The 17 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos to Save Your Hair

Every product on this page was chosen by a Harper’s BAZAAR editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Best for Dry Hair

JVN Nurture Hydrating Shampoo

Best for Dry Hair

JVN Nurture Hydrating Shampoo

Now 29% Off

Pros
  • Helps control frizz
  • Recyclable aluminum packaging
Cons
  • Some customers do not like the new floral scent

You knew when Jonathan Van Ness started his own haircare line that he would have your back in the ingredient department: Made with moisturizing hemisqualane, it smooths and hydrates strands, and the gel formula creates a rich, non-stripping lather.

What reviewers are saying:

“Love this shampoo!! I can go three days before needing to shampoo again, and it has really helped repair my dry ends along with the undamaged strengthen conditioner. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!” —Kerri

Hair Types All hair types, including color-treated.
Key Ingredients Hemisqualane, Aloe Leaf Juice, Panthenol

Drugstore Deal

Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo

On Sale

Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo

Drugstore Deal

Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo

Now 26% Off

Pros
  • Very hydrating
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Can be irritating for those with sensitive or dry scalps.
  • Not compatible with all hair types or those with fine hair.

No longer reserved for your iced latte, oat milk is taking over your shampoo too. Oats are the first ingredient in this nourishing formula, which is free of sulfates, parabens, and dyes.

What reviewers are saying:

“My long hair seems to like it. Sometimes I still need a wee bit conditioner but that’s with every shampoo I use. I like the thickness of this shampoo, it’s not runny, watered-down product and it has a delicate smell to it, that leaves my hair full and bouncy.” —Patty

Hair Types Normal Hair
Key Ingredients Oat, Almond Milk

Best Strengthening

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo

Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo

Best Strengthening

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo

Pros
  • Contains biotin to thicken hair

The biotin-rich formula makes your hair stronger with each use, and the rosemary mint scent makes wash day feel like a spa day.

What reviewers are saying:

“The ABSOLUTE BEST shampoo for low porosity hair. Makes my hair super moisturized and feel super healthy. I struggled finding a shampoo that helps hydrate my hair until I found Mielle.” —Neicey

Hair Type Textured, All Hair Types
Key Ingredients Biotin, Honey, Rosemary Extract

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Best Volumizing

Love Beauty and Planet Vegan Biotin & Sun Kissed Mandarin Shampoo

Vegan Biotin & Sun Kissed Mandarin Shampoo

Best Volumizing

Love Beauty and Planet Vegan Biotin & Sun Kissed Mandarin Shampoo

Pros
  • Bottle made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
Cons
  • Might be too rich for super-fine hair

Scented with citrus and packed with vegan biotin to infuse hair with volume, this shampoo is like a breath of fresh air in your shower.

What reviewers are saying:

“Absolutely love this product, I used to have dandruff, really dried out hair, and my hair was falling out a lot with regular common drug store shampoos until I started using this product immediately I saw my hair was feeling more moisturized it stopped falling out and my dandruff went away completely, will forever use this product.” —Juli

Hair Type All Hair Types, Including Color-Treated
Key Ingredients Vegan Biotin

Best for Detangling

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Best for Detangling

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Credit: Ulta
Pros
  • Very hydrating
  • Suitable for textured hair
Cons
  • Not for fine hair

Nourishing almond and avocado oils are in, painful brushing is out with this curly-hair shampoo that can save up to 30 minutes(!) of detangling time.

What reviewers are saying: “Talk about moisture without the weigh-down! I have 2b-2c wavy hair and this product is my new go-to! I absolutely love it!” —Tamara

Hair Types Wavy, Frizzy, Color Treated, Curly, Dry, Chemically Treated, Thick, Textured, Coily
Key Ingredients Almond, Avocado

Best for Dandruff

Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

Balancing Shampoo

Best for Dandruff

Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

Pros
  • No clinical dandruff-shampoo scent
  • Reviews praise this formula for removing dandruff and flakey patches.
Cons
  • Some shoppers noted this formula does not lather as easily

Jupiter is reinventing everything you think you know about dandruff shampoo, with an effective active ingredient (zinc pyrithione), a yummy fragrance, and a cute bottle you won’t mind putting front and center in your shower.

