Be Kind to Your Hair and Scalp: Five Fab Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Be kind to your hair and scalp with sulfate-free shampoos. Traditional shampoos are usually made with harsh detergents (sulfates) that strip away natural oils. This makes hair dry and frizzy and can cause oil glands to overproduce and make hair oily and flat with dry ends, says Anthony Dickey, founder of Hair Rules hair care and celebrity stylist whose clients include Michelle Obama and Sarah Jessica Parker.

To avoid this, Dickey says we need to pay attention to how our hair feels right after shampooing and before conditioning. If hair feels squeaky clean, the shampoo is too harsh and it’s time to find another. I have a sensitive scalp so I’ve been testing sulfate-free shampoos to give my hair and scalp a break. I’ve found Dickey’s tip to be really helpful. Here are five that have been great for my hair and scalp (all pictured below).

Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisture-Rich No-Suds Shampoo. This stuff rocks. I’ve never tried anything like it. It’s a thick, rich cream that doesn’t foam at all but still cleans my hair really well and leaves it super soft and shiny. Since my hair is on the fine side of normal, I can even skip the conditioner. It’s gentle enough to be used every day without drying hair and is especially good for kids and anyone with dry, coarse, over-processed, color-treated, and heat-styled hair. It’s made with natural cleansers, nourishers, and shine enhancers. Available for $22 at Ricky’s NY,, and

Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo. Living Proof follows up on the success of their amazing styling products with a new sulfate-free shampoo and two conditioners. They’ve skipped the damaging sulfates, heavy oils and butters, and silicones and opted for gentle formulas that wipe out frizz. Hair also stays cleaner longer, because it’s getting coated with a weightless shield that blocks out frizz-causing humidity and coats the cuticle to reduce friction. They also found that color-treated hair stayed vibrant longer. Available for $24 at Sephora,, and

ARCONA Green Tea Cleansing Base Shampoo. Got dull highlights? You can revive them and remove hair-dulling build up with eco-luxe ARCONA Green Tea Cleansing Base Shampoo. This mild, hypo-allergenic shampoo clarifies hair to revitalize highlights as it protects with green tea, horsetail, coltsfoot, and nettle. It does an excellent job of removing build-up and conditioning with karite extracts and shea butter – without weighing down hair. Available for $21 at and, and

JASON Natural Biotin Shampoo. This budget- and eco-friendly shampoo is extra gentle and designed to repair damaged hair and split ends with natural biotin, vitamin B5, organic extracts of marigold, chamomile, and ginseng, along with aloe vera, and vitamins A, C, and E. I love it, because it’s especially gentle on my sensitive scalp, gives lots of volume, and makes my hair very soft and shiny. Available for around $5 to $9 directly from JASON,, and at health food stores.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Baby Mild Soap. This is also easy on the pocketbook as well as on hair and scalp. It’s a combo of castile soap, and organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba, hemp, and essential oils. It keeps my scalp calm and my hair soft and shiny. And as the busy bottle touts, you can use it to wash just about anything – your face, body, clothes, and even your car. You can’t beat the price. A four-ounce bottle runs around $4 and could last up to a year if you’re just using it as a shampoo. Who knows, it might last even longer. That’s because you dilute the stuff. They recommend adding just two squirts to two gallons of water. Available from,,, and just about any health food store.

Note: not all sulfate-free shampoos are created equal. Some are still drying or can cause aggravate sensitive skin with other ingredients. Road test them with Dickey’s tip to see if they create that squeaky clean feel.

Do Tell

What do you think of sulfate-free shampoos? Are you getting sulfates out of your hair care?

P.S. Check out the Beauty Resources page for some excellent beauty deals from,, Sephora, and more.

Image by glitter feet / CC BY 2.0

SonjaBe Kind to Your Hair and Scalp: Five Fab Sulfate-Free Shampoos