Sulfate-free has been a beauty buzzword for quite some time. But why? As many of you know, sulfates are often described as being too harsh on the hair, stripping away essential oils and causing major color fade. With that in mind, switching to sulfate-free products should be a no-brainer. However, these shampoos don’t always deliver that rich lather we’ve come to know and love, and sometimes they can leave your hair with a less than clean feeling. Thankfully, sulfate-free shampoos that lather do exist. Check out some of our favorites below!
Sulfates vs. Surfactants
Sodium laurel sulfate: the big bad. You’ve probably read this name in the ingredients list on the back of your shampoo, your toothpaste, or even your household cleaners. SLS is the sulfate that most beauty brands have been moving away from. Sulfate-free shampoos do work, but they aren’t necessarily for everyone. Some people want to feel that lather (which is what sulfate does) and they want to feel that squeaky clean feeling. With that in mind, many companies have been opting to use something called a surfactant.
In reality, surfactants are a much milder version of sulfate. To some extent, they will still pull oil from the hair, but they are more color-friendly and won’t leave your locks dried out or damaged. Many of these surfactants are plant-based, with coconut being the most common source.
If you like specifics, look out for these ingredients: decyl glucoside, coco glucoside, or cocamidopropyl betaine. If you see these on the back of your shampoo bottle, you’re in the clear! These naturally-derived surfactants are all considered to be the best of the best when it comes to sulfate alternatives. If perusing the ingredients list isn’t your thing, then read on for some recommendations.
Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos That Lather in the Shower
Rahua Classic Shampoo: $36
If you’re a frequent washer, look no further than Rahua. Rahua’s Classic Shampoo uses coconut betaines to provide a rich, luxurious clean feeling. The best part of this shampoo is the uber-woodsy scent of sustainably-sourced palo santo oil.
Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Shampoo: $16.46
Hair that needs a bit of quenching would benefit from Shea Moisture’s line of shampoos, especially the Manuka honey and yogurt shampoo. This powerhouse beauty brand is committed to giving back and staying sulfate-free, utilizing cocoamidopropyl betaine in its products.
JVN Embody Daily Volumizing Shampoo: $18
Leave it to JVN to make the greatest volumizer of all time that still stays true to the environment and your hair’s health. If you’re in need of a body boost, then this wash is for you. JVN’s Embody Shampoo also utilizes sugar-cane-derived hemisqualane rather than squalane, which is derived from sharks.
(via JVN Hair)
Verb Ghost Shampoo: $18
Verb has been all over social media, and for good reason. Verb’s Ghost Shampoo is being called one of the best shampoos of all time and is compatible with literally every hair type. Even better, this brand uses coconut-derived surfactants, ensuring the health of your hair and scalp.
Virtue Recovery Shampoo: $40
If your hair is in need of some serious help, try Virtue’s Recovery Shampoo. Virtue is another brand that utilizes coconut-derived surfactants and works for any and all stressed-out hair types. As an added bonus, all Virtue products contain Alpha Keratin 60ku, a healing protein that’s identical to the keratin that makes up 90% of hair.
Changing hair products can be tough! Do your new products need moisture, protein, or maybe both? Head over HERE to find out!