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What Is Sulfate Free Shampoo

You may know a little about sulfates already. You may have seen the word pop up on the back of your shampoo or body wash – or perhaps more accurately – you may have seen the words “sulphate free” emblazoned on your bottles (like, say, this one) You may even know that they’re not great for the environment… or that sulfate free shampoo is better for your hair. But do you know why? We explain all.

What are sulfates, and what do they do?

“Sulfates” or “sulphates” are an umbrella term for three different artificial, chemical cleansers: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. You’ll find these on the back of products, listed in the ingredients using the acronyms SLS, ALS and SLES. They are commonly referred to as surfactants (aka: a “surface active agent”) and are derived from petrochemicals.  They can also be found in cleaning products like dishwashing detergent, so perhaps unsurprisingly; they can be very harsh on the skin.

They’re responsible for the bubbly lather you get in bubble bath, body wash and shampoo and they’re what makes your hair feel “squeaky-clean” – all the things we’re taught to believe make a shampoo. But actually that feeling is definitely not a good thing. Because yes, they definitely will “clean” the hair, but they’ll also strip it of all its natural oils, as well as dry the strands out and they can cause dry, itchy skin on your scalp. So, if you’re prone to itchy or sensitive skin on your scalp, a sulfate free shampoo, like our The Goat Skincare Shampoo is your best bet.

They strip your hair of all its natural oils...

How to use a sulphate free shampoo:

You may be thinking “I don’t need a how-to to know how to wash my own hair”, but if you’re new to sulfate free shampoo there are actually a few differences you’ll need to get used to.

  • There will be less bubbles: It can feel counterintuitive to wash your hair with something that doesn’t lather, but remember your new shampoo is missing the thing responsible for those bubbles. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean your hair is not clean.
  • Add more water, not more product: Think of everything you know about washing your hair. Now throw that all out the window. Because with sulfate free shampoo you basically do the opposite. The tendency with sulphate free shampoo is to want to add more product because it isn’t bubbly enough, but the thing is: it’ll never be bubbly enough (because, no sulfates). More water will help activate the nutrients in the shampoo to help clean the hair. On the upside you’ll probably be using less product too.
  • Be extra diligent with rinsing: With a shampoo that contains sulfates, it’s easy to see when your hair has been rinsed properly because there are no bubbles. With sulphate free shampoo however, it’s up to you to do the cleaning. This means working the products into your hair properly, massaging your scalp thoroughly, and rinsing diligently to ensure no product is left behind. If it hasn’t been rinsed properly your hair will feel weighed down, and could look greasy.


The thing about sulphate free shampoos is that they suit everybody – if you have hair, they’re for you. But, especially if you suffer from dry, itchy skin, or a dry scalp, switching to sulfate free can help alleviate some of those symptoms. And now that you know exactly how to use one, and what the benefits are, well, what are you waiting for?

Say no to sulfates

The Goat Skincare Shampoo
and Conditioner

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