Sulfates- they’re in everything, from our cleaning products, our soaps, and (you guessed it) beauty products. Sulfates are generally harmless and pass FDA regulations, so what’s the big deal with all of these new sulfate-free products coming out? Well, here’s the thing. Sulfates act like detergents, so they do a really powerful job of cleaning things up. But when it comes to our hair, it only needs a bit of gentle cleaning, and the heavy duty of sulfate-laden products can often strip our scalps of their natural oils. The lack of these oils either makes for some dryness and itchiness or causes your oil production to go into overdrive (leaving you with oilier hair than before). Luckily, you can easily replace your current hair routine with one of these sets of sulfate-free hair products (available at most drugstores). Here are the best sulfate-free products for every type.
1. Curly Hair-Carol’s Daughter
Those of you who have been blessed with a head full of curls have probably already experienced the turmoil of going through product after product, only to find items that promise “volume” stripping your hair of the moisture it needs to be healthy. And since curly hair reflects less light than straight hair, it looks its best when it’s been properly nourished. The best sulfate-free hair products for your type are Carol’s Daughter Coconut Creme Sulfate-Free Shampoo And Conditioner. These guys contain coconut milk and murumuru butter- both amazing humectants, making a foolproof formula for your curls to return to their former glory. Your hair will be free from all dirt without the bubbly, dehydrating sulfates that every other OTC shampoo dishes out on your hair. Also try out their coil enhancing moisture butter whenever you next hit up CVS. Brace yourself for some curly goodness!
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2. Wavy Hair- Shea Moisture
Ever have a #hairgoals moment ruined by strands that are brittle to the touch? Sometimes your wavy mane can look awesome from any angle but feel like stale hay. Why is that? Well, like curly hair, wavy hair also needs lots of moisture and gentle attention. Since you’ve likely already got lots of volume, you can forgo the chemical-ridden mouses and gels crowding up your local drugstore. If you need a little pick-up at the roots, try a sulfate-free or homemade dry shampoo on days you don’t wash (not pictured). In the meantime, use a wood-bristled brush daily, which helps distribute your natural oils evenly across your hair. After that, the sulfate-free hair products you should turn to are Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey and Yogurt Hydrate and Protect Shampoo and Conditioner as well as their leave-in treatment. As you can see on the beautiful periwinkle packaging below, there’s tons of irritating ingredients that Shea Moisture carefully avoids (such as parabens, mineral oil, or petrolatum), so you won’t be putting any gross things onto your head that your capillaries aren’t used to. This cult favorite is sure not to disappoint!
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3. Fine Hair- L’oreal Paris
For the fine-hair beauties out there, your locks are probably smooth to the touch without you even trying. But your quest for a little extra volume may have left your wallets- and your hopes- empty. It’s a paradox-seemingly weightless shampoos promise to clean your hair but in the process encourage build-up and weighed down your hair overtime. First, if you’re feeling a bit weighed down, try washing your hair with baking soda a couple times instead of with your regular shampoo (only the top, where the oil and dirt are). Then you’ll have a clean slate (or scalp) to try some sulfate-free hair products of your own. We recommend the L’oreal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Volume Shampoo and Conditioner. This set is so gentle that you can use it every day to keep the freshness up (just go easy on the amount you use). Trying to avoid more build-up in the future? Keep the routine simple, (this shampoo and conditioner should do the trick) and only add a bit of moisturizing treatment (such as It’s A 10) if you really need it. Want to wow your friends? Simultaneously protect and show off your pretty rehabilitated hair in a double-dutch braided style, pulling out the top parts of the braid to add lots of texture. Just don’t post too many selfies (but we won’t tattle if you do)!
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4. Color-Treated Hair- Maui Moisture
That all-over gloss may have cost a pretty penny, but that stylist can put in some stunning detail the way no person can ever do on their own. But what happens when the color starts fading only a month after you treated yourself? There are lots of factors that contribute to early fading, such as use of heat (like straightening irons and curling wands), sun exposure, and washing with water that’s too hot. And sulfate-filled shampoos are extra iffy with colored hair. Think of washing your favorite vibrant shirt over and over again in hot, strongly potent soapy water. After a while you’d end up with a rag instead of a garment! If you’re looking to keep your hair color nice for as long as possible, Maui Moisture Color Protection Sea Moisture And Minerals is a great, affordable choice. The algae and sea keep help fight fading and keep hair color looking bright. Plus, the aloe will help lock in shine so you can confidently flip those locks. What’s more? The company is cruelty-free and the bottles are eco-friendly. What’s even more than that? You can score a 19.5 ounce each of both the shampoo and conditioner on Amazon for just about $20. Aloha, good hair!
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5. Short Hair- Pantene
While hair length doesn’t technically qualify as a “type”, we’re putting it on this list because it deserves extra attention. That bold decision you made is both flattering and low-maintenance: just wash, gently blow-dry, and head out the door! But old habits die hard, and it’s often the case that those who transition from long to short hair keep their outdated shampoo-and-conditioner habits when they really only need a combination of the two (or worse, get a faulty 2-in-1 product that does more damage than good). The best sulfate-free hair products for you? Well, it’s really just one product. A co-wash (conditioning wash) that both gently cleanses and conditions will leave that lob healthy. And no need to go to a fancy salon outlet to find one! Pantene Deep Hydrating Co-Wash protects what you’ve got…so you won’t find yourself mourning over what you haven’t. How you style after washing is completely up to you. Heck, you could even try a little sulfate-free mouse to get that effortless bounce.
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Which sulfate-free hair products are you going to try? What’s the best thing you’ve done for your hair type this year? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/670332725770002421/
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.