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10 best sulphate-free shampoos for curly hair

10 best sulphate-free shampoos for curly hair
View Gigi Gordon's profile

Have you heard? Sulphate-free shampoos are all the craze. You may have wondered why people are rallying against this common ingredient, so let us explain…

Sulphates are bad for hair for a few reasons:

  1. They strip the hair of its natural moisture, leaving it dry and unhealthy
  2. They can cause irritation on sensitive scalps
  3. They create frizz

Commonly used in detergents, such as washing-up liquid and engine degreasers, these ingredients really aren’t delicate enough for our sensitive curls. Curly hair is more prone to dryness than other hair types, so we need to hold onto moisture like our hair depends on it.

Gone are the days when ingredients lists were filled with chemicals we could barely read, let alone pronounce. Now, we want to know why each ingredient is included in our beauty products and exactly what it does for our bodies. Although a few milder sulphates can be OK to use on hair, some of us prefer to avoid them altogether.

The biggest difference between sulphate and sulphate-free shampoo is lather. Sulphate free formulas won’t work into that rich foam, but don’t worry – they still cleanse the hair thoroughly. Switching to a lather-free shower may take some getting used to, but a softer and healthier crown is definitely worth it.

For those wanting to start a sulphate-free life, here are our top ten favourites:

Best sulphate-free shampoos:

1. Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser

  • Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser 300ml

    Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser 300ml

    3.6 Stars 5 Reviews
    £8.00

Specially designed for textured hair by a fellow curly girl, Bouclème has changed the natural hair game. The entire range is sulphate and silicone free, caring for your curls as nature intended. The Hydrating Hair Cleanser is designed for a deeper cleanse, ideal for those with oil-prone scalps. Uplifting dirt, impurities and build-up from the hair, the shampoo clears the way for your favourite conditioner.

2. Bouclème Curl Cleanser

  • Bouclème Curl Cleanser 300ml

    Bouclème Curl Cleanser 300ml

    3.9 Stars 10 Reviews
    £8.00

The Curl Cleanser is another excellent shampoo by Bouclème. This formula is gentle enough for daily use, cleansing curls without stripping away their natural moisture. Admired for its cleansing power, this product was named the “Best Shampoo for Curly Hair” in 2019 at the Marie Claire Beauty Awards.

3. Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo

  • Living Proof Curl Shampoo 340ml

    Living Proof Curl Shampoo 340ml

    £31.00

One for the wavy hair crew, the Living Proof Curl Shampoo cleanses and detangles to leave your curls more defined and bouncy. Fuelled by their exclusive Healthy Curl Complex, the formula encourages curl groupings and strengthens strands to leave hair looking healthier and feeling lighter after just one wash. What’s more, this shampoo remains sulphate free and is suitable for even colour treated hair.

4. Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

  • Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo 400ml

    Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo 400ml

    4.6 Stars 20 Reviews
    £6.99

Fuelled by an award-winning formula, the Cantu Shea Butter Cleansing Cream Shampoo provides a deep clean without stripping the hair. Enriched with pure Shea Butter, this hydrating shampoo removes build-up while hydrating your luscious locks.

5. Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo

  • Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo 250ml

    Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo 250ml

    5 Stars 1 Reviews
    £19.25

Treat your crown to the hair care mysteries of Moroccanoil. Infused with the label’s signature oil, the Curl Enhancing Shampoo strengthens, smooths and softens hair while detoxifying the scalp. Gentle enough for daily use, this naturally fuelled formula is free from sulphates, parabens and phosphates.

6. Redken Curvaceous High Foam Shampoo

  • Redken Curvaceous High Foam Shampoo 300ml

    Redken Curvaceous High Foam Shampoo 300ml

    3.67 Stars 27 Reviews
    £15.30

If you aren’t ready to give up the lather – the Redken Curvaceous High Foam Shampoois exactly what you’re looking for. Made specifically for curly hair, this hydrating formula refines curls, reducing frizziness by up to 97%.

7. Aveda Be Curly Shampoo

  • Aveda Be Curly Shampoo (250ml)

    Aveda Be Curly Shampoo (250ml)

    4.29 Stars 34 Reviews
    from
    £21.50

From the Be Curly range, the Aveda Be Curly Shampoo is specially designed for textured hair types. Gently but effectively, the shampoo cleanses, purifies and detoxifies the hair, uplifting any dirt for a squeaky clean finish. Infused with an uplifting citrus aroma, the shampoo will leave your curls looking luscious and smelling delicious.

8. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo

  • Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo 384ml

    Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo 384ml

    4.23 Stars 13 Reviews
    £12.99

For those who want minimal chemicals and maximum results, Shea Moisture's Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo harnesses the power of nature to cleanse your curls. Although the entire range is free from parabens, petroleum, phthalates and mineral oil, this formula is also sulphate-free. Enriched with the brand’s secret weapon (Shea Butter, of course), the shampoo eliminates impurities while moisturising your locks.

9. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo

  • Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo 250ml

    Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo 250ml

    4.45 Stars 11 Reviews
    £25.50

Enjoy a salon-grade experience from the comfort of your own home with the Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo. Free from any nasty sulphates, this formula is packed with featherlight oils that work to transform your texture. Also providing protection against environmental aggressors – this shampoo really does it all.

10. Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo for Waves

  • Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo for Waves 250ml

    Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo for Waves 250ml

    4.5 Stars 2 Reviews
    from
    £15.30

Another one for those with looser curls, the Wella Professionals Nutricurls Shampoo is specially designed for wavy hair. Packed with moisturising ingredients, this sulphate-free formula nourishes the crown. Achieve frizz-free, beachy waves with this hydrating shampoo.

If you're after more curly hair advice, check out the Afro and Textured Hair section here on LOOKFANTASTIC.

View Gigi Gordon's profile
As a haircare obsessive, I’m always on the lookout for new products and methods that will define my crown. I can never stick with a hairstyle for too long, and I love to pair minimal makeup with a bold lip. I specialise in haircare, with a mission to make all hair types and textures look and feel fantastic. If you’re after a new routine or product – I’m your girl, I’ve tried every haircare challenge and all the curl creams I can get my hands on. I couldn’t live without my wash-and-go routine, and I follow the Curly Girl Method religiously. Unable to find my perfect salon, I’ve always cut, braided and dyed my own hair, working as a freelance hairdresser since 2016. Although I’m a long-time fanatic, I’ve been writing about beauty since 2019, working with haircare specialists from Cantu, Boucleme and Mielle Organics to uncover the best tricks and tips. Felicia Leatherwood is my haircare guru, and Scary Spice is my all-time icon.
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