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Road Test: Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Updated on June 29, 2014

One tester's take on a showerful of shampoos with no sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent found in many hygiene and household products, including most shampoos. While SLS has attracted criticism over the years -- including email campaigns suggesting it causes cancer -- its only conclusively proven drawback appears to be skin irritation for chemically sensitive folks. But years ago I got a tip from a friend that has panned out: If you color your hair, try sulfate-free shampoo to slow down its fading. I've used SLS-free shampoos now for several years and have been able to go a couple weeks longer between coloring sessions, which offsets the higher cost of these shampoos, compared to typical drugstore brands. My hair also feels stronger, healthier & better hydrated.

Having long wished for a concise collection of sulfate free shampoo reviews, I created this SLS free shampoo list of the brands I've tried. For what it's worth, my hair is collarbone length and about "medium" in terms of thickness, oiliness, and waviness.

(Joseph DeCamp, "Woman Drying Her Hair," 1899 ~ public domain)

Pureology Antifade Shampoo

The brand that put sulfate-free shampoo on the map, Pureology makes fine products. I like them. But what is UP with that drugstore price? Before others came on the market, I'd splurge on a bottle of Pureology and use a teeny bit per wash. But now that there are better-priced alternatives, I can't see repurchasing. One star deducted for the inflated price...

~~~Rating: * * out of 5~~

Biolage Delicate Care Shampoo

This one delivered a lather almost suspiciously rich for a sulfate-free shampoo and a pleasant, slightly floral scent. My hair felt clean but soft afterward and combed easily. The biggest thing I noticed was how "well behaved" my hair was during & after my 2-minute "styling" routine. This shampoo seemed to calm and smooth it, but not in a way that made it lifeless. Even the layers, which are in serious need of a trim, seemed to perk up a bit. Despite the high pricetag, I think the Biolage is a keeper. If only the other Matrix shampoos (hydrating, smoothing, etc.) were sulfate free.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~

Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo

Moroccanoil styling products have been rolling toward world domination for some time now, and I have to admit I'm partial to them. They defrizz nicely, smell good, and just a dab gets the job done. Too bad the shampoo doesn't live up to its sister products. It has the same pleasant scent but, for a "moisture repair" product, is fairly drying. And the price ain't pretty. I only picked this up because our neighborhood pharmacy is being sold to a big chain :( and was selling all its stock at deep discounts.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

(Drugstore Brands) L'Oreal EverPure, Aveeno Pure Renewal

Battle of the "Pures"!

L'Oreal:

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Aveeno:

~~~Rating: * * * * * out of 5~~~

Renpure:

~~~Rating: * out of 5~~~

L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture Shampoo, 8.5 fl. Oz.
L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture Shampoo, 8.5 fl. Oz.

The L'Oreal EverPure line gets high marks for accessibility. This is the sulfate-free shampoo you're most likely to find at the local drugstore or grocery. As far as I can tell, L'Oreal was the first mega-brand to launch an SLS-free line, and I give them a lot of credit for that. (Note to the other big brands: Please follow suit! Let's get some healthy competition going here!) EverPure also did a nice job cleaning my hair, working up a surprisingly rich lather for a no-sulfates product.

Having said all that, I had a hard time getting past the fragrance of the first EverPure version I tried, which reminded me (inexplicably) of men's aftershave. Smells matter, and that one didn't work. The company has tweaked their scents, which now get mixed reviews. Pop the top at your drugstore and see how your nose reacts.

 
Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle Shampoo, 10.5 Fl. Oz (Pack of 2)
Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle Shampoo, 10.5 Fl. Oz (Pack of 2)

Aveeno is one of those brands you would have expected to see in the sulfate free market ages ago. But hey, better late than never! I've used this twice now and love it. The smell is a bit sweet, not as "botanical" as I like, but otherwise it's a great pick, especially for 6 bucks at my local drugstore! My hair felt very clean after this one, and after drying, my wacky waves in front were nicely tamed, but somehow my hair in back (which often feels flat-ish) had a bit more body. Overall very pleased.

 

Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Shampoo:

The good news is that this knockoff cleaned as well as the real Morrocanoil shampoo at half the price and was less drying. In fact, it's quite rich, which means you don't need much--great for the budget. However, the flatness of my hair afterward suggests it's a bit heavy for my "medium" locks (neither dry nor oily, neither thick nor thin). The first time I used it, I kind of wrote this off to bike-helmet-head, having taken a long ride an hour or so after shampooing. But a similar thing happened on second use -- fairly flat hair, even sans helmet head. Much more of a syrupy-sweet scent than the real Morrocanoil, too. Maybe worth a try at this price, but not a budget dream-come-true like the Kiss My Face Whenever and Nature's Gate Persimmon & Rose Geranium have been for me.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy

I noticed on my last trip to the larger drugstore in our area that Organix has expanded its sulfate free offerings and now has quite the variety. I decided to try this Brazilian Keratin type, as it was labeled "Ever Straight," so I thought it might fight frizz and smooth my hair. After 3 uses, I can't really say it's made a dramatic difference in that area. But my hair feels soft and clean, and the shampoo's coconut scent and bronze-colored bottle remind me pleasantly of a day at the beach. So it'll be nice to pull this one out in subzero January!

