Why I Still Use Sulfate Shampoo On My Natural Hair

sulfate shampoo on natural hair

If you keep up with the trends in the natural hair community, you are aware that we have reached a common consensus that “sulfates” are the enemy. We just don’t use sulfate shampoo on natural hair, but why? Well, no one likes the feeling of stripped, dry, or matted hair caused by using traditional shampoos that contain sulfates.  But after trying almost every method of sulfate free hair cleansing from sulfate free shampoo to apple cider vinegar, I decided to return to using a sulfate shampoo, and I will share why below.

Creating a wash day routine was one of the hardest challenges in my natural hair journey. While transitioning I tested out my first sulfate free shampoo. It was by Mixed Chicks and it worked well for my transitioning hair. Once I went fully natural I struggled to find a sulfate free shampoo I  really loved, so I gave up shampoo all together. I turned to co-washing and co-wash cleansers which were much more gentle on my hair but irritated my scalp.

At this point I returned to using sulfate-free shampoo, but my scalp irritation was not going away. A day or two after washing my hair, my scalp would feel itchy and sore. I knew something was wrong so I visited a trusted natural hair stylist. She simply recommended washing my hair with a shampoo containing sulfates at least once a month.

I visited a trusted natural hair stylist. She simply recommended washing my hair with a shampoo containing sulfates at least once a month.

The advice was simple enough, but what shocks me the most is how negatively I viewed sulfates to the point where going back to traditional shampoo never even crossed my mind. It was a  practical solution to my scalp issues. I was on a quest for the perfect wash routine, making things more complicated than they had to be, essentially, doing to much all while my scalp suffered because it was not being cleansed properly.

The choice of whether to use a shampoo with sulfates or not is an individual one that every natural will have to make for his/herself. Properly clarifying the hair and scalp is extremely important and it’s ok to use a clarifying shampoo even though “sulfate free” is the marketing buzzword of the moment. There are many naturals who only co-wash and their hair is flourishing, but some of us need the real deal when it come time to clarify our hair and scalp.

Popular natural hair practices come and go. It’s important to always go with the option that is healthiest for your hair and convenient for your lifestyle.

How many of you all still use sulfate shampoo?

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  • Brittany says:

    A couple months ago, I used a sulfate shampoo for the first time in years. It felt like I was cheating on a boyfriend or something, lol. Once the bottle is done, I’m going back to cowashing. I don’t like how it makes my hair feel.

  • my momma did this for me when I was young and my hair grew just fine. I think there is no magic formula for one head. Sulfates are just something you may want to experiment with.

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