Sulfate-free shampoo is becoming more and more popular. Wen seemed to be the first major sulfate-free cleansing system, with big drugstore and salon brands following in its footsteps. I was curious about what the differences really are between shampoos with sulfates and without, so I asked my friend and hair stylist, Rosalie Wood, to weigh in. Rosalie is one of the top hair stylists in Albuquerque and works at Waves, voted one of the top 20 salons in the nation.
Sulfates (sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate) are detergents used in shampoo to make suds and to cleanse effectively. There are a lot of mixed opinions on sulfates. Many say sulfates dry hair out and can cause frizz and breakage. There are also studies that show sulfates to be toxic and dangerous. Rosalie shares with us the pros and cons of switching to sulfate-free shampoo:
Pros of Sulfate-Free Shampoo:
- Gentle on sensitive skin (eczema)
- Doesn’t fade colored hair
- Doesn’t strip natural oils from skin and hair
- Wont dry out hair cuticle
- Will help prolong the life a keratin treatment or a relaxer
- May make certain types of hair extensions last longer
Cons of Sulfate-Free Shampoo:
- Sulfate-free shampoo does not deep clean hair as well as shampoo with sulfates
- You may need to use more product to get hair clean, which can end up costing more
- People with oily hair likely won’t get the deep cleansing they need with a sulfate-free product
Rosalie’s Picks for Sulfate-Free Shampoo:
Most shampoos and conditioners that are “color safe” don’t use sulfates. All Pureology products are sulfate-free. Also, Kérastase Bain Chroma Captive and Chroma Sensitive are sulfate-free (Chroma Sensitive is extremely gentle so you might not feel like its cleaning as well. Recommended more for hair colored dark or red which tends to fade the most). For drugstore brands, L’Oreal makes Kérastase so I trust their sulfate-free lines(EverCreme, EverPure, EverStrong & EverSleek).
My hair is extremely dry and I used Wen for almost two years. While I think highly of the line and it did leave my hair ultra soft, I didn’t feel that it got my scalp clean enough. I recently stopped using Wen and switched to the EverCreme shampoo and conditioner from L’Oreal. Unlike Wen, L’Oreal’s sulfate-free shampoos have a foaming agent called Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate. Even thought it sounds like a sulfate, it’s not! It’s 100% natural and comes from coconut and palm oils. While it does not foam as much as a sulfate shampoo does, there is a decent lather that I really like. Blog post coming very soon about this shampoo and conditioner! I’ve also used Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk shampoo (also sulfate-free) and loved it. Leaves hair clean, soft and smelling like the tropics!
What are your thoughts on sulfate-free shampoo? Have you made the switch?