~~~ Rating: * * * out of 5 ~~~

Renpure My Pretty Hair is Parched Shampoo

The good news: It's affordable, Walgreen's carries this Renpure Organics line, and the company offered a rare full-price rebate when I bought this. How nice when that rebate check came in the mail. Can we get other companies to do this?? The bad news: Ack, I hated this stuff. It dried me out so badly that I dumped a palmful of the matching conditioner on my hair afterward and still couldn't comb through my wet hair like normal. I was excited to see a new sulfate-free brand at the local drugstore, but unfortunately the thrill was short-lived.

~~~Rating: * out of 5~~~

L'Oreal Oleo Therapy Shampoo

This new entry in the sulfate-free pool is quite nice! It left my hair feeling soft and somewhat conditioned, even before I conditioned it, and the scent was a light, slightly herbaceous floral that might not even offend a guy, if you're sharing shampoo with your fella. And of course, the ($5-$7/bottle) price is right too.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

Alba Botanica Plumeria Replenishing Hair Wash

Ooh la la, the fragrance on this Alba Botanica shampoo is heavenly. The tropical floral tones are a real pick-me-up -- like a virtual stopover in Maui. This cleaned my hair well without overdrying, and it feels good to support an eco-friendly company. (Alba's office and warehouse are 100% solar powered.) Worth the trouble of buying online, this earned a regular place in my sulfate-free rotation.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

NOTE: Alba has put out a "new and improved" version of this product that I personally am not having as good an experience with. The delectable smell is still there, but my hair doesn't feel as squeaky-clean as it used to with the old formulation. After repeated uses, I'd have to give the new version a * * * out of 5. Alba, please consider "un-improving" your product!

Tigi Bedhead Superstar Shampoo

I think my other sulfate free shampoo reviews have made it clear that scent matters, and at first this shampoo's scent put me off a bit. It smelled synthetically sweet, like a berry-flavored dimestore lollipop. But that mellowed as the day progressed, and my hair actually smelled nice. The Tigi shampoo delivered some nice body & shine, too. The first day I used it, I noticed a little extra static in my hair, but that resolved on repeat uses. Nice stuff, especially if you get it at the Amazon price.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

It's a 10 Miracle Moisture Shampoo

One of the "moistest" varieties on my SLS free shampoo list, this product almost made conditioner unnecessary on my hair, without seeming the slightest bit heavy. It's got a nice, subtly sweet scent, too. A keeper! My only regret is that I paid full drugstore price (well over $20) for this high-end product without consulting Amazon, which, it turns out, sometimes has It's a 10 priced significantly lower. Live and learn.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

Sham-Poll

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Aubrey Organics White Camellia Ultra-Smoothing Shampoo

As I type, my hair is drying, post- Aubrey Organics White Camellia Shampoo. I like the Aubrey company -- its facial toner has been an awesome puberty survival tool for my kids -- so it pains me to say this, but this shampoo is odd. It's practical scentless, which should please those with ultrasensitive noses. But it provides virtually no lather: not just the diminished amount that you get with most sulfate-free shampoos, but basically none. And my hair drank it up before I could even spread it around, so I had to add a bunch more. The result was a dried-out head that required extra conditioner afterward. Not exactly cost effective. It's ironic that this product bills itself for "dry, coarse, unruly" hair, because that's how it seems to have left mine. I had to comb some very unnatural Moroccanoil oil treatment through to smooth things down.

