The 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in 2018

The Sulfate Debate

Sulfate-free shampoo is not a trend.

Surprisingly the harsh compound that is in shampoo to aid in sufficient lathering isn't just canceled in the natural hair community. But it is slowly but surely disappearing from the shelves of mainstream beauty aisles as well. After researching the history of sulfates in shampoo, it is not hard to understand why.

Did you know that in the 1970’s some shampoos contained ethanolamine lauryl sulfates that released carcinogenic nitrosamines? This ingredient turned out to be the beginning of the end for sulfates in shampoos. Even though manufactures removed all of the harmful sulfates from shampoos after that scandal, in the court of public opinion shampoos with sulfates of any kind can cause adverse side effects.

So what do we use instead? Keep reading to discover the top ten sulfate free shampoos of 2018!


1) SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea Butter shampoo

This shampoo is guilty of moisturizing and repairing the most over-processed and damaged hair.

Which means it is great for ladies trying to revert their heat damaged hair! The Raw Shea Butter shampoo is better for your hair than shampoo with sulfate because it does not have the drying properties that your hair can suffer from after getting too clean! It doesn’t break the bank at $7.99

Although the Shea Moisture brand had a hiccup with its customer base a few years ago, the brand is still in the community of its patrons trying to make things right.

Profits from this product go to women in low-income communities!

2) Ouai's Repair shampoo

The Quai Repair shampoo and conditioner duo is brought to you by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin!

The $26.00 shampoo should be used to replenish hair that has undergone a chemical process. Processing can include anything from perms, to coloring session, or keratin treatments. This sulfate free shampoo is cleansing and hydrating with natural extracts like coconut.

You might be confused as to how you wash your hair with coconut because coconut oil can clog pores, but coconut water is a different story. Coconut water is antiviral and antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it is a great way to cleanse your hair and treat your scalp.

Reviews for this product are raving, with users saying that it can help to give volume to the flattest of hair.


3) Kiehl's Damage Repairing & Rehydrating Shampoo

This pricey bottle of sulfate-free goodness ($20.00) is perfect for those recovering from a heat obsession!

Yes, if you straighten your hair a lot, this is the shampoo for you. It’s infused with moringa tree oil to rebuild frayed, fried, and broken hair strands. The moringa tree oil makes it perfect for your hair when it comes to detangling because this also means that your hair is going to be less frizzy due to the moisture.

Less frizz means less time detangling because your comb can get through your hair easier.

4) Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo

A sulfate-free clarifying shampoo is almost unheard of!

However, the Briogeo brand successfully brought a coconut-based cleanser to the market to help you get a frothy lather and eliminate product build up. Get this; the shampoo does not lead to the stripping of natural oils!

Clarifying shampoos are essential to the health and hair regimen of naturals because we tend to use a lot of oils and need to purify our scalp. So many of us incorporate a sulfate into our routine sparingly to ensure that our scalp can get rid of excess oils, but now we do not have to.

You can get this product for $24.00.


5) Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

This pick is a little more versatile.

Even though the name of this shampoo indicates that it is for the curly girl, the oils in the shampoo make it a winner for all hair types! The complete opposite of a sulfate stripping shampoo, the Curl Nourish Shampoo contains, jojoba, coconut, and macadamia oils.

These make this drug store option a hydrating force that straight and curly tresses can benefit from. You can catch it at Target for $4.49!

6) Hair Food Hair Milk Shampoo Infused with Jasmine & Vanilla Fragrance

This Hair Food shampoo does not have sulfates, parabens, gluten, silicone, mineral oil or dye! At $9.99 this product is the “cleanest” shampoo on the menu!

If you need to know why these items are best far far away from your hair read the quick rundown below:


mimic estrogen which disrupts normal hormone function.


If you suffer from Celiac's disease you already know that an introduction to gluten can mean an itchy, blistering rash, along with stomach bloating and diarrhea! Your skin is the biggest organ on your body so introducing gluten to your skin is the same as eating it or worse.


is a sealant against water and prevents moisture from getting to your hair.

Mineral Oil:

is a derivative of crude oil that you put into your car. Enough said.


can cause scalp irritation and sensitivity.


7) Hair Rules Cleansing Cream

Celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend and Allure magazine swear by this pudding-like, no-bubble formula!

This shampoo caters to those with thick, coarse hair. With its heavy consistency that breaks down build-up composed of dirt and oil, this shampoo uses honey, lemongrass, and Hawaiian ginger to cleanse the hair and scalp.

It is incredibly cheap, and you can find it as low as $0.99.

8) L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Shampoo

With raving reviews from its consumers, L’Oreal was one of the first mass brands to create a sulfate-free shampoo. It is almost a favorite amongst color-treated heads because at $5.79 it leaves the color looking refreshed and plumps the strands with volume.


9) Living Proof Full Shampoo

If you're really into technology and how the hair industry can move forward with innovative products, you may want to try Living Proof Full Shampoo.

This sulfate free shampoo is a product line created by the masterminds at MIT. The active ingredient is called poly beta-amino ester-1, a polyfluoroester.

The polyfluoroester ingredient is patent protected, and it coats each hair shaft once applied. Once it finishes drying on the hair, polyfluoroesters on adjacent hair strands grab at each other and simultaneously leave spaces between each strand. It kind of puts you in mind of a magnetic effect, which also gives your hair scientific levels of volume upon styling.

The Living proof shampoo is on the shelf at $59.

10) True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo

Last but not least the True Botanicals shampoo!

You will not get you a good lather which is like most sulfate-free shampoos, but you will get squeaky clean hair due to green tea oil and aloe leaf extract. At $34.00 you will also be left with a natural leafy musk on your strands so beware of the leafy smell.


Ten for Ten

This day and age, shampoos containing sulfates are thought to be guilty of stripping the natural oils from your hair.

This lack of moisture can cause both frizz and breakage, which is detrimental to anyone looking to have a healthy head of hair. The option to use a sulfate free shampoo not only speaks to the catering of the customer but also how far we have come as a consumer base to demand quality products.

Have you tried any of the products mentioned on this list? Drop a comment below to let us know what you think of it and whether or not we should invest in a sulfate-free shampoo!

Note: While the caution in regards to shampoo with sulfate is understandable, not all sulfates are carcinogenic. The FDA is well aware and okay with the current shampoos on the market containing sulfates.

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