Our favourite sulphate free shampoos – a list of the best brands

Finding a sulfate free shampoo can be a bit of a tall order. There are the two main requirements:

 1. First of all we need a shampoo that actually works.

The shampoo needs to clean hair properly and leave it shiny and manageable. So this is adding volume for those who need it, or taking away frizz if that’s your concern. The problem here is that the sulphate is what’s used to formulate the surfactant – aka the foaming agent in the shampoo. Take this away and it’s hard to create an effective shampoo.

2. We want a gentle and safe shampoo without sulphates

But it’s really hard to spot which ingredients you need to avoid!

There’s SLS and SLES

We’re used to avoiding SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and its gentler form SLES sodium lauryl ether sulphate. This is also known as sodium laureth sulphate. (You may also see a spelling of sulfate, which means exactly the same as sulphate.)

Then ALS and ALES

ALS or ALES (ammonium lauryl sulphate and its gentler form ammonium lauryl ether sulphate) are also to be avoided, as they have a similar level of irritation.

And anything else that’s kind of similar…

So far, so good. But then there are the endless variations of the products and alternatives. For example, Olefin Sulphonates also create a similar level of irritation as the SLS compound.

And then it becomes harder and harder to spot the ingredients we’re actually meant to be avoiding.

So here’s a list we’ve made for you

What we’ve done is trawl through reviews, test products and come up with a list of shampoo brands that contain the safest, most gentle ingredients, while still washing your hair thoroughly and leaving it shiny and manageable. These shampoos are also free from parabens and phthalates, other ‘chemicals of concern’.

List of sulphate free shampoo brands

Acure Organics £14.00

A great all-rounder range, well priced and high performing, with consistently good reviews. Also a very high scorer on the EWG database in its old packaging – scoring a 1. We love the volumising formulation of the Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell shampoo. Great for fine hair.

Babo Botanicals £14.95

A wide range of shampoos for babies, children and adults. The range is regularly recommended on blogs and is included in the ‘Goop’ recommended products. Safely created with no parabens, phthalates or sulfates.

Burt’s Bees £15.54

Burt’s Bees started with beeswax candles and lipbalms, but has branched into other natural products, all beautifully, naturally scented. The shampoos have the most wonderful ingredients such as pomegranate and mango. They are formulated with natural fragrance and with no sulfates, phthalates, parabens or petrolatum.

Aubrey Organics £14.25

A comprehensive range of really effective shampoos to leave your hair in lovely condition. We particularly love the scent of the Rosemary shampoo, but the GPB shampoo is a Best of Beauty Awards Winning Shampoo.

Earth Mama Angel Baby £35

Not just for babies, this range includes the most gentle shampoos! A very high scorer on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, the Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo receives a rare 1 for risk.


EWG – The Environmental Working Group with a list of the safest of the safe products, including EWG verified products.

Marie Claire Best Sulfate Free Shampoos

Goop Shampoos

How Stuff Works – 5 ingredients to avoid in your face wash

Groovy Green Living Picks Non Toxic Shampoos

The Shopping Friend Blog

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics – information on individual products, plus general ‘chemicals of concern’ which may appear in certain groups of products.

Gimme the Good Stuff – a pick of the good products, the not so good, and the sneaky ones.

The Natural Haven– useful explanation about sulfates