Our hair goes through a lot of torture every day. Lack of hair care, poor food habits, heat styling, pollution, stress, etc. take a toll on it from within and turn it lifeless over time. Only a good shampoo can take the best care of our locks by keeping it clean and healthy. But if you choose a regular commercial shampoo containing sulfates for your daily hair care, you will do a huge mistake. Why? Because sulfates are immensely harmful to your mane. Nowadays, a lot of women are moving towards natural and healthier alternatives in the form of shampoos that are sulfate-free. They are gentle on the hair, cleanse the hair without stripping it of the natural oils and are less damaging to the hair. We tell you about 10 best sulfate-free shampoos in India that can give you healthy and beautiful locks.
What are Sulfates in Shampoos?
‘Sulfates’ are harsh chemical compounds that are used as a cleansing or foaming agent in our household cleaners, detergents, and commercial shampoos. They are considered as a type of cleanser called ‘anionic surfactants’, which are known for their deepest cleansing effects . Sulfates create a lot of lather to remove dirt and grime from the clothes and the hair. Hence, many popular brands are using sulfates in their shampoos these days. Sulfate-free shampoos create very little to no lather in the shower.
Sulfates in shampoos are found in two most common forms i.e. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. They are also abbrevated as SLS or SLES.
Read Also – Why use a Paraben and Sulfate free Shampoo?
Why are Sulfates Bad for Our Hair?
There is a myth that the more a shampoo lathers, the better it cleanses. As shampoos with sulfates lather very well, it is believed that they are the best choice for ‘cleaning’ the hair. But regular use of these products can turn your hair dry, damaged, and completely lifeless. Sulfates are extremely harsh chemicals, which cause damage to our hair to a large extent. In course of cleansing the hair ‘properly’, they dry out the hair by stripping the natural oils away from the scalp and pushing the sebaceous glands into overdrive. These result in dryness of scalp, frizzy hair, split ends, hair breakage, and hair loss at an alarming rate. Sulfates also impact hair color treatments negatively by stripping out color from hair shafts. Prolonged exposure to sulfates in shampoos can even end up irritating your skin.
Being inexpensive detergents, sulfates are used in most commercial shampoos. Hence, reular shampoos often come cheaper than sulfate-free ones.
Why Should You Use Sulfate-Free Shampoos?
Ditching your regular sulfate-loaded shampoo for its sulfate-free version can bring the life back to your hair. If you stop using sulfates, your hair will feel less dry and frizzy. The oil production level in your scalp will be normal, which will turn your hair softer, smoother, and more manageable with added shine and bounce. As your scalp will be healthy, you will get rid of issues like split ends, hair breakage, hair fall, and extreme hair loss. Moreover, your dyed hair will be able to retain the color for a longer time and the development of warm tones will get reduced in highlighted hair.
10 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos in India
Most popular brands mention the absence of sulfates on their product packagings. You can even check the ingredient list to know if the shampoo has sulfates. However, we have made your work simpler by listing 10 best sulfate-free shampoos in India:
1. Himalaya Herbals Anti-Hair Fall Shampoo
The Himalaya Herbals Anti-Hair Fall Shampoo is a breakthrough 2-in-1 formula that nourishes hair roots and strengthens hair fibers without harmful effects of sulfates and parabens. It contains the juice of bhringaraj, which reduces hair fall due to breakage and makes the hair healthy by conditioning the strands and improving their texture. Another key component of the shampoo is the resin from Butea Frondosa or the ‘flame of the forest’ plant, which nourishes and revitalizes hair to promote its growth.
Price: Rs. 130 for 200 ml.
Read Also – Best Shampoos For Thin Hair – Top 7 Picks
2. The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Shampoo
The Body Shop is extremely popular among hair care enthusiasts for its eco-conscious formula having no trace of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and colourants. The Rainforest Moisture Shampoo by the brand contains pracaxi oil, manketti nut oil, community trade honey from Ethiopia, and organic sugarcane from Paraguay to leave your hair feel clean, nourished, and conditioned. It gently cleanses the hair without weighing it down, keeps its soft by restoring its moisture, and adds a healthy shine to it naturally. The shampoo is best suited for dry and damaged hair.
Price: Rs. 795 for 250 ml.
3. Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume Shampoo
Unlike other chemical-loaded shampoos, the Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume Shampoo contains up to 94% natural and certified organic ingredients to bridge the gap between natural and salon-quality. It is a 100% vegetarian and cruelty-free product that is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, artificial colors, phthalates, formaldehyde, and PEG. The shampoo is enriched with extract of the healing herb horsetail, which adds a big-time volume, lift, and shine to fine and thinning hair that looks limp and lifeless. It also contains the extracts of aloe vera leaf, kiwi, papaya, equisetum arvense, mango, and soy protein to strengthen thin and fragile hair while cleansing and adding weightless bounce to it.
Price: Rs. 595 for 250 ml.