~~~Rating: * * out of 5~~~

Living Proof Full Shampoo

I liked this stuff, I really did. But the cost--even at the Amazon price, which is a few dollars less than what I paid at the drugstore, if you can believe it--of Living Proof Full Shampoo is insane enough to cost it one star on my rating. (It makes sense that Jennifer Aniston is a co-owner of the company, as Living Proof is only practical as a daily-use product on movie-star salaries.) The package promised "super cleansing," and I did love how squeaky-clean my hair felt after shampooing with this. The subtle scent is nice, too. But I didn't notice a huge difference in volume.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

How to Afford Sulfate Free Shampoos

You may have noticed from this sulfate free shampoo list that the pricetags tend to exceed those of SLS filled products. I'm hopeful that if lots more consumers insist on affordable sulfate free, producers will start meeting the demand with sulfate free shampoos at lower price points. Until then, some tips...

~ Use less shampoo per wash. For long hair, start with a quarter size in your palm; for midlength hair, a nickel size; and for short hair, see if you can get away with about a dime size. Here's the key: Add a little water to the shampoo in your hand & work up a lather (inasmuch as sulfate free shampoos lather -- some do more than others) before applying to your hair. Especially with the higher-end products, you might be surprised at how little shampoo you actually need to use each time.

~ Buy in bulk. Multipacks can be cheaper, as can economy-size bottles -- like the Kiss My Face one I've been purchasing lately, as it's become a family favorite.

~ Buy cheap conditioner. It's easy to find a non-SLS conditioner at any price, since SLS is a lathering agent, and conditioners aren't generally expected to develop a lather. Their job is simply to moisturize the hair. If you're concerned, as I am, with chemicals absorbing through the scalp, do as I do and work the conditioner through your hair to the ends without rubbing it into the scalp. All but the dryest hair types will probably get more life & body out of their hair that way anyway. I got my colorist's take on this, and she said unless you have long, highlighted blonde hair, wallet-friendly conditioners are the way to go.

~ Wash your hair less frequently. Okay, this is a tough sell in the sweaty summer months, but for most of the year, if your hair isn't super oily, it will benefit from a break now & then. Try washing it every other day for a week, just rinsing it with water on the non-wash days. Many stylists recommend this method to help hair recover its natural equilibrium.

~ Opt for a relatively cheap sulfate free shampoo on this page. Kiss My Face and Nature's Gate make fabulous products at reasonable prices and are well worth a try.

Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo

Cheap sulfate free shampoo is hard to come by, so this product would have a leg up on the competition for its price alone. In Turns out, though, that it can compete with even the priciest of 'em on performance. I love lime, so was thrilled when this Kiss My Face sulfate-free shampoo turned out to be quite limey smelling. Mmmm! As many citrus shampoos do, it also seemed to "clarify" my hair nicely, leaving it squeaky clean but not dried out. If you use styling products and are eager for a "clean slate" after you shower, this shampoo is a great choice. Bonus: The space-saving semicircle container is a plus for those of us with small bathrooms.

*Note (May 2013): Whoa! The product appears to have been revised. My review is on the old lime-y stuff (love it). I reordered recently, thinking I'd get the new product, but got the old instead. (Not complaining!) If anyone has tried Whenever 2.0, please post in Comments!*

~~ Rating: * * * * out of 5 ~~~

JASON Aloe Vera Shampoo

This shampoo was a fooler. The first time I used it, it seemed to leave a residue on my hair a la the new Alba formulation. But after conditioning & drying my hair, it felt great. Same thing the second time, and so on. So for me, this is a keeper. Nice botanical scent too -- not overwhelming.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

Burt's Bees Super Shiny Mango Shampoo

I wasn't blown away by this shampoo, but felt it was an improvement over the old Burt's Bees pomegranate & soy shampoo (which, overall, I would rate about the same as this one) due to the fragrance. I suppose these 2 B.B. varieties just smell two kinds of fruity, but I like this kind better. Did not notice any uptick in shine, but no real problems either. I do like the Burt's Bees brand, not least for its relative accessibility in stores, and hope someday they'll develop a slam-dunk sulfate-free shampoo.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Back to Basics Color Protect Shampoo

Priced comparably to the Burt's Bees, this Back to Basics has become a regular fixture in my bathroom. The name kinda says it all. While packaging & scent are somewhat nondescript, this shampoo does exactly what it promises: Cleans hair nicely without stripping moisture and color.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

