My Top 5 Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Thinning Hair

Sulphates are not your mates!

Can a shampoo help my hair grow?

Two words? Probably not. 

Sorry to dash your hopes, but take it from a long-term alopecian who’s tried dozens of so-called “miracle treatments” – they rarely regrow hair overnight. Even the most effective ones need continuous use and treat the symptom of shedding, rather than the root cause of hair loss itself.

To tackle these root causes, I recommend a holistic approach – looking at your diet and lifestyle, maybe getting your hormones tested or taking some supplements with key minerals or nutrients you might be deficient in. 

Still, the right moisturizing, sulfate free shampoo can be an excellent support for this integrative approach and, as I’ve seen from personal experience, can create optimal conditions to both reduce hair thinning and promote hair growth.

In this post, I’ll review my favorite sulfate free shampoos and explain how this more natural approach can benefit all hair types.

COMING UP:

  • The Problem With Sulfates
  • Benefits of Being Sulfate-Free
  • Best 5 Sulfate Free Shampoos
  • How to Use 
  • Alternatives to Shampoos

Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.

Top 3 Sulfate Free Shampoos

Revita

Revita shampoo bottle

Vegamour

Vegamour gro shampoo

Pura D’Or

pura dor shampoo

The Problem With Sulfates

You’ve probably used sulfates before. They’re hard to avoid as they’re in SO many beauty and cleaning products. Becuase they make these products, well, pretty damn good at cleaning! 

Sure, natural DIY products are great and you can do a lot with lemon juice and vinegar but still…if you’ve ever tried to scrub out a particularly stubborn stain with an all-natural soap, you’ll know what I mean!

But my question is – do you really want the same level of aggression you might seek from a household cleaner on your tender scalp? My guess is no: you want to protect your scalp, the home of your hair follicles, and the foundation for healthy hair.

From a chemical perspective, sulfates are surfactants that reduce the level of surface tension between your shampoo and your skin. All so the active ingredients in the shampoo you’re using can do their job more effectively. Nice work.

But while sulfates offer a deep clean, they may also strip away your natural moisture and oils, leaving your hair dry and brittle. They can affect the natural pH level of your scalp, so it could become irritated. Finally, sulfates can leave a negative electrical charge, resulting in frizzy hair after you dry off.

Unfortunately, most popular hair products include sulfates (like sodium lauryl sulfate) for their deep-cleansing properties. But are they worth it? And what’s the alternative?

Benefits of Going Sulfate-Free

Kinder to Scalp

A sulfate free formula can do wonders for your scalp, particularly if you already have thin hair, frizzy hair, colored hair or sensitive skin. (As certain hair types may react wose to sulfates than others.)

You might think that ditching foaming agents like sulfates and parabens might leave you with brittle hair. But good news! You can still get a deeply hydrating shampoo that gently cleanses, without doing any damage to that sensitive scalp of yours. 

Each natural hair shampoo on my list nourishes dry hair, soothes sensitive scalps and works to detangle hair with great natural oils and ingredients, like coconut oil, tea tree oil, aloe vera, argan oil or shea butter. Yep, Mother Nature can still give you a deep clean!

Few Side Effects

Because a sulfate free option is made up of botanical ingredients, and little else, the side effects are minimal. Whereas sulfates can lead to a very dry scalp, which could worsen conditions like dandruff or eczema for certain hair types.

Of course, people may still have allergies to natural compounds (I always get a weird reaction to cinnamon oil). But for the majority, a detox shampoo offers a great way to gently cleanse, moisturize and leave your hair feeling soft and volumized. 

Ideal for Color Treated Hair

Just because you have dyed hair doesn’t mean you have to wear a processed hair look. A good sulfate free shampoo will give you a healthy, nourished sheen, whatever your hair type – without you suffering an itchy scalp beneath.

Pura D’Or is, I’ve found, the best sulfate free shampoo for color treated hair. Because alongside the classic shampoo for all hair types, they also make a shampoo and conditioner set specifically for dyed locks. I’ve heard great things about this Color Harmony Purple Set from Lady Alopecia readers!

Sulfate free shampoos in general should suit all hair types: wavy hair, textured hair, fine hair and those with a more oily scalp. But check up on the brand and see if they have a specific option for you!

Cheaper!

Many hair growth treatments – especially the supplements I’ve become so fond of – aren’t exactly kind to your wallet. Many of them have millions of marketing dollars behind them, so they need to get that money from somewhere! 

A good sulfate free detox shampoo should be pretty affordable, though. That’s how I got into them – I wanted a gentler, less expensive way to manage my shedding. Even though I’d had success with Nioxin, I wanted a more natural hair growth option, that I could afford. So I began using Pura D’Or and later, fell in love with Revita.

