As a natural, you may have heard or read that sulfate shampoos are harmful to your hair and should be avoided. But what exactly is sulfate shampoo?
A sulfate shampoo contains the chemical "sulfate," which is a cleansing agent. You may think, "That doesn't sound so bad."
However, when used to wash your hair, sulfates can strip your scalp and hair of their natural oils, leaving them dry, itchy, and brittle.
If you have a sensitive scalp, sulfates can cause itchiness, redness, and irritation. Therefore, it is advisable to use a sulfate-free shampoo when washing your natural hair.
What is a Sulfate-free Shampoo?
A sulfate-free shampoo does not contain sulfates, as the name implies. Instead, they contain natural hydrating agents such as coco glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, decyl glucoside, and disodium cocoyl glutamate, among others.
These natural hydrating agents help cleanse dirt, excess oil, and product buildup from your scalp and hair, while still keeping them moisturized and soft. Also, you won't experience the drying effect or irritation that comes with using sulfate shampoos on your hair and scalp.
Benefits of Sulfate-free Shampoo
1. Restores moisture and repair your hair
Sulfate-free shampoos often contain nutrients, such as proteins, fatty acids, and natural oils like argan oil, to moisturize and repair damaged hair.
2. Makes your natural hair smoother
Sulfate-free shampoos are packed with vitamins A, C, and E, which can help smooth your hair, leaving it shinier and bouncier.
3. Great for colored hair
Sulfate-free shampoos help maintain the color and vibrancy of dyed hair, keeping it looking fresh and new.
4. Strengthen your hair
Sulfate-free shampoos contain keratin and other proteins that help strengthen weak hair strands, preventing breakage.
With that said, I have compiled a list of honest reviews of sulfate-free shampoos for natural hair. These reviews were left by verified customers on the internet and can serve as a guide for your next sulfate-free shampoo shopping!
The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos For Natural Hair
1. ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Shampoo
The Keratin & Green Tea Shampoo is formulated with strengthening keratin amino acids and green tea antioxidants. It is recommended for maintaining the healthy condition of delicate hair types, including fine, dull, or color-treated hair.
This sulfate-free formula is color safe and gently cleanses hair and scalp. The Green Tea Extract and exclusive PropHytamine Complex contained in the shampoo help to enliven hair and soothe the scalp. With regular use, hair stays healthy, strong, and manageable. This shampoo is safe for daily use.
5 Reviews of ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Shampoo
- "Great shampoo for permed and color-treated hair, easy to style." – Nanette S. on Sally Beauty.
- "I have natural hair. I have to have this to wash my hair. It makes detangling a breeze." – James A. McDougal on Amazon
- "My family just loves this product. It is helping my daughter's hair get stronger and longer. My daughter had extensions taken out two years ago and her hair was destroyed, she hated her hair. Today two years later her hair is healthy and glowing. Thanks for making it happen!" – Settles on Sally Beauty
- "I would recommend this product a thousand times. I love this product, it makes my hair feel so soft 😍😍😍" – Courtney L. Woodward on Amazon
- "Love it! Made my hair soft and silky and I could see a difference." – Mari on Amazon
2. Carol's Daughter Wash Day Delight Micellar shampoo
Carol's Daughter Wash Day Delight Micellar Shampoo with Aloe is designed to transform from a liquid to a gentle foam lather quickly, providing a deep clean without stripping or harsh friction.
This formula helps cut down time on wash day and is perfect for curly and coily hair types. The targeted applicator helps the liquid formula flow through hair, providing easy scalp access, and rinses clean quickly.
5 Reviews of Carol's Daughter Wash Day Delight Micellar shampoo
- "The claim on the bottle is that it leaves your hair clean and surprisingly soft is true. my hair does feel like that after use. It has a watery texture and it doesn't lather a lot, but it doesn't strip your hair either.
I struggle with dermatitis from an oily scalp, and this is helped my scalp and hair immensely. It seems to help control scalp breakouts as well." – PhillyFoxy on Ulta Beauty
- "I don't know what I would do without this for my braids. My hair grows quickly, after a cut or breakage from chemo, so braids and natural oils get my mane long and strong quickly.
