You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great shampoo, even if you’re looking for one made without sulfates. The best drugstore sulfate-free shampoos all cost less than $15, and perform just as well as their salon-brand counterparts. Choosing the right one for you will come down to your hair type and hair concerns, since shampoos are very much not one size fits all. So, when picking out your new shampoo, consider what you’re trying to achieve: repaired split ends? More volume? Maybe you’re looking to combat persistent dandruff, or perhaps you’ve got a sensitive scalp and need a shampoo that’s free of fragrance as well as sulfates. You’ll find all of these options and more just ahead.
Confirming that there are no sulfates in your hair care products can be a bit tricky. Typically, sulfates show up on the ingredient list as sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, or ammonium laureth sulfate, but they can sneak in there under other names, too, like sodium lauroyl taurate and lauroyl isethionate. You’ll either have to be a diligent label reader, or you can just choose from the list below, since all of these shampoos are confirmed to be sulfate-free.
If you’re new to sulfate-free shampoos, don’t be surprised if your shampoo doesn’t lather up quite as much as you’re used to. Sulfates are surfactants, which means they help make products like shampoo, face wash, and toothpaste foam up. They’re also quite good (some might say too good) at stripping oil, but rest assured, you’ll still get just as thorough a clean from a sulfate-free shampoo.
To shop the best sulfate-free shampoos under $15, scroll on.
1. Best Moisturizing Shampoo
If your hair is on the dry side, you can’t go wrong with OGX’s Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo. On Amazon, it has over 15,000 five-star ratings, and IRL, it has a devoted following among drugstore beauty enthusiasts. As its name says, its star ingredient is argan oil — which has nourishing, smoothing, and UV-protecting properties — so it’s a great choice if you’re dealing with hair damage or use a lot of hot tools. The Moroccan argan oil line includes a conditioner, curling cream, and sea salt spray as well.
2. Best Volumizing Shampoo
L’Oreal’s popular line of EverPure shampoos includes an amazing, sulfate-free option for every hair type. This one — EverPure Volume — is ideal for anyone with hair that’s lacking oomph. It helps boost volume without weighing down fine or thin hair, and it also helps protect your color and promote shine. It’s entirely free of sulfates, salts, and other surfactants, but it still foams up into a nice lather, and it also has a lovely, floral scent.
3. The Best Dandruff Shampoo
A lot of medicated dandruff shampoos can be drying, but JĀSÖN’s Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo uses olive, jojoba, and rosemary oils to replenish moisture as it soothes dandruff symptoms (like flaking and itching) with sulfur and salicylic acid. This can also be useful for people with scalp psoriasis, and, if used consistently, can help prevent future dandruff flareups from occurring as well.
4. Best Shampoo For Curls
Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight is a gentle shampoo that uses micellar technology along with salicylic acid, aloe, and rose water to carefully cleanse and condition curls without causing tangles, breakage, or dryness. The convenient, pointed applicator tip makes it easy to apply directly to your scalp (which can be helpful if you have brads or locs), where the shampoo foams up nicely and rinses clean without leaving behind residue. In addition to sulfates, this is free of silicones as well.
5. Best Fragrance-Free Shampoo
Vanicream Free & Clear shampoo is a popular pick with dermatologists for patients with super-sensitive, allergy-prone skin or conditions like eczema. That’s because it’s free of not only sulfates, but also parabens, fragrance, dyes, gluten, and other common allergens, so it doesn’t contain anything that might trigger a reaction. Be warned that it’s not the most hydrating shampoo out there, though, so be sure to follow up with a gentle, nourishing conditioner.
Bonus: Best Set
Some of us (ahem, me) really want our shower caddy to match up with complementary products. If that’s you, pick up this duo from Garnier’s Whole Blends line. You get their sulfate-free Remedy Honey Treasures Replenishing Shampoo, the matching conditioner, and a sample of the Miracle Nectar mask, which are all made with sustainably sourced beeswax and honey. This trio is excellent for hair that’s dry, damaged, or just in need of some TLC. It smells lovely, too, and leaves hair soft and silky. The whole set rings up at just under $20.