Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about hair products before — including the best purple shampoos and the best conditioners — here, we’ve rounded up the best sulphate-free shampoos, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated sulphate-free shampoo
Over 5,000 Amazon customers have tried and tested this Olaplex shampoo, which is free of parabens, sulphates and phosphates and has a 4.5 star rating overall. With droves of repeat buyers and 80 percent five-star ratings, it’s the best-rated pick if you’re looking for a sulphate-free shampoo for general use. Olaplex is made in the U.S. using a patented formula and has been a long-term salon favourite, especially for chemically treated hair. (The Strategist’s resident beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton has recommended Olaplex treatments for double-processed hair.) The shampoo is intended to moisturise and repair, so dozens of reviews describe using it to restore bleached, overprocessed, or “fried” hair. That includes two reviewers who say its effect on their hair was nothing short of a miracle. One customer, in her 50s, posts a selfie alongside her review — she says the Olaplex treatment has made her confident enough to take the first photo of herself in a year. Although the shampoo may not be in everyone’s price range, most buyers say that it is well worth the money, and 20 reviewers reassure readers that a small amount goes a long way.
Best-rated (less expensive) sulphate-free shampoo
This affordable, easy-to-find shampoo from OGX is a best-seller on Amazon, where it holds 4.7 stars across over 1,500 ratings. Although all of OGX’s hair products claim to be sulphate-free, this is the most popular option among Amazon reviewers, many of whom say that the shampoo has made their hair softer, shinier and more manageable. It’s made with coconut milk and coconut oil, and more than 90 reviewers say that they love the shampoo’s fragrance. A couple of reviewers even say that the scent will leave your hair smelling fresh for days. However, for many people, the thing that really sets this shampoo apart is price — as one reviewer says, you would pay double in most high-street stores. For that price, you could also get OGX’s matching coconut milk conditioner, which is also regularly recommended in the comments.
Best sulphate-free shampoo for thinning hair
Over 12,000 customers have tried this anti-thinning sulphate-free shampoo, and more than 10,000 give it four or five stars. There are reviews from customers who report experiencing thinning hair for a variety of reasons, including aging or as a side effect of lupus or anaemia. Among U.K. buyers, there are thrilled reviews from ten people who thank Pura D’Or for curbing their hair loss, including one who says it has reduced their hair fall by 95%. Five other customers say that it has made their hair feel fuller, while two happily report that they no longer have to deal with hair sticking to their brush or comb. Or, as another customer puts it, there are no more sad moments staring down the drain of the shower. As a bonus, customers also say that the Pura D’Or shampoo is good for a sensitive scalp and smells wonderful — plus many people praise it as one of the few anti-thinning formulas that uses mostly natural ingredients.
Best sulphate-free shampoo for dry hair
One five-star review for this shampoo calls it an absolute godsend for frizzy, dry, or heat-styled hair. According to that customer, even hairdressers will be convinced — their stylist keeps telling them just how healthy their hair looks since they started using it. More than one quarter of the remaining commenters agree that the L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil range works well for people with dry and frizzy hair or a dry scalp. This affordable shampoo — which gets 4.6 stars across 812 reviews — is part of L’Oreal’s sulphate-free “low shampoo” range. That means it’s a “one-step” cleanser: It does the job of a shampoo and a conditioner in one bottle to be gentler on the hair and save time and money. (Do note, though, that low shampoos do not lather or foam like traditional shampoos.) As well as targeting dryness in general, apparently the Extraordinary Oil range works well on curls and afros — there are nearly 50 positive reviews to attest to that. For a further 20 reviewers, it’s the shiny hair that keeps them coming back, while 100 shout out the scent.
Best sulphate-free shampoo for oily or dandruff-prone hair
For buyers with oily hair, the best-rated sulphate-free shampoo on Amazon.co.uk is this botanical shampoo from Maple Holistics — it has 4.6 stars across over 1,500 ratings. Although there are very few comments from U.K. reviewers, international reviewers consistently rave about the effectiveness of this shampoo if you have excess oil or grease in your hair or scalp. There are particularly happy reviews from mothers who bought the shampoo for teenagers going through puberty. And many additional customers are so pleased with the product that they say they’ll buy it for the rest of their lives. This could be because of another key benefit: On top of managing oiliness, apparently, the Degrease shampoo works well to alleviate itchy scalps, buildup and help manage dandruff. It also contains no artificial fragrances or dyes.
Best sulphate-free shampoo for natural hair
This cleansing shampoo is intended for natural curly, coily, or wavy hair, and it has more than 600 ratings with 4.4 stars overall. It’s made by Cantu, a hair-care company that focuses on shea butter–based products for textured hair. It has no mineral oils, sulphates, parabens, or silicones — a shampoo without the nasties, as one customer puts it. Folks in the reviews describe success with curly hair of all types and textures, including wavy hair, afros, and everything in between. (Cantu provides a useful breakdown of hair types to determine your needs). It seems that word spreads with this shampoo: One of the reviewers mentions finding the Cantu shampoo on their hairdresser’s recommendation, and three customers say it’s worked wonders for their daughters. Many are particularly pleased with how it eliminates buildup. A dozen comments recommend using the shampoo alongside Cantu’s matching shea butter conditioner, which has equally good reviews and ratings on Amazon.
Best hypoallergenic, natural sulphate-free shampoo
Customers give this hypoallergenic, antifungal shampoo top marks because, as one person puts it, natural is the best choice. In total, 45 reviewers praise the natural ingredients: Specifically, five customers praise the brand for making the shampoo cruelty-free and vegan, and another five for making it organic. Indeed, there’s strong praise from the majority of buyers — among nearly 600 customers, the Tree to Tub shampoo has 92 percent four- and five-star ratings for an impressive 4.6 stars overall. The product is designed as a clarifying shampoo, which, according to one customer, leaves your hair feeling refreshed, silky and smooth. Although this is not the most affordable shampoo on this list, 15 of the reviewers strongly emphasise that — in their eyes — it was totally worth the splurge, particularly for the minty smell and the guilt-free ingredients list.
Best sulphate-free purple shampoo
This shampoo, which was our best-rated Amazon pick for purple shampoos, has more than 9,500 five-star ratings. The shampoo is made by Bold Uniq, a U.K.-based company that markets the product as an “ultrapigmented” purple shampoo. (Purple shampoos are designed to neutralise brassy tones and strengthen cool tones in blonde, grey, silver or decoloured hair.) Nearly 250 reviewers say Bold Uniq is the best purple shampoo they’ve found, and several say the results are visible from the first application. There are success stories (and accompanying photos) from dozens of people wishing to tone blonde hair, brighten greying hair, or even tint their hair purple. And unlike many of the other shampoos on this list, customers repeatedly say that it smells lovely. One five-star reviewer is so happy with the product’s effect on her hair that she can’t stop looking in the mirror — because it’s so hard to believe the results are real. This shampoo is also vitamin-enriched, paraben-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.