They say that your hair is your crowning glory, and it is one that you can never take off - all the more reason for you to take care of it. What better way to take care of it than with sulfate-free shampoos as they are milder won't irritate your scalp. Our team at mybest has compiled a list of our favorite products in our Top 10 list, some you may even buy from drugstores!
Everyone has different needs, and if your scalp is pickier than others or you had it colored or permed, you might want to consider trying sulfate-free shampoos. We have prepared a buying guide to help you choose the best sulfate-free shampoos with some comments and tips from Dr. Barbara Marcelo, a board-certified dermatologist. Keep on reading to learn more!
Dr. Barbara Ellen T. Marcelo is a board-certified dermatologist who is passionate about helping parents nurture their children’s skin. Her advocacies include teaching about sun protection, treating patients with eczema, and promoting skin and body positivity.
You can follow her on her Instagram page to learn more about caring for adults' and children’s skin.
The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide. For ranks 1 to 3, in addition to the buying guide, we also referred to more than 100 reviews in Lazada to come up with their respective rankings.
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Dr. Barbara Marcelo, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period.**
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Olaplex Patented System|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Gugo, Chamomile, Moringa, Aloe Vera, Japanese Tsubaki Oil|
|Hair Type||All Hair Types, Especially Dry, Damaged Hair|
|Net Weight||75 g|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Pro-Vitamin B5|
|Hair Type||Colored Hair|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Healthy Shine Shampoo Bar
Classy Not Brassy Purple Shampoo
Bond Builder to Repair Damaged Hair and Strengthen All Hair Types
Achieve Soft and Shiny Hair With Gugo, Tsubaki Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Jojoba
Purple Shampoo With Tea Tree Oil and Pro-Vitamin B5 to Nourish Colored Hair
|Price Starts at||₱1,690||₱225||₱350|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Olaplex Patented System||Gugo, Chamomile, Moringa, Aloe Vera, Japanese Tsubaki Oil||Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Pro-Vitamin B5|
|Hair Type||All||All Hair Types, Especially Dry, Damaged Hair||Colored Hair|
|Net Weight||250 ml||75 g||250 ml|
Below are more options for your to choose from. The products listed are written in no particular order.
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Ginseng, B5, Biotin, Maltodextrin|
|Hair Type||Fine, Thin, or Limp|
|Net Weight||226 ml|
|Key Ingredient/Technology||Caper from Salina|
|Hair Type||All Hair Types|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Rosemary Essential Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein|
|Hair Type||Thin, Damaged|
|Net Weight||400 ml|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Morpho-Keratine Complex, Surface Perfector, High Precision Care Agent|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
|Key Ingredient/Technology||Avocado, Tea Tree|
|Hair Type||Curly/Wavy hair|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
|Key Ingredient/Technology||Shea Butter, Castor OIl|
|Hair Type||All Hair Types|
|Net Weight||65 g|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Rosemary Flower|
|Hair Type||Dry, Colored|
|Net Weight||250 ml|
Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Shampoo
Blossom & Bloom™ Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo
Curls by Zenutrients Avocado & Tea Tree Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Strengthening + PLUS Shampoo
Shampoo Bar (Moisture Care)
MINU Shampoo: Illuminating Protective Shampoo for Colored Hair
EverPure Moisture Shampoo
Uses Morpho-Keratine to Transform Your Frizzy Hair to Soft and Smooth Hair
Biotin and Vitamin B5 to Enhance and Reinforce Each Strand of Hair
Has Avocado and Tea Tree—Your Best Bet for Luscious and Bouncy Curls
Rosemary Oil for Luscious and Stronger Hair
Helps Improve the Condition of Your Scalp and Prevent Dryness and Dullness for Up to 80 Washes!
Protect and Enhance Color-Treated Hair With Polyphenols and a Gentle Formula
For Those Who Want to Keep Their Vibrant Hair Color for Up to 4 Weeks
|Price Starts at||₱1,750||₱1,530||₱249||₱319.75||₱249||₱1,090||₱350|
|Key Ingredient / Technology||Morpho-Keratine Complex, Surface Perfector, High Precision Care Agent||Ginseng, B5, Biotin, Maltodextrin||Avocado, Tea Tree||Rosemary Essential Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein||Shea Butter, Castor OIl||Caper from Salina||Rosemary Flower|
|Hair Type||Frizzy||Fine, Thin, or Limp||Curly/Wavy hair||Thin, Damaged||All Hair Types||All Hair Types||Dry, Colored|
|Net Weight||250 ml||226 ml||250 ml||400 ml||65 g||250 ml||250 ml|
Before we get right into the nitty-gritty on how to choose the best sulfate-free shampoo, let's first get to know what sulfates are, weigh the pros and cons, and also take a look at the benefits of sulfate-free shampoos.
To put it simply, sulfate is a type of surfactant. This means it helps the product to produce a lather. This is what gives your soaps and detergents that bubbling action. It is successful in cutting through oil and dirt and lifting it from your body. This is why you have that "squeaky clean" feeling after taking a shower. The downside is it can cause loss of moisture and strip your scalp of its natural oils.
