Should You Change to Sulfate Free Shampoo?

by Escaping Gravity Ltd.

Sulfate free shampoo is a haircare product that has been topical since the 70s, and it's as popular as ever, if not more so today. You may have noticed an expansion of the sulfate free products section, when doing your cosmetic shop, but should we all be using this particular type of shampoo? 

At Curlsmith we are committed to being free from sulfate, silicone, and parabens, in our products. We are here to detangle the myths from the truth, so you can learn the benefits of sulfate free shampoo and whether it is right for your curls.      

Table of Contents:

  • What Does Sulfate Free Shampoo Mean?
  • Is Sulfate Bad For Hair?
  • 5 Advantages Of Going Sulfate Free
  • Top Tip Before You Switch To Sulfate Free Shampoo
  • How Do Sulfates Affect Different Hair Types?
  • Gentle, Paraben & Sulfate Free Shampoos From Curlsmith

What Does Sulfate Free Shampoo Mean?

Sulfate free shampoo is a shampoo that doesn't contain chemicals from the sulfate family. But you might be thinking, what are sulfates? Well, in a nutshell, they are the active ingredient in lots of everyday personal care essentials such as shampoo, laundry and washing up liquid, and toothpaste, that helps the formula to foam and is responsible for the cleansing action. The chemical can also be found in many types of beauty cosmetics, from cleansers to body wash. The most common forms of sulfate are:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Ether sulfate (SLES)
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS)

So why exactly are we being told to be wary of them and consider a switch to sulfate free shampoo? Sulfates are often deemed to be a good cleaning agent as they’re rich lathering properties that make removing dirt and build up easy. However, for curly hair, they may not be ideal. 

Is Sulfate Bad For Hair?

Sulfate itself is not harmful and is safe to use. It is already being used in a wide variety of personal care items that we use on a daily basis such as body wash, as well as household staples.

When it comes down to caring for our hair and maintaining our manes, we may wish to shy away from certain chemicals. Whilst sulfate is an ally for deep cleansing, it can turn foe when applied to hair. This chemical can be incredibly drying as it has such a strong cleansing power, it tends to strip the hair of its natural oils and protein, leaving it unprotected and vulnerable to damage. The result is lifeless, brittle hair which could be extremely prone to breakage. As curly hair is already prone to dryness, avoiding ingredients that could make the hair even more dry is vital. 

5 Advantages Of Going Sulfate Free

So you are debating changing to a sulfate free shampoo, but you want to understand what the benefits are before you take the plunge. As a premium haircare brand that focuses on producing sulfate free essentials, we explain all. The benefits found by introducing sulfate free shampoo into your haircare routine include:

  • As a milder product, it could help to reduce scalp irritation
  • Sulfate free shampoo can help to reduce the appearance of frizz
  • It helps retain the natural moisture in your hair, as it doesn’t strip out the natural oils
  • If you have colored hair, sulfate free shampoo is a more gentle option for you. The gentle cleansers in these formulas are great at removing impurities from the scalp, while protecting the color making sure it isn’t stripped as quickly.
  • Sulfate free shampoo is safer for the environment, due to its plant based ingredients

Before opting for a sulfate free shampoo we suggest finding your hair porosity. Different porosity types respond differently to different products, so understanding your own will ensure you make the best decision. Those with low porosity hair, may find the transition to sulfate free slightly trickier than those with medium porosity and high porosity. This is because the cuticles in low porosity hair are more tightly packed together and so more sensitive to product build up. However, there are many effective sulfate free, clarifying shampoos, so as long as you remember to clarify every 4-5 washes, you can make the switch even if you have low porosity.

How Do Sulfates Affect Different Hair Types?

Sulfate free shampoo might not be necessary for everyone, but we are here to break down whether your hair type may benefit from a swap.    