CHI Ionic Color Protecting System Shampoo

So this one (which might be discontinued at this point - ?) gets my award for Most Perplexing Shampoo. The unusual scent reminded me of paper -- or old books -- or .... got it -- a library! Not necessarily a bad thing, esp. if you're into the "sexy librarian" thing ;) I was also a tad confused by the words "Ceramic - Ionic - Far Infrared" on the front of the bottle. Huh? Oh well -- the CHI performed overall decently for me. It did seem a bit drying, but after conditioner, my hair was soft, clean and well behaved.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Shea Moisture Shampoo and Body Wash

Designed as a head-to-toe baby product, this stuff caught my eye at the drugstore when I saw it features frankincense & myrrh. I envisioned the Three Wise Men toting this up to the manger & had to try it :) The scent is very unusual -- a bit like vanilla, but with spicy undertones. Definitely gender neutral, not too girly. Despite a lackluster lather (not uncommon for sulfate free), it did a decent job cleaning my hair. Unfortunately, it was quite drying -- possibly because it's designed as a head-to-toe product, albeit for delicate baby skin. I solved the drying issue easily by using extra conditioner, but if your hair is on the dry side, this product might not be your best choice.

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Fundamental Earth Natural Shampoo

A great find! This shampoo lathered nicely for a sulfate-free product, smells good in a very botanical way (you can definitely smell the rosemary, lemongrass and lavender) and left my hair super silky. Relatively reasonable in price, too. A definite keeper.

~~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~~

Rusk Deepshine Hydrate Shampoo

It's always exciting when my local drugstore adds a sulfate-free line, so of course I grabbed this (after a quick scent check -- synthetically fragrant, but not off-puttingly so) as soon as I spotted it. The "hydrate" part sounded very good right about now, in the dead of an oft-subzero winter. I used this for three days in a row this week and have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I liked how it softened my hair and was pleased not to have to use much conditioner. On the other hand, none of the three days was really that great a "hair day," and my hair seemed pretty staticky all 3 days. Might that be from all the fuzzy earmuffs, earwarmers & hats I've been wearing? Sure, but why then did the static decrease once I switched back to one of my tried-and-true sulfate free shampoos?

~~~Rating: * * * out of 5~~~

Tigi Rockaholic Livin' the Dream Shampoo

When I first saw the packaging up close & smelled the fragrance, I wondered if this sulfate-free shampoo is meant for guys. Asked hubby to smell it, and he said definitely unisex. Reminded him of amenities in a "Caribbean hotel" .... but that may have just been fantasy talk, since we're into single-digit temperatures here ;) Performance wise, "Livin' the Dream" may be hyperbolic, but this is a high-quality product that leaves my hair soft and fresh, not needing a ton of conditioner afterward. So yes, it rocks.

