10 best sulphate-free shampoos for curly hair

Have you heard? Sulphate-free shampoos are all the craze. You may have wondered why people are rallying against this common ingredient, so let us explain…

Sulphates are bad for hair for a few reasons:

  1. They strip the hair of its natural moisture, leaving it dry and unhealthy
  2. They can cause irritation on sensitive scalps
  3. They create frizz

Commonly used in detergents, such as washing-up liquid and engine degreasers, these ingredients really aren’t delicate enough for our sensitive curls. Curly hair is more prone to dryness than other hair types, so we need to hold onto moisture like our hair depends on it.

Gone are the days when ingredients lists were filled with chemicals we could barely read, let alone pronounce. Now, we want to know why each ingredient is included in our beauty products and exactly what it does for our bodies. Although a few milder sulphates can be OK to use on hair, some of us prefer to avoid them altogether.

The biggest difference between sulphate and sulphate-free shampoo is lather. Sulphate free formulas won’t work into that rich foam, but don’t worry – they still cleanse the hair thoroughly. Switching to a lather-free shower may take some getting used to, but a softer and healthier crown is definitely worth it.

For those wanting to start a sulphate-free life, here are our top ten favourites:

Best sulphate-free shampoos:

1. Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser

Specially designed for textured hair by a fellow curly girl, Bouclème has changed the natural hair game. The entire range is sulphate and silicone free, caring for your curls as nature intended. The Hydrating Hair Cleanser is designed for a deeper cleanse, ideal for those with oil-prone scalps. Uplifting dirt, impurities and build-up from the hair, the shampoo clears the way for your favourite conditioner.

2. Bouclème Curl Cleanser

The Curl Cleanser is another excellent shampoo by Bouclème. This formula is gentle enough for daily use, cleansing curls without stripping away their natural moisture. Admired for its cleansing power, this product was named the “Best Shampoo for Curly Hair” in 2019 at the Marie Claire Beauty Awards.

3. Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo

One for the wavy hair crew, the Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo found in this kit fights frizz with moisture. Fuelled by advanced technology, the formula will leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated, rather than dry and brittle. What’s more, this shampoo lathers while remaining sulphate free, letting you enjoy a bubbly bit of TLC.

4. Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Fuelled by an award-winning formula, the Cantu Shea Butter Cleansing Cream Shampoo provides a deep clean without stripping the hair. Enriched with pure Shea Butter, this hydrating shampoo removes build-up while hydrating your luscious locks.

5. Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo

Treat your crown to the hair care mysteries of Moroccanoil. Infused with the label’s signature oil, the Curl Enhancing Shampoo strengthens, smooths and softens hair while detoxifying the scalp. Gentle enough for daily use, this naturally fuelled formula is free from sulphates, parabens and phosphates.

6. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo

For those who want minimal chemicals and maximum results, Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo harnesses the power of nature to cleanse your curls. Although the entire range is free from parabens, petroleum, phthalates and mineral oil, this formula is also sulphate-free. Enriched with the brand’s secret weapon (Shea Butter, of course), the shampoo eliminates impurities while moisturising your locks.

7. Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo for Waves

Another one for those with looser curls, the Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo is specially designed for wavy hair. Packed with moisturising ingredients, this sulphate-free formula nourishes the crown. Achieve frizz-free, beachy waves with this hydrating shampoo.

Writer and expert