Nigar & Kayennat

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Hair Week: Favourite shampoos: Sulphates and Sulphate-Free

We're a bit divided in the Desi Dossier household; I'm firmly planted in the sulphate free camp (along with the hubby) and Nigar isn't that fussed. Mum switches camp depending on her mood. Dad uses a soap, but we don't talk about that.

*This post is co-written by me and Nigar


Current hair colour and length, 4 days post wash (August 2014)

The deal with sulphates: 

There are many types; most common is Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS), others include anything that ends with the word sulphates (except a few like sodium-coco sulphate, made from coconut oil). 

Sulphates are what causes shampoos/facial washes/body washes to "foam" and have bubbles. We associate bubbles with cleaning and let's face it, we love bubbles! It's a surfactant, cleans well and dirt cheap. 

So what's my problem with them? 

Well on your face they alter your skin's pH (read my little rant here in my skin diaries) and causes all kind of havocs. 

On your scalp, it dehydrates your scalp, is really harsh, dries hair out, and can cause hair loss. They can also make your hair look really dull, feel heavy (due to silicone in the shampoo/conditioner) and fade hair colour if you have dyed your hair. As a result hair is lacklustre and limp. 

Before I switched to suphate free shampoos, I still had good hair. It's genetics yo. I am blessed and the fact that I used to regularly oiled my hair helped to combat the dull/dry hair that sulphates can cause.

I've been sulphate free for about 4 years now I think, and every time I've tried a sulphate shampoo in between I've hated it (there are a few "normal" shampoos I would use though If I had no access to sulphate free ones for some hypothetical reasons; see list below).

 I jumped on the bandwagon because I read a lot about the miracles of going sulphate free. I'm always constantly striving towards a more "natural" state so it was pretty normal for me to try it out. Since then my good hair is even better, longer, thicker, and easier to not wash as often. I now also use a cleansing conditioner so for some washes I don't even shampoo (more on that tomorrow). 

My favourite sulphate free shampoos (As many sulphate free shampoos use coco sulphates as an alternative, if it's free of the bad sulphates -e.g. SLS it WILL say sulphate free on the packaging): 

L'Oreal Sulphate free Range: I've flirted with the entire range and my absolute favourite is the Ever Riche Shampoo and Conditioner. This is the best affordable sulphate free shampoo I've used. I've been repurchasing this since it launched and it's just amazing. It lathers well and smells nice. Also leaves my hair clean, light, soft and silky.
(They have something called the Ever Riche Absolute Oil Precieux- fancy- meaning Precious oil, except when I read the ingredients there wasn't anything precious in there.....damn marketing)

Organix:  I don't love the Organix shampoos as much as the L'oreal ones but they are nice. I enjoy using them and they have really really amazing scents. A very decent lather. 
Personal favourites include the Argan oil of Moroccan range, Macademia oil range, Cherry blossom ginseng range and the Awapuhi ginger range. They used to do a vanilla range that smelt exactly of creme brulee before but it has been discontinued :( 

Liz Earle Shampoos are amazing. They foam the least out of the ones mentioned here, but foaming isn't indicative of cleaning power. It's also the most expensive of the lot coming in at £8 for 200 ml. It's luxurious and cleans really well, with a mild scent. 

Soap and Glory: This smells delicious, leaves your hair feeling light, the packaging is fun. There's no sulphates in the ingredients however this shampoo doesn't say sulphate free on it. I have emailed the company to ask them to clarify on this and will update if I get a response.  

There are way more sulphate free shampoos available but mostly from higher end brands and I refuse to pay double figures for them. Most of them are priced in the £20 ranges and upwards. At that price, it better be drying dry my hair and style it for me too. 

The only Sulphate shampoos I like: 

Anything from the L'Oreal Elvive Range 

Prior to being sulphate free  all I used were L'Oreal shampoos and conditioners. I have pretty much tried everything on the market but nothing ever did anything for me. 

If you have thin hair try out their Fibrology range. I tried it out recently and it made my hair even bigger. Love. 

My old time favourite is Nutri-Gloss (the pink one). 

I hate Herbal Essences as they used to dry my hair out. I hate Aussie Shampoos (Nigar likes them), I hate Pantene, I hate Sunsilk and I hate VO5. 


Current hair colour and length; rocking my Gryffindor Top as well as my mop of hair.

I have to deal with hair fall out regardless what shampoo I use. For me, the majority of my fallout occurs when I'm washing out my conditioner, but the intensity varies depending on how recently I oiled it. Im not too fussed about sulfates, but I'm also not too fussed about shampoos. I haven't found one that I would stay loyal too, but there are ones that I always go back to once in a while.

Loreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil ShampooNourishing Shampoo For Dry Hair. I've been using this for around 3 weeks, and I fell in love. It made my hair so soft and manageable after the first wash that my blow dry went from a frizzy mess to sleek and shiny. I do feel how ever that my hair has gotten used to it, and that amazingness isn't quite as obvious anymore. It smells very manly, which is a smell I quite like in a shampoo. 

 It contains flower oil extracts from Rose, Chamomile, Flax, Lotus, Tiara and Sunflower. 
This contains sulfates, but as Kay said, I'm not too fussed.

Hair post wash and blow dry with L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Shampoo

Aussie: There are a few shampoos that I've tried from the Aussie haircare range, but the one main one for me is the luscious long line. I adore the scents of this shampoo. It doesn't exactly do miracles for my hair, but it doesn't harm it either. This is one shampoo that I always come back to after doing my rounds of trying out new shampoos. I started using this back when I was still in school- around 8/9 years ago. 

L'Oreal Sulphate free Range: I also like this shampoo. I first tried it when Kay bought it home, and I found it nice. Again, not in love it with it, but I have bought it a few times when I've felt the urge to go sulfate-free. Living with Kayennat makes you doubt yourself; when she can go 7 days without washing her hair and I can only go 2/3 before my greasy hair gives me a headache. 

Now for real, no shampoo list of mine if complete without the Bleach London Silver Shampoo. This helps keep my blonde dead ends lovely and brass-free, and makes the process of killing my hair worth it. If you guys have ombre hair, or even blonde hair, or highlights, here's my guide to managing ombre hair- all based on my experiences. 

Share your thoughts/feelings/opinions/woes in the comments below. We don't bite. Promise! 

What's your favourite shampoo? 


  1. I love Loreal too. My hair's limp, limp, limp so I'm going to check out if that Fibrology range is here.

    1. When I was little I wanted to be a L'Oreal spokesperson :(

  2. I've recently gone SLS free with Khadi Herbals, being in India it is very hard to find sulphate free products. I'm constantly looking for more sulphate free options in India, less chemicals for good hair. :)

    1. Even in England it's hard to find sulphate free products. All the good products seems to be American ones!
      Have you tried conditioner cleansing? read about it here

  3. You guys have amazing hair. I'm actually trying to find shampoo and conditioner that is more natural and less chemicals that still does a good job with my hair. I'll have to look into some of the sulphate-free ones that you suggested.Thanks :)

    1. Have you tried conditioner cleansing?

  4. Replies
    1. Sorry anonymous, but we're British not American. ✋

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