You invest a lot in your hair care: time, money, and effort. Whether it’s the products you use, how you style your hair, or the treatments you request from your stylist, healthy hair is the most beautiful hair, so ensuring that your hair is healthy is a must.
That’s why it’s so frustrating to realize that damaging and drying ingredients like sulfate and paraben sneakily reside in some of the products we use most regularly, like shampoo.
Shampoo is a product meant to clean and refresh your hair, and it’s arguably the hair care product that most of us use regularly.
So if you’ve decided to ditch the deadbeat shampoo that’s holding you back from healthy hair and pursue a cleaner alternative that aligns with your hair care goals, then it’s the perfect time to consider sulfate and paraben-free shampoo.
The market has come a long way, and 2023 is the perfect time to browse for the best of the best in clean haircare. So today, we’re going to review eight of the best sulfate-free shampoos and paraben-free shampoos to help you decide which will be your new besties on your healthy hair journey.
What are sulfates and parabens?
- Parabens and sulfates are chemicals in various beauty products.
- Parabens prevent bacteria and act as preservatives.
- Sulfates are cleansing and foaming agents.
- Studies suggest potential harm from parabens and sulfates.
- No definitive link between parabens and cancer.
- Sulfates are considered safe at certain concentrations.
- Sulfates can cause hair issues, including dryness, irritation, color fading, and hair loss.
- Sulfate-free products might still cause similar issues; some replacements can be worse.
- Choose sulfate-free products with fruit or vegetable-based cleansing ingredients.
- Sulfates are easily identified in ingredient lists; parabens may be trickier to spot.
- Consider alternatives like ethylhexylglycerin or phenoxyethanol for paraben-free options.
- Use chemicals in moderation; rotate beauty products regularly.
Why should you avoid sulfate and paraben Products?
We should consider avoiding sulfate and paraben products because there are concerns about their potential negative effects on our health and well-being.
Some studies have suggested that parabens can mimic hormone activity in the body, which could be linked to certain health issues.
Meanwhile, sulfates may cause dryness, irritation, and even hair loss. Although conclusive evidence is still lacking, many people prefer to err on the side of caution and opt for sulfate-free and paraben-free alternatives.
Best Sulfate and Paraben-Free Shampoos
You are one in a million, and your shampoo should be uniquely suited to all of your individual needs and special attributes. Regardless of your hair texture, volume, and type, we’ve got you covered with several sulfate and paraben-free shampoo options!
#1. Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo: Best for Damaged Hair
- Deep-moisture complex penetrates hair to deliver lasting, intense moisture
- Relaxing floral aroma blend with certified organic palmarosa, ylang ylang and rose geranium, plus a hint of vanilla
- Safe for color treated hair
Aveda is a well-known and trusted brand that’s been delivering salon-quality, clean formulas for decades. If you’ve been unknowingly stripping your hair with a toxic and deadbeat shampoo every wash, then you need a product that will restore and nourish.
Enter Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo. This sumptuous, feminine-smelling formula has all the right ingredients to bring your brittle locks back to life: pomegranate along with olive oil hydrate and strengthen to help your hair get back on track.
What’s more, besides being a sulfate-free shampoo for damaged hair, Aveda’s products are also paraben-free, and the company is certified Climate Pledge Friendly, with earth-conscious packaging that works to tackle waste and carbon emissions. So this is a product you can feel good about on every level!
#2. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo: Best for Irritated Scalps
- BALANCED MOISTURE: Oat is the first ingredient in this scalp-soothing, farm-fresh inspired shampoo infused with almond milk...
- FOR ALL HAIR TYPES: This shampoo offers balanced moisture for daily use & all hair types, a perfect blend for an entire...
- FARM FRESH INSPIRED: We make hair care products that promote healthy hair & scalp, from shampoo & conditioner to hair masks,...
Another symptom of chemical-packed shampoos can be a dry, red, irritated scalp. Nobody likes dandruff, and an itchy head can be miserable! Unfortunately, many shampoos that claim to address this issue can dry and damage your hair even more.
But the Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo sets a new standard for nourishing scalp care. Aveeno is popular for its natural, gentle solutions for skin and hair care, and their oat milk shampoo is another hit.
The ingredients read a little bit like a Starbucks menu: oat milk and almond milk are the heavy hitters in this shampoo, along with colloidal oatmeal, which is a popular ingredient for wound healing and infection care.
