The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos and Conditioners


Sulfates are a type of surfactant (surface-active agent) that are commonly found in shampoos and other personal care products. They are known for their cleansing properties, as they help to remove dirt, oil, and other impurities from the hair and scalp. However, sulfates have also been linked to various negative side effects, such as dryness, itching, and even hair loss. For this reason, many people are turning to sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners as a safer and more gentle alternative.

Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are formulated without any of the harsh chemicals that are typically found in traditional hair care products. Instead, they rely on natural ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and shea butter to cleanse and nourish the hair. This makes them a great option for people with sensitive scalps or those who are prone to dryness and irritation. 

As sulfates have gained a lot more negative publicity in recent years, many brands will label that they are sulfate free—making it easier to determine which products are safe for you. 

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo and Conditioner


Blu Atlas offers unisex shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, available in their classic scent, or naturally scented coconut and apricot. As a relatively new brand in the beauty scene, Blu Atlas have grown in popularity rapidly due to their high-quality products that rely on natural, safe ingredients.

One of the key ingredients making Blu Atlas shampoos the best sulfate-free option is argan oil, which is known for its ability to hydrate and repair dry, damaged hair. Argan oil is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which help to nourish and protect the hair from environmental stressors. Additionally, it also works to improve hair elasticity and shine. 

Another key ingredient in Blu Atlas shampoos is keratin, which is a protein that makes up the structure of hair. This ingredient helps to strengthen and repair the hair, reducing breakage and split ends. It also improves the overall health of the hair, leaving it looking and feeling soft, smooth, and shiny.

Blu Atlas’ conditioner is equally as impressive, offering a lightweight but deeply hydrating formula. Avocado oil and argan oil are featured for their hydrating benefits, while barley protein helps to strengthen the ends of your hair and stimulate hair growth.

In addition to their high-quality ingredients, Blu Atlas’ shampoo and conditioners are also formulated to suit different hair types, including dry, damaged, color-treated, and curly hair. Blu Atlas are an eco-friendly brand, opting for sustainable packaging, and cruelty-free principles, making them a top choice for their effectiveness and ethical approach.

2. WEN Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner


WEN sweet almond mint cleansing conditioner is formulated with natural ingredients such as sweet almond oil, mint, and chamomile to cleanse, condition, and nourish the hair. It is also free of harsh chemicals, parabens, and sulfates, making it a great option for people with sensitive scalps. Rosemary oil stimulates healthy hair growth while also providing a delicious scent. This all-in-one cleansing conditioner means you can save time and money (and packaging!) to give your hair the all-round treatment it needs.

For the best results, it’s recommended that you cleanse, rinse, and repeat. This helps to give your hair the deep clean it needs. WEN, created by Chaz Dean, started as a hair stylist but was inspired to craft an improved hair treatment because of all the damage he saw in his clients’ hair. His cleansing conditioner is aimed at freeing the vicious cycle of an oily scalp, then depending on using shampoos once or twice a day to strip the hair of its natural oils, which only leads to more damage.

3. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo


Another one of the best sulfate-free shampoos is the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. This product is specifically formulated to soothe and invigorate the scalp while also providing gentle cleansing. It is made with natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender to help to reduce itching and flaking. Awahua, coming all the way from Hawaii, is a hydrating plant that leaves your hair feeling soft and shiny.

It is also free of sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals, so if you’re more prone to dandruff or have a more sensitive scalp, then this is the shampoo for you. Paul Mitchell is committed to creating the best hair care products without any animal testing. Starting in the 80s, the two friends behind the brand wanted to create luxury hair products that came at an affordable price. Since then they’ve also been committed to donating to projects that matter, including bullying, reforestation, and cancer organizations.

4. Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair


Aveda damage has developed a leave-in conditioner that will give you the luscious locks you’ve been searching for. This product is designed to repair and protect dry, damaged hair. It is formulated with natural ingredients such as quinoa protein and macadamia oil to strengthen and nourish the hair. It is also free of harsh chemicals, parabens, and sulfates, going above and beyond to give your hair careful, effective treatment. If you want the full package, they also offer their very own damage remedy shampoo.

