What Does Sulfate-Free Shampoo Do for Your Hair?


Seldom do women link their more severe hair and scalp struggles to their shampoo; however, the very ingredients that spawn the bubbles may cause hair loss, inflammation, color fade, breakage, and split-ends.

The foaming agents in most shampoos are called sulfates. In the past, these shampoos were your reliable go-to when needed to scrub layers of hairspray and gel from your thick mane. Your natural oils were abundant, and your healthy follicles could sprout new hairs with ease. Yet like your hairstyle choices from days-gone-by, your hair and scalp have changed, and using a sulfate shampoo makes no more sense than sporting tall and teased ‘80s bangs.

What does sulfate-free shampoo do for your hair? Sulfate-free shampoos incorporate low-lather cleansers and natural hydrating agents that gently clean and nourish your hair and scalp. The distinction between sulfate and sulfate-free shampoos can, by and large, have a lasting impact on the pleasure you get from your aging hair.

What Sulfate Shampoos Do for Your Hair

Sulfates are a type of surfactant, a blend of molecules that draws in oil and dirt and separates it from your hair and scalp. When mixed into water, surfactants minimize liquid surface tension, allowing foreign particles to be carried away from your body and down the drain. The problem with sulfate surfactants is that they act indiscriminately, stripping away your natural oils and proteins, leaving your hair and scalp dry and unprotected.

There are hundreds of sulfate compounds, but the most commonly used in cosmetic products are sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS).

How Sulfates Harm Your Aging Hair

Sulfates can be tough on anyone’s hair, but especially if it is aging. Physiological changes triggered by menopause can cause hair loss, decreased melanin production, shrinking follicles, and a drop in protein and vitamin absorption.

Age weakens your hair’s outer cuticle layer, and sulfate shampoos sap its strength even further. Sulfates push through and tear apart the roof-shingle-like cuticle cells, causing them to lift and buckle, leaving your strand’s inner cortex exposed to damaging heat or moisture. Your hair strands become prone to breakage, split-ends, and frizziness.

How Sulfates Harm Your Aging Scalp

Your sebaceous glands, situated at the base of your follicles, produce sebum, a sophisticated blend of sugars, waxes, fatty acids, and other natural chemicals. Sebum waterproofs and protects your scalp from moisture loss and disease-carrying pathogens.

Your sebaceous glands manufacture less sebum as you age, causing dry hair and scalp irritation.  Sulfate shampoos strip away sebum needed for a healthy scalp, leaving your skin vulnerable to inflammation, rashes, and infection.

What Sulfate-Free Shampoos Do for Your Hair

Like your skin, the requisites of your hair and scalp evolve as time passes.  In addition to gradual dryness, your locks become finer due to shrinking follicles. Sulfate-free shampoos implementing milder surfactants can clean your delicate strands without harming your hair biology. Other benefits of sulfate-free shampoo include:

  • An irritation-free scalp — Without harsh skin-irritating surfactants, even mature sensitive scalps will enjoy reduced itching and inflammation.

  • Long-lasting color — If you use gray-concealing dyes or like to experiment with new and fun hues, sulfate-free shampoo is a must. It will pull out impurities without fading your color, letting you go longer between touch-ups.

  • Balanced moisture — Sebum production is imperative for shiny, pliant strands, and sulfate-free shampoos preserve this vital scalp function, sustaining its natural biome.

  • Frizz-free hair — Frizz happens most to damaged hair due to opened cuticles allowing in humid air and swelling your hair strands. For frizz-free locks, clean first using a sulfate-free shampoo and then rinse with cool water to seal your cuticles.

Better Not Younger Sulfate-Free Shampoos Gently Clean and Protect

Regardless of age, hair that appears shiny, thick, and bouncy signals health and beauty. Your strands are changing, and the products you use to care for them are more critical now than ever.

Better Not Younger's sulfate-free shampoos address the underlying needs of maturing hair. Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Second Chance Low Suds Repairing Shampoo include gentler surfactants that remove dirt and oil build-up while giving you clean, protected and healthy tresses.

Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo

This lightly moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo is unequaled for fine and thinning hair. It spreads through your hair with ease and washes away trace-free, leaving your hair unencumbered by residue or build-up. Wake Up Call’s ingredients include cleansers to safeguard your fragile cuticles, nourishing nutrients to moisturize your hair, and natural astringents to unclog your follicles:

    • Burdock root (Arctium lappa) — This plant is rich in essential fatty acids, iron, vitamin A, and potassium. Wake Up Call delivers it to your scalp and follicles where new hair generates.

    • Sage (Salvia officinalis) — This cleansing astringent clears out follicles and stabilizes scalp oil production.

    • Hops (Humulus lupulus) — Hops are flush with antioxidant oils and natural moisturizers to thicken and smooth your hair.


Second Chance Low Suds Repairing Shampoo for Dry/Damaged Hair

Hormonal changes dry out aging hair, and high-heat styling products and chemical processing add insult to injury. Second Chance Low Suds Repairing Shampoo is a sulfate-free alternative that feels and works differently than sulfate shampoos and utilizes healthful ingredients like:

      • Rice bran oil — Rice bran oil provides protein and amino acids to bolster strand tensile strength and safeguard it against oxidative stress.

      • Argan oil (Argania spinosa) — Argan oil shores up follicle health and moisturizes your hair and scalp for maximum luster.

      • Birch bark extract (Betula alba) — Birch bark is abundant in Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E, micronutrients vital for maintaining thriving sebaceous glands, creating collagen, and reducing oxidative stress.


Better Not Younger Addresses Maturing Hair’s Underlying Needs

Your scalp and hair biology has changed, and sulfate shampoos you once used with abandon may lead to problems ranging from color fade to hair breakage. By adjusting to fewer suds, you will have vibrant hair and a hearty scalp. 

 Try Better Not Younger’s Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Second Chance Low Suds Repairing Shampoo for Dry/Damaged Hair — find out for yourself what sulfate-free shampoo can do for your hair.

Visit our Better Not Younger Shop page for more sulfate-, paraben-, and cruelty-free products.