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What's the Best Sulfate Free Shampoo?

Updated on May 1, 2014

Five Favorites From a Longtime Reviewer

After publishing sulfate free shampoo reviews for three years, I'm finally ready to share my top five favorites. Yippee!

What makes each of these a candidate for all-time best sulfate free shampoo? Details are below, but in a nutshell, to me it's a combination of performance, price & fragrance (hey, the nose knows! scent is kind of a big deal, and something that can stick with you all day if it's pronounced). I rated my top 5 shampoos for each factor on a scale of one to five.

Why am I qualified to test and recommend? Well, we all are, really. But I think I may have particularly good "test" hair as it's middle-of-the-road in almost every way: medium thickness, medium on the oily/dry scale, medium length. If yours isn't, your results may vary. But all 5 of these sulfate free shampoos are worth your while to try.

Please note: I've tested each of these shampoos in all kinds of weather & humidity. Also, the price calculations are based on Amazon prices as of early 2013; at other stores they may be higher.

(photo: Bellafaye via photopin cc ~ cropped for shape)

Nature's Gate Organics Fruit Blend Shampoo, Persimmon and Rose Geranium, 12 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Nature's Gate Organics Fruit Blend Shampoo, Persimmon and Rose Geranium, 12 Ounce (Pack of 3)

Performance:

5 out of 5

This is one of the very first sulfate free shampoos I ever tried, and still one of my favorites. It lathers nicely and leaves my hair feeling super clean but not stripped out.

Value:

5 out of 5

($0.67 per ounce)

Scent:

4 out of 5

Not too sweet, not too leafy, not too herby, not too citrus. A just-right botanical balance.

Total Score:

14

 

~~Note: There appears to be a new version of this on the market, I ordered it but got the original formula instead. Not complaining, as I love the original formula! (In fact, I get crabby when the manufacturers mess with success ;) But if anyone tries the new one, please post your impressions under Comments...~~

Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo, Green Tea & Lime, Value Size, 32 Ounce
Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo, Green Tea & Lime, Value Size, 32 Ounce

Performance:

5 out of 5

Many natural ingredients & minimal chemicals distinguish this SLS free shampoo, which leaves my hair squeaky clean. This is a good "clarifying" shampoo if you use any sort of styling ingredients. Maybe not the best for ultra-dry hair, but for medium to oily tresses it washes away product residue without stripping the hair.

Value:

5 out of 5

($0.32 per ounce)

Scent:

5 out of 5

I love lime! And this one's got fresh lime scent to spare. A nice thing about that is that it's a gender-neutral fragrance, so perfect for a guy-and-girl household. A refreshing, awakening scent.

Total Score:

15

 
Fundamental Shampoo - 12 Oz. - Chemical Free Shampoo - SLS Free - Natural Shampoo - Made in USA by Fundamental Earth
Fundamental Shampoo - 12 Oz. - Chemical Free Shampoo - SLS Free - Natural Shampoo - Made in USA by Fundamental Earth

Performance:

5 out of 5

I can count on this shampoo for a great hair day, every time. Leaves my hair clean, soft and fresh. Special kudos to this shampoo for its ultra-natural content, with no chemicals & lots of natural ingredients like olive, coconut, lavender, and lemongrass oils; ginger; honey; rosemary & more,

Value:

4 out of 5 ($1 per ounce)

Scent:

5 out of 5

A lovely botanical blend, with lavender perhaps most prominent.

Total Score:

14

 
TIGI Bed Head Superstar Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Thick Massive Hair Hair Shampoos
TIGI Bed Head Superstar Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Thick Massive Hair Hair Shampoos

Performance:

One of the best-lathering sulfate free shampoos I've ever used -- which means you can use less per wash. Excellent all-around performer.

5 out of 5

Value:

4 out of 5

($1.23 per ounce)

Scent:

3 out of 5

This shampoo smells, too me, a bit synthetic, like strawberry candy. Not my top choice, but not enough to put me off this excellent sulfate free product. Note: If scent is a really big deal to you, consider the Tigi Rockstar sulfate-free shampoo, which performs almost as well but has a nicer fragrance.

Total Score:

12

 
Matrix Biolage Colorcaretherapie Delicate Care Shampoo, 10 Ounce
Matrix Biolage Colorcaretherapie Delicate Care Shampoo, 10 Ounce

Performance:

5 out of 5

A very gentle shampoo that leaves my hair silky soft. Acts & smells like something they'd use in the salon. If you want to pamper yourself -- SLS-free style -- this is a good option.

Value:

3 out of 5

($1.65 per ounce)

Scent:

5 out of 5

More of a standard "cosmetic" than botanical smell, but subtle & classy - not overpowering.

Total Score:

13

 

explore more sulfate free shampoo brands

Best drugstore sulfate free shampoo?

My vote goes to Aveeno Pure Renewal shampoo.

Excellent choice for the money!

Do you go SLS free? If so, what do you think is the best sulfate free shampoo?

Comments

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    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 2 years ago from Missouri

      I have been looking for information on sulfate free shampoo, but this is the first that gives as much information as you have. Thanks for the ratings and for trying these so I can choose without the expense of buying them all.

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      I've heard that you should stay away from sulfates. Thanks

    • profile image

      CristianStan 4 years ago

      This is great, we all know that sulfates are bad for you. These are some great alternatives. I like how you rated each one.