But all those oils can build up leaving for dusty hair, but not with this magic bottle! Will never be without it as long as you continue to make it." – Burgundy on Ulta Beauty
- "I LOVE this product!! I hope it stays around forever because no other clarifying shampoos match it for me! It follows the curly girl method and it really takes care of build-up.
I was always asking my stylists how to clear my dandruff that I had for years, they would tell me that I didn’t have dandruff (and for some reason not explain build up).
Finally, I realized that the flakes I kept seeing might have been build-up, so I looked into taking care of it. A head scrubber alone wasn’t working and neither was the clarifying shampoos.
Just ONE use of this product and all of the flakes were gone. Some people complain about the liquid form, but that’s the best part for me because it can flow down my scalp and reach every section before I scrub to make it foam.
The pointed nozzle makes it easy to control as well. Plus it smells amazing!! I would advise using a good conditioner afterward, of course." – Cecilia on Amazon
- "This shampoo is AMAZING! I'm not even exaggerating. It feels sooooo good on my scalp! I think that's the best part in my opinion. I love the fact that it doesn't take much. I just put a few drops in certain spots on my head and it lathered completely and fully.
You can really feel the cleanliness. It is true that it's not stripping away, and it's doing exactly what it says. When I started my natural hair journey, 10 years ago, I started using Carol's Daughter products.
Over the years, I had drifted away from Carol's Daughter and went towards Cantu products. BUT this shampoo alone is making me come back!" – Erica Glenn on Amazon
- "I love this shampoo. It makes my hair extra soft. The shampoo is very clean smelling." – VeePurr on Ulta Beauty
3. Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo
The Babassu Conditioning Shampoo is a gentle cleanser that softens and strengthens your hair with rich moisturizing agents. It uses certified organic ingredients such as babassu oil, almond protein, and hibiscus extract for beautiful results.
Almond protein creates strength and elasticity, while hibiscus provides shine and manageability.
5 Reviews of Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo
- "Nice Minty Tingling Shampoo! Lightweight, runny but great on the hair." – Natural G on Sally Beauty
- "This shampoo alone had my hair feeling so soft and silky. It was more "watery" than I expected but the results were great." – Bookie06 on Sally Beauty
- "I bought this and only had been using it for a couple of months now and it's great I luv it." – Lisaray09 on Sally Beauty
- "First time using this product and it was okay. Great thing is that it wasn't so thick you can definitely tell the oil is in this product.
My hair did feel a little stripped but my scalp felt really clean. I may try a different shampoo of this brand." Looovekay on Sally Beauty
4. Flawless by Gabrielle Union Moisturizing Shampoo
Flawless Hydrating Detangling Shampoo gently cleanses while restoring elasticity. It contains a Brazilian Bacuri Butter and Rice Oil complex that hydrates and detangles, making hair more manageable.
5 Reviews of Flawless by Gabrielle Union Moisturizing Shampoo
- "No more tangled natural curls make my hair tangle free just like I like it." Crystal L. on Sally Beauty
- "I love this product. It really helped me (wet brush in the shower) detangle and smooth my hair. I have kinky, curly hair. You only need a little. It smells really good too." Rochelle on Sally Beauty
- "This product works well for my dry, shoulder-length hair. My hair is natural - no chemicals or coloring at the present time.
After using the shampoo and conditioner, I found my hair to be soft and very easy to comb through. It added the moisture my hair desperately needed.
This is the best shampoo I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried quite a few in my lifetime." Beverly O'Neal on Amazon
- "Great for detangling the hair and also hydrates the scalp." Shellz123 on Sally Beauty
- "I'm not sure if I like this or not. It's funny because when I use it to wash my hair, it makes it feel totally stripped and matted. However when I put conditioner on to comb my hair after my comb slides right through like butter.
It confuses me because I'm not really sure if it's the shampoo or conditioner combined with the fact bleaching has completely relaxed my natural curls to where they don't exist anymore." Akua Grant on Amazon