which would you rather have: a sulfate-free or a gentle poo?

I've tested several shampoos recently that were sulfate-free but left my hair a tangled, rough mess. Most of these had intense, rich, incredible lather which usually suggests a high intensity of surfactants, whether they are sulfates or not.

Would you rather have a sulfate-free poo, no matter how gentle it is--all because you are trying to avoid sulfates OR a gentle poo, whether it contains sulfates or alternate surfactants?

2b w/ some 3a
product tester geek
A gentler shampoo, of course! As long as you aren't using cones, a sulfate free shampoo that's gentle can work; but even if you don't, sometimes your hair wants the sulfates. No two people's hair ('cept for identical twins, of course) is the same.

I'm an exception on these boards. My hair can handle a moderate amount of cones and can also tolerate sulfate shampoos (though the trick is getting the right ones for the right seasons).
A gentle shampoo. Is there a list of them somewhere?

So many sulfate-frees I've tried were drying and seemed to strip my color.
I want the best of both worlds, a gentle sulfate-free shampoo! I found it with this one: http://www.curlmart.com/AG-Recoil-Cu...poo-p-899.html

In the past I either had to settle for low sulfates or deal with a stripping/tangling/matting sulfate-free cleanser.

Although... Activate Hydrating Shampoo is great for being sulfate-free. But good luck finding that one.

ETA: But I'd probably go with a gentle sulfate cleanser, if I had to choose.

Last edited by lazy loops; 09-19-2008 at 08:10 AM.
Although... Activate Hydrating Shampoo is great for being sulfate-free. But good luck finding that one.
Originally Posted by lazy loops
This is what I use when I 'poo, it's really moisturizing for me. I picked up the bottle (by accident!- I thought it was the conditioner! ) when it was still available in drugstores. That must have been at least two years ago... Most of the bottle is still left, I have a feeling it's going to go bad before I'm able to finish the whole thing.

I also found the Curl Junkie sulfate-free 'poos to be really gentle and moisturizing.
Brooklyn, NY

Hair: 3A/B, Underlayer of 2B
HG products:
Winter- Giovanni Tea Tree (co-wash) & 50/50 (condish); Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Leave-In; Curls Milkshake & Quenched Curls; Re:coil; BRHG
Summer: DevaCurl No Poo & OneC; CK; Re:coil; BRHG; Honey!!!

fotki pw= crrrls
Honestly, I would say the gentle sulfate. I've had my hair stripped by most non-sulfate poos I've tried, even ones that are supposed to be "organic" gentle enough for young children (e.g., Earth Friendly).

My hair usually takes several days of judicious moisturizing to recover. In contrast, however, a couple weeks ago I used TIGI Oatmeal & HOney shampoo for the first time. It has sulfates, but IIRC not too high up in the list and plenty of conditioners. My hair actually felt better than with conditioner only (well, it would since I had a lot of buildup and needed to clarify), and I needed a much smaller amount of conditioner once I'd shampooed than I usually need with co-washing.

But given the fact that most sulfates clean by weathering the hair shaft and can damage the follicles, too. I would rather use such shampoos at a max of twice a year, and try to find some non sulfate cleansers to use every month or so. At the moment I'm interested in trying aritha or Giovanni 50:50 shampoo.
I use Hugo Naturals red tea shampoo, which is sulfate free, and I think it's great. Does not leave my hair dried or tangled at all. I will be trying a couple of others soon too which look promising.
If i recall i loved the AO honeysuckle rose shampoo...i recall that being super moisturizing....someone on this board is sending me some shampoo bar samples so iam going to try those and see if my hair likes them again, its been years since ive used them to shampoo.

With my hair now, ive been using organic black soap, the kind from ghana which has shea butter, coconut oil, palm kernal oil as the main ingredients, followed by water and cocoa ash. very natural and my hair is left soft but i prefare to pre-poo with it just incase.
This is a fascinating question! I have been skeptical for some time about the cocomidapropyl betaine shampoos I've tried by Avalon Organics. They suds up quite a bit (though it's still hard to distribute through the hair, so I use more than I want to). Afterwards, my hair feels dry. I've wondered: what really IS the chemical reality that makes this better than a sulfate? Or is it a myth? Does anybody know?

I have no answer, but I'll tell you this much: the next 'poo I try might just have a sulfate or sulfonate in it, just further down on the ingredients list.

Wurly and proud!
Modified CG since 2008.
I use Mastey Triate shampoo. Works really well for me. Some of the health food shop lines do feel harsh.

