Do You Really Need a Sulfate Free Shampoo?

Do You Really Need a Sulfate Free Shampoo?

Is it just a fad, or does sulfate-free mean healthier hair?
Comments (11)

Sulfate free shampoo has become a beauty buzzword, but is it really better for your hair?

First of all, what does “sulfate-free” mean? “Sulfates” refer specifically to the ingredient sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) (also less commonly known as ammonia laureth sulfate (ALS). To put it simply, SLS is a cleansing agent that helps to create lather in your shampoo and unless a shampoo specifically claims to be sulfate-free (not “lower in sulfates”, but sulfate-free), SLS is a standard shampoo ingredient.

SLS can be damaging because it contains harsh salts that strip and dry out your hair. In theory, if you stop using shampoos that contain SLS, you should notice a dramatic improvement in the texture and health of your hair. The problem is that some people have tried sulfate-free products without experiencing noticeable benefits.  Most stylists agree that if you colour your hair, sulfate-free is the way to go. The salts in SLS strip hair colour, causing your colour to fade more quickly, and sulfate-free shampoos will provide longer-lasting, more vibrant colour. Naturally Curly suggests that women with wavy or curly locks, who are particularly susceptible to dry hair, can also benefit from a sulfate-free hair care regimen.

If you're curious about the sulfate-free movement and would like to give it a try, here are some affordable shampoo options to check out.

1) Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo - $9.99 for 354 mL bottle – available at Zellers and Shoppers Drug Mart. It contains about 98% natural ingredients, and smells amazing. Keep in mind that this shampoo is completely free of detergents and surfactants, so it doesn't lather nearly as much as a regular shampoo.

2) L'Oréal EverPure Rosemary & Juniper Volume Shampoo - $11.99 for 250 mL bottle – available at Zellers and Shoppers Drug Mart. L'Oréal has been one of the media forerunners for sulfate-free hair care, and has a whole line of affordable shampoos and styling products. This one does lather, using surfectants that are gentler than SLS.

3) Alba Hawaiian Honeydew Nourishing Hair Wash - $9.99 for 350 mL bottle – available at Shoppers Drug Mart. This product is not only sulfate-free, but also contains 100% vegetarian ingredients, with pineapple extracts and macadamia nut oil.

4) Desert Essences Italian Red Grape Shampoo - $8.99 for 237 mL bottle – available at Shoppers Drug Mart. The award-winning Desert Essences products come in a variety of delicious-smelling scents, including Red Raspberry and Green Apple & Ginger, and infuse your hair with a variety of nutrients, using sugar cleansers.

5) Marc Anthony Be Ageless Advanced Colour Protect Anti-Aging Shampoo - $11.49 for 250 mL bottle. Marc Anthony products always deliver fabulous results, and their sulfate-free line is no exception. Don't be fooled by the “anti-aging” label—this is not just for old people! Daily wear and tear, particularly if you colour your hair or use heat styling tools, can age your hair long before the rest of your body is ready to start aging, which is what sulfate-free shampoos are designed to do: keep your hair from looking old before its time.

Comments

Anonymous's picture

I've been using sulfate-free shampoo for a while, and I use SimplyU. It's only around 4-5 bucks at wal-mart, and I've noticed that I can go WAY longer without coloring my hair. And my face stays clearer (I have mild acne) when I use sulfate free shampoos, soaps, etc.

Anonymous's picture

I have medium curls that are a mix of coarse brittle and smooth hairs... I typically experience a LOT of shedding and dryness. I've tried several sulfate-free shampoos (even a very expensive "Surface Bassu") and I think the Shielo Shampoos are the BEST. By far. My hair is never dry any more since using the Shielo brand (I use both the Shielo Hydrate and Color Protect lines). **No split ends, and my hair shedding/breakage has been at least cut in half. I LOVE the smell... I don't think it is too strong and it is still noticeable and nice the next day (if you're going to skip a day washing).

Anonymous's picture

I have tried Loreal's everstrong sulfate free shampoo... However, everytime I used it, I lose a lot of hair.o-o If I run my hand through my hair, ten or more strands come out... What is happening to me?

Anonymous's picture

I've been using sulfate-free shampoo for a while, and I use SimplyU. It's only around 4-5 bucks at wal-mart, and I've noticed that I can go WAY longer without coloring my hair. And my face stays clearer (I have mild acne) when I use sulfate free shampoos, soaps, etc.

Anonymous's picture

I have medium curls that are a mix of coarse brittle and smooth hairs... I typically experience a LOT of shedding and dryness. I've tried several sulfate-free shampoos (even a very expensive "Surface Bassu") and I think the Shielo Shampoos are the BEST. By far. My hair is never dry any more since using the Shielo brand (I use both the Shielo Hydrate and Color Protect lines). **No split ends, and my hair shedding/breakage has been at least cut in half. I LOVE the smell... I don't think it is too strong and it is still noticeable and nice the next day (if you're going to skip a day washing).

Anonymous's picture

I have tried Loreal's everstrong sulfate free shampoo... However, everytime I used it, I lose a lot of hair.o-o If I run my hand through my hair, ten or more strands come out... What is happening to me?

Anonymous's picture

I have fine, straight hair that gets oily if I don't wash my hair everyday. I have been using sulfate-free shampoo by Aveeno with seaweed extract and my hair is more shiny and less oily! I also have fewer tangles and my hair is easier to style with more body. Sulfate-free may not be for everyone but it had done wonders with my hair!

Anonymous's picture

Do I use sulphate free shampoo after a brazilian blow? is it the same as sodium chloride free shampoo? or is there a difference?

Anonymous's picture

To be honest i been using many shampoos with sodium laureth sulfate & my hair has been just fine. It had less split ends since i been using Tresemme. The brand i used had sulfate in it & my hairdresser said "wow you have less split ends than the last time, i thought your hair was bad" & some ppl would tell me my hair looks so healthy. So i honestly think its a competition for hair brands, cuz most shampoos do use sulfate but u guys dnt want customers to buy from other brands & theres not many brands that are sulfate-free so we dnt have much of a choice.

martina stubenruss's picture

if the shampoo contains coco glucoside it could be because of this ingredient.
I have made this experience too. try other shampoos containing sodium coceth sulfate for instance or other surfactants.

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