What reviewers are saying:

“This product is amazing! I’m truly amazed how in one wash it disappeared all my dandruff in just one wash. I am the most cautious and pickiest person when it comes to my hair and this is 100% approved by me.” —Laura

Hair Types All Hair Types
Key Ingredients Zinc Pyrithione, Coconut Oil, Algae Extract

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Best Conditioning Wash

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser

Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser

Best Conditioning Wash

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser

Pros
  • Great for natural hair, but works on all hair types
  • Low-waste packaging
Cons
  • Some reviewers say it’s not best for those with dry scalps

Not quite a shampoo, not quite a co-wash, this creamy cleanser is like a hug for dry strands of all types, from straight to coily. Plus, the lemon tea tree oil feels super soothing on the scalp.

What reviewers are saying:

“Already loving this hair wash. Smells great, more defined and easier to manage curls, affordable. Here for it.”

Hair Types Curly, afro, textured hair
Key Ingredients Coconut Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Argan Oil

Best for Scalp

Crown Affair The Ritual Shampoo

The Ritual Shampoo

Best for Scalp

Crown Affair The Ritual Shampoo

Credit: The Crown Affair
Pros
  • Promotes scalp health
  • Volumizing
Cons
  • Expensive

The concept behind this shampoo formula is that it’s super simple and pared down. It gently cleanses, promotes scalp health, and leaves hair looking healthier, sans bells and whistles—and of course, sulfates.

What reviewers are saying: “I LOVE this shampoo! I tried something else for a few weeks after running out but went back to this ASAP. It does a great job of cleansing the scalp and hair of any leftover product and can be used as much as I need.—Bluelinewife

Hair Types Straight, Wavy, Curly, Coiled, Tightly Coiled
Key Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Panthenol and 10% Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Celery Seed Extract
Shampoo
Pros
  • Personalized based on your exact hair type and texture
Cons
  • Since each formula is bespoke, there may be some trial and error to find your perfect shampoo

The custom hair brand’s shampoos can include tons of different ingredients depending on what your strands need, but one thing that’s never added? Sulfates.

What reviewers are saying:

“Since starting Prose over a year ago, my hair has been so soft and shiny! My hair is usually thick, coarse, and frizzy, but previous products I’ve tried from different brands caused my sensitive scalp to itch and flake. Prose has completely changed my relationship with my hair, and their website is very easy to use when my formula needs adjustments. Worth every penny.” —Gillian

Hair Types Custom
Key Ingredients Custom
Size 8.5 fl oz

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Best for Extensions

ILES FORMULA Haute Performance Shampoo

Haute Performance Shampoo

Best for Extensions

ILES FORMULA Haute Performance Shampoo

Pros
  • Great for thick hair
  • A little bit of shampoo can go a long way
Cons
  • Expensive

Brown also recommends this sulfate-free formula, which even works on extensions and keratin-treated hair. Packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients like Vitamin B5, this option is specially designed to leave your strands bouncy, strong, and shiny.

What the experts are saying:

This is my go-to for clients with thick, coarse, frizzy hair or hair extensions. It’s very moisturizing and leaves hair feeling smooth and bouncy,” says Brown.

Hair Types All Hair Types
Key Ingredients Silk Proteins

Best Unscented

Nécessaire The Shampoo

The Shampoo

Best Unscented

Nécessaire The Shampoo

Pros
  • Fragrance-free
  • Skincare ingredients work to nourish your scalp
Cons
  • Might be too gentle for very oily hair

A good scent can be very hit-or-miss, and can sometimes deter you away from an excellent formula. So, why not try an unscented option? The beloved body care brand’s first shampoo is fragrance-free, and features skincare-forward ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin B5, and aloe vera to nourish the scalp as it cleanses.

What reviewers are saying:

“Best shampoo I’ve used in years! Scalp and hair feel clean and refreshed, but not overly stripped. Have been recommending this to everyone!” —Elizabeth

Hair Types Straight, Wavy, Curly, Coiled, Tightly Coiled
Key Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Panthenol and 10% Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Celery Seed Extract

Best for Texture

Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Hydration Shampoo

Best for Texture

Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Pros
  • Great for curls
  • Creamy texture

Not only does this creamy shampoo clean and hydrate curls like a dream, but we’re obsessed with the light and chic floral scent.

What reviewers are saying:

“I used this last night after a 13 hour road trip. I was too tired to condition my hair afterwards so I’m surprised that my hair feels soooo soft and hydrated. I’m definitely going to make this a staple for my wash day routines.” —lexirox

Hair Type Wavy, Curly, and Coily
Key Ingredients Aloe Leaf Juice, Biotin, Jojoba Oil

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Best Detoxifying

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

Best Detoxifying

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

Pros
  • Clarifies hair and scalp without over-drying
Cons
  • Not the best option for thinning hair

The activated charcoal in this high-tech shampoo helps draw out buildup from pollution and other hair products, so hair feels clean but not stripped.

