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Question

The sulfate and non-sulfate issue is confusing me. I am trying to start a shampoo free routine and I have no idea what the harsh sulfates are? Please help!

Answer

Here is a handy dandy list of sulfate information to work from.

Harsh sulfates to avoid in cleansers:

  • Sodium Laureth, Myreth, Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate
  • TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate 
  • Sodium Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate

Gentler, very mild sulfates in cleansers:

  • Sodium Cocyl Isethionate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
  • Sodium Socoyl (or lauryl/lauroyl) Sarcosinate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  • Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
  • Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate
  • Methyl Cocoyl or Lauryl Taurate - mild, derived from coconut fatty acids 
  • Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate

Thanks to our CurlChemist, Tonya McKay Becker, for help formulating these lists.


This article was originally published in October 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

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