The 10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos And Conditioners For Curly Hair, And Why You Should Be Using Them

If you were to make a list of the pros of using shampoos and conditioners that contain sulfates, it would only consist of one item: they produce a satisfying lather. But, according to Hair Professional Elvin Arvelo, owner of Oon Arvelo Salon in New York City, curly hair types would be better off avoiding them entirely. The best sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners for curly hair will still lather well and they won't strip your hair of essential oils, moisture, and the expensive dye or highlights you worked so hard to perfect.

While hair products that contain sulfates aren't going to do you any favors if you have dry, damaged hair, even people with a healthy head of curls have good reason to avoid them. "Curly hair tends to be on the drier side so it takes longer for natural oils to reach the ends. Using sulfate shampoos will have the results of taking too much oil out of curly hair," Arvelo says. "The sulfates in shampoos can dry curly hair, making the cuticle layer stand up, causing hair to become more frizzy, dry looking, and damaged looking on the ends"

When you use products without sulfates, Arvelo believes that over time your curls will be softer, bouncier, shinier and more manageable. And, if you're worried about sulfate free shampoos lacking the bubbles you've become accustomed to, he noted that this "is no longer the case."

These 10 highly rated sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners work wonders on curly hair, and can help prevent your hair from drying out and frizzing up every time you shower.

1. An All-Natural Duo With Argan Oil

Infused with aloe vera, rosemary, and nourishing argan oil, Art Naturals Organic Moroccan shampoo and conditioner moisturizes and repairs stressed-out damaged curls, restores natural volume, strengthens hair, and smooths frizz. Curly-haired users say it leaves their hair softer and free of tangles — and can even help hair grow.

2. A Shampoo With 48-Hour Frizz Control

Frizz can be hard to deal with, but L'Oreal Paris EverCurl tackles that issue with a sulfate-free shampoo that promises to deliver 48-hour frizz control. Reviewers say this shampoo, enhanced with botanicals, leaves hair soft and manageable with perky curls. It may take a few days of use to notice a difference, but users say to keep with it.

3. A Shea Butter Treatment For Curls

Deep clean curls and nourish and repair them with the shea butter, peppermint, apple cider vinegar, and keratin that you'll find in Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. This set is perfect for permed, color-treated, or heat-treated hair and removed product build-up without stripping your curls of hydration.

4. A Vanilla-Scented Conditioner With 18 Silk Amino Acids

Thanks to 18 different silk amino acids, Maple Holistics Silk 18 Conditioner will make curly hair feel smooth, help rid it of static and frizz, and won't sully it with artificial fragrances, coloring, sulfates, and chemicals. That amazing vanilla scent you detect? Totally natural.

5. An Avocado-Based Shampoo For Super Curly Hair

This sulfate-free shampoo is lauded as ultra-creamy and moisturizing thanks to a formula rich in nourishing avocado oil. One reviewer says this shampoo, which is safe for color-treated hair and suitable for vegans/vegetarians, never flattens her curly hair, but "keeps it in its natural awesomeness, curly and shiny."

6. A Shampoo & Conditioner Set For Longer, Healthier Hair

If you're concerned about thinning hair or have noticed your curls are so damaged that breakage is an issue, DermaChange Organic Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner set addresses this problem with natural botanicals like aloe vera, coconut extract, vitamin B5, Australian Cehami, amino acids, and orange peel — all of which combine to help create stronger, healthier strands and a hydrated, PH-balanced scalp. Reviewers say it works wonders in helping hair shedding and breakage.

7. A Sulfate-Free Take On A Classic Drugstore Favorite

Drugstore favorite Herbal Essences recently came out with this sulfate-free take on their classic shampoos and conditioners. This set uses honey and vitamin B to restore moisture — always essential for curly hair — and it also smells delicious. But you can also choose from activated charcoal (to detox), coconut milk (to hydrate), and micellar water (to refresh).

8. A Fruity, Thirst-Quenching Shampoo Made Specifically For Curly Hair

Made from a beloved Brooklyn-based brand, this yummy smelling shampoo was formulated with dry, curly hair in mind. It contains a blend of coconut oil, coconut milk, and mango butter to deeply nourish and soften all types of curls, but uses no harsh ingredients, like parabens and sulfates. Reviewers say it leaves their coils "defined and shiny."

9. A Moisture-Boosting Shampoo With Argan Oil

Made with extra moisture, which is ideal for curls, #NoFilter shampoo cleans without harmful ingredients and softens and nourishes with Moroccan argan oil. It also contains protective ingredients to guard your hair against UV-, heat-, and processing-damage. One reviewer wrote, "My 4C hair was super soft and manageable after using this."

10. A Scent-Free Conditioner That Won't Flatten Curls

Allurials unscented conditioner is perfect for anyone with fragrance sensitivities who still wants to benefit from the hydrating properties of natural oils like jojoba, argan, flaxseed, and avocado and omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids to rebuild weakened hair. Reviewers say this has a creamy texture, will not irritate your scalp, and smooths frizzy curls without sacrificing volume.

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