~~~Rating: * * * * out of 5~~~

Nature's Gate Persimmon & Rose Geranium Shampoo

I saved one of the best for last :) This Nature's Gate variety is one of my absolute favorite sulfate-free shampoos, with a beautiful price too. (How often does that happen??) I've probably gone through a dozen bottles and now buy it in bulk. The smell is soft but invigorating, and it cleans just right, leaving my hair smooth and shiny. It lathers nicely for a non-SLS product, and you don't need to use much product per wash.When I really want a "good hair day," this is an excellent choice.

~~~Rating: * * * * * out of 5~~~

Have you tried a sulfate-free shampoo? Which one? Good, bad, indifferent? Please share!

Your thoughts?

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    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 3 years ago

      Never knew the effects. Thanks for the review.

    • profile image

      annewilliams852 3 years ago

      Good info! I like most of them and the others I've never even heard of before, lol! I just don't like the one by MoroccanOil, I would replace it for the one by Pro Naturals which has no alcohol or parabens either.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      My daughter has been looking for SLS free products for her baby but I never knew why, before. Great information here. Thank you.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 3 years ago

      I really appreciate your thorough review on these shampoos. Thank you for doing it.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      Excellent review and use of star ratings. I have always preferred Biolage, but it is a bit pricey for a shampoo. I'd never heard of Natures Gate before. I can't believe the great price. I might have to give it a try.

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 4 years ago

      Great information.

    • wiseriverman profile image

      wiseriverman 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi,

      I just noticed that Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo, 10.5 Ounce (Pack of 2) is on the above list. Hope that helps you.

    • orcamom lm profile image

      orcamom lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for all the info - it'll make it much easier to make a choice when I get the chance to switch. Have to use up the shampoos I have first!

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: Tried & love it! See new review above. Thx for the tip!

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: When did that come out? I've been waiting ages for an Aveeno sulfate free, as I use plenty of their other products. Will find & try this!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was really hoping to see Aveeno on here. I love their sulfate free shampoo and conditioner!

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      I've seen a lot of these brands at the store but haven't tried most of them. My hair is so short right now, luckily I don't need a ton of shampoo!

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: thanks for the tip! will investigate this one. smell is a biggie!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My hair stylist said that if a shampoo is sulfate free they just use some other ingredient under different name that has the same effect. :( Best is to buy some natural cosmetics but make sure it is natural or to make a shampoo at home, ...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I got the Shielo Color Protect Shampoo because I wanted to spring for a good sulfate-free shampoo. I hadn't smelled it or even heard of it before. I'm obsessed and want to shower all the time. It smells sooo good and is the highlight of my primping! I used to always see my hair color fade after every shower, but I swear, this shampoo makes it last months longer. I've saved so much money at the salon from using it!

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: I don't think that's entirely accurate -- she may have been partly making excuses for the fact that salons so often only offer shampoos with SLS. you are right in that checking the label is important in finding a product that meets one's own personal standard for "purity." thx for the input!

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: thanks -- I will look into this ... the Nature's Gate has been good to my hair, but the Fundamental is actually a really excellent shampoo, so anyone looking for the intersection between "purity" and performance should try it. I use it and love it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Patti-Ann: your shampoo has sodium coco-sulfate, it is just a milder SLS. See article: longhair.livejournal.com/2356788.html. Sad companies use different names .

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I looked up the ingredients for this Nature's Gate Persimmon & Rose Geranium Shampoo. sodium myreth, that is sulfate. Some other names are for Sodium lauryl sulfate:

      Sodium myreth sulfate

      Sodium pareth sulfate

      Magnesium laureth sulfate

      Of all the ones you listed. Fundamental Shampoo, seems to have the shortest list of ingredients, and less proccessed.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I don't color my hair yet (yippee) but I am always trying to go as natural as possible. Great information on sulfate free shampoo.

    • profile image

      Patti-Ann 4 years ago

      @verymary: It is sulphate , paraben free etc etc..It's labeled on the packaging.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @Patti-Ann: I am not sure that one is sulfate free - ? Will look into it more closely. I too love wonderful smells!!

    • profile image

      Patti-Ann 4 years ago

      I am using a sulfate-free shampoo and my hair has never been more healthy.I am using Desert Essence Organics Green Apple& Ginger Shampoo and conditioner. They are amazing products and smell wonderful. I would never go back to the other shampoos that have harmful chemicals. I also have changed out most of my skin care and make-up , and i haven't looked back since.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: From what I've seen, it's out of my budget (about $30 a bottle, right?). I would like to try (and review) one of the non-shampoo conditioning cleaners at one point but will need to compare prices. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have been using Dermorganics Shampoo. Dermorganics Masque every other day as a conditioner alternating with Alba Hawaiian Mango Conditioner. I love them all. My hair has never felt so clean and had so much volume. I was so frustrated before using these products at how lifeless and straw like my hair had become and am so glad I have gone sulfate free.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: thanks Pam -- I will have to try out Dermorganics!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Why didn't you review WEN?

