Dear Curly Suzy: 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!

Dear Alice: 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.