The Ordinary Skincare Guide for Beginners
- Beauty Glossary
- Sulfate Free
Sulfate Free Shampoo & Cosmetics
Navigating the beauty aisle can be overwhelming to say the least.
Warning signs tell us to avoid ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sulfates, often leaving us confused and full of questions. Is my toothpaste safe? What do all these fancy stamps mean? Why should I start using sulfate free shampoo? Fear not, as we fill you in with all that you need to know.
If you want to know more about sulfate free cosmetics and ingredients, read up on SLS and SLES free beauty products.
See our sulfate free guide to answer your questions like what is sulfate free and should I go sulfate free.
REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser
Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
The Ordinary Concealer
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara
REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil
REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm
REN Perfect Canvas Serum
REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel
REN Radiance Perfection Serum
This Works Stress Check Face Oil
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
Herbivore Lapis Balancing Facial Oil
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring Shampoo
Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum
Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
Hourglass Brush No 1 Powder
Farsali Rose Gold Skin Mist
REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick
TAN-LUXE The Water Hydrating Self Tan Water
TAN-LUXE Super Glow Hyaluronic Self Tan Serum
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother
OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub
This Works Sleep Baby Sleep Pillow Spray
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops
Hourglass Brush No 5 Concealer
OUAI Air Dry Foam
Sigma Beauty SigMagic Brushampoo Foam
OUAI Finishing Creme
Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow
Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup
Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette
TAN-LUXE Instant Hero Self Tan
Herbivore Pink Clay Cleansing Bar Soap
Summer Fridays R+R Mask
Summer Fridays CC Me Serum
Coola Sunless Tan Anti-aging Face Serum
OUAI Treatment Masque
Amika Un.Done Volume & Texture Spray
REN Screen Mineral SPF 30
Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick
Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser
Summer Fridays Overtime Mask
Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer
Augustinus Bader Discovery Duo
The Ordinary B Oil
REN Vita Mineral Lip Balm
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
The Ordinary Buffet
Aveda Invati Men Exfoliating Shampoo
Amika Brooklyn Bombshell Blowout Spray
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
OUAI Leave In Conditioner
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA
OUAI Super Dry Shampoo
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Frequently Asked Questions about Sulfate Free products
What is sulfate free?
Sulfates, or sulfates, are powerful detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts and are often added to self-care products to create a lather or bubbles. Sulfate free is the label given to products that do not contain sulfates.
How do sulfates work?
Sulfates are a surfactant, or in simpler terms, a degreaser. It’s a compound that works with both oil and water, with one end of the molecule attracted to oil and the other to water. They lift dirt and oil from your body before breaking them down so that they can be merrily washed away.
How do I know if a beauty product is sulfate free or not?
When it comes to scanning the ingredients label, the two biggies you should look out for are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
It’s also good to look out for ‘sul-fake’ ingredients, AKA compounds that are only one or two atoms away from being the real deal. The list includes:
- Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
- Sodium lauroyl isethionate
- Sodium lauroyl taurate
- Sodium cocoyl isethionate
- Sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate
- Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
- Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
If you see any of these ingredients, the product is not sulfate free.
Why do we need sulfate free beauty products?
The fact is, sulfates are a little too good at cleaning. With constant use, they can strip the natural oil from your hair and skin, making them dry and irritable.
While many myths of cancer, infertility and development issues have surrounded sulfates in the past, the general scientific consensus is that they pose no major threat to your health. But it might be best to go sulfate free if you want to avoid minor irritants and loss of hair health.
Should I go sulfate free?
Going sulfate free is all down to personal preference. If you’re worried about skin irritation and are aware that sulfates are the cause, then it might be worth giving some alternatives a try.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, it might be worth scouting out sulfate free products too, as the compound can clog pores.
What are sulfate free alternatives?
Natural and organic products can be a great substitute as they often ditch the whole ‘lathering up’ aspect; however, you should always double check the labels for those ‘sul-fakes’ we mentioned.
Your best bet is to go for oil-based soaps and shampoos or switch back to solid formulas instead of liquid.
Written by Alex Bryson, Content Strategist