These ingredients together are a powerhouse for healing inflamed scalps and kicking dryness and irritation to the curb. And of course, this is a paraben-free shampoo also free of sulfates and dyes.
#3. Monday Moisture Shampoo: Best Budget Deal
- MOISTURE SHAMPOO: This best-selling formula helps to hydrate and add moisture to dry, coarse and stressed hair and coily and...
- SALON-QUALITY: Our modern formulas are dermatologically tested, PH-balanced, and free from SLS, parabens and phthalates. We...
- AWARD-WINNING: Our range of Shampoo and Conditioner has 11 major beauty awards and counting, including a Cosmopolitan 2021...
Sometimes when you go looking for a good-quality, clean-formula shampoo, you can end up down the rabbit hole of expensive solutions that don’t fit your budget and certainly aren’t feasible to keep up with in the long run.
However, there are some great drugstore and budget options available, including Monday Moisture Shampoo. This New Zealand brand made a recent debut at Target after being in high demand online. Not only are the bottles so aesthetically pleasing, but they’re also recyclable.
The brand’s motto is to make luxury inclusive and green, and this product ticks all those boxes. Shea butter, coconut oil, and ginger root extract help hydrate, strengthen, and clarify your hair, while keeping your scalp clean and happy.
Sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free, this shampoo is a great way to invest in good, clean care for your hair on a budget while also feeling good about your impact—or lack thereof—on the environment.
#4. Pattern Hydration Curl Shampoo: Best for Dry Textured Hair
- Contains Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Coconut Oil & Honey for healthy & hydrated hair
- Cleanses your hair & scalp to remove build-up & dirt without stripping away moisture
- Moisturizing formula for curls, coils & tight textures
Depending on your hair type, it can be difficult to find a truly natural sulfate and paraben-free shampoo that delivers on true hydration while also cleansing adequately; products often lean too far to one side of that spectrum or the other.
But Pattern Hydration Curl Shampoo has found the perfect happy medium in this shampoo chock-full of natural, yummy ingredients that might tempt you to eat it instead of putting it in your hair! Founded by Tracee Ellis Ross, Pattern Beauty excels in clean products for curls and coils that take care of both your hair and your scalp.
This formula, with honey, aloe vera, coconut oil, and sandalwood, smells great and will leave you with sleek, smooth, shiny hair that makes you feel ready to take on the world. Black-owned, PETA certified, and free of harmful chemicals, this product is a safe bet for deep hydration.
#5. Earth Rhythm Milk Protein Shampoo Bar: Best for On-the-Go
- HIGHEST QUALITY AND NATURAL CARE: Our fresh milk shampoo bar contains mild ingredients that purify the skin without affecting...
- NATURAL BENEFITS: Milk protein contains restructuring and healing characteristics that Moisturize, Strengthen, Rejuvenate,...
- TRAVEL-FRIENDLY: These shampoo bars do not contain any chemicals or preservatives that can damage your hair while our...
While shampoo packaging typically uses tons of plastic, some brands have thought outside the box or bottle and come up with a more environmentally conscious way: shampoo bars! These little compact lifesavers are not only great for the earth but perfect to take on the go.
And the Earth Rhythm Milk Protein Shampoo Bar is the perfect place to dip your toes into the world of shampoo bars. Many of the harsh chemicals in shampoo liquefy the formulas and ensure that they’ll suds up and foam when used.
But with shampoo bars, none of that is a concern, so there’s more room to pack your shampoo full of good, nourishing ingredients. The milk protein and vitamin E in this formula help restore dry hair and scalp while also giving shine and helping to stimulate healthy hair growth.
The shampoo bar comes in an earth-friendly case, and Earth Rhythm is certified organic, cruelty-free, plastic- and paraben- and sulfate-free, and vegan friendly.
#6. Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo: Best for Curls
- A gentle cleansing formula to bring out the best in all curl types
- Helps weightlessly strengthen and protect curls
- Features a blend of argan oil, Abyssinian oil, and vegetable proteins
Nothing can wreck a head full of gorgeous curls like products and styling practices that dry out and damage hair. When hair is broken and brittle, keeping healthy curls is next to impossible. So nourishing your curly hair correctly is the key to keeping your bounce and shine.
Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo is a great formula to try for curly girls. Moroccanoil is known for its mission to keep hair protected using its namesake powerhouse ingredient that is also great for curly hair, all without sulfates, parabens, and phosphates.
And this curly-hair-specific shampoo formula is engineered with that goal in mind. Moroccan argan oil, vegetable proteins, and Abyssinian oil help to hydrate and nourish curls while protecting them from heat damage.
If you’ve ever smelled any of this brand’s products, then you know the smell alone—a sultry, ambery floral—is enough to make you want to take this one for a test drive. Your curls will thank you!
#7. Living Proof Color Care Shampoo: Best for Bleached Hair
- Gently cleanses hair
- UV protection
- Reduces damage from wet combing with enhanced slip
Another type of hair overly susceptible to extensive drying, bleached hair needs regular hydration infusion and protection. Color-treated hair has already suffered from chemical damage and needs a hero product to not only nourish it but help sustain its color.
Living Proof Color Care Shampoo covers all your bases for color-treated hair. This brand has a cult following for a good reason. The minimalist bottles are a good preview for the products inside: clean formulas with no secrets that are hydration workhorses.
This formula, gluten-free, harmful chemical-free, cruelty-free, and vegan, has none of the bad stuff but delivers for color-treated hair in protection from UV rays, banishing brass, and restoring the integrity of hair for all colors.
If your hair has started feeling like straw from coloring treatments, try out this color-friendly shampoo that’s sure to add shine and softness back into the equation.
#8. FEKKAI Full Blown Volume Shampoo: Best for Fine Hair
- WEIGHTLESS AMPLIFIER - Volumizing sulfate-free shampoo that gently cleanses and plumps up flat, fine tresses. It delivers 2x...
- PLANT POWERED - Phytessence protects the hair from 78% of free radical damage & Green Coconut Water plumps up fine strands....
- PROTECT YOUR STRANDS - Our proprietary Environmental Protection Complex features Pro-Vitamin B5 for heat protection,...
In a world full of super-hydrating products, it can be easy for thin hair to get weighed down and look lifeless. What’s a fine-haired girl to do?
This clean formula, FEKKAI Full Blown Volume Shampoo, is the perfect solution. It delivers hydration, detangling power, and lift without the added weight. In recycled plastic bottles, this shampoo also helps protect color-treated hair and cut back on build-up: it’s the complete package!
Fekkai commits itself to clean practices, and this shampoo has a more gentle lather, a sign that it is paraben-free and sulfate-free as well as cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable. So if you’re looking to minimize your footprint without compromising in volume, then this formula is your ticket.
Benefits of using sulfate and paraben-free shampoos
- Retain moisture and repair hair: Sulfate-free shampoos contain nourishing ingredients like argan oil, keratin, and fatty acids, transforming dull hair into dazzling locks.
- Get smoother hair: Botanical extracts and multivitamins in sulfate-free shampoos smooth hair, resulting in a bouncier, healthier-looking mane.
- Hydrate hair daily: Sulfate-free shampoos cleanse and moisturize with 100% natural oils, providing hydration and nourishment.
- Gentle on hair: Sulfate-free shampoos with moisturizing agents make hair shinier and healthier.
- Work on fine hair: Sulfate-free shampoos formulated for fine hair leave tresses clean, bouncy, and full of life.
- Add moisture and control frizz: Sulfate-free shampoos restore hydration, making hair healthier and shinier, while controlling frizz.
- Preserve hair color: Sulfate-free shampoos with plant-infused formulas protect hair color and maintain vibrancy.
- Nourish hair with shampoo and conditioner: Sulfate-free products containing coconut milk and oils moisturize and strengthen hair, leaving it healthier and shinier.
- Maintain and strengthen hair: Deep moisturizing sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners help repair damaged hair.
- Repair damage and rehydrate hair: Sulfate-free shampoos restore hydration and repair damaged hair.
Good hair care starts from the ground up, and a good, clean shampoo formula is the best defense your hair has from dryness and damage.
Selecting a sulfate and paraben-free shampoo is the best way to start a more sustainable and healthy haircare routine that restores your hair from the inside out and lets your own natural radiance shine through.
Take one of these paraben-free shampoos and sulfate-free shampoos for a test run to see how switching over to a clean formula can completely transform your hair for the better!