I had the same experience...and with Shea Moisture Shampoo. I found it was great for my hair but terrible for my scalp (and senses with the strong smell!) Just recently, I went on vacation and stayed at a hotel that provided a sulfate-free shampoo that actually worked really well! I took the sample/travel size home, and I'm loving it. So there are good sulfate-free ones out there that actually clean your hair, but sometimes they are hard to find. For me, lowpoos can either dry out or not clean my hair. If a sulfate one works for you, go for it! For optimum moisture absorption, the hair should be clean anyway.
2c/2b with some 2a, coarse, dense, thick, low porosity
Growing out a CL bob. Currently at APL.
CG again as of 7/20/12

Cleanser: BRÖÖ Smoothing I.P.A. Shampoo
RO: Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner
LI: Kinky-Curly Knot Today
Styler: Beautiful Curls Gel for Wavy to Curly Hair

all-natural products, light moisture, humectants, argan oil
silk protein, synthetic ingredients, heavy oils/products, cowashing