You likely have heard about sulfate free dandruff shampoo, it is hard not to. In this article you will learn more about sulfate free dandruff shampoo, get lots of useful information and a list with the best products available on the market.
All About Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo
Since some time in the 1800’s people have been using shampoo to wash their hair. This separate compound to wash the hair was revolutionary at the time. Just about every shampoo manufacturer has come out with a sulfate free dandruff shampoo and conditioner.
The idea of Sulfate free really took off from about 2007 but you like many of us may not have any idea why you would need to buy sulfate free shampoo.
Of course the earliest versions of shampoo looked nothing like the liquid that became popular at the turn of the 19th century. The first shampoos were just bar soaps concocted with herbs and essential oils to make the hair smell good.
Sulfate was first added to a shampoo formula by Procter and Gamble in 1930. The Royal Drene Shampoo was THE thing that changed how we washed our hair. A bottle of this shampoo is housed in the Smithsonian collection because of its importance to how we care for our hair.
Sulfate became a popular ingredient in all shampoos but has come under fire recently. Anti Dandruff shampoos have always been historically sulfate free because of the drying effect of the sulfate and the increase of dandruff that it caused for people that suffered from dandruff.
What Are Sulfates?
Sulfates are chemicals that are surfactants. They are molecules that can attract water and oil which of course removes them from your hair. The idea is that to get your hair really clean the sulfates pull away the oil and dirt from your hair, bind with it than are flushed down the drain when you rinse off your hair.
Sulfates can be natural or they can be man made. There are different types of sulfates that go by different names. If a shampoo does not indicate that it is not “sulfate free” than it most likely will have sulfates in the ingredients.
This all sounds pretty reasonable, so what is the problem? Well the problem is largely relative to whether it will do too much of a good job on your hair and body and strip it of natural oils and proteins that your hair needs to remain healthy.
Shampoos that contain sulfates can be the main cause of dandruff. The drying effects of the sulfates can cause your scalp to be dried out and start to flake.
To keep sulfates in perspective consider that sulfates are used in engine degreasers, floor cleaners, toothpaste, face wash, laundry detergents, hair conditioners, bar soap and car wash soaps in addition to your bubble bath and shampoo.
It is very likely that at no time your hair will ever get dirty enough to use ingredients that are used in an engine de-greaser or floor cleaner.
They are powerful cleaners. They are also used by dermatologists to irritate skin for testing regarding healing times. They are rather nasty chemicals that can easily strip the grease off an engine, so imaging what it can do to your hair and scalp.
While these chemicals are nasty and powerful there are a few rumors that are circulating about these chemicals that are just not true. There are some rumors that are circulating that sulfates are carcinogenic or that they can cause cancer. According the American Cancer Society-Sulfates do not cause cancer. They have not been identified as a carcinogen. There was an internet rumor that was circulated back in the 90’s that coined sulfates as a carcinogen but the reality is they are not.
These compounds that create sulfates are relatively harmless when separate. The chemical break down is fatty acids, sulfur and oxygen none of which are carcinogens on their own or when activated in any combination. Of course they are drying and are not great for your hair or body for that matter but they are not carcinogens.
Where Did Sulfate Free Formulas Come From
Initially sulfate free formulas were used for dandruff control, of course they still are. One of the biggest causes of dandruff is flaky skin that is caused by dry skin. One of the problems with sulfate based shampoos is that they over do the job and cause the natural oils that are needed to be drawn away and washed down the drain. They strip your hair of the natural oils that protect your scalp and hair.
The solution for controlling dandruff has always been a sulfate free shampoo. Today sulfate free has taken on new meaning not just to control dandruff but to protect skin and hair from the irritation that sulfates can cause.
Sulfates can actually strip your hair and scalp of natural nutrients that are needed to keep the flakes at bay. Sulfate free dandruff shampoo was first invented by none other than Proctor and Gamble in 1950. They created the sulfate free formula in response to consumer need to have a gentler shampoo than what they were producing.
Dandruff shampoo was a big hit and took off immediately. Head and Shoulders was the most popular “medicated shampoo” of all time. Of course the “medicated” part was that it was without sulfates and had zinc pyrithione as an active ingredient. Initially the anti-dandruff formula was only available in the US but slowly made its way to other countries.
Should You Consider Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo?
Depending on your hair type-sulfate free-may be a very good option for you. If you experience dry skin, dry hair, flaky scalp issues or you are trying to live a chemical free life than you should choose a sulfate free shampoo. Of course if you have dandruff the only option for your hair is a sulfate free option.
Beware of the Potential Effects
Sulfate based shampoos and body washes are safe to use but you should be careful to avoid getting any in your eyes because it will sting. Sulfate free formulas are gentler to your skin, hair and eyes. A good rule of thumb if you are going to use formulas with sulfate in them is to be sure to rinse your hair well and body well. If you have dandruff then sulfate free is a must! Residue from the sulfate can still be an irritant after you are dried off.
