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.
1An 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.
2A 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.
3A 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.
4A 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.
5An 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."
6A 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.
7A Curl-Defining Shampoo & Conditioner With Jojoba Oil
The name kind of says it all: Curly Sexy Hair is a sulfate, paraben, and gluten free system that gently removes dirt, oil, and residue from your scalp, but leaves moisture in tact. It contains jojoba oil, proteins, and panthenol to help keep frizz at bay and add bounce to curls and waves.
8A Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner For Glossy Curls
This eco-friendly smoothing shampoo and conditioner, which contains no sulfates, parabens, or sodium chloride, thoroughly cleans hair and leaves it looking glossy, but never greasy. Users laud the clean smell, frizz-fighting formula, and its ability to give your curly hair a salon-worthy style.
9A Curl-Boosting Shampoo With Cucumber And Marigold
Made especially for curls, #Supernatural Shampoo cleans with cucumber and marigold and is infused with B5 to provide moisture and shine. This shampoo is totally shape on chemically treated hair, accentuates curls, and won't dry them out or weight them down.
10A 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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