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: I really like the Burt's Bees co. & the fact that their products are more accessible in stores. I have a teen of my own who loves anything mango, so maybe that's why I prefer the mango version :) Thanks for your input!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I loved how you had a whole list of different shampoos and ratings, that made the process of looking through much simpler. Though I have to disagree with you on the Burt's Bees. Maybe it's because I'm a teenager, but I find the scent very pleasant, and so do all of my friends. I would personally give both of them a 4/5* :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you SO SO SO SO SO SO much for all these suggestions & reviews! I will be trying many of these because of your thoughts. i hope to find one that suits my hair best :) You have seriously helped a lost girl out

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: I just love the Kiss My Face Whenever!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I tried L'Oreal EverPure and liked it the first time, but the second time it left my fine hair limp and dull. I'm looking forward to trying the Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo since I like "squeaky clean" hair. I found you reviews very helpful, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What about the Kirkland Costco brand? I love their moisturizing shampoo and its sulfate free.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time and providing this list. It saves us a lot of time and money. It is so hard to find a product that does the job.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time and providing this list. It saves us a lot of time and money. It is so hard to find a product that does the job.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: ack, I will have to look into the sodium myreth. this can get complicated! do try the Fundamental, as it's quite good (at least the one I reviewed here). the Alba "reboot" is not so good IMO (their original version was much better) -- but maybe you'll have better luck than I did. look at the Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo ingredient list too -- I really like that stuff. thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for a great list. ;-)

      I've been using the Wen product line, and they are so-so. I don't like their aggressive marketing techniques, so I'm replacing them on my shower shelf.

      Like you, I find the L'Oreal products to be okaaaaay, but barely so, however my teen son loves them. I think I will try the Alba and the Fundamental products.

      However, I wanted to note that the "winner" product at the end of the list is not sulfate-free. It contains sodium myreth, which is a kissing cousin of sodium laurel sulfate. According to Wikipedia, "Sodium myreth sulfate is very similar to sodium laureth sulfate; the only difference is two more carbons in the fatty alcohol portion of the hydrophobic tail. It is manufactured by ethoxylation (hence the "eth" in "myreth") of myristyl alcohol. Subsequently, the terminal OH group is converted to the sulfate by treatment with chlorosulfuric acid." Also, "Like other ethoxylates, sodium myreth sulfate may become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane during production, which is considered to be a Group 2B suspect carcinogen by the IARC."

      Sigh. I wish manufacturers were a little more honest.

      ---

      Again, thanks very much for your list. I found it quite helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Interesting list, I didn't know half of those! I'm already using a sulfate free shampoo called Pro Naturals moroccan argan oil shampoo, it's simply wonderful :) Lovely smell and its so gentle!!! So glad I made the change.

    • Alana-r profile image

      Alana-r 4 years ago

      I didn't know any of this, thanks so much for the info, will most certainly be looking out for them, great lens.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Louidam1 LM 4 years ago

      That's all I use on my hair is sulfate-free shampoos, less drying on my hair. Great lens!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      very informative and useful lens

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 4 years ago

      I use sulfate-free shampoo. I've been using Bed Head.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: luckily most conditioners are sls-free, even the drugstore ones. yea! my stylist said only people with long highlighted hair need to worry about fancy conditioners, though of course we all have our personal favorites. I tend to invest much more in good shampoos. thx for stopping by!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks -terrific info. How about conditioners?

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I use a shampoo by a local guy. It is called curelle. Simple ingredient list. Love the stuff. Necessary to be sulfate-free to keep my scalp and hair. My hair fell out for years until I switched. Your review is wonderfully comprehensive. Great work.

    • profile image

      oiloflife 5 years ago

      Terrific lens! Thanks for all of the other lens references and online resources.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is very helpful, thank you! At my salon we make sure to only use shampoos and conditioners that are free from sulfates and silicones. Right now we're using one called pro naturals moroccan argan oil shampoo, and so far we love it, the argan oil has proved to work really well for preserving hair color and toning down frizz. Plus it makes hair really soft and smooth, and of course shiny. We're planning on getting more from that product line, we're ordering them off a site called Beyas,

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I return visit and recommend for other articles

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: thx for the info! I haven't yet gotten the nerve up to try WEN. am not sure I will, now!

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      PrettyandSmart 5 years ago

      Natural cosmetics are the best!

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      VspaBotanicals 5 years ago

      Yes, I use a natual shampoo that's very good for my hair. Thanks for the lens. I think it's important for everyone to know about sulfate-free shampoos.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I tried WEN Lavender for Fine hair. I was totally allergic to it. My scalp actually hurt for two days after only using it twice. I tried their way of leaving one pump in my hair for styling. Then tried it without leaving that one pump in...still drove me up the wall.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Tom Maybrier: So this sulfate free and can be used with a keratin treatment?