You also want to be sure that you pat yourself dry instead of wiping yourself dry to avoid irritating your skin.The Cosmetic Ingredient Review board has found that “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin.”
If you experience a rash, burning sensation or irritation discontinue use immediately of any products that contain sulfate just to be on the safe side. Ultimately using a sulfate free shampoo is likely a better option for just about anyone that wants to protect their hair from damage. Many people choose sulfate free just to avoid some of the irritants that are found in sulfate formulas even when they do not have dandruff.
Great Sulfate Free Options
There are plenty of great options that are available for sulfate free formulas. Most of which are marketed as sulfate free dandruff shampoo. Whether you have dandruff or not you should choose a dandruff formula because there is a longer history of dandruff formulary being successful.
Just because it is a dandruff shampoo it does not mean that you cannot use it on your healthy dandruff free hair. It is a great option for anyone that wants to protect their hair from the drying effects of formulas with sulfates.
There are several things you want to look for in an anti-dandruff shampoo because the sulfates have been removed there needs to be something else that replaces it to ensure that while your hair is being washed it is actually being washed.
Where to buy sulfate free dandruff shampoo? Amazon and other big online retailers offer a plethora of sulfate free dandruff formula shampoos that are good for your hair, relatively cheap and of very high quality.
Any sulfate free formula should have natural alternatives that are proven to work like Tea tree oil or sodium cocosulfate. Other ingredients can be natural cleansers that can also hydrate like Jojoba oil.
Most people do not realize that oils are natural cleansers. Oils will attract other oils and help to get your hair and scalp clean without the drying damage.
Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo List – Top 17 Products On The Market:
#1. eShave – Triple Action Shampoo
eShave is a high quality shampoo formulated with natural ingredients that gently cleans your hair and scalp. It eliminates dandruff and build-up. This product is free from sulfates and parabens. This shampoo has a nice and exceptionally creamy lather that is perfect for all hair types, especially for fine and oily hair.
#2. PURA D’OR – Scalp and Dandruff Therapy Shampoo With Argan Oil And Tree Tea
PURA D’OR is a scalp therapy shampoo perfect for daily dry scalp treatment. It is made with a powerful natural formula that reduces dandruff, relieves itching and soothes your scalp. This product is color safe, hypo-allergenic and contains only certified organic ingredients. This shampoo does not contain SLS, parabens or harmful chemicals.It is gluten free and cruelty free. Made in the USA.
#3. Art Naturals – Scalp 18 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo
Art Naturals is a high quality medicated sulfate free dandruff shampoo that contains tar and coal as key ingredients. Tar and coal has been used for many generations to treat different scalp and skin conditions. The Scalp 18 shampoo is infused with hydrating all-natural oils such as Argan oil and jojoba oil. This shampoo soothes itching, stops flaking and build-up. Your hair will become healthy and shiny. This is a cruelty free product perfect for all hair types.
#4. Maple Holistics – Sage Shampoo For Anti Dandruff
This is a popular sulfate free dandruff shampoo that gives a natural treatment for men and women. This product is made with 100% natural ingredients and contains organic tea tree oil, Argan oil and jojoba oil. This is a hypoallergenic product that eliminates dandruff in a natural way. It is also one of the best dandruff shampoo for color treated hair. Cruelty free and vegan friendly. It contains no harsh ingredients. Made in the USA.
#5. Avalon Organics – Anti-Dandruff Itch & Flake Shampoo
Avalon Organics sulfate free dandruff shampoo contains organic ingredients, essential oils and botanicals (aloe vera, chamomile and tea tree). It contains 2% salicylic acid that makes your hair soft, healthy looking and flake-free. This shampoo treats and prevents flakiness, scalp redness and dandruff. This shampoo is vegan, biodegradable and contains no GMO ingredients. It is also free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, colors and other harmful chemicals.
#6. JASON – Natural Dandruff Relief Shampoo
JASON is another great shampoo that you can find online that is sulfate free and that offers natural healing properties that will make any head of hair look great. This formula contains Colloidal sulfur, which is great for relieving a flaky, dry and itchy scalp. This product contains rosemary, jojoba and olive that naturally heals the scalp. This shampoo is cruelty free.
#7. Mineral Fusion – Anti Dandruff Shampoo
Mineral Fusion sulfate free dandruff shampoo contains a unique blend of essential minerals that helps promote hair and scalp health. This shampoo contains salicylic acid that helps break down flaky buildup, and the mineral rich clay helps absorb excess oil. This product is 100% vegan and paraben free.
