What is Sulphate Free Shampoo?

What is sulfate free shampoo?

Sulphate free shampoo is a growing trend in the haircare industry. But why? Has it been discovered that sulphates are dangerous? Damaging to hair? Maybe we just don’t need them?

Do you read your hair and beauty product labels? If you do you’ll probably have noticed that many products including shampoo, cleanser, body wash and even toothpaste can include sulphate! So, what is sulphate? Should I avoid it? Let’s explore.

What are sulphates?





A Sulfate is a salt that forms when sulphuric acid reacts with another chemical. It’s a broader term for other synthetic sulphate-based chemicals you may be concerned about, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES); these two types are most commonly used in the haircare industry. If you’d like to know the difference between SLS and SLES click here.

They’re derived from sulphur which does in fact occur naturally, yet is usually synthesised from petrolatum) and Lauryl alcohol (often from coconut oil).

Sulphates have long been added to many products (as mentioned above), due to their foaming, oil and grease emulsifying, polishing abilities.

Are sulphates safe to use? 

The consensus among scientists is that sulphates are generally safe for use in our products. However, sulphates have been known for their skin irritating effects, frizz causing, colour fading, and skin/hair dehydrating!

So, what’s so bad about sulphates? 

Besides the negative skin and hair results, when looking at Sulphates from a conscious perspective (as we do at INSIGHT), we question the sustainability of those using sulphates! We at INSIGHT choose products that do not have a negative affect on the planet! Companies using sulphates are using Petrolatum;  a diminishing material- the main reason Eco-friendly, sustainable companies are banishing the ingredient from their products!

How to spot sulphates in ingredient lists

When searching ingredient lists look out for:

  • SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate)
  • Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate
  • SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
  • SDS (Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate)
  • Sulfuric Acid Monododecyl Ester Sodium Salt
  • Sodium salt
  • Hydrogen Sulphate Dodecyl alcohol
  • Sodium Dodecane Sulfate
  • Sodium Monododecyl Sulphate

Sulphate free shampoo and your hair type 

You may be wondering what benefits sulphate free shampoo come with! Let’s answer this in accordance to your hair type!

Is your hair curly or frizzy?


When introducing sulphate free shampoo to curly or frizzy hair, you will see immediate difference!  Sulphate lifts the hair cuticle, making it particularly prone to frizz. The drying effects of sulphate will also make curls less manageable and the internal formation of the curl weaker! Opt for a sulphate free shampoo!

We recommend:

insight anti frizz shampoo
INSIGHT Anti Frizz Shampoo








Is your hair coarse or dry?


If you want smooth and soft hair rather than coarse, dry hair, ditch the sulphate!

Along with curls or frizz, your hair needs natural oils to stay put! Shampoos with sulphates wash all of these brilliant shine giving, healthy oils down your drain! A sulphate free shampoo will dramatically improve the hydration of your hair, leaving it feeling soft and smooth!

We recommend:

insight dry hair shampoo
INSIGHT Dry Hair Shampoo

Is your hair coloured or damaged?

Whilst sulphate free shampoo is great for thicker hair, is it also as good for thin and damaged hair? Absolutely! Sulphate free shampoo will be extremely gentle on your coloured or damaged hair. As in the two previous cases, you want to keep those natural oils to nourish and replenish lost health. In this case we would also suggest you use a mask for damaged or coloured hair!

We recommend:

insight damaged shampoo
INSIGHT Damaged Shampoo