Suds your way to healthy hair!
Sulfates often get a bad rap for being harsh on the hair and scalp. Although there is no technical evidence that sulfate-free shampoo formulas are gentler and better for hair, the consumer demand for them remains strong among women with curly, natural, color-treated, and damaged hair.
Every shampoo formula contains at least one kind of cleansing ingredient to help lift and wash away dirt and sebum (the oily substance that keeps our skin soft and supple) from the scalp and hair. Sodium or aluminum lauryl sulfate (SLS or ALS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are common surfactants used in shampoo formulations, and are often listed near the top of a product's ingredient list. "Sulfate-free" in a shampoo formula means that cleansers with chemical names ending in "sulfate" have been replaced with alternate ones. While chemically different, these sulfate-free surfactants still clean hair on the same principle of micelle formation. Here are common ones to look for on labels if you're shopping sulfate-free:
GH Beauty Lab shampoo testing and haircare experts agree that shampoos both with and without sulfates can be safe for hair (and for use every day), as long as they are well-formulated. If you're interested in making the switch, look no further than our list of the best sulfate-free shampoos you can trust to perform for hair types from oily to curly, fine, colored, and more, including Good Housekeeping Seal holders, GH Beauty Lab test winners and editors' picks.