If you have dry, chemically-processed, or color-treated hair, you should know that sulfates are essentially enemy number-one. Hiding in your shampoo's ingredients list with names like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (or the sneaky acronyms SLS/SLES), sulfates are used to give shampoo a rich, foamy lather. But they're also pretty powerful chemicals that cut through grease and product buildup (good), which can be drying to your hair and compromise the condition of your expensive color treatments (bad). If sulfates have left you with less-than glossy locks, one of the best sulfate-free shampoos for dry hair can help you out.
It's easy to steer clear of sulfates in your shampoo once you know how to identify them, but it's still important to choose a sulfate-free option that's best suited for your hair type. Even more important is looking for nourishing ingredients, like panthenol, keratin, and oils like coconut, argan, and prickly pear, to reverse any existing dryness or damage.
Of course, sulfate-free shampoo alone won't fix dry hair. It's also important to check in on your styling routine to see if that could be contributing to the damage. Limit your use of hot styling tools like blow dryers, straighteners, and curling wands, always making sure to use the lowest heat setting you can and hitting your hair with a heat-protectant spray first.
Below, find five of the best sulfate-free shampoos for dry hair of all types and textures.
1. Best Budget-Friendly, Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Dry Hair
Sulfate-free shampoos tend to be on the pricey side, but there are more affordable options like the L'Oréal Paris EverPure line. EverPure contains multiple sulfate-free options targeted for different hair types, but the EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo was formulated to add extra hydration to dry hair with ingredients like apricot oil. Amazon reviewers with brittle hair agree that they noticed a huge difference with this shampoo, giving it over 80 percent five-star reviews and raving about how "soft" and silky" it makes their hair. One even called it the "best shampoo ever," and all seem to unanimously agree that the scent is absolutely divine.
2. Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Curls
Whether your curls are color-treated or just in need of some extra moisture, you'll love the Carol's Daughter Coco Crème formula. It combines several hydrating ingredients, like coconut milk, coconut oil, mango butter, and murumuru butter, to deeply nourish dried out hair and leave curls soft and manageable. "This shampoo put life and bounce into my hair after a beach vacation," writes one Amazon reviewer, adding, "It lathers well and smells so good."
3. Best Volumizing Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Fine, Dry Hair
For finer hair types that tend to fall flat, you can still have a volumizing formula that's also sulfate-free. Verb's Volume Shampoo adds extra protection for dry hair with hydrolyzed vegetable keratin protein and glycerin to moisturize, as well as sunflower seed extract, which naturally guards against UV damage that can contribute to dryness and color fading. To give your hair a volumizing boost, Verb's shampoo includes their patented copolymer and pro-vitamin B5, which help create body that holds while still helping to smooth dry hair and hydrate the scalp.
4. Best Restorative Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Dry, Damaged Hair
If combating dry, damaged hair is your primary concern, NatureLab Tokyo's Repair Shampoo works to strengthen and protect your weakened strands. While you can't actually fix hair once it's damaged, you can prevent the damage from getting worse and ensure that your hair is healthy and strong as it grows in. NatureLab's shampoo does just that with bamboo stem cells that promote healthy hair growth, smart keratin to protect the cortex and surface of the hair, argan oil to condition and add shine, and prickly pear oil to act as a shield from UV and free-radical damage. Once you lather up and rinse out, Amazon users agree that you'll be left with hair that's "shiny, smooth, and manageable."
5. Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Blondes
Blondes may already be well versed in the necessity of sulfate-free formula, but if your current shampoo isn't doing the trick (or you're new to the platinum upkeep), R+Co Sunset Blvd Blonde Shampoo is formulated with everything blonde hair needs. Natural mineral pigments to brighten and correct brassiness is combined with a creamy coconut cleanser and panthenol derivative that work to cleanse and condition without stripping hair of its natural oils.
Like all R+Co products (created by hair stylist superstars Howard McLaren, Garren, and Thom Priano), the packaging is perfection, the fragrance is subtle, and the formula is vegetarian, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, in addition to being paraben-free and color-safe.
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