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      Tom Maybrier 5 years ago

      "Everyday Shea" is the purest and simplest shampoo I have been able to find. No sulfates, parabens or added protein. Very cheap at whole foods!

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: looked up that product -- the essential oils combo they use sounds great; unfortunately it doesn't look to be sulfate free. I may try their facial mask, though! hope you find a good shampoo alternative here.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I thought Nancy Boy Shampoo was terrific, yet at 10 oz. for $16 (and the need to pay shipping as well) your list has given me new options. Your presentation is most appreciated!

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      malualhati 5 years ago

      i like the loreal everpure shampoo sadly the conditioner does not do a good job in moisturizing my dry & thick hair. very informative lens! i truly appreciate the hair tips :) thanks for sharing!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm just curious about a sulfate-free shampoo having rich lather when it's the sulfates that create the lather..... ???

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been using sfree Moisture Shampoo daily with sfree Lite Condition from HealthyHairPlus approximately 2-4 times per week for 3 months. I love them. The shampoo has rich lather, smells great, and rinses clean.The conditioner is light and rinses clean while giving an extra boost of softness. My only complaint is the scent of the conditioner is not great but does smell clean rather than perfumy after rinsing.

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @joannalynn lm: wow, yes, your hair must be dry to need a leave-in conditioner ... for the shampoo part, you might want to try the It's a 10 sulfate-free shampoo, which is very moisturizing (or at least was for me -- but my hair is about medium in dryness). I have used a Neutrogena intensive conditioner too, but I rinse it out or my hair would be flat as a doormat. thx for sharing & good luck!

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      dahlia369 5 years ago

      It's nice that your reviews come with ratings. I very much rely on consumers' reviews when shopping for new products.

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 5 years ago

      My hair is very dry, and I've struggled to find a sulfate-free shampoo that provides adequate moisture. If a shampoo doesn't do it for moisture, I end up with tangled knots after I shampoo. I truly cannot get a brush though my hair. I just leave it, and hope I don't end up with dread locks over time :). I tried Alba, and I love the smell, but it was terrible on my dry hair. L'Oreal EverPure was actually okay, but not great. I don't recall having any real issues with smell. But it still wasn't helping with the dry hair issue. I'm now with Matrix Biolage, which is doing a good job, along with a Biolage conditioner, and a Biolage leave-in conditioner. My hair is really that dry. The best leave-in conditioner I've used is a Neutrogena line. I bought the Biolage following the Neutrogena. I'll go back to it when the Biolage is done.

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I didn't realize it, but the Organix brand I was using is sulfate-free. I tried both the Coconut and Moroccan Oil, with respective conditioners. The coconut smelled great! By your reviews, since it lathered well, I shouldn't have been too disappointed, as it did a pretty good job. My hair is pretty unruly, and I had to style, but it did okay. I'm really enjoying the Pantene Infusion moisture rich right now, it's not sulfate free, but uses botanicals. I love that I can get up and go, without having to style my hair, which is the first time I can ever remember doing that! It gets 5 stars! Great lens, thanks for all the reviews. It introduced me to many I wasn't familiar with, plus, the whole concept of sulfate-free. B : )

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: that's funny -- I just bought the CHI last week! Have used it twice, planning to do so once more and then add a review. Great minds think alike? ;)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have used the L'oreal product and liked it. However, I regularly use a brand you didn't review, CHI. I use both CHI's sulfate free color protecting shampoo and conditioner, and I am very satisfied with both. They aren't cheap, but they smell nice and don't strip my hair at all.

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @BotanicalBeauty: The Biolage & the It's a 10 are particularly nurturing. My vote would go to them.

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      BotanicalBeauty 5 years ago

      Which do you think would be the best for really damaged hair?

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      dream1983 5 years ago

      This Renpure Organics Shampoo looks great! Very nice lens, Squidlikes

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I use Pureology and I LOVE it!! I don't mind paying a little extra because it is so concentrated that you only need a little bit. I buy it in the liter size bottle and it lasts me a whole year!!

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      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Great lens! Well done

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've tried the Loreal, and actually like the smell. Sick of all the fruity smelling shampoos...It does a good job, and you can get the volumizing shampoo.

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      CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks so much for the fantastic reviews on sulfate-free shampoo. I have tried a few of these (Aubrey -- the WORST) and now I see a host of others to try.

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: thx Kassie! good to know it works for someone, as the price is good & we need more SLS free moderately priced options. I think your hair "chemistry" & mine must just be different. I appreciate your sharing your mini-review here!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm really surprised the RenPure Organics got a bad review. It's what I use and I love it. I can comb through my hair just fine, with just a tiny bit of shampoo. I have very thick hair so that's a plus when I can comb through it. I really like RenPure.

