What Does Sulfate Free Shampoo Mean, and is it Better for Your Hair?

sulfate free shampoo

There has been a lot of talk about sulfates here and sulfates there, but what do they actually do to your hair? And is switching to a sulfate free shampoo better?

Sulfates 101:

Sulfates are detergents, that much is clear. And they are found in most rinse-off products, shampoo being one of them. Sulfate shampoos are considered safe when used briefly, and if rinsed out thoroughly. But some people out there have reactions to them. And in that case it can lead to…

Scalp irritation: Sulfates are known for irritating the skin. When applied as a detergent on your scalp, they remove oil. And they remove this oil so effectively that they can actually strip your scalp’s protective layer. With a compromised barrier function, it is very easy for harmful bacteria to get in and needed moisture to get out. This can leave your scalp dry, itchy and more sensitive.

Dry hair: Not only may your scalp suffer, but also your hair. You can say goodbye to healthy and glossy hair if you use sulfate-laden shampoo. You see, the sulfate gets rid of oil so well that your lengths can end up lacking moisture and shine. And if you have dry and curly hair, sulfate-laden shampoo is definitely not working in your favor. This also applies to colored hair. Sulfates strip the hair of the color you just added, so your hair dye will fade quicker.

Hair loss: The jury is still out on this one but there has been some claims that sulfates can contribute to hair loss, thinning and shedding. Indirectly – by causing inflammation of the scalp. The hair and skin need anti-inflammatory substances to stay healthy and grow, so why not loosen up with the sulfates?


sulfate free shampoo
For better-looking hair, try a sulfate free shampoo and notice the difference.

So all in all, choose a sulfate free shampoo if you…

  • Have sensitive skin
  • Color your hair
  • Have naturally curly and/or dry hair

and combine the sulfate free shampoo with…

Anti-inflammatory supplements, to get even healthier, stronger and beautiful hair.


… switching to a sulfate free shampoo is always a good thing for your hair. Sulfate free shampoo does not only preserve natural hair oils but is also color-safe. The lather may be reduced, as sulfates are one of the reasons the lather is there in the first place. And you may experience that the sulfate free shampoo makes it harder to remove dirt and oil from your hair. If that happens, remember to give your hair some time to adjust. Like with everything else, it takes time for you to notice the results. Have patience and you will see that your hair feels and looks much better when switching to a sulfate free shampoo.