If you've ever spent time looking at the ingredient list on your shampoo and conditioner bottles, you've probably seen a whole bunch of scientific words that mean absolutely nothing to you. But there’s one term you should definitely keep an eye out for, and that’s sulfate. Sulfates are detergents that produce a lathering effect, and they can be found in everything from your shampoo to dishwashing liquids and clothing detergents. While there are many sulfate shampoos—aka ones that are formulated with sulfates—for those of us that prefer to go for a shampoo without sulfates, there are more sulfate free shampoo brands and options now than ever before! Not sure what sulfate free shampoo to choose? Below, we’re sharing a selection of some of our favorite sulfate free shampoos for all different hair types and concerns, including everything from thin hair to frizzy hair to hair that’s been color and chemically-treated. Add one of the sulfate free shampoo and conditioner combos from our sulfate free shampoo list to your hair care routine today.
OUR BEST SULFATE FREE SHAMPOO FOR COLOR TREATED HAIR
If you have color-treated hair, you already know that it needs extra TLC in order to stay healthy. The L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo is formulated with an exclusive antioxidant complex that gently cleanses fragile hair. It deeply strengthens and protects hair from daily color aggressors. Did you know that UV rays, water, and heat styling can all sensitize hair and affect your color? Yep. If you have color-treated hair, you should try using a color-care system of shampoo and conditioner formulated to maintain the vibrancy of your hue and your hair’s overall vitality. This particular formula is gentle on color and is sulfate-free. After using the shampoo, follow up with the coordinating sulfate-free conditioner, the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair and Defend Conditioner.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR
Curly hair needs special care, and when it’s cared for properly, everyone will be jealous of your gorgeous spirals. Show your curls some major love by using the L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Shampoo. This sulfate-free shampoo for curly hair, which is formulated with coconut oil and hydrating botanicals, gently cleanses curls and quenches them with hydration, leaving you with softer and more manageable hair. The lightweight shampoo doesn’t weigh your hair down, so your curls can feel hydrated without unwanted frizz. Apply the shampoo to wet hair and massage it gently into a thick lather. Rinse thoroughly before applying the L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Conditioner to your ends.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR FINE HAIR
If your hair feels thin, consider using a thickening shampoo, such as the L'Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo. And yes, the formula is sulfate-free! When used regularly, this non-sulfate shampoo can help fortify your strands from the inside out, promoting thicker-looking locks and helping stop hair breakage. Bonus: It’s formulated with rosemary leaf and has a lovely, fresh aromatic fragrance that you can enjoy during every shower. Pair the shampoo with the L'Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Conditioner.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Having dandruff is never a fun experience. Every couple of minutes you find yourself staring at the flakes falling all over the place, and it just never seems to end. And let’s not even get started on the fact that wearing anything black is officially out of the question. If you’re familiar with flaking, use the L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Antidandruff Shampoo. This sulfate-free dandruff shampoo is also free of harsh salts and surfactants and can be used to help restore scalp balance. Not to mention, it’s extremely gentle on your scalp and has a fresh aromatic fragrance. For best results, use the shampoo twice a week or as directed by a doctor. Apply it to wet hair by gently massaging it onto your scalp and hair before rinsing well. To complete your hair care system, use the L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Balancing Conditioner, too.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR BLONDES
Color-treated hair is one thing, but color-treated blonde hair is another. That’s because in order to keep your blonde hair looking its very best, you’ll need to use a non-sulfate shampoo (and conditioner) that’s formulated specifically for your hue. Try the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde Shampoo, which will help neutralize any brassiness, prevent fading, and also keep your locks hydrated. Pair it with the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde Conditioner and the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde Shade Reviving Treatment for a full hair care routine that caters to your color.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR DRY, BRITTLE HAIR
Looking for a way to get the shine back into locks that have gone dull? The L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo can gently clean dry, brittle hair while also replenishing it with nourishment and moisture. The result: A silky-soft texture and lots of shine. This shampoo without sulfates, which is specifically formulated for dry hair, is also gentle on color-treated hair. Apply the shampoo on wet hair and massage it into a thick lather, then rinse thoroughly. Follow up with the L'Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Conditioner to complete your nourishing hair care routine.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR FRIZZY HAIR
Even on days where there’s a little rain outside, you can keep your frizz under control with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz Defy Shampoo. Formulated with marula oil, this sulfate-free shampoo gently cleanses frizz-prone hair, offering humidity and frizz control, manageability, and smoothness. After gently massaging it onto wet hair and then rinsing thoroughly, move on to conditioning with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz Defy Conditioner, which is a sulfate-free conditioner.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR FLAT HAIR
Whatever your hair type or texture, there are bound to be times when your strands could stand for a little boost in volume. Whenever that’s the case, reach for a sulfate-free shampoo that’s formulated to revive flat hair and provide lasting volume, such as the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Shampoo. Use it the same as you would any other shampoo—apply onto wet hair, massage gently into a lather, then rinse thoroughly before following with the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Conditioner.
