Good hair days rely on several factors, including weather, heat and humidity, genetics, and a great haircut. Not all of these variables are easy to control, but one thing that people can take ownership over is using the right products for their hair. That’s why if you have dyed, dry or coarse hair, using a sulfate-free conditioner will help you have more good hair days and less must-wear-a-hat days.
Sulfate is used in several grooming products, including body washes, shampoos and conditioners. Sulfate helps to remove dirt and grease, but this means it can also strip hair of its natural oils. That’s not good news for people who have coarse or dry hair or anyone who has dyed their hair, as sulfates can cause hair to appear brittle and broken and remove the color from the hair at a faster rate. Because sulfate is drying, it can also have a negative effect on users with sensitive skin or dry scalps and create flakiness and itchiness.
Sulfate-free conditioners tend to be more expensive than hair conditioners that contain sulfates, but the good news is that users typically require a smaller amount of product, which helps the bottle of conditioner last longer. If you’re ready to make the switch to sulfate-free conditioner, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks.
1. L’Oreal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Sulfate Free Conditioner
Color-treated and dry hair will get the hydration it needs using the L’Oreal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Sulfate-Free Conditioner. Using apricot oil, the Paris EverCreme hydrates and nourishes hair that is broken and brittle from frequent coloring or the use of heat products. Made without sulfates and also free from parabens and harsh salts, Paris EverCreme is gentle and adds shine without weighing hair down. L’Oreal makes its sulfate-free conditioner in a variety of styles, including specific combinations for volume, color-treated hair, frizzy hair and blonde hair. The company also offers a matching sulfate-free shampoo.
Pros: Nourishes dry and damaged hair, safe for color-treated hair, available in a variety of specific formulations.
Cons: The Paris EverCreme has a strong scent.
2. Botanic Hearth Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Add volume and moisture back to your hair with the Botanic Hearth Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set. Using ingredients like argan oil, keratin and shea butter, hair will be infused with moisture and appear more voluminous. Botanic Hearth also includes biotin, which helps to ward off the thinning of hair and will make hair feel thicker. Even though sulfates are not used for either the shampoo or conditioner in this set, hair will still be left looking and feeling clean thanks to the antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamin E that is found in argan oil.
Pros: Includes biotin as a thickening agent, leaves hair feeling clean thanks to argan oil, comes with both shampoo and conditioner.
Cons: The pump on both bottles can be difficult to use.
3. Free & Clear Hair Conditioner
For people with sensitive skin, conditioners with dyes and fragrances can wreak havoc on their hair and scalp. Give your skin a break with the Free & Clear Hair Conditioner, which is free from common allergens like dyes, fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde and preservatives. The dermatologist-tested Free & Clear is also made without sulfate, making it gentle for users with dry and brittle hair. We also like that it does not contain lanolin or oils, which can weigh hair down and make it appear greasy. Free & Clear is pH balanced and safe for all hair types.
Pros: Designed for sensitive skin, won’t leave hair looking greasy, safe for all hair types.
Cons: Hair does not feel as soft and silky as it would with other sulfate-free conditioners.
4. OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner
For users with oily hair who want to go sulfate-free, we recommend the OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner. Made with a blend of coconut milk, coconut oil and ultra whipped egg white proteins, OGX improves strength and elasticity in hair while also adding in moisture that is lost throughout the day. Unlike most sulfate-free conditioners, OGX has a rich lather that users will enjoy. In addition to being free from sulfates, the conditioner is also made without parabens. A great detangler, this conditioner adds moisture and leaves an inviting scent on hair.
Pros: Good for oily hair, improves strength, works well for detangling.
Cons: OGX contains coconut oil, which can be harsh on sensitive skin.