Their manufacturing process is powered entirely through wind and solar power, giving them the eco-friendly tick. They were also the first brand to use 100% post consumer recycled materials in packaging. They’ve taken their products a step further by taking environmental responsibility, collecting over 69 million to fund initiatives around the globe.

5. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner


This product is specifically formulated to repair and strengthen damaged, chemically-treated hair. It is made with natural ingredients such as monoi oil and coconut oil to deeply moisturize and nourish the hair. It is also free of sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals, making it a great option for people with damaged or chemically-treated hair.

The founder of Carol’s daughter, Lisa Price, started from humble beginnings in her very own kitchen. It wasn’t long before she was appearing on Oprah Winfrey, writing her own book, having her very own museum exhibition, and taking on the global scene in skin care. Made for all hair textures and curls, Carol’s Daughter is not going to let you down.

We recommend buying their monoi strengthening set, which includes their sulfate-free repairing shampoo and conditioner, plus their repairing hair mask.

6. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner


Pureology offers a color-care line that is sulfate-free, paraben-free, and 100% vegan. This shampoo and conditioner is specially formulated to provide intense hydration to dry, color-treated hair. It contains a unique blend of ingredients, including coconut oil, shea butter, and glycerin, that work together to nourish and moisturize the hair, leaving it looking and feeling soft, smooth, and healthy.

With thousands of positive reviews, you can be confident that you’re putting your money in the right place. People love it for making them feel like they’ve just been to the salon, from the comfort of their own home.

7. AG Hair Cosmetics Curl Re:coil Curl Define Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner” 


AG Hair Cosmetics have formulated this shampoo and conditioner specially for curly hair. This sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is designed to define, hydrate, and enhance curls while gently cleansing and conditioning the hair. It contains natural ingredients like sunflower seed oil and coconut oil, which help to define and separate curls without weighing them down.

Since ‘89 AG Hair have been crafting the finest hair care products, opting for refillable options where possible, and using aluminum packaging as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. They also care about giving back, donating over 1.6 million toward education and mentorship of girls in Kenya via the One Girl Can charity. This means that every time you wash your hair, you can be confident that you’re investing in yourself, while having a broader impact on the world.

Plus, when purchasing any AG Hair product, you can select ingredients from the ingredient list and read an explanation of what the ingredient is, and why it is included in the product.

8. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask


Brigeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask is a deep conditioning treatment for damaged and dry hair. This product is formulated with a blend of natural oils and butters, including avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and shea butter, that work together to nourish and repair the hair, leaving it looking and feeling soft, smooth, and healthy. It is free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, which helps to protect hair from further damage. 

For the best effects when deep conditioning, it’s recommended you apply it to damp hair then leave it in for around 20 minutes to let the moisture soak in. Rinse out with cool or warm water.

Brio comes from the Italian, meaning full of life, energy, and intention, while geo refers to the earth or nature. Founder Nancy Twine was living a conventional life working in finance before the loss of her mother prompted her to take on a soul-searching journey to find meaning in other avenues. Her passion and purpose was unleashed in creating Briogeo, crafted with love and drive to encourage individual beauty.

9. Devines Oi Shampoo


This silky smooth shampoo is perfect for all hair types. Roucou oil is great at reducing overall frizziness and is perfect for colored hair as it’s high in beta carotene. Roucou is a tree native to the Amazon that has 100 times more beta carotene than carrots and stimulates overall hair growth. They also offer a sulfate free conditioner to complete your routine!

Founded in 1983 by the Bollati family in Italy, Devines started out as a research group, seeking out the best ways to create high-end products. They want to encourage sustainability, helping people to look after themselves and their environment.

10. R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo


R + Co Dallas is specifically formulated to give your hair a boost of volume and thickness.

This is achieved through the use of biotin, which helps to strengthen the hair and add body to it, as well as other ingredients such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which works to thicken and fortify the hair. The shampoo also contains a blend of natural oils, such as coconut oil, which nourish and moisturize the hair, leaving it feeling soft and manageable.