OUR BEST SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO FOR CHEMICALLY STRAIGHTENED HAIR
If you’ve had a professional keratin treatment, which is a chemical process that helps relax and straighten strands, then you'll want to switch to using a sulfate-free shampoo that’s formulated specifically to care for chemically processed hair. Using regular old shampoo on your hair can actually reverse or minimize the effects of your treatment! So, go ahead and reach for the L'Oréal Paris EverSleek Keratin Caring Shampoo, which is formulated to help care for the essential protein and keratin that are naturally found in your hair. Pair it with the L'Oréal Paris EverSleek Keratin Caring Conditioner for best results.
HOW TO USE OUR SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONER
Don’t leave just yet! Make sure you’re prepared to cleanse and condition the right way. Follow these tips for using our sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner duos.
Step 1. Shower in lukewarm water
Scalding hot H2O won’t exactly do your hair any favors, as it can strip your hair of essential oils, which can make it feel drier. Turn down the temp and rinse off in lukewarm water instead.
Step 2. Be gentle!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when using shampoo is aggressively rubbing it onto your hair. Apply your sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to wet hair and work them through your strands gently, then rinse.
Step 3. Let conditioner sit
Don’t immediately rinse out your sulfate-free conditioner once you apply it. Give it a minute or two to work its magic. Wash your body or shave your legs while you wait, then rinse when you’re ready.
Step 4. Allow your hair to air dry
Show off your hair’s natural texture when you’re done shampooing and conditioning by air drying your hair. Create gorgeous beachy waves by putting your hair into a braid (create one braid for looser waves or multiple braids for tighter waves). Once your hair has completely dried, undo your braid and shake your hair out. You’re ready to face the day with serious style!
Step 5. Blot your hair dry with a cotton t-shirt
Speaking of drying your hair, a cotton T-shirt will be softer and gentler than a towel, so keep one on hand in your bathroom.
Step 6. Avoid brushing wet hair
Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, so put that brush away. Instead, spritz on a detangling spray and use a comb to gently undo any knots. It can also be a good idea to brush through your strands before you shower!
6 OTHER SULFATE-FREE HAIR PRODUCTS TO TRY
Sulfates aren’t just found in shampoo! If you want to ditch sulfates from your hair care routine, consider adding a few more sulfate-free hair products to your regular regimen.
1. Sulfate-free hair scrub
It’s time to scrub-a-dub-dub! The L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Micro-Exfoliating Scrub, which is formulated with apricot seeds, gently removes impurities and build-up from dirt and excess oils that can cause hair to be weighed down. To use, wet hair and apply. Gently massage the scrub onto your scalp and throughout hair. Rinse thoroughly and follow with the L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Antidandruff Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Balancing Conditioner.
Editor’s note: Not sure you need to add this extra step to your sulfate-free hair care routine? Here’s Why You Should Add a Scalp Scrub to Your Hair Care Routine.
2. Sulfate-free hair butter
Want to give a hair mask a spin? After shampooing with the L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo, reach for the L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Renourishing Butter. Apply to wet hair, focusing on your lengths and ends. Leave the mask on for three to five minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Use weekly or as needed. For added detangling and extra conditioning, you can use the mask before shampooing.
3. SULFATE-FREE LEAVE-IN LOTION
Does your hair look a little, er, raggedy, these days? Consider using a leave-in lotion to help improve the look of your mane. The L’Oréal Paris EverStrong Break Proof Lotion has a lightweight formula that moisturizes hair that has been sensitized by UV rays, water, and heat styling—plus, it helps revive the look of shine. The formula also helps provide added slip and detangling. Apply a dime-sized amount to towel-dried hair, gently working it through your hair to evenly distribute, then style as usual. (Learn How to Fix Split Ends—yes, it’s possible!)
4. SULFATE-FREE HAIR ELIXIR
Who doesn’t love multi-tasking hair care products? After all, they can help cut down on the number of steps in your routine. The L’Oréal Paris EverPure 10-in-1 Elixir does everything from nourish to hydrate to smooth the look of hair to add shine. Apply onto towel-dried hair and scalp in sections. Gently work through hair to evenly distribute, then style as usual.
5. SULFATE-FREE HAIR SERUM
When you have frizz-prone hair, finding the right products is key. After shampooing and conditioning with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz Defy Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Frizz Defy Conditioner, try the L’Oréal Paris EverSleek Frizz Finish Oil-in-Serum. This lightweight serum can help tame frizz and flyaways while detangling and smoothing each strand. Apply one to two pumps evenly onto damp or dry hair from mid-length to ends. From there, you can either blow-dry your hair or let it air dry—it’s up to you! You can also apply a small amount of serum to dry hair to help tame flyaways, condition split ends, and smooth the look of your hair.
6. Sulfate-free hair gel
Are you a curly girl? Style your hair with the L’Oréal Paris EverCurl Sculpt & Hold Cream-Gel, which combines the care of a rich hydrating cream that conditions and the hold of a styling gel that shapes without weighing hair down. Curls remain smooth and hydrated. After shampooing and conditioning with the L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Conditioner, dispense one to two pumps evenly through clean, towel-dried hair. Let curls air dry or blow-dry with a diffuser, then finish styling as usual.
Editor’s note: Need more product recs? Here are Our Best Curly Hair Products.
Still not sure whether you should try a sulfate-free shampoo? Next, check out Our 5 Reasons to Consider Using a Sulfate-Free Shampoo.