7 sulphate-free shampoos that actually work
Ditch the bad stuff, keep the good results
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / November 11 2020
Ah sulphates, they do divide many. Some find them painfully irritating and downright off-putting while others believe that without them, shampoo just doesn’t work as well, leaving locks dry and just about as dirty as they started.
And hey, if you don’t know where you personally stand on the matter, here's a guide on what they are, why they exist, and whether or not you should be using or avoiding them.
But let's be real, even if you're standing firm on team 'no sulphate', the battle still isn't over. Finding a formula that contains no nasties and doesn't compromise on that 'clean' feeling can be tricky.
Unless of course, you've been blessed with the tremendous luck of coming across this very list, that is. In that case you and your strands are well and truly sorted. Here are the sulphate-free shampoos we'd swap the old classics out for any day...
Drunk Elephant Cocomino Glossing Shampoo
Judging solely on lather-factor? You'll no doubt be impressed by the creamy foam this guy forms. Formulated in collaboration with Jennifer Aniston's hair stylist Chris McMillan (AKA a man we'd trust with our lives and our hair), it's a gentle but effective formula that lets coconut-based surfectants take care of the cleansing action (without damaging the hair shaft, of course), while oils loaded in fatty acids handle hydration.
Bhave Bombshell Blonde Shampoo
If you’re on the hunt for a shampoo without sulphates that also looks after your blonde (think toning and damage-repairing), then add this one to cart immediately. The bio-active keratin in the formula helps nurse severely damaged hair back to health by strengthening and restoring elasticity, while certified organic argan oil intensely nourishes and certified organic aloe vera works to rebalance pH levels.
OGX Luxurious Moroccan Argan Crème Shampoo
Picking just one of OGX’s shampoos (the entire range is sulphate-free, ICYMI) was tough; really, you should let your hair’s top needs lead the way. But considering the need for hydration is pretty universal, this smoothing, softening argan oil-powered option is always a safe bet. Plus, in addition to leaving strands silky, it'll also help to protect against the dreaded damaging effects of both the sun and your straightener.
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Sulphate-free and yet super hydrating, this one’s designed for dry and damaged hair types (yes, bottle blondes, we're looking at you). The repairing formula strengthens the bonds in your hair while also eliminating frizz and flyaways; basically it helps you to keep the colour you want and get back the softness and strength you lost through achieving it. We don't mean to go all Hannah Montana on you, but it's a best of both worlds scenario, for sure.
Aveda Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo
Feel like other sulphate-free shampoos aren't cleansing deep enough to handle the build-up on your scalp? This exfoliating formula is the way to go. Not only does it help to enhance your hair's thickness and fullness (shoutout to turmeric for that), but it also uses salicylic acid to sweep away the dirt and debris sitting on your scalp while it works, leaving both your skin and strands feeling fresh, but still not stripped.
3”More Inches Moisturising Shampoo
It’s not just sulphates you won’t find here – this hypoallergenic wash is free from alcohol, silicones, parabens, colours and phthalates, too. But don’t worry, you won’t miss any of them, because the ingredients it is loaded with are pretty much as nourishing and reparative as they get. The standout? Cashmere amino acid, which is in there to take brittle, broken hair straight to healthy, hydrated town (a place we're all down to visit).
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Joia Strengthening and Smoothing Shampoo
Some people are worried that switching to a sulphate-free option will take away from the sensorial experience of shampoo'ing, and to that, we say: give this coconut-ty delight a whiff. Suitable for every hair type and texture under the sun, it's a strand-strengthening blend of brazil nut, coconut oil and cupuaçu butter that'll have your senses convinced you're showering in a São Paulo suite.