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How Sulfates Affect Your Red Hair & Everything You Need To Know

Avoid This Hair Care Ingredient!

Updated: May 25th, 2023

Perfecting your red hair care routine can be a journey of trial and error, and often involves a lot of questions to determine how to best take care of it. Is your hair frizzy? Is it curly? How does it react to this/that? The list goes on and on. But something particularly important that should be on your radar are the ingredients in your products. That includes sulfates, one of the most hotly contested additives in the hair care world.

When you look at the label or the online descriptions of your favorite hair care products, you might notice it says they are “free of sulfates”. But what are sulfates?

Sulfates occur when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical. Sulfates can often be found in household products like liquid soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent, toothpaste, and bath products. Additionally, sulfates can be found in hair care products. It’s one of the main ingredients that allow the shampoo to lather. Without sulfates, you would not experience those satisfying suds when you wash your hair. The divide between sulfate and sulfate-free products has gone on for years. 

Sulfates help a shampoo to remove oil and dirt from your hair. However, hair needs some of its natural moisture and oil to remain healthy. If the concentration of sulfates is too high (above 15%) in a shampoo, it can strip away too much — leaving your red hair dry and brittle.

Sulfates can also irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs when used long-term, additionally, sulfates may be contaminated with a substance that has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. In addition to the health concerns of sulfates, there are environmental concerns such as the toxicity to animals if the product is improperly disposed of. Many products with sulfates are tested on animals to measure the level of irritation which is another reason not to use products that contain them.

Since most redheads want to keep their (natural or by-choice) red hair vibrant, sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner products are always recommended. Here are our top-6 favorites:

1. Finally Glossy® Shine & Luminosity Shampoo for Redheads

It took many years to custom-make the Finally Glossy® formula and we’re so excited for redheads to enjoy it. We’re thrilled to release another clean redhead beauty product. It is paraben-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, petroleum-free, mineral-oil, and vegan. It also contains no perfume, is free of gluten and is silicone-free, phthalate-free, formaldehyde-free and cocamidopropyl betaine-free. This clean formula is formulated with Vitamin B3, olive oil, coconut oil and green tea.


2. Love Beauty And Planet Volume and Bounty Shampoo & Conditioner


3. RENPURE Plant Based Coconut & Vitamin E Shampoo


4. HASK ROSE OIL + PEACH Shampoo and Conditioner 


5. Botanic Hearth Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner Set



6. BELLISSO Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set


READ: 5 Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands for Redhead Makeup Lovers

READ: 6 Sulfate-Free Shampoos For Redheads Under $30

READ: 5 Products That Might be Drying Out Your Red Hair

Rock it like a Redhead!