If you have sensitive skin or are suffering from skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, or other skin problems, you might want to consider sulfate-free alternatives. This is because sulfates can cause your skin conditions to flare up or even cause an allergic reaction. This may cause you to experience redness, itchiness, and irritation in your scalp.
Sulfates are common components of shampoos and cleansers that are anionic surfactants. Surfactants are molecules that attract both oil and water. Sulfate-containing shampoos foam well, and they can also clean efficiently too. However, in some people with sensitive or drier skin and hair, they can be very drying, washing away your skin and hair's natural protective oils.
As mentioned earlier, although sulfates in shampoos can help clean the hair thoroughly, they can be strip off natural oils and make the skin and hair dry, and can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Meanwhile, sulfate-free shampoos can be very gentle but at the same time effective in cleaning too. Not only those with sensitive and dry scalp will benefit from this, but also those with colored hair and curly-haired folks too. Sulfate-free shampoos are highly moisturizing, making your hair healthy and vibrant!
A sulfate-free shampoo can clean your hair the same way regular shampoos do, minus the irritation. It just has a milder formula. Sulfate-free shampoos actually contain natural ingredients to keep your hair healthy!
You must first decide on the type of your shampoo. You might like to take your time using a shampoo bar, or prefer the convenience of the liquid type.
It is an environmentally-friendly option as some brands do not make use of plastic packaging. It is mostly made of natural ingredients, which is nourishing for your hair as it is free of harmful chemicals.
The downside is, it can take some effort to produce a lather, which can be time consuming. It can also be difficult to rub the bar onto your hair. It is still a solid option if you want a product with all-natural ingredients.
The attraction of shampoo bars is mainly because of their being eco-friendly, convenient for travel, and cost-effective. Most bars are also made of mainly natural ingredients and exclude sulfates. However, shampoo bars may leave a waxy consistency in your hair strands which can build up over time. Always remember to rinse thoroughly when using bar shampoo.
On the other hand, liquid shampoos are more commonplace and easy to use. You only need to dispense the appropriate amount of product onto your hand. One caveat though is that it can contain preservatives, but it has a longer shelf life compared to its bar counterpart.
The good news is, some brands can produce shampoos that lather well, so it won't be difficult to use. This is ideal if you want to ease your transition into sulfate-free shampoos.
The choice between a shampoo bar or a liquid shampoo depends on what suits your hair and lifestyle best. Liquid shampoos are faster and more convenient to use. There is less lathering needed, and it's easier to rinse off. Liquid shampoos are also more readily available, with a lot of product options depending on your hair concerns.
Generally speaking, sulfates aren't that bad. However, it can be too potent an ingredient for some hair and skin types. Those with dry and damaged hair can benefit from sulfate-free shampoos as it won't cause further damage to their hair or irritate their scalp.
Those with dry and damaged hair would benefit from using a sulfate-free shampoo, as it does not aggravate your hair's dryness. There is such a thing as being too clean sometimes, and sulfates tend to do that. It strips your hair of moisture and leaves it dry and unhealthy.
It can also cause hair to frizz too because of increased friction due to lack of moisture. Look for shampoos that contain natural moisturizing ingredients such as coconut, avocado, grapeseed, and argan oil. These oils are known emollients, which moisturize and softens skin. It also works to seal in moisture to prevent it from escaping.
Sulfate-containing shampoos can wash away the hair’s natural protective oils, which also nourish the scalp. Hair can then become brittle and get easily broken or damaged during styling, especially when the heat is used. Using shampoos with plant oils can help coat and soften the hair strand, decreasing friction between hairs and helping frizzy and flyaway hair look smoother.
This is because colouring or treating your hair strips it of its natural pigment to make room for new color. In doing so, it dries out your hair in the process. This is the reason why your hair tends to feel straw-like when you've had it bleached.
Look for protein-based shampoos that contain wheat or soy extracts as well as amino acids. This will help restore protein to your hair and help preserve color, so you can avoid having your locks looking brassy.
Excessive use of sulfate-containing shampoos can strip your hair of its natural proteins, particularly keratin. This can weaken the hair strand, leading to hair breakage, split ends, and frizzy-looking hair. Using protein-containing shampoos can help smoothen and strengthen the hair cuticle (outermost layer of the hair shaft), helping protect chemically-treated hair.
In buying shampoos, you should take note of the ingredients list as some of it could contain hidden sulfates. Some of its common names are; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureate Sulfate (ALS), and Sodium Cocyl Taurate, among others.
Also look out for possible preservatives such as parabens and phthalates as well as fragrances, as these could be potential irritants.
Look at the label of your shampoo. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a strong anionic surfactant while Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is its milder version. Other sulfates can be identified on the label of your shampoo as sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, ammonium lauryl sulfate. Sulfates containing fragrances and other ingredients may cause irritation to your skin but sulfate-free formulations can also cause this as well.
Switching to sulfate-free shampoos can take some getting used to. For one thing, it doesn't lather as much as regular shampoos. Here's how you can utilize it properly.