What reviewers are saying:

“I have extremely oily hair; and when I stopped bleaching; I couldn’t spend one day without washing my hair cause it turned so oily…I bought a bunch of detox shampoo and so far this one is the best.” — vaze06

Hair Type Straight, Wavy, Curly, and Coily
Key Ingredients Healthy Hair Molecule, Scalp Moisturizing and Soothing Complex

Best Keratin

Virtue Labs Recovery Shampoo

Recovery Shampoo

Best Keratin

Virtue Labs Recovery Shampoo

Pros
  • Leaves hair soft and smooth
  • Great for damaged hair
Cons
  • Expensive

Designed for damaged hair, this nourishing formula leaves strands shinier and softer.

What the experts are saying:

Brown calls it one of her favorites, saying, “This shampoo deposits keratin back into hair strands to help repair damage caused by bleach, heat and other chemicals. It leaves hair feeling super soft and nourished!”

Hair Type Straight, Wavy, Curly, and Coily
Key Ingredients Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Baobab Seed Oil, Grapefruit Extract, Alpha Keratin 60ku®

Natural Pick

True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo

Nourishing Shampoo

Natural Pick

True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo

Pros
  • Low-lather formula won’t strip natural oils

Packed with antioxidants to help both your hair and your scalp, this shampoo cleanses without stripping strands of color or essential oils. And the earthy smell? Divine.

What reviewers are saying:

“This is honestly one of the best shampoos I have ever used. I have very fine hair and a sensitive scalp. I have tried almost everything from expensive high-end brands to medical solutions and cheaper drug store brands. This is by far the best one so far, my hair is soft and maintains volume, I have been using it for a few weeks and I have no scalp issues.” —H. Niddhog

Hair Types Oily, Dry, Normal
Key Ingredients Green Tea, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Extract

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Best for Curly Hair

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo

Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo

Best for Curly Hair

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo

Pros
  • Minimizes frizz
  • Hydrates curls

Get a shampoo that boosts volume and defines those already gorgeous curls without taking away nutrients and hydration. Your curls will thank you endlessly for this sulfate-free shampoo.

What reviewers are saying:

“This shampoo is the beginning process to beautifully clean and defined curls. My frizz was noticeably diminished and easier to style. Plus I always look for vegan and cruelty free brands which Briogeo has on lock.” —Bianca5150

Hair Type Wavy, Curly, and Coily
Key Ingredients Rice Amino Acids, Shea Butter, Tomato Fruit Ferment

Best for Waves

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo

Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo

Best for Waves

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo

Pros
  • Minimizes frizz
  • Great if you heat-style your hair

We swear by this shampoo because it is packed with six—yes, six—moisturizing oils. Suitable for every hair type, it hydrates without weighing hair down and protects against breakage.

What reviewers are saying:

“I love this shampoo and conditioner. I don’t have to use a detangler just to get a brush through my hair anymore since switching to Bumble and Bumble. I also find that I only need about half the amount I would need to clean my hair when using other brands. It smells really nice too. I refuse to use anything else.” —XoCheergirloX

Hair Type Straight, Wavy, and Curly
Key Ingredients Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, and Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil
Size 2 oz/ 60 mL

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are sulfates?

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In short, sulfates are what create that shampoo-y lather. But in more detail: “Sulfates are mineral salts that appear both naturally and human-made. Sulfates in beauty products show up as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES),” Drew Inge, owner of Drew Inge Hair Studio of Williamsburg, Virginia in Sola Salons, explains. “Sulfates bind to dirt and oil and remove them from your hair. Sulfates produce a lather as well, which is why it’s so desired in shampoos.”

Why should you use sulfate-free shampoos?

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They can be harsh on both the hair and scalp. “Sulfates are considered safe by the FDA and EPA in small dosages,” Inge says. “However, sulfates can strip away too much of the natural oils and moisture that keep hair healthy. If you have sensitive skin they can cause irritation, dryness, and redness on the scalp. This can lead to dandruff, color fading, dryness, and breakage in some cases.” Using sulfate-free products is especially important for those with color-treated hair. “Certain surfactants can be very cleansing and strip hair color or dry out hair,” adds Brown.

Lettermark

Lindy Segal is a beauty writer and editor. In addition to regularly contributing to BAZAAR.COM, she also writes for Glamour, People, WhoWhatWear, and Fashionista, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her Chihuahua mix, Barney.

Headshot of Kelsey Mulvey

Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance lifestyle journalist, who covers shopping and deals for Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and ELLE Decor, among others. Her hobbies include themed spinning classes, Netflix, and nachos.

 

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