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Sulphate: The Silent Curl Killer

Sulphate: The Silent Curl Killer

By Natasha Dunn


As a curly haired girl I’ve always found the haircare market somewhat chaotic. There’s a bombardment of information left, right and centre. So many mousses, masks, shampoos, conditioners and it goes on and on. But to my dismay there is one thing no one told me, well not until recent years, and that is the destructive nature that sodium lauryl sulphate poses for curly hair, which is a concern due to it being a top ingredient in most shampoos. So I’m taking a long overdue journey to discover more about this ingredient, it’s potentially harmful nature and to hopefully uncover some haircare alternatives!


What is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate?

Sulphate free hair care guide

According to Holland & Barratt, SLS is a chemical surfactant used primarily in cosmetics. It’s the ingredient that transforms liquid into foam and creates that lather that’s so useful in products like soap, shampoo and toothpaste. On a sidenote it’s additionally added to cleaning products and can be obtained from petroleum!


Why is it so Bad for Curly Hair?

Sulphate free hair care products

In short SLS is too jarring for curls and this becomes far easier to comprehend after learning that it also plays a role in industrial cleaning products! Curly hair is naturally drier, and the cleansing effect that this sulphate has dry’s the hair out even more, giving way to frizz. Sodium lauryl sulphate strips curls of any dirt, but the natural oils as well, leaving you with a mane of hair which is coarse and dry.


But it’s not all doom and gloom, although sodium lauryl sulphate is a big NO for those blessed with a head of curls, Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a thumbs up and provides a gentler alternative as advised by Curlshoppe.

Best shampoo for curly hair

Sulphate-Free Hair Products and Shampoo’s to add to your Shopping List

If SLS is doing more damage than good, what then are the options for all the curly haired individuals out there? In reality there are a lot of options and I’m going to tackle the main culprit for the containment of sulphate: shampoo. Read on for my top picks on SLS free cleansing products!


rb organicsComing in at number one is RB ORGANICS. This  ELIXIR D'ARGAN 100% Pure + Organic Moroccan Argan oil is a head-to-toe treatment. Rich source of all essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6, 9) is a powerful blend of antioxidants such as Vitamin E, CoQ10, melatonin, and polyphenols. This unique composition provides hydration and repairs damaged hair.  This oil can and will transform your hair from dull and thin to glossy, thick, and FABULOUS



Mekabu Masami Chemical free shampoo
Masami is another go to. Their enriching Mekabu Hydrating Shampoo, uses the power of Japanese Algae and sea botanicals to lock in hydration and cleanse the hair without the harmful chemicals. Your curls will be safe in their hands, even when dyed!



quinoa vegan shampoo


Their Quinoa Shampoo and Conditioner are sulfates and parabens free, gluten free and vegan!
Another UK go to brand is Dragons Den winner Nereus London.
nereus london


Rahua chemical free shampoo



Moving on from London....



For bouncy luxurious locks Rahua’s Classic Shampoo should be top of the list. 100% natural and vegan, this shampoo truly looks the part. With restorative Amazonian ingredients, this non-SLS product is particularly useful if you’ve used any colour treatment on your curls.


All I can say is that anti-SLS must be good if the mainstream brands are jumping on the bandwagon. So now for a name you’ll all know, L’Oréal.

Source natural chemical free shampoo


Their Source range aims for eco-friendly haircare and is inclusive of their Nourishing Shampoo, which is ideal for those who suffer with the dreaded dry frizz!




Haircare is important and finding the right products are vital, especially if you don't naturally curly tresses. So when next in the market for a new shampoo, treat your hair and opt for a cleanser which is sulphate free. You might not get the lather, but the positives truly out-weigh that minor negative.