R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo is also cruelty-free and vegan, which is a great feature for those who are conscious about the products they use. It is also free of parabens, mineral oil, and petroleum. They also have their very own conditioner and hair oil to finish off your routine. We love their simple, beautiful packaging that will fit in perfectly with your bathroom aesthetic!

11. Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Shampoo


The argan oil in this shampoo helps to hydrate and repair the hair from the inside out, leaving it feeling soft, smooth, and under control. Keratin also assists to strengthen the hair, making it less prone to breakage and damage.The shampoo is suitable for all hair types, especially those with damaged or chemically-treated hair. The formula is also free of parabens, phosphates, and other harsh ingredients, making it safe and gentle for color-treated hair.

The Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Shampoo has a unique scent, a blend of argan oil, lavender, and vanilla, which is both refreshing and a relaxing way to finish off your day. The shampoo leaves the hair smelling great, and the scent also lingers for a while.

It can also help to improve the overall appearance and manageability of your hair, making it easier to style and tame frizz.

12. Deva Curl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner 


Deva Curl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner is a sulfate-free conditioner that is specially formulated to nourish and hydrate curly hair. This popular conditioner is loved by many curly-haired individuals for its ability to effectively detangle, moisturize, and define curls without weighing them down.

One of the key ingredients in this conditioner is rice protein, which helps to strengthen and repair damaged hair. This protein also works to thicken hair and increase its overall volume. The conditioner also contains olive oil and botanical oils that combine to provide deep hydration and nourishment to the hair, leaving it soft and manageable.

Not only is deva curl sulfate-free, it’s also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, making it a great ethical choice.

13. L’Oréal Paris: Ever Pure Sulfate Free Moisturizing Shampoo


This vegan formula is also free of parabens, talcs, dye, aluminum, and formaldehyde. EverPure will help maintain hair color for up to four weeks, bringing the salon to the comfort of your own home. The secret to this shampoo is rosemary. While it smells delicious, it is also great at stimulating blood flow, helping to promote hair growth. Additionally, it has antioxidant and antibacterial effects, making it a versatile choice. People love this product since it offers an affordable means to look after colored hair, while leaving a refreshing, long-lasting fragrance.

L’Oréal Paris have become a household name, with “because you’re worth it” as their source of inspiration for over 50 years. Beauty is in your own hands, and it’s empowering to take control over your own beauty routine and become the person you want to be. They’ve recently paired with the international non profit ‘Hollaback’ to fight back against harassment in any form. So, if you’re looking for confidence and power in your self care routine, Ever Pure shampoo is the one for you.

14. Public Goods: Shampoo


Our final favorite that deserves a mention amongst the best sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners is Public Good’s shampoo. This shampoo is all vegan and is a gentle blend of fragrant essential oils including cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange—bringing fond memories of Christmas, all year round! Citric acid is a favorite natural preservative, allowing you to get a longer life out of your shampoo. If you’re looking for simple ingredients and packaging, but salon-worthy results, Public Goods have the answers.

Their high standards extend just beyond their ingredient list, as Public Goods are also committed to meeting sustainable needs with 100% recyclable packaging. Even better still, becoming one of their members entitles you to wholesale prices, allowing you to get results without having to empty your pockets.

Public goods recommend using a quarter-sized amount of shampoo, massaging deeply into the scalp for a deep clean, and leaving in for a few minutes before rinsing out.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between shampoo and conditioner? 

While it’s not something we tend to learn growing up, we tend to follow the habits and beliefs of our own friends and family regarding the role of different beauty products. Shampoo and conditioner are made for different roles and need to be applied differently on our head to achieve the best results.

Shampoo should be primarily applied to the scalp, then allowed to clean out the rest of the scalp as you rinse it off. Shampoo opens the cuticles of the hair, helping to clean out dirt and any other impurities like sweat and dead skin cells.

