Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners have been around for a while now. Even if you’ve not adopted them as an essential element of your hair care routine, the chances are that you’ve already heard about them!

If you haven’t, this blog will explain a little more. If you have, and are still to make the switch to one of the many sulfate-free options out there, it’s fair to say you’re missing a trick. Sulfate-free shampoos are a must when it comes to keeping hair healthy and hydrated.

If you need a little more persuasion, or simply don’t understand what all the fuss is about, read on ….. 


Nine Yards All In Moist Shampoo  300ml

What Are Sulfates?

Sulfates are cheap, everyday cleansing agents, known as surfactants, that are commonly found in personal care products such as soap, handwash, body wash and shampoo. They’re also found in laundry and dishwashing detergents, which given the job these guys are expected to do should begin to give you a little cause for concern. 

Used extensively across the hair care industry for many years, surfactants lower the surface tension of the liquid they are in to ensure it is easier to mix with water. This creates the luxurious lather you get when using a favourite body wash or applying your shampoo. 

The foaming action allows you to spread a small amount of shampoo across a greater surface area so that the active ingredients are able to effectively remove grime, sweat, excess oil and build-up from any styling products. 

Whilst they undoubtedly do their job, sulfate-based shampoos can strip away too much moisture from your locks, leaving hair lacklustre and your scalp dry and prone to irritation. 

Experts now advise that we opt for more ‘natural’ alternatives in order to achieve stronger, healthier and more manageable tresses, ones that allow the hair to retain its inherent oils and natural moisture levels.


How To Spot A Sulfate

Sulfates come in many different forms, so it can be quite confusing knowing exactly what to look out for on a label. In shampoo, the ones most commonly found are sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate.


Good to know!: Some companies create products that are technically sulfate-free but still contain harsh, synthetic surfactants (such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfonate) so it’s important to read the label and check what it is you’re actually buying.

Are Parabens The Same As Sulfates?

No. Parabens are preservatives that are added to hair care products to prolong shelf-life and prevent contamination. They too can cause a number of problems though including; colour fade, dryness, irritation to the scalp and hair loss – so best to avoid wherever possible.


Authentic Beauty Concept Glow Shampoo 300mlDo I Really Need Sulfate Free Shampoo?

Sulfate-free options are suitable for all hair types and textures but are most beneficial to anyone who washes their hair frequently, has a sensitive scalp or chemically treated hair. Aside from stripping your locks of their natural oils, sulfates remove the dye pigment from hair that has been coloured, leading to premature colour fade.

Keratin treatments are also affected, the sulfates breaking down and stripping away the new layer of externally applied protein, reversing the treatment and returning hair back to its original unmanageable state. 


Benefits Of Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners have a wealth of benefits for all hair types and textures:

  • Whilst oil is obviously removed through the washing process, some of the hair’s natural oils are retained leaving it noticeably softer and shinier
  • Natural moisture levels are maintained promoting overall scalp and hair health, great for those suffering from dry or damaged hair
  • Suitable for scalp sensitivity: the less the scalp is exposed to harsh chemicals the better. Sulfate-free options will help to prevent potential irritation and inflammation
  • Preserves the life and vibrancy of coloured hair
  • Reduces frizz: sulfate-free shampoos cleanse the hair without ruffling cuticles unnecessarily, helping to reduce or even prevent frizz
  • Protects curls: suitable for curly hair that tends to be naturally drier 
  • Leaves hair more healthy and hydrated reducing the need for frizz-control serums or heavy leave-in moisturisers
  • Environmentally friendly: Sulfate-free shampoos are commonly produced from plant derivatives making them far more eco-friendly than the sulfate versions

Insight Daily Use Energising ShampooSulfate-free options are also a great one for children. Whilst their young skin can be more sensitive to harsh chemicals, it is the tear-free benefits of sulfate-free products that are a winner.  If shampoo accidentally gets in young eyes, it won’t cause the same burning sensation as that produced through a standard sulfate version.


Are There Any Disadvantages To Using Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

The main objection raised by consumers is that the sulfate-free versions don’t lather as much as their sulfate containing counterparts, therefore giving the impression that they are not able to clean hair as well.

Despite the less luxurious lather however, sulfate-free options provide the same overall level of performance. The alternative cleansing agents used are perfectly capable of providing a deep clean that successfully rids hair of all unwanted dirt and residue. 

It should be noted that consumer preference for a lather-effect has been accepted by manufacturers and that many of the newer products coming to market do foam a little more than those that were originally launched.

It is also worth noting that if you have exceptionally thick hair you may need to use more shampoo than you would with a sulfate version, in order to activate the appropriate level of cleansing.

Top tip: Wet hair thoroughly and squeeze a small amount of shampoo into your palms. Rub your hands together to create a lather, before applying it directly to the roots and massaging it through.

Those with thicker hair may need to spend a little more time massaging the shampoo into the scalp in order to boost the shampoo’s cleaning ability. If it isn’t lathering sufficiently, add a bit more water.

As with all shampoos, repeat with a second application.


Sulfate-Free Shampoos Available

If you haven’t already converted to one of the sulfate-free ranges, the next time you’re making a purchase just have a think about whether you’re spending your hard earned cash on something that is really going to give your hair what it needs.

If not, then consider giving a sulfate-free option a try, we can guarantee your hair (and the environment) will thank you for it!

Joseph Ferraro Online has an array of sulfate and paraben free shampoos and conditioners suitable for all hair types and pockets, simply click on the following links to view the different ranges:

Nine Yards All In Moist Shampoo - (£19.50)

Authentic Beauty Concept Glow Cleanser For Coloured Hair - (£26) 

Insight Daily Use Energising Shampoo - (£12.50) 

Earth Kind Organic Oats Conditioner Bar - (£8.50)

Earth Kind Organic Oats Conditioner Bar 50g

Joseph Ferraro Hair (JFH) Ltd is a team of professional stylists that deliver exceptional hairdressing services for the individual. Owned and founded by Authentic Beauty Concept Ambassador and North Eastern Hairdresser of the Year (2016), Joseph Ferraro, the JFH team is dedicated to providing expert hair care. Should you need further information or advice on our range of products or wish to speak to a member of the team, please email