One of the first things we learn when beginning a natural hair journey is to cut back on or totally get rid of our favorite sulfate shampoo. Sulfates (seen in product ingredients as sodium lauryl sulfate) is a drying agent that is responsible for the suds or bubbles that you see in your favorite shampoo or body wash.
This ingredient helps get rid of product build up, however it can strip our hair of its natural oils and leave it drier than before. Our naturally curly and coily hair is already prone to dryness, so we should do whatever we can in our wash regimen to help retain moisture. Here are four alternatives to sulfate shampoo that will clean your hair without totally stripping it:
Cowashing is very popular in the natural hair community, and if you don’t include it in your wash regimen then you might want to. Co washing is simply washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. There are a few products out there with cleansing agents specifically for co washing, however you can also cowash with your normal conditioner.
Simply apply the product through your strands and gently into your scalp to remove surface product buildup. Cowashing is also an excellent way to retain moisture in your hair throughout the week.
Just remember that co washing isn’t a permanent solution for product buildup, so you may want to keep a clarifying shampoo handy for once or twice a month depending on your hair regimen. Also, you can still follow up with a conditioner after cowashing. As I Am Coconut Cowash and Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Cowash are two of the most popular cowashes out there.
Sulfate Free/ Organic Shampoo
If you would still like to go the traditional route, you can opt for a sulfate free or organic shampoo. There are plenty of options out there, and some of them boast different benefits. Most organic shampoos claim to be moisturizing.
This is good because it will still gently remove your product build up, but your hair will still feel soft and manageable. These can be used more frequently than your typical sulfate shampoo.
When choosing a sulfate free shampoo, read the ingredients before purchasing to see what benefits it will provide for your hair. Also make sure that it doesn’t contain any derivatives of sulfates (like sulfonate, etc), because while they aren’t the exact same ingredient they still dry out hair more than necessary.