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: you make a good point -- with some (tho unfortunately not all) of the higher-end shampoos, you don't need to use much per wash, so that brings the price down. I did notice that with the Pureology, like you said, and the Biolage too.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My hair stylist uses pureology on my hair and I loved it, lots of body, smoothness and shine. I did not love the price tag though. so i bought the little travel sizes to try it out and see if i still loved it after using it for a week. Not only do I still love it, I am still using the travel bottles 3 weeks later because you don't have to use as much of it and your hair is still clean and fresh enough to wash every other day (I could never do that before). and the minty scent of the conditioner is very nice. ( i have thick shoulder length hair)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am currently using the Loreal Evercreme. I have curlyhair d own to my waist and it is very dry and brittle. I notice more breakage with the Evercreme than I did with the Eversleek, however going sulfate free has make my hair much healthier in general. Cost is a very large factor for me unfortunately since I use an unimaginable amount of product because of the length of my hair. I tried Hair One cleansing conditioner and I didn't even recognize my hair, it was absolutely amazing and soft,(my hair has never been soft!!) If I could afford the Hair One all the time, it would definatley be my first choice. Loreal Evercreme cleansing conditioner doesn't come anywhere close to the Hair One from Sally's.

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      terrym2442 5 years ago

      Great info- thanks for sharing!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      wen. high price but excellent

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      DevaCare is GREAT!

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @angelsigh: good tip on the Alba -- a decent choice for sure

      hope moving back to SFS will help your color -- I think it will; it sure does mine

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      angelsigh 5 years ago

      I used EverPure for a long time but went back to Root Awakening recently. After reading your lens I realized that my coloring was more frequent. So back to SFS and thanks to you lens I have quite a few to pick from. Oh and the Alba brand is now carried at most Targets ;)

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: ooh, another to add to my try list! glad you've had results like I've had with the sulfate frees .... my hair has been much healthier with them

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Changing to sulfate free shampoos was the best decision I ever made. Color lasts longer, hair shinier than ever and overall healthier... I love Bonacure colorsave

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: hmm, is it the Paves "Flawless" No Sulfates Shampoo? amazon is showing that one at $14.89 for me, and avail. as a onetime purchase (not just monthly subscription). I haven't tried it, though. adding to the wishlist & will post review when I get a chance to road-test it. good luck with your search...

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks. Decided to google sulfate free shampoos after being really intrigued by Ken Paves'infomericall for his line. When I went to buy it I found out that it's, of course, the auto ship every month... so I decided not to do it. Figured there had to be other good stuff out there. I will be shopping today! Thanks!

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: Sounds awesome!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've only tried one - from Trader Joe's. I can't even remember the name, but it's Trader Joe's brand and only $2,99 for a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle! Completely organic and leaves my hair feeling and smelling clean, fresh and soft!

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @KimGiancaterino: wow, CVS has generic sulfate free? I'll need to check that out next time I'm at a CVS. When I do, will definitely add reviews here! thanks for the tip :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I've been using SFS ever since discovering your lens. I'm able to get the generic shampoo and conditioner from CVS and they work very well. Thanks!

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      anc91 5 years ago

      i love the TIGI superstar shampoo & conditioner!!!

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @lhauri: I'm sorry -- I don't understand the question. Re. the sulfate free shampoos, I recommend the ones listed above that I gave * * * * or higher. Just my 2 cents. Take care!

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      lhauri 5 years ago

      do you think that it is good if it is free? what do you recommend? mold removal

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @KarenCookieJar: you're not alone! there are a bunch of very good reviews for it on Amazon, along with some not-so-good experiences like mine. just goes to show how different hair can be from head to head! :)

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      KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

      I like the Organix brand.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been trying out the Avalon Organics shine shampoo, its ok but not my favorite it seems to feel like it's a little drying to my highlights, I just hooked up my shower head filter by Rainshow'r and it does make a difference especially with well water, I am also trying out chagrin valley's coconut shampoo bar now i hooked up my filter, and today i have say i have had good success with it rinsing out finally, my hair is super long so its hard to get soap all the way out , without using a filter. I also like the Alba shampoo it doesn't dry your hair out and the Natures Gate is my favorite as well.

    • verymary profile image
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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: yes, I agree! keep a couple, or few, SLS free shampoos in rotation & the hair stays happy. mine has a mind of its own, for sure, just like yours.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      iv been using the Loreal EverPure shampoo conditioner combo for a little while now because it works very well to keep it shiny, moisturized, oil free and smelling fantastic. i do not like the smell of the one you posted a picture of but luckily they make at least 4 other scents. I have a hard time finding products that give my hair enough moisture with out leaving it either weighed down or lifeless and dull. I have 2inches past my shoulder of naturally curly (waves and curls) kinda frizzy (can not brush it out dry for it becomes wild woman afro) difficult to predict hair. some days its happy, others its sad. I find switching up the shampoo routene to help it stay perky.

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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Not sure if it is the same, but I know that Sulphur also has a nasty smell!

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      @CherylsArt: that may have been for the "Wen" product, which I haven't tried. would be curious to do so. some of the ones I've used lather quite a bit, while others not so much.