5 Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Natural Hair

Don't be fooled! You don't have to sacrifice soft, hydrated kinks and coils, for cleanliness.

Many naturals and curly girls hate clarifying because it causes so much drama.

You wreck your hair and strip it of natural oils, softness, and hydration for the sake of a clean slate. Even after intense deep conditioning, your hair doesn't start "acting right" for another two weeks, and by that time, you're able to get another good week and a half out of your hair before it's time to clarify all over again.

Break the cycle

These shampoos offer you the chance to deeply clean with out stripping, and to clarify without causing drama. Get clean, healthy, shiny, soft, and moisturized hair with these cleaning powerhouses that don't contain harsh sulfates like SLS:

Read On!>>>

True or False: Sulfates are the Devil

One of the cornerstones of the Curly Girl Method is avoiding shampoos and cleansers that contain sulfates. As a result of the rise in popularity of embracing naturally curly hair, many product manufacturers have responded with shampoos, cowashes, and other cleansers that are labeled as "sulfate free" to meet textured hair demands.

But in truth, many products labeled "sulfate-free" contain sulfates still -- just not SLS or ALS, which are the two harshest. There are more gentle sulfates that have been developed, and some SLS containing shampoos even have other ingredients that soften the blow of the sulfates.


Most curlies have a love-hate relationship with shampoo so many are leery of even considering the notion of using a clarifying shampoo despite its wonderful uses. Clarifying shampoos work harder than regular shampoos and are necessary when you have severe build-up of products, dirt, pollutants, or minerals from hard water. They are necessary even if not for regular clarifying and sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

What's Up with Plant Extracts in Natural Hair Shampoo?

via The Beauty Brains-

Q: Since water is usually the first ingredient of any shampoo… then all these extracts are basically taking the place of plain old water. What would make this formulation different is the concentration of the extracts in the purified water, no?- Liz 

The Beauty Brains respond:

Think of it like this, Liz:

Let’s say my shampoo is made of mostly water (about 90%) and the rest (10%) is detergent, preservative, thickener, color, etc. So my ingredient list would read something like…

“Water, detergent, preservative, thickener, color, etc.”

Now, let’s say I want to make this formula look more natural by adding a bunch of plant extracts. I ask my supplier for a cocktail of 10 or 12 different botanicals which are supplied at low concentrations in water (sometimes alcohol, glycerin, or polyethylene glycol is used as a diluent along with the water.) So I’m still adding almost 90% water but now that water contains a few percent of botanical extracts. Since these extracts (along with the water in which they are diluted) make up the majority of the formula, I could create an ingredient list that looks something like this…

Read On!>>>

How to Cleanse Your Scalp the Right Way- Natural Hair Care!

There are two camps of cleansers in the curly world: those who shampoo and those who cowash (washing hair with a conditioner).

No matter your method, it is extremely important to cleanse the scalp properly because over time, hair follicles acquire dirt caused by climatic debris and hair product build-up.

Neglecting to properly cleanse hair follicles can result in hair loss, redness, dryness, and an itching scalp.

Here are a few frequently asked questions - and their answers - for co-washers and shampoo-ers, and a few of our favorite cleansing products!

Read On!>>>

Homemade Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Your Natural Hair!

How to Make Shampoo Without Sulfates

Concerns about chemicals and their negative long-term effects on the human body have led some people to question the safety of their cosmetics and beauty products. Primary Information Services reports that sodium sulfate, an ingredient found in beauty products, is a derivative of sulfuric acid. Preparing your own beauty products, including your own shampoos, will help reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals such as sodium sulfate.

Read On!>>>

The Condition-Wash-Condition Method


by Samantha Berley via NaturallyCurly.com

There are many ways to wash and condition your hair, but one method has recently gotten the curly hair community buzzing: the condition-wash-condition method.

This method is gaining popularity, putting it neck and neck with co-washing, and many are wondering what it is exactly. There’s no right way to do it, only a right way for each person. Like everything in your curly hair routine, follow the steps below and then tweak the method until you get the best for you and your curls.

For the curlies or the dry hair sufferers out there, the condition-wash-condition method is the perfect option to give hair a break. Many complained of co-washing because too much conditioner and not enough washing can cause dandruff, scalp itch, irritation and even breakouts.

If you’re one of those people who isn’t sure, or has already tried it, you might have not found the right way for you. Some people in hair forums discussed how they tried it months before and had not seen the difference. Those people tried it again, and found an amazing transformation. Products, duration of each step, and times per week all have to be considered in order to accommodate each individual.

Getting to It

Before beginning with the basic how-to, keep a couple things in mind. The first thing is that there is almost no way to mess this up. Rest assured that if it doesn’t work for you, you can simply change it up a bit to meet your needs. It’s the beauty of the system!

