What is sulfate-free shampoo?

If you've ever stopped to read the contents on the back of your average shampoo bottle, you have probably seen a variation of the word "sulfate" listed as one of the main ingredients. But what are sulfates? Sulfates are a foaming agent that give your shampoo its sudsy texture when mixed with water, and helps clean your hair by removing dirt and oil. 

However, sometimes sulfates in shampoo might be *too* strong, and end up removing way too much of the natural moisture and oil that you hair needs to stay healthy—which can leave you with hair that is dry, brittle and a scalp that could be prone to irritation. 

If you have hair that is naturally oilier, then sulfate shampoo might work very effectively to clean—but if you've got naturally drier hair, such as curly hair, frizzy hair, or hair that is dyed, then sulfate shampoo might dry your hair out even more and cause damage. The solution? Sulfate-free shampoo—it gently cleans your hair just as effectively as normal shampoo, but doesn't contain potentially hair-damaging sulfates in it. Here are some of our fave sulfate-free shampoos: 

OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo:

This shampoo contains coconut milk *and* coconut oil to hydrate and clean your hair. Shop at

Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo: 

The oat in this shampoo provides ultra-soothing and nourishing cleansing, and leaves your hair soft and healthy. Shop at  

L'Oréal Ever-Pure Moisture Shampoo:

This shampoo protects and nourishes color-treated hair, while keeping hair soft and hydrated. Shop at

DevaCurl No-Poo Decadence Zero Lather Ultra Moisturizing Milk Cleanser:

This shampoo is perfect for curly hair—it cleans effectively while still giving curls the hydration they need. Shop at

Redken Frizz Dismiss Sulfate-Free Shampoo:

This shampoo nourishes hair to fight frizz and increase smoothness. Shop at


by Maya Camu | 7/30/2020