1

L'Oreal Paris

10
JĀSÖN Soothing Fragrance Free Shampoo 1

JĀSÖN

Name

Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo

Argan Oil Deep Hydra Nourishing Shampoo

Free & Clear Shampoo

Active Shampoo

Curl Nourish Fortifying Shampoo

Hydrate Sheer Shampoo

Tea Tree & Lavender Water Purifying Shampoo

Lisse Design Keratin Therapy

Ever Pure Volume Shampoo

Soothing Fragrance Free Shampoo

Features

Ultra-Moisturizing Formula to Soften Your Hair

Targets Hair Loss for Fuller and Thicker Hair

A Gentle Formula for Those With Sensitive Skin

Alleviate Dandruff and Itchy Scalp

Effectively Hydrates and Defines Curls

A Holy Grail for Color-Treated Hair

Get a Deep Cleanse With This Purifying Shampoo

Maintains the Results of Your Keratin Treatment

A Vegan Formula That Adds Volume to Thin, Flat Hair

Fragrance-Free and Great for Chemically-Treated Hair

Price$10.97$12.99$9.99$22.95$2.82$30.00$11.99$20.00$6.72$12.78
Good forDry, curly hairThin, chemically-treated, damaged hairAll hair types (great for sensitive skin)Color-treated, thin hairDry, curly hair Dull, dry, color-treated hairColor-treated hairNormal, keratin-treated hairColor-treated, fine, flat hairColor-treated, chemically-treated hair (great for sensitive skin)
Formulated withAloe vera, sweet clover, rose extractArgan oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dimethiconeGlycerin, panthenol, coco glucosideTea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass, witch hazelCoconut oil, jojoba seed oil, lemon peel extract, macadamia seed oil, glycerinJojoba, tea tree, sunflower seed, vitamin E, wheat proteinTea tree oil, lavender flower extractCastor oil, keratin, collagen, bagasse oilPeppermint extract, lotus flower, rosemary leaf extractMatricaria flower extract, sage leaf extract
Amount12 oz.9 oz.12 oz.17.75 oz.12.5 oz.9 oz.17.9 oz.8.45 oz.8.5 oz.32 oz.
Link
1

Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo

$10.97

Good forDry, curly hair
Formulated withAloe vera, sweet clover, rose extract
Amount12 oz.
2

Pure Nature Lux SpaArgan Oil Deep Hydra Nourishing Shampoo

$12.99

Good forThin, chemically-treated, damaged hair
Formulated withArgan oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dimethicone
Amount9 oz.
3

Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo

$9.99

Good forAll hair types (great for sensitive skin)
Formulated withGlycerin, panthenol, coco glucoside
Amount12 oz.
4

KickActive Shampoo

$22.95

Good forColor-treated, thin hair
Formulated withTea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass, witch hazel
Amount17.75 oz.
5

GarnierCurl Nourish Fortifying Shampoo

$2.82

Good forDry, curly hair
Formulated withCoconut oil, jojoba seed oil, lemon peel extract, macadamia seed oil, glycerin
Amount12.5 oz.
6

PureologyHydrate Sheer Shampoo

$30.00

Good forDull, dry, color-treated hair
Formulated withJojoba, tea tree, sunflower seed, vitamin E, wheat protein
Amount9 oz.
7

Hair FoodTea Tree & Lavender Water Purifying Shampoo

$11.99

Good forColor-treated hair
Formulated withTea tree oil, lavender flower extract
Amount17.9 oz.
8

Alfaparf MilanoLisse Design Keratin Therapy

$20.00

Good forNormal, keratin-treated hair
Formulated withCastor oil, keratin, collagen, bagasse oil
Amount8.45 oz.
9

L'Oreal ParisEver Pure Volume Shampoo

$6.72

Good forColor-treated, fine, flat hair
Formulated withPeppermint extract, lotus flower, rosemary leaf extract
Amount8.5 oz.
10

JĀSÖNSoothing Fragrance Free Shampoo

$12.78

Good forColor-treated, chemically-treated hair (great for sensitive skin)
Formulated withMatricaria flower extract, sage leaf extract
Amount32 oz.

More Nourishing Products For Your Hair

In order to keep your hair in its best condition, you need to make sure that it gets all the nutrients it needs. There are many hair care products that can help nourish and soften your hair effectively. Want some suggestions? Check out our articles below!

In Collaboration With Licensed Cosmetologist Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Thuy Nguyen


  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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