Best Sulfate Free Shampoos

1. Revita Hair Stimulating Shampoo

I have to say, Revita is one of my all-time favorite shampoos for hair growth (and trust me, I’ve used plenty!) Free from both sulfates and parabens, its cruelty free formula includes biotin and ketoconazole, plus caffeine to act as a natural DHT blocker and reduce hormone-related hair shedding among all hair types.

But does it work? Well, in one study of 500 men and women with moderate hair thinning (aged 18–55):

  • 90% of Revita shampoo users saw a decrease in hair loss
  • 70% noted a reduction in the rate of this loss 
  • 85% reported an improvement in the overall appearance of their hair

 

In my case, I felt like I had thicker hair after just one use and it definitely reduced my shedding. I even saw some white vellus hairs returning after just 2 weeks! 

I didn’t have any adverse side effects, I loved the smell and it’s really affordable, too! Revita do a full range of products for all hair types, including a set with CBD oil, although my personal favorite sulfate free shampoo for hair fall is the classic one below.

Revita Hair Stimulating Shampoo

Revita shampoo bottle

2. Vegamour Shampoo

Another brand that gets my vote for their all-natural, deeply moisturizing formula. Vegamour might be best known for their vegan hair serums but their other cruelty free products, like their hydrating shampoo and conditioner, are awesome, too – whatever your hair type.

Enhanced with a proprietary protein called Karmatin™, the sulfate free shampoo is designed to nourish, thicken hair and strengthen your fine hair strands. The vegan formula also includes hydrating oils like marula and baobab – not only do they provide shine, they’re antioxidants to reduce environmental damage. 

The hydrating shampoo is quite lightweight, so it doesn’t make thin hair oily or heavy and is suitable for all hair types. It smells AMAZING, too – although my husband sneezed whenever I used it, or any Vegamour products, so unfortunately those with allergies may be sensitive to the long list of botanical ingredients.

It’s the most expensive option on this list but it’s also a top organic sulfate free shampoo. So if you’re looking for that salon luxury experience without the sulfates, Vegamour is a great call.

Vegamour GRO Shampoo

Vegamour gro shampoo

3. Pura D’Or Anti-Hair Thinning Biotin Shampoo

No doubt you’ve heard of Pura D’Or before. They’re a well-known brand for making great natural shampoos and conditioners for fine hair, other hair types, and better scalp health in general. They also make a range of cruelty-free natural oils, of which I’ve bought several!

Their original gold label sulfate free shampoo is formulated for those with thinning hair that’s prone to snapping. It includes saw palmetto as a natural DHT blocker, argan oil, biotin, aloe vera plus rosemary and tea tree oil. We’re talking some amazing healthy hair growth ingredients here, people! 

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this moisturizing shampoo means it can prevent and repair damaged hair, deliver more nutrients to the hair follicles, and basically set the foundation for stronger hair to take root. It won’t irritate or dry out the scalp and it smells gorgeous, too!

Anyone who writes to me saying they’re looking for a gentler way to treat thinning hair, color treated hair or to use something alongside their existing hair thinning shampoo, I’ll recommend Pura D’Or. Perhaps don’t expect miracles in terms of regrowth but you can enjoy a healthier head of hair! 

pura dor shampoo

4. Shapiro MD Shampoo 

One of the most popular regrowth treatments on the market, Shapiro MD is formulated by a team dermatologists with clinically proven ingredients to reduce hair fall and improve growth.

It targets hormone related hair loss by acting as a natural DHT blocker – DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that’s linked to hair loss. Shapiro MD includes some great natural ingredients like caffeine, saw palmetto and green tea extract to help prevent this from happening.

Although I’ve haven’t used Shapiro MD myself, I know it’s one of the most popular brands among alopecians, and the fact that it’s created by dermatologists means it carries a little extra weight. Plus, unlike many of its competitors (like Nioxin), its vegan formula doesn’t contain any sulfates or parabens. 

So you get a cruelty free treatment, backed by science, that’s more natural and kind to the scalp. Best of both worlds!

shapiro shampoo

5. Laritelle Organic Shampoo

Perhaps the greenest choice on my list, this certified organic sulfate free shampoo is composed of 75% certified organic ingredients and 25% naturally derived ingredients. It comes in a recyclable BPA-free bottle and it’s cruelty free, too. 

Hair-stimulating ingredients like ginger and cedarwood boost circulation to the scalp, allowing more nutrients and vitamins to reach hair follicles. While palmarosa gently removes dead skin cells and clears excess oil. 

