Can Sulfate-Free Shampoo Dry Out My Hair?

As those of us with aging scalps can attest, using the wrong shampoo can make an already challenging condition much worse.

One of the main advantages of using quality sulfate-free shampoos is that they are much gentler on sensitive scalps when used properly. They won’t exacerbate the dryness or itching you may already be experiencing. 

Sulfate-free shampoos are less likely to dry out your hair than sulfate shampoos. This is especially true when you use sulfate-free shampoos designed to treat the underlying causes of dryness.

What Are Sulfate Shampoos?

Sulfates are cleansing agents found in toothpaste, detergents and shampoos. There are many kinds. However, the main sulfate types are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). 

Sulfates are the chemical ingredients that turn our shampoos into a sudsy lather. Particles called surface action (surfactant) molecules reduce water tension, allowing thousands of soap bubbles to form. These bubbles pull away dirt and grease from your hair, trapping it until you rinse it down the drain.

Sulfates are great at getting rid of excess impurities, but they can also strip away your natural oils and lipids, causing scalp irritation and dried-out hair. A bad combination when your hair’s already experiencing the effects of menopause.

Why Sulfate-Free Shampoos Are Better for Your Hair

As we go through life, our hair's texture and condition are impacted by environmental, styling and aging issues. In addition to gradual dryness, our follicles contract, and our hair grows wispy and fine.


Sulfate-free shampoos use mild surfactants to gently clean your fragile strands without disrupting your hair’s underlying biology. Here are more reasons sulfate-free shampoos may be better for your hair:

    • Hair color lasts longer — Sulfate shampoos clean by pushing past your hair's protective cuticles. Most sulfate-free shampoo formulas cleanse away your hair’s impurities without cuticle damage. This helps protect your color-treated hair.
    • Balanced hydration — Sebum production is crucial to fortify and nourish your mane and keep it shiny and pliant. Sulfate-free shampoos do not strip away vital sebum oil the way sulfate shampoos do, helping to preserve your hair's natural biome.
  • Irritation-free scalp — Avoid irritating your tender scalp by using a mild sulfate-free shampoo and enjoy less itching and inflammation.
  • Protect your keratin treatment — Sulfate shampoos can undo the effects of your hair-smoothing keratin treatments. Sulfate-free products, on the other hand, leave your expensive keratin service alone.
  • Frizz-free tresses — Some sulfate shampoos may cause frizzy hair by creating a negative electrical charge or opening your cuticles and allowing humid air to swell your strands. To reduce frizz, use a sulfate-free shampoo, and then to seal your cuticles, rinse with cool water.

  • What Hair Types Can Use Sulfate-Free Shampoos?

    Some hair types do better with sulfate-free shampoos than others. Women with oily hair or those who use many styling products sometimes find they need sulfates to remove heavier grease and product buildup. 

    The majority of sulfate-free shampoos on the market were designed to treat any hair type. They’re advertised as a gentler cleansing choice to sulfate shampoos. That said, shampoos created for specialty needs include ingredients that specifically target those issues.

    Better Not Younger’s formulations were created by an MIT scientist based on each ingredient’s proven ability to counter age-related hair and scalp conditions. That includes dryness. 

    How Sulfate-Free BNY Shampoos Counter Age-Related Dryness

    Age-related scalp and hair dryness are symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations that begin as we approach menopause

    As we age, our scalps expand, reducing the density of our hair. Our scalp skin loses collagen, gets thinner, and less blood flow reaches the surface. This means that fewer nutrients and oxygen gets delivered to the skin and follicles. 

    The sebaceous glands located at the base of our follicles typically manufacture plenty of sebum to coat our strands, providing enough elasticity, strength and moisture to prevent breakage. Our bodies stop producing as much of this natural oil, contributing to the inflammation, itchiness and dryness we experience.

    Knowing what’s going on with our bodies is the first step in finding the right solution. Better Not Younger’s hair-care products, including its sulfate-free shampoos, contain a proprietary blend of ingredients to achieve the healthiest hair and scalp at any age.

    Second Chance Repairing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair

    Second Chance Repairing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair was made for tresses that have been through the worst. It was carefully formulated to bring your hair back from the brink using natural ingredients including:

    • Argania spinosa (argan) oil – Argan oil is rich in antioxidants (vitamin E and polyphenols) and unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linoleic acid). It helps prevent water loss, neutralizes free radicals and hydrates your hair.
    • Rice bran oil — Rice bran oil is sourced from the inner husk and germ of rice. It is loaded with hydrating ingredients, including vitamin E, oleic acid and linoleic. It also has protein and amino acids to strengthen brittle hair. 
    • Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) fruit extract — Passionflower is abundant in vitamins A and C, omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid. These nutrients moisturize and slow free radical damage.

     Silver Lining Purple Brightening Shampoo

    Silver Lining Purple Brightening Shampoo for Grey & White Hair are lightweight shampoos formulated to nourish your scalp, stimulate blood flow and counter age-related dryness with ingredients like:

    • Bamboo — Because of its high 70% silica content, bamboo improves moisture retention, resists frizz caused by dryness while softening and strengthening your hair. 
    • Meadowfoam seed oil — Meadowfoam seed oil’s long-chain fatty acids work as an emollient, locking moisture into your scalp and hair. This rich seed oil also adds luster, manages frizz and improves pliability.
    • Arctium lappa (Burdock) Root — Burdock root is loaded with iron, vitamin A, potassium and essential fatty acids to strengthen and hydrate your hair. 

    Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo to Help with Dryness

    Like the rest of our bodies, our hair requirements change as we get older. The heavy sulfate shampoos we once used to effortlessly wash away mile-high hair spray won’t work on our maturing hair. 

    Better Not Younger’s sulfate-free shampoos were formulated to work with your aging hair biology. They gently clean your locks and nourish your scalp without disrupting their natural pH levels. Try them for yourself along with the rest of our hair-care solutions by dropping by our Shop Page.