Sulfate free shampoo can be used on low porosity hair


Curly Hair: Curly hair tends to have a corkscrew pattern, or ‘O’ shaped curls. The formation of the curls make it difficult for the natural oils to travel down the shaft of the hair. This can lead to hair becoming dry and brittle. People with curlier hair could benefit from using a sulfate free shampoo, around 2-3 times per week. Washing less often can help to contain as much of the natural oils as possible.

Coily Hair: As the most voluminous of the three, coily hair is defined by ‘Z’ shaped curls, or tight coils at the roots. Due to these tight coils, coily hair is often the driest hair type. Similarly to curly hair, the natural oils find it very difficult to make their way down the hair. This is why those with coily hair could benefit from switching to a sulfate free shampoo, or even a co-wash, as you don’t want to excessively remove those precious oils. When considering how often to wash your hair, you should really only be washing between 1-2 times per week.       

Wavy Hair: Wavy hair sits between straight and curly hair. Due to the curl pattern of wavy hair, the natural oils find it far easier to move down the hair shaft. For this reason, the hair is often the least dry out of the three main curly types. If you have wavy hair, you can still benefit from switching to a sulfate free shampoo. By promoting moisture in your locks, and not removing it unnecessarily, you could help to control frizz. Just make sure to clarify every 4-5 washes, to thoroughly remove all dirt and build up.

If you're not sure which type you are, you can take our curl quiz! This can help you reap the best results from your products.

Gentle, Paraben & Sulfate Free Shampoos From Curlsmith

After deciding whether sulfate free shampoo is right for your type of hair, you might be wondering what products to choose. At Curlsmith we are proud to say none of our products contain sulfates, silicones, or parabens, and we can help you on your journey to luscious, healthy locks.

Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic: Suitable for all hair types, our Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic Shampoo is the perfect way to clarify your locks. When you try and achieve healthy, beautiful hair, you must start with the scalp. Clarifying regularly is essential to remove dirt and build up, as well as letting your scalp breathe. By exfoliating it and removing build up you create the best environment for your hair follicles. This sulfate free shampoo teams up with supercharged pro-biotics, that are skin friendly and help to strengthen your scalp’s protective barrier and improve scalp health. Other benefits you can enjoy include:

  • Clarifies the hair
  • Removes dirt and build up from the scalp
  • Gently exfoliates the scalp with a super fine texture that won’t get stuck in your hair

For the best results, we recommend teaming this sulfate free shampoo up with our Super Slip Pre-Biotic Primer. Which will help to achieve smooth, detangled hair, and our Post-Biotic Calming Conditioner which will restore moisture.

Sulfate free co-wash


Vivid Tones Vibrancy Shampoo: Great to boost color vibrancy and shine both on color treated and natural hair, our Vivid Tones Vibrancy Shampoo is more gentle than our Wash & Scrub, so it is suitable for frequent washes and not just for clarifying. Its natural sulfate free cleansers create a nice, rich lather that helps remove dirt and build-up thoroughly. Other benefits include:

  • Boosts shine and color vibrancy
  • Cleanses the hair without stripping natural oils
  • Gently lathers and suds

Co-wash: Co-washing has lots of great benefits for achieving the healthiest curls possible. The product itself is a conditioner with a small amount of cleansing ingredients. Ideal for those with curly, coily, and wavy hair types that want to gently cleanse their tresses whilst maintaining moisture. The benefits you could see by using this product include:

  • Hydrates the hair
  • Being a gentle cleanser, it won’t strip the natural oils from the hair and scalp 
  • It also saves you time because it's a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner!

For best results, we recommend using this sulfate free cleanser in the shower by massaging into the scalp, and smoothing the product through the ends. If you have time leave the product on for three minutes to achieve optimum results. 

Why Choose Curlsmith Gourmet Haircare

Curlsmith is a gourmet haircare specialist. We create curl-loving ranges and have collaborated with trichologists, curly hair stylists and beauty experts to ensure our premium products are solving curly haired problems. With a moisture line, strength line, scalp line, and color line, we are sure there is something for everyone's hair goals and needs. We are also proud to say we are vegan and cruelty free.