The result? A healthy, nourished scalp that’s the perfect canvas for hair growth. Perhaps a more ‘earthy-smelling’ hydrating shampoo but one that gets the ethical vote and is suitable for all hair types.

laritelle shampoo bottle

My Personal Favorite Sulfate Free Shampoo?

Lady Alopecia happy with her revita nottle
There I am. You can't fake a smile that cheesy!

In terms of value for money, actual regrowth and minimal or zero side effects, all of which I can confirm in my own experience, it has to be Revita. 

Pura D’Or sulfate free shampoo is a cost-effective choice, whatever your hair type, and brilliant if you’re just looking to switch up your regular chemical heavy shampoo for a cruelty free option with natural oils and ingredients like coconut oil. 

But while Pura D’Or can be useful for shedding, and its essential oils can revitalize damaged hair, the only shampoos I’ve ever seen actual hair regrowth with are:

  • Nioxin: which contains sulfates in its new formula and can cause dry hair
  • Vegamour: but I used the serum in addition to its other keratin treatments, plus it’s quite expensive
  • Revita: not crazy expensive, has refillable package options once your shampoo bottle is empty AND helped my hair growth!

 

Even though I didn’t use it on a long enough basis to see full hair regrowth (I wasn’t organised enough to keep ordering it to my home in Vietnam), I’d highly recommend Revita. The shampoo alone can give you a healthy scalp and thicker hair while reducing any shedding.

Remember, don’t expect miracle results from any shampoo – but it’s a great way to support your journey towards natural hair health!

Revita shampoo bottle

How to Use a Sulfate Free Shampoo

Use a sulfate free shampoo like you would any other shamoo: lather, rinse and repeat! 

In some cases, you might notice that you don’t actually get a lot of lather going on – that’s because the detox shampoo is probably paraben free, too – and parabens typically provides that lather. Although sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are chemical foaming agents, too.

Anyway, don’t worry about wasting the entire bottle trying to get your foam on, a little will still do the trick! You might only need about half the amount of what you think.

Alternatives to Sulfate Free Shampoos

You many have realised by now, I’m in favour of a natural approach when it comes to haircare. And in my opinion, there’s no better way to support hair, skin and nails health than with a holistic approach.

This ‘whole body wellness’ strategy doesn’t mean just snapping up the best shampoo – it means looking at your diet and your lifestyle. Seeing what you might be deficient in in terms of vitamins and minerals, plus reducing stress or inflammation in the body as much as you can.

Recently, I’ve started leaning more towards supplements to reduce that inflammation I mentioned (because so many autoimmune issues begin in the gut). And one of the best ways to do that is with the right supplement. 

Now, the supplement industry is extensive, and can be expensive, and it’s hard to know where to start. So I’d recommend, if you think your hair loss might be linked to a deficiency or inflammation, talking to a nutritionist, reading my post about it or starting with an all-encompassing hair loss supplement. 

These pills work to treat the root of whatever’s causing your shedding, encouraging healthy hair growth, while supporting your immune system. Folexin supplements are one of the most affordable options, they include great natural DHT blockers and hair promoting ingredients and my readers rave about them, too!

So if you want an alternative to changing up your shampoo, or you just want an extra way to support healthy hair, I’d recommend Folexin.

folexin supplements

My Top Supplement for Alopecia?

Discover the Lady's number one supplement for hair loss.

Final thoughts: Is the Best Shampoo Sulfate Free?

Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for. These detox shampoos might not be the fastest track towards hair regrowth but they’re certainly more gentle and come with fewer damaging side effects than many popular topical treatments, like minoxidil, or the mass market shampoos you’d see in your local store.

Having had alopecia on and off for years, I know my regrowth is best when I’m kind to my scalp and use hair products that support better scalp health. When I use cheap hotel shampoos or a chemical-heavy soap on my head, I’ll feel the effects almost immediately – itchiness, redness and a dry, sensitive scalp; not the best environment for regrowth!

For a long-term moisturizing shampoo, I think a sulfate free shampoo is best – and it’s suitable for every hair type. Even better if you can support your scalp health further with the right supplement.

A holistic approach mightn’t deliver immediate results but it will probably be the kindest option for your finances, your skin and your hair.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if I’ve missed out on your favorite sulfate free shampoo, let me know in the comments!

Lady Alopecia Signature

Want the freshest Lady Alopecia news?

Get free, semi-regular alopecia-related news things and musings.

Psst… If no welcome email shows up, check your spam.

Emma in a bubble

Author

Lady Alopecia

Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!

You may also like..

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yay Friends!

Join the gang and receive semi-regular news and joy from someone with very irregular hair.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE NEWSLETTER