3 Benefits of Sulfate-Free Shampoo

3 Benefits of Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Explore the benefits of sulfate-free shampoo for gentle cleansing and maintaining hair health at CLEARSTEM. Shop our innovative hair care line.

Imagine that you invested in a delicate garment and wanted to keep it in top condition. Would you take it to the dry cleaner? Or would you throw it in the washer, pour in some super-strength detergent, and start the power cycle?

Most people would avoid the second option—because nobody wants to damage something so special, delicate, and hard to replace. Yet, many people don’t realize that they are harming their hair in a similar way by shampooing it regularly with products that contain sulfates. 

We’re diving deep to answer the question, why use sulfate-free shampoo? We’ll be explaining what sulfates are, how they can damage your delicate hair, and what hair products you can rely on with the acne-safe, clean ingredients you deserve. 

What is Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

In recent years, a rising number of hair experts have been speaking out against sulfate shampoo. But what makes sulfates so concerning, and what are the benefits of sulfate-free shampoo?

To understand why so many people are choosing to avoid this ingredient, you first need a brief introduction to the sneaky side effects of sulfates.  

Understanding Sulfates and Their Effects on Hair 

Sulfates belong to a family of chemicals known as surfactants. These are utilized in a wide variety of common products—not just the ones you put on your hair—due to their special properties. 

Surfactants are good at foaming up and removing contaminants like oil, grease, and dirt— qualities that have made them a very popular ingredient in cleanser formulas. When mixed with water, products that contain surfactants like sulfates lather up easily. This is why they’re included in products like:

  • Laundry and dish detergent
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Toothpaste

Similar to how parabens are bad for hair, the powerful properties of sulfates can be a little too powerful when used to cleanse. Just as delicate garments may not bode well with a harsh laundry cycle, our hair and scalp can react negatively to overcleaning. 

What are the Benefits of Using Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

So, what are the benefits of using sulfate-free shampoo exactly? By using a shampoo specially formulated to avoid the use of sulfates, you can avoid causing unnecessary harm to your hair every time you get in the shower. 

Over time, the following perks of switching to a sulfate-free shampoo can make a significant difference in the way your locks look and feel. 

#1: Retains Natural Oils and Moisture 

The scalp produces natural oils that help the skin and hair stay hydrated and healthy. Without them, these areas can quickly become dry or irritated. These oils can prevent frizzy hair and damaged locks. When we use harsh sulfates to scrub our hair in the shower, all those suds don’t know how to discriminate between the good oils our scalp needs to thrive and the sweat, grease, and grime we’re trying to get rid of. 

The end result? Sulfate-based shampoos often end up washing our healthy hair oils down the drain, leaving our strands parched and our scalps unhappy. Sulfate-free shampoos are formulated to get your scalp clean without negatively impacting your natural oils in the process. 

#2: Gentle Cleansing Without Stripping 

The problem with traditional shampoo with sulfates is that they get rid of the bad stuff and the good stuff at the same time. This can lead to not only irritation, but also damaged hair, hair loss, or other issues. 

In contrast, sulfate-free shampoos made with more natural ingredients give your strands a good rinse that will effectively wash away the day’s dirt while maintaining a healthy scalp and hair. But at the same time, they are gentle enough that they won’t completely dehydrate your locks or strip all the healthy hydration out of your scalp. 

#3: Reduced Risk of Scalp Irritation and Sensitivity 

For people with sensitive scalps, the harsh nature of sulfate-based shampoos can be extremely irritating to the skin.

Research shows that the use of surfactant molecules in hair products often results in beneficial proteins and lipids being removed from the surface of the scalp, which can lead to issues like:

  • A feeling of dryness
  • Inflammation
  • Irritation

For these reasons, a gentler, sulfate-free shampoo may be a safer option in your hair care routine if you experience scalp sensitivity. 

How to Transition to a Sulfate-Free Shampoo

You may be accustomed to using traditional shampoo on your hair—for many people, these popular drugstore products are simply what they grew up using. In fact, sulfates are so widespread that over 90% of hair products contain them.

However, many people find that once they make the switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, their hair looks and feels better than ever before.  

If you want to try out the benefits of sulfate-free shampoo for yourself, here are the steps we recommend to ensure a seamless transition:

  1. Research trusted shampoos from science-backed brandsMany hair care companies market their products with buzz words like “less damaging” or “gentle,”—but before you buy, make sure you actually see the words “sulfate-free” listed clearly on a product.
  2. Work sulfate-based shampoo into your shower routine – You don’t need to waste resources by throwing your old hair care routine out the window immediately. Instead, alternate between your old and new shampoo so you can get used to the feeling of sulfate-free shampoo while you gradually use up the rest of your old product.
  3. Don’t forget to scrub – The suds produced by sulfate-based products produce a lot of lather that helps shampoo spread across your scalp quicker. Gentler, sulfate-free shampoos don’t contain chemicals that produce as many suds, so be sure to massage the product into your scalp to really work out any dirt and achieve a satisfying clean. 

Find an Effective Sulfate-Free Shampoo from CLEARSTEM

Sulfate-free shampoos empower you to enjoy hair that feels fresh and clean without having to sacrifice the natural oils that keep your locks soft and shiny. 

At CLEARSTEM, our experts saw the need for a better hair care solution. That’s why we use our intimate understanding of skin, scalp, and hair health to formulate our Restorative Shampoo

Luxuriously hydrating and free of all pore-clogging ingredients, this sulfate-free shampoo is dermatologist-tested and completely safe for sensitive skin. Swap your sulfate-based hair care out for this soothing solution, and watch as your strands are restored and regenerated. 


WebMD. What to Know About Sulfate. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/what-to-know-sulfate

Wiley Online Library. Shampoo Science: A Review of the Physiochemical Processes behind the Function of a Shampoo. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/macp.202200420

Genesis Career College. 8 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Shampoo and Conditioner. https://www.genesiscareer.edu/8-ingredients-to-avoid-in-your-shampoo-and-conditioner/