Before you slather on your shampoo, make sure your hair is thoroughly wet. We've mentioned that sulfates help a product produce a lather. The absence of sulfate means it won't lather as much. This is fine.
Don't worry, your hair is still getting cleaned, even without the bubbles. If you think you need more product, you can opt to add more water instead of piling on more shampoo.
Surfactants in shampoos, whether they contain sulfates or not, need water to wash effectively. Wetting your hair thoroughly before applying shampoo allows surfactants to bind well to the oil and dirt on your hair. You can also dilute your shampoo with a little water instead of applying directly to your scalp. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp before rinsing.
Ideally, you should leave it on your hair for about a minute to really let the product sink in. However if you find that your hair still doesn't feel clean, you can always opt to shampoo twice. This is because it can be quite a feat to get rid of oil, dirt, and hair products used on your hair without the help of the foaming action you get.
On your second wash, though, you will find that the product is easier to lather and will spread better as well. You can really feel the dirt lifting from your hair, and this will give you that squeaky clean feeling you want.
A shampoo that foams well doesn’t mean it cleans better. Conversely, a shampoo that doesn't foam well can also clean well. Sulfate-free shampoos may not foam as well as those containing sulfates, but they can still clean as well as sulfate-containing shampoos. Shampoo twice only when your hair is really dirty or when you use a lot of hair styling products. Make sure to use a conditioner afterward.
After you have lathered, rinsed, and repeated, it is time to rinse your hair. Make sure to remove any traces of your shampoo. Your hair would end up feeling heavy if you hadn't removed any residue of your shampoo.
Make sure to rinse well after shampooing to remove soap suds and residue, which can build up and look like flakes and dandruff. Rinse hair in sections, and don't forget to wash the back of the head. Use a clarifying shampoo once to twice a week to remove residue from your scalp and hair.
If you still have burning questions that you need to be answered, below are some of Dr. Barbara's answers to the internet's most asked questions!
Hair loss is caused by a variety of factors such as hormonal dysfunction, stress, chronic illness, and nutritional deficiencies. sulfate-containing shampoos, in general, do not cause hair loss. However, in certain individuals who have sensitive skin on their scalp, damaged hair (from coloring, perming, or straightening), or those with brittle hair, sulfate-containing shampoos are more likely to irritate the scalp and can cause further hair breakage.
Silicones in styling products coat the hair cuticle making hair softer and protecting the hair from the heat of styling tools. Most sulfate-free shampoos use gentler surfactants to wash away dirt and oils from hair.
These surfactants may not be enough to remove hair product build-ups such as those from silicones (particularly dimethicone) from the scalp and hair. For individuals who use a lot of hairstyling and leave-on hair products, sulfate-free shampoos may not be a good choice for their hair cleansing needs.
How often you wash your hair depends on your hair type and lifestyle, not just the type of shampoo. For dry or brittle hair or sensitive scalps, wash hair less often, around two to three times a week. For fine hair and oily scalps, wash hair every other day to daily. For individuals who work out often or sweat a lot, it is recommended to wash their hair daily. Hair cleansing habits vary from person to person.
Sulfates are not typically hazardous to your hair and scalp but over-cleansing with these products can dry out your hair and scalp. Some sulfate-free formulations can also be drying and cause skin sensitivity. If your sulfate-containing shampoo works for you, there's no need to switch.
However, if your scalp or hair is drier or itchier than usual, it may be time to purchase a sulfate-free shampoo. If your scalp or hair issue persists, talk to a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
We're pretty sure you have got your skincare routine down pat. But don't forget about your hair! Here are some products for you to check out to indulge in a little self-care for your hair.
If you're looking to make the switch to milder hair products, you can start with sulfate-free shampoos. It can get rid of oil and dirt minus the irritation it causes on your scalp and damage to your locks. It also does wonders for managing buhaghag hair!
Author: Justine Cuizon
Reviewed by: Dermatologist, Dr. Barbara Marcelo
If you want to know how we chose and ranked our product recommendations, read on below to find out! Our buying guide was carefully crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, so we used it as a basis for choosing and rating. For the top 3 product recommendations, we also looked at reviews from Lazada in addition to the buying guide.
Ratings and Reviews
For each product on the top 3, we looked at and referenced more than 100 reviews, as well as product ratings in Lazada.
Consider the Type of Shampoo
This part of the buying guide mainly depends on the preference of the users, so we did not include it in our ratings.
Determine Your Hair's Needs
Different hair types need different ingredients to address each hair concern. At the same time, hair condition also varies depending on factors like environment and styling, so it is better to have one product that can address multiple hair concerns. Thus, we gave products with more beneficial ingredients for more hair types a higher rating.
SLS, SLES, ALS: Keep an Eye Out for Its Other Names
Sulfates come in different forms, and if you are not aware of the different names they go by, you may purchase a product that claims to be sulfate-free but is really not. We made the research and looked at the ingredients list, and gave those that do not have hidden sulfates a higher rating.
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