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly. This will help absorb the moisture and nutrients of the conditioner.
  2. Apply conditioner all over. Remember to avoid your scalp unless it’s dry.
  3. Work shampoo through the entire scalp. In the condition-wash-condition method, the conditioner should still remain on the rest of the hair.
  4. Rinse out both the conditioner and shampoo at the same time, riding them completely from your hair.
  5. Condition your hair once again, this time working from root to tip. You can use the same conditioner you used previously or use another conditioner of your choice.
  6. Rinse again while taking care not to scrub or strain the hair.
Variations Abound

Overall, the condition-wash-condition method is straight forward, but your options for how you approach it are all your own. Beginning with the first couple of steps, some people prefer to apply their conditioner and leave it in their hair from 5 to 20 minutes. For this reason, a deep conditioner can be used instead in either of the conditioning steps. In fact, many curlies prefer to use a deep conditioner in the second conditioning.

Final Thoughts

Which shampoo and conditioner you use are super important to this process. Use a shampoo you trust or, while following the condition-wash-condition method, replace your shampoo or wash with a more diluted version.

Also, many CurlTalkers mentioned adding additional steps to the process, like a leave-in conditioner at the end, or continuing other weekly regiments alongside the method, like hot oil treatments.

Ever heard of this method? Are you doing it and didn't know it had a name?

Will you try it?

True Moisturizing Shampoo- An Urban Legend?

by KurlyBella of KisforKinky.com

The other day I was chopping it up with a friend about shampoos. To be specific – moisturizing shampoos, the big foot in hair cleansing. As I always do, because it’s true, I lamented about how much I hate washing my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I want and like clean hair, but having to wash my hair is a chore because my tinky (tiny + kinky) coils easily catch on each other and shampoo just adds to that madness. I must always wash my hair in sections but no matter the poo I use – SLS free or even one with a recent “non-drying” voodoo spell on it, it never fails, during the washing process my hair feels way too dry so i have to hurry to get to the conditioning part. *sigh*

I’m starting to think that truly moisturizing shampoos are an urban legend. Something like big foot or the Lochness monster – some claim to have used them but many others are skeptics. And if it does exist, why are there not tons of naturals screaming from the roof tops about these shampoos that make it able to skip conditioner? And speaking of skipping conditioner, your folks over at lush claims that is what you can do with their Curly Wurly Shampoo.

Preservative free, this shampoo actually comes with an expiration date much sooner than traditional shampoos because it’s packed full of nutritious creamed coconut and coconut oil, moisturizing vanilla, softening eggs and avocado. I have to give it to them, the description sounds impressive – but so does a no good man on paper. Even still, I so want to be hyped up just from hearing what’s inside, you know, jumping up and down, whipping out the credit card and buying this “Curly Wurly” but I’ve been disappointed so many times before that I just know deep down in my shampoo weary heart that it’s probably just too good to be true.

Okay, so many naturals swear by the old cream of nature formula that you can only get now on amazon or ebay because the last of the bottles are being sold, and many have even said that aubrey organics shampoo is moisturizing. I must have had ten off wash days because each time I used honey suckle rose shampoo, I could hear train tracks coming to a screeching halt. So where are all of these so-called moisturizing shampoos that naturals are using with success? Why am I missing out on all the goodness? I’m no fool, just because the bottle says moisturizing does not make it so, I need to hear the proof and see the pudding.

Maybe my hair is just what it is – it loves conditioner and hates shampoo. And maybe, just maybe I’m wasting my time searching for something that’s going to leave these kinks non-stripped before my conditioner application and make my wash sessions much more of a breeze, but I have to keep looking. I want to see this big foot in hair – that urban legend bottle of moisturizing shampoo. I want to be able to say it’s true, there is such a thing as moisturizing shampoo. To be convinced that it exists, you know, just like crop circles and perky natural boobs after 45.

What’s your favorite shampoo brand? Have you found that bottle of shampoo that leaves your hair so soft and so clean that you can skip conditioner? or are you still on the search for said mystical, miracle shampoo?

CN Says:
For me, the only poo that comes close is KeraCare's Cleansing Cream. I always follow up with conditioner, but that's just for good measure. I can even use this shampoo post henna and not worry about contributing to the haystack feel. It's good stuff and I highly recommend it. Hubby likes it too.
I also like CURLS' Curlicious Cleansing Cream

Stopping Hair Breakage & Proper Cleansing- Q&A

Hair Liberty's Nicole Hollis, our Resident Curl Chemist, is back from hiatus answering your most urgent hair questions. Got one for her? Email me at nikk[email protected] using "Hair Liberty" in the subject line and she may answer your question right here on the blog.

What’s the best way to cleanse my hair? Is the shampoo free method or Low-Poo method better than regular shampoo?
The point of shampoo is to clean your hair and scalp. Everyone needs a regular shampoo! Think of washing your hair like washing your face. Shampoo free and Co-washing are like the Oil cleansing method, Low-Poo is like using Cetaphil or some other lotion-like cleanser, and regular shampoo is every other face wash on the market. If you have acne prone skin, or you wear a lot of makeup, or you sweat a lot during the day, you choose a face wash with those things in mind…same thing with shampoo. We all know the kinks in our hair prevent the natural oils from traveling down the hair shaft. But, think about that. That means the oil is left sitting on the scalp, mixing with sweat, and dirt from the environment. The excess oil needs to be cleansed away regularly for your scalp to stay healthy. Plus, leaving product residue on your hair will cause tangles and breakage. You have to cleanse thoroughly, but gently, and there are plenty of shampoos that can do that. Some of the shampoos that earned the Hair Liberty “Highly Recommended” status are Jane Carter Solutions Moisture Nourishing Shampoo, Kinky Curly Come Clean, and Motions Weightless Conditioning Shampoo.

