Switching to sulfate free was the best thing I ever did for my hair and scalp. My roots used to be oily and my ends dry. Now my scalp has balanced out and I no longer have an oily scalp. I can literally go 3 to 4 days without washing and it doesn't look gross at all. I switched by going to a cleansing conditioner (Hair One at Sally's). For the first 3 or 4 weeks, my scalp looked pretty greasy. But after that, it was great. Within 6 months, I had really healthy hair, so much so that my stylist asked what I was doing differently.
What hapens is that sulfates in normal shampoos and in clarifying shampoos strip your scalp of oil and your hair of moisture. This causes your scalp to overcompensate and produce even more oil. It's a vicious cycle. So when you go sulfate free, your scalp is still overcompensating and it takes a couple of weeks to figure out it can cut back on oil production. I just wore my hair up a lot during those adjustment weeks and washed my hair every other day.
Turns out I'm allergic to the wheat protein in the Hair One, so I had to stop using it. Now I use a low-poo on my scalp only and a good conditioner on my hair. Seems to work ok for me still.
As for the knots... I detangle with my fingers in the shower. No combs or brushes! I also add extra conditioner at my nape in the shower because that's where I tangle the most. When I first started doing that, it seemed odd, but it has really cut down on the amount of hair I "lose" now. A leave in conditioner might help you with that too.
Hair Properties: 2A/2B, Medium-fine, Normal porosity, Normal elasticity, Medium density
Low Poo: DevaCare, Yes to Cucumbers
Rinse Out: DevaCare One Condition, Yes to Cucumbers
Cowash: Suave Naturals Lavender
Curl Cream: AG ReCoil, Organix Moroccan Oil Curl Cream
Gel/Mousse: AIF, AIA Curling Jelly, Sweet Elixirs Flax Seed Gel w/ Mag Sulfate added, DevaCurl Frizz Free Foam, Aquage Uplifting Foam
Protein: Spiral Solutions Protein Spray for daily use