Sulfate-free and silicone-free shampoo is becoming more and more popular. A lot of brands, natural ones, and more conventional ones have sulfate & silicone-free lines, that are especially great for people with a sensitive scalp or damaged hair. Sulfate-free shampoo is usually considered a bit gentler to the hair and scalp in general. So you might want to try it out. The lack of silicone also keeps the hair natural and allows ingredients to really nourish the inside of your hair.
Of course, there are many sulfate free shampoos on amazon available. But in my experience, the search for a particular shampoo (sulfate free, silicone free & overall minimal harsh chemistry) can be pretty tricky. Some shampoos might be sulfate-free, but contain silicone. And vice versa. Especially in the store, it might be very time consuming to look at the backside of every bottle and try to find out which ones are free of these ingredients.
To save you some time, I collected some well-known shampoo lines and brands, that are sulfate & silicone-free. Some might be very natural, others more conventional – but they all claim to be 100% free of said chemicals. Please note, that this selection is only a snapshot in time and does, of course, not represent the whole market. I bet, that there a lot of great brands worldwide, that make wonderful shampoo.
List of sulfate free & silicone free shampoo
The shampoos listed below are all sulfate free and silicone free (as described by the producer). By the way, many also don’t contain other questionable ingredients such as parabens, PEG, alcohol, synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives. Some of them are certified natural cosmetics, others are not.
A few brand highlights in a nutshell
- Certified natural cosmetics (BDIH certified): Sulfate-free shampoo, silicone-free, PEG-free, vegan
- Very natural ingredients. Cleanses particularly mild and gentle.
- With organic jojoba oil and extracts of organic oats and organic sage
- Strengthens the hair. The hair feels grippy and voluminous. No silky hair, but real structure and firm hair feeling. Perfect for those who want more structure.
- Shop online on Amazon
- Sulfate-free shampoo – but not exactly natural cosmetics. But perfect for those who are looking for a mild conventional shampoo
- Hair is silky and easy to comb through with a pleasant, fresh scent
- Mild surfactants: for example Coco-Glucoside. But foams very intensely – similar to a conventional shampoo
- It also contains many good oils: argan oil, peach kernel oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, camellia oil, avocado oil.
- Shop on Amazon
- Certified natural cosmetics (BDIH certified): Sulfate-free, paraben-free, silicon free, alcohol-free (!), PEG free + no synthetic colors and fragrances
- Great ayurvedic shampoo with exotic ingredients like Amla, Bhringaraj, Brahmi and more
- Very low pH - a low pH makes the hair shine
- Great synergy with the khadi amla hair oil for faster hair growth. Check out my experience with the khadi amla hair oil here
- Very different hair feeling & smell. Rather stiff hair when washing - but as soon as the hair is dry, it falls beautifully, is voluminous, powerful + shiny
- Here is my detailed review of the Khadi Amla shampoo
- Shop on Amazon
- Sulfate-free shampoo, silicone-free, PEG-free, paraben-free
- Especially suitable for curly and frizzy hair - makes shiny, beautiful curls!
- With shea butter and coconut oil
- Wonderfully sweet scent! Really very intense and striking - like conventional shampoo
- Cleans very gently. Especially suitable for a quick wash in between.
- Shop on Amazon
Why use a sulfate-free, silicone-free shampoo?
First of all: Sulfate and silicone are overall save and legal ingredients in shampoo. It really just depends on your personal preferences and the results you want to have.
Sulfates are chemical ingredients that have a strong cleaning effect. So they are great if you need to wash your hair very thoroughly. They belong to the group of surfactants and are used in shampoos, shower gels and other cleaners (also household cleaners and more). Unfortunately, sulfate is a particularly aggressive surfactant that is not very gentle on hair and skin. That's why the overuse of sulfate can irritate the skin and potentially damage the hair. A sulfate-free shampoo does not use strong surfactants (like sulfates) and instead cleans with milder versions of the same group. A lot of people feel that switching to a sulfate-free shampoo, makes the hair fuller and stronger in general.
Silicone in shampoo coats every single hair with a layer of silicone-plastic. This ingredient makes your hair shine and offers great heat protection. Unfortunately, silicones prevent water and moisture from getting into the hair - which in the long run - causes the hair to dry out. When switching to a natural shampoo without silicone, your natural curls could get prettier, you could get more volume and full hair. Switching to a silicone-free shampoo, however, can be pretty challenging. Since the hair is no longer covered with silicone, you are going to see what's underneath. However, after a certain period of time (it took me about a month) your hair should get much better and feel great.
I personally love silicone free shampoo, because I enjoy using natural products on the scalp (which can be quite sensitive). But when it comes to heat protection, silicones can be very important. Sulfate, on the other hand, is in A LOT of shampoos. So I use both, shampoo with and without sulfate - depending on what effect I want.