#8. Petal Fresh – Ultimate Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Petal Fresh uses a plant based technology. It attacks the source of the problem by cleansing, disinfecting and then healing your scalp using only the most natural ingredients like peppermint oil, cucumber and menthol. Your scalp will be left moisturized and balanced, your hair will be healthy and shiny with no itchiness or flakes. The active ingredient in this anti-dandruff shampoo is 2% salicylic acid. This product also contains vitamins B3, B5 and B7. This shampoo is cruelty free and vegan, free from sulfates and other harsh chemicals.
#9. Mill Creek – Dandruff Control Shampoo
Mill Creek shampoo contains the best natural and organic ingredients like Aloe Vera, coal tar and nettle extract that helps eliminate scalp flaking and soothes scalp irritation. The active ingredient in this shampoo is coal tar (2%). Other ingredients are Panthenol (Provitamin B5), citric acid and sea salt to name a few. This product is pH balanced and cruelty free. It is free from sulfates, parabens and chemicals.
#10. Giovanni – Don’t Be Flaky, Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Giovanni shampoo is made from only the finest ingredients. It is a pH balanced and biodegradable formula that contains a blend of herbs, oils, minerals, nutrients and vitamins that will remove buildup. It also contains eucalyptus, tea tree, oatmeal and noni that soothes your scalp. This shampoo will pamper and moisturize your hair and makes it silky and shiny.The active ingredient in this anti dandruff shampoo is salicylic acid (2%). Sulfate and chemical free.
#11. Derma E – Scalp Relief Shampoo
Derma E sulfate free dandruff shampoo is developed by doctors, a clinically tested formula that works in 4 ways. First, it gently cleanses your hair and scalp, de-flakes, soothes and finally nourishes your hair and scalp. This product contains botanicals, vitamins and a proprietary therapeutic psorzema herbal blend that calms dandruff-prone, irritated and itchy scalp. The active ingredient in this shampoo is salicylic acid. Menthol and tea tree helps calm and cool the itch on contact. This product is safe for color treated hair. It is 100% vegan, GMO and cruelty free.
#12. Biotene H-24 – Natural Dandruff Shampoo With Biotin
Biotene H-24 natural dandruff shampoo is pH balanced. It contains biotin that promises to give thicker and fuller hair naturally. It contains botanical and natural ingredients such as coconut and beet oil, juniper extract, nettle extract and comfrey extract. This product is made with a coal tar solution that controls dry and flaky scalp.
#13. Pure & Basic – Natural Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (Tea Tree & Rosemary)
Pure & Basic natural shampoo controls the symptoms of dandruff. This product contains certified organic ingredients like Canadian willow herb, tea tree oil and rosemary extract. It is free from glycol, sulfate, parabens and other harmful chemicals. Safe for permed and color treated hair. Cruelty free. For best results, also use the Pure & Basic anti-dandruff conditioner.
#14. Organix South – TheraNeem Naturals Scalp Therapé Shampoo
This pH balanced organic shampoo provides scalp therapé, it is formulated for scalp relief. This product contains organic neem oil and neem lead extract, cleansing lemon essential oil, powerful tea tree oil and stimulating peppermint. These ingredients support healthy hair and scalp which they are respected by Ayrvedic practitioners. This product is perfect for all hair types, especially sensitive scalps. Vegan, cruelty free, sulfate free and gluten free.
#15. Home Health – Everclean Unscented Antidandruff Shampoo
Home Health unscented sulfate free dandruff shampoo contains herbal extracts (Chamomile, rosemary, hops, horsetail and henna) allantoin and Aloe Vera. These ingredients help relieve scalp flaking associated with dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. This is a gentle and moisturizing shampoo that leaves your hair fresh, manageable and healthy. The active ingredient in this product is salicylic acid (1.8%). This shampoo is free from harsh chemicals, sulfates and parabens.
#16. Honeydew – Dandruff Shampoo With Zinc Pyrithione
Honeydew a maximum strength sulfate free dandruff shampoo that contains only natural ingredients such as Biotin, rosemary extract, green tea extract, tea tree oil and jojoba oil. It blocks DHT, removes flakes and soothes itchy scalp. This product also contains zinc pyriothione that prevents thinning hair and hair loss. It stimulates the scalp and for smooth, lustrous hair. This product comes with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. GMP and non-GMO certified. Perfect for all hair types for men and women.
#17. Maple Holistics – Special Tea Tree Formula Shampoo
Maple Holistics shampoo is made with a 100% preservative-free and organic formula that stimulates cell renewal and effectively combats dandruff. This product contains Tea tree, Bulgarian lavender, Rosemary, botanical keratin, argan and jojoba oil that leaves your hair feeling smooth, fresh and revitalized. This product is perfect for all hair types including color treated hair.
Whether you choose to protect your hair and scalp from the drying effects of sulfates or not is a personal choice but if you have dandruff you have to choose a sulfate free shampoo or you risk increasing your dandruff problem.