I have sensitive skin that doesn't handle much sulfate. I itch all over and my hair falls out!
cocomidapropyl betaine shampoos in my opinion are not much better!!!!! I've tried several and was also left with DRY FRIZZ and unmanageable hair in general. Castille Soap on the other hand does not do this "to ME" but I also coat 1st with condish and try not to "lather up" like crazy and use just a dime size amt. I only use the Castille maybe 2X month.
Discovered CG 2007

2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

Link-Spritz & Condish Washing

I'm aCurlJunkieJunky

My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars

CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
Well, if my choice is between a sulfate-free shampoo that's harsh or a gentle sulfate shampoo, I'll take the gentle sulfate shampoo. However, there are sulfate-free shampoos that are gentle. I actually like both. I use sulfate-free shampoo a few times a week and a gentle sulfate shampoo once a week.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.

Any specific product recommendations, Boomygrrl? I seem to have more trouble finding shampoos than conditioners....

Wurly and proud!
Modified CG since 2008.
I rarely shampoo but when I did I really liked the Kinky Curly Come Clean which is, if I remember correctly, gentle and sulfate free.

naked naturals citrus & keratin (found at walgreens) is actually really gentle and has no lauryl or laureth sulfates. and it smells good!
Can't I have both?! I would choose the gentle shampoo, and that's what I do. I don't really worry too much about sulfates as long as it's not frying my hair.

guano: LB, wasn't there a Styler Chronicles due out? Did I miss it?

SF Bay Area, CA * "The Angel-Goddess-Guru of Haircoloring"
3b/c/a mix. medium texture, low porosity
My Motto: Strand Test! some hair pics
-- gone, but never forgotten.

Last edited by CurliLocks; 09-19-2008 at 12:30 PM.
The sulphate-free poos I have tried, like most people here, I have found really drying on my hair, much more so then normal shampoos, so generally I would go for a gentle poo every so often. Its weird how the 'natural' shampoos seem to strip hair more.

However I have finally found some completely natural shampoos that really do clean my hair without stripping it or ruining the curl- the Chagrin Valley shampoo bars. So for me I will be using these from now on with the very occassional normal shampoo if needed.
Ideally, I'd like both--a gentle sulfate free shampoo, but if I had to choose, I'd go for gentle with sulfates.
The reason for my question is that I have seen a lot of new sulfate-free poos come out that had intense lather (like AG Re:coil poo unfortunately, Lazy Loops) that I found very drying and some sulfate-containing poos that were surprisingly gentle (like Redken's new formula of Fresh Curls and new formula of All Soft with something-Luxe).

It's been an eye-opener for me because I'm thinking more and more that the formulators of the sulfate-free poos are heaping loads of these non-sulfate surfactants into their products to make sure they clean "adequately" and can still say they are sulfate-free, but they are going way overboard on the reason we buy sulfate-free.

On another side, one of my DH's best friends is a stylist who says "sulfates break color bonds" so he believes all who color their hair should use a sulfate-free poo.

And you guys know me--question everything and trust your personal experience. If some poo is drying, it ain't for me, sulfate-free or not.

Don't get me wrong. There are some great, gentle sulfate-free poos out there--Jessicurl HCC, Jessicurl Gentle Lather, Tigi Foxy Curls, Curls new poo (name escapes me), etc). I'm just seeing more and more that seem to be about the marketing potential for a sulfate-free poo rather than the practice.

Do you guys remember when Dove relaunched their poos with less sulfates? I found all of their poos extremely harsh, even the new formulas for drier hairtypes.

And then there are the natural brands like Nature's Gate that have some of the strongest poos out there, but they are sulfate-free. They (and other natural brands like Aubrey and Avalon Organics and...) push "sulfates are bad...unnatural...not as good for you...blah blah" but so is dried out hair from a non-sulfate source, I say.

Frankly, the only reason I'll never do a poo review series is that I find poos can do SO much damage so quickly that can't be reversed. A harsh poo once and a while from doing my reviews for the product reviews section of nc.com is one thing. But when I do these series, there are SO many products that I test back to back to back that there would be no recovery time if I ended up in a string of harsh poos in a series of tests.
2b w/ some 3a
product tester geek
The reason for my question is that I have seen a lot of new sulfate-free poos come out that had intense lather (like AG Re:coil poo unfortunately, Lazy Loops) that I found very drying and some sulfate-containing poos that were surprisingly gentle (like Redken's new formula of Fresh Curls and new formula of All Soft with something-Luxe).
Originally Posted by laurabeth33
That just goes to show folks that no two curly heads are alike.

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