4. SoulTree Licorice Hair Repair Shampoo
The SoulTree Licorice Hair Repair Shampoo is an ayurvedic, ethical, and organic formula, which does not contain harmful elements like parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, pthalates, DEA/TEA, and synthetic fragrance. It is a moisturizing hair cleanser that is ideal for dull and damaged hair. Being a blend of ancient Ayurvedic herbs like bhringaraj, licorice, henna, and shikakai, the shampoo nourishes the scalp, revitalizes hair, strengthens the hair from the roots, prevents breakage, and stops premature greying.
Price: Rs. 575 for 250 ml.
5. Khadi Natural Neem and Aloe Vera Hair Cleanser
The Khadi Neem and Aloe Vera Hair Cleanser is a natural herbal shampoo that is 100% free from paraben, SLS, and mineral oil. Formulated with organically grown active ingredients like aloe vera, shikakai, bhringaraj, green tea, neem, neem oil, tulsi, lodhra, amla, methi, camphor, clove, arnica, and tea tree oil, this gentle and deep cleanser works for all hair types and is suitable for everyday use. It averts scalp infection by fighting against heavy dandruff, flaky scalp, irritation, itching, etc. It also repairs and rejuvenates damaged hair by conditioning it thoroughly and maintaining its natural moisture level. As a result, you get healthy, soft, smooth, and shiny locks.
Price: Rs. 235 for 210 ml.
6. Biotique Advanced Ayurveda Bio Green Apple
This Bio Green Apple Fresh Daily Purifying Shampoo and Conditioner is a daily ayurvedic care for your hair containing 100% botanical extracts. Enriched with pure green apple extract, sea algae, and centella, the refreshing formula cleanses the scalp and nourishes the hair beautifully with natural proteins and minerals. Other ingredients of the shampoo and conditioner combo include aloe vera, shikakai, almond oil, coconut oil, and pure Himalayan water, which cumulatively work to condition the hair, make it voluminous, and add shine to it. The product also helps in maintaining the pH level of the scalp, which makes it a great choice for oily hair.
Price: Rs. 155 for 180 ml.
7. Vaadi Herbals Dandruff Defense Lemon Shampoo
As the name suggests, the Dandruff Defense Lemon Shampoo with Tea Tree Extract by Vaadi Herbals is an amazing solution for dandruff and other related problems. It is basically an ayurvedic recipe with herbal ingredients, which contains zero harmful chemicals, parabens, and sulfates. The product works as a complete hair and scalp tonic that improves scalp health and repairs hair damage efficiently. Lemon extract in it removes excess oil, dirt, and dead cells from the scalp while adding shine and bounce to the hair. On the other hand, tea tree extract moisturizes dry hair, reduces hair fall, and stimulates hair growth.
Price: Rs. 79 for 110 ml.
8. Organix Hydrating+ Macadamia Oil Shampoo
The ultra-moisturizing Organix Hydrating+ Macadamia Oil Shampoo is a true bliss for people with terribly dry and damaged hair. It claims to moisturize even the driest and most brittle hair, thereby giving you soft, supple, and manageable locks. The luxurious fusion of macadamia oil, sugarcane extract, and bamboo extract make it a totally indulgent shampoo that conditions, moisturizes, and revives hair well. It is a paraben-and sulfate-free formula, which also prevents split ends for a silky soft mane with brilliant shine.
Price: Rs. 725 for 385 ml.
9. MamaEarth Happy Heads Shampoo
If you are suffering from damaged hair issues, this sulfate and paraben-free MamaEarth Happy Heads Shampoo is what you need to opt for. Formulated with healing natural ingredients like bhringaraj extract, amla extract, horse chestnut, and biotin, the product cleanses the scalp gently, reduces excessive hair fall, and promotes the growth of healthy hair. The shampoo also nourishes each hair strand from the root to the tip, thereby making the mane stronger and luscious.
Price: Rs. 349 for 200 ml.
10. AuraVedic Hair Fall Control Shampoo
Choose the AuraVedic Hair Fall Control Shampoo for a paraben and sulfate-free natural composition that combines the goodness of bhringraj, brahmi, amla, and shikakai. The active plant extracts in it provide the hair with full nourishment by delivering essential vitamins to each fiber. Regular use of this product can strengthen hair from root to tip in order to reduce hair fall and control hair thinning. It also boosts the health of the scalp to combat dandruff while making the hair soft and healthy.
Price: Rs. 300 for 250 ml.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Sulfates Cause Cancer?
Recent studies have debunked the claim that sulfates cause cancer. However, the chemicals can damage your health directly, especially when used regularly for a longer period of time. 
Can Sulfates Cause Hair Loss?
Sulfates in shampoos can strip the natural oils off the scalp and turn it dry. As a result, the sebaceous glands on the scalp become overactive, which eventually increases the dryness of the scalp. This impacts the health of the hair fibers negatively and makes them prone to breakage. As a result, you experience more hair loss.
What Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoos?
Apart from sulfates, other damaging ingredients present in shampoos that you must avoid include parabens, polysorbates, triclosan, phenoxyethanol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), potassium sorbate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, synthetic perfumes, etc. 
- “Should You Avoid Shampoos with Sulfates?“, Healthline.com
- “Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Four harmful ingredients to avoid in your hair products” – independent.co.uk