I'm finding little pieces of my hair on the sink. Please help me keep my hair from breaking off!
Many people try to stop breakage with extra moisturizers and/or protein, but you really have to pay attention to every step of your hair care routine. You have to use a gentle shampoo and a conditioner that contains hydrolyzed protein and good detangling ingredients. It’s equally important to only comb damp or conditioner-saturated hair. The more kinky the hair, the more it will break when it’s combed and it should never be brushed. Brushing isn’t for hair health, it‘s just for styling. 50 strokes a day to help hair growth is a myth and even then it was never meant for kinky hair.

If you’re not sure why your hair is breaking, it’s best to get a trim. Everyone hates to lose hair, but even if you turn your whole routine around you won’t be able to drastically improve breaking ends. It’s better to “start fresh” and maintain your ends from there. If they start to get thin and tangled again soon after the trim, you’ll know you’re still doing something unhealthy. You want to be able to go at least 8 weeks before your ends start to feel like tangled threads. Remember, your hair is always being damaged. Your goal is to slow down the damage cycle so you can enjoy each inch of hair for as long as possible before it needs to be cut off.

It can take a while to find a routine that reduces breakage, but once you have the right products and are doing the right things, don’t stop! Don’t look for cheaper substitutes for your holy grail products and don’t start heat styling or combing more because you think your hair is stronger. Kinky hair will always be fragile and it will always need the best care you can give it.

Hair Liberty (def): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself. For more info, visit www.hairliberty.org

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Alicia Ward of Naturallycurly writes;

It seems simple, right? Take a shower and wash your hair daily. Wrong! Washing your hair may seem like a simple task, but you would be surprised how many curlies are doing it wrong. Washing your hair incorrectly can lead to scalp irritation, dandruff, lice and other scalp issues. Certain hair types and textures only require washing once a week, where others work well washing 2 to 3 times a week. Learn how to wash your hair correctly and give your hair a clean and beautiful look. How often should you wash your hair?

Many curly girls don’t know how often they should be washing their hair. We’ve done the research and explain to you how often you should wash your curls.

Natural Hair Tip of the Week

ReignElle's Tip Of The Week

*Dilute your shampoo.*

Put about 4 tablespoons of shampoo into an applicator bottle (large) and fill it up with warm water and shake.

Buy an applicator bottle from the beauty supply store/ Drug Store etc. (I purchased one for $0.99)

  • You get more bang for your buck.
  • Loosens the shampoo; helps spread product throughout your hair faster and easier
  • Allows you to target your scalp
  • Less concentrated; less of your natural oils being stripped out of your hair (LESS DRYING)
ReignElle's Tip Of The Day : Made your shampoo too watery? Add a pinch of salt and watch your shampoo thicken!

Do you dilute your shampoo?

CN Says:
I used to do this all the time and will certainly revisit.  

Looking for a Clarifying Shampoo

CURLS Curlicious Cleansing Cream

Hola Chicas,

So, I owe you a slew of product reviews... I'll start with one of my new favorite shampoos.

CURLS Cleansing Cream- 8oz/$15

Product Description:
This creamy, sulfate-free cleanser is gentle enough to use daily and is super moisturizing. Great cleanser for chemically altered and color-treated hair.

Gentle enough to use daily and moisturizing enough to use alone!

Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream cleanser gently cleanses your curls and hydrates and conditions the hair all in one step. Infused with carrot seed oil, horse chestnut, sage leaf and Arnica montana flower extract.

Water, Sodium Cocyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Steric Acid, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-7, Fragrance, Silk Amino Acids, Panthenol, Certified Organic Daucus Carota Sativa (carrot) seed oil, Certified Organic Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Certified Organic Aesculus Hipocastanum (Horse Chestnut) extract, Certified Organic Salvia Officinalis (sage) leaf extract, , Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Caramel.

My Experience: I've tried many 'cleansing' creams and to say that I've been less than impressed is an understatement. They usually go on rough, suds too much or too little and sadly, I find that many leave me feeling gunky and oily or just the opposite, totally stripped. This was the first cleansing cream that actually did what the product label claims. First of all, it's slippery (yeah for
Behentrimonium Methosulfate) and any shampoo that helps to kick off the detangling process is a winner in my book. It removed build-up from my gel with a low-lather and upon rinsing, left my hair feeling clean, soft, moisturized and a bit detangled! I highly recommend this one. The price? A little steep for my taste, but the quality is obviously there. I received the poo from NaturallyCurly.com. While I'm absolutely over the moon, I can't tell you that I'd purchase it. I'd love to find an equivalent product on the ground... and for much cheaper, lol. I wonder if the Curls for Target Curls Creamy Cleansing Cream performs similarly?

Bottom Line:
If you're in the market for an effective yet gentle cleanser that adds moisture and aids in detangling, then this one's for you! Oh, and the vanilla fragrance is divine. Two thumbs up!

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