Conditioner, on the other hand, should be applied to the ends of your hair. Conditioner is responsible for sealing your cuticles and locking in moisture. While applying conditioner to your scalp won’t cause direct damage to your hair, it may cause your hair to be flat or limp and appear greasy. 

How often should I be using shampoo and conditioner? 

In general, it’s recommended to use shampoo every two to three days. We still recommended taking a shower every day, but it’s fine just to rinse your hair with water on the days you’re not using products.

Using shampoo more frequently can result in stripping the hair too much of its own oils, leaving the scalp too dry. This means that the hair is more vulnerable to damage. On the other hand, not using shampoo enough can result in oil build up, causing hair to look heavy and greasy. The perfect frequency of washing your hair depends on your activity levels too, such as if you’re more likely to break out in a sweat daily, or are living a more relaxed lifestyle. The best option is to play around with different routines and see what has the best results.

Unlike shampoo, conditioner can be used every day since it provides much needed moisture for the hair. It’s nearly impossible to over moisturize your hair, so you can use conditioner freely. If you have very oily or fine hair, you might be weighed down by the conditioner, so we recommend using less, or conditioning less frequently.

Are there other ingredients I should be worried about?

  • Parabens: While evidence is still being gathered, some research has linked parabens to cancer and endocrine disruption. Parabens are ingredients commonly used in a variety of products for their preservative action. 
  • Phthalates: These are plasticizing chemicals that can also disrupt hormones and have been linked to birth defects and other health problems. They are often found in beauty products to help with absorption, boost the life of the fragrance, and soften other substances. 
  • Fragrance: As the fragrance of each product is their trade secret, ingredients for fragrance aren’t required to be listed. This means that a single label of ‘fragrance’ could actually indicate over 1,000 separate ingredients—definitely not something you want to be putting in your hair! We recommend going for naturally-scented products to get more refreshing, safer scents.
  • Silicones: These can coat the hair and scalp, preventing natural oils from nourishing the hair, and can be difficult to remove. Silicones are commonly added to give the hair its silky smooth appearance, and they help to detangle hair. While they provide short-term benefits, they aren’t a great option for your hair in the long run. 

How else can I best look after my hair?

Hair care isn’t just about what happens in the shower—it’s also about how much sleep you’re getting, what you’re eating, and your overall stress levels. 

High levels of stress can lead to hair loss. This means it’s important to be mindful of how you’re going, and if you need to take a step back to get some more balance in your life. It’s always good to proactively take time for yourself—rather than waiting for your body to shut down from too much stress!

Diet is surprisingly important for your hair’s health. Overall, it’s best to aim for a varied diet that is low in processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, and grains. This enables you to get a wide range of nutrients including Vitamin D and iron, to support the growth and strength of your hair.

Smoking can damage the hair and scalp by reducing blood flow and restricting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. Quitting smoking can help to improve the overall health of your hair.

Exposure to environmental factors such as sun, pollution, and chemicals can also damage the hair, making it dry, dull, and brittle. Obviously, you can’t avoid the sun, but we recommend wearing a hat to protect your hair and being conscious of your sun exposure. 

Heat styling, chemical treatments, and over styling can also damage the hair, leading to breakage and hair loss. 

Hair oil is another great product to add to your self care routine, as oil helps to restore vital minerals and vitamins to your hair. This assists to nourish and provide protection to your hair. Some options include coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil. 

There are different ways to apply oil to your hair, so you may want to experiment with a few different options. We recommend massaging oil into the scalp, then covering with a shower cap to leave it overnight before washing it out the following morning. Alternatively, you can apply oil to the ends of damp hair and let it dry naturally before washing it out. It’s recommended to only do this once or twice a week, as you need strong shampoo to wash out the oil once you are done. 

Is there a difference between male and female hair care? 

In physiological terms, men and women’s hair is actually exactly the same. Male and female hair even grows at the exact same rate. While this may sound surprising, the only factor or difference to keep in mind is hair length, as short hair generally doesn’t need as much conditioning since the ends of the hair are so close to the scalp. The ends of long hair tend to dry out, so need more frequent conditioning to retain moisture.

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