SLS-Free Shampoos For Swishy Hair Like A Pony

Advances in magical beauty technology mean that there are a stack of shampoos out there on the market containing gentler cleansing agents derived from corn, coconut and oats -- go forth!
Publish date:
February 13, 2013
shoppables, hair, I want to be a pony, hair products, sulphate-free shampoo

I never had my hair cut as a child, until the age of 11. I begged my parents to let me have it all cut off, at this point it was long and blonde and I could sit on it, and if I went for a wee I used to have to flick my pony tail over my shoulder so it wouldn’t hang in the toilet.

Looking back, it was gorgeous -– I can see why they wanted my sister and me to keep our long hair, but I hated it. I wanted it GONE.

When I finally got my way and was sat in the hairdresser’s chair for the very first time ever, I obviously instantly became a massive drama queen. HUGE. I actually hyperventilated when my ponytail was cut off and then had an asthma attack, like the real hard-nut I am.

I needed my inhaler. Because of a haircut.

Suffice to say, my parents thought it was hilarious. Anyway –- I left with a shoulder length bob and decided I would never have long hair again. NEVER! I kept my hair short for the next 11 years, dedicating way more money than was sane on trims, re-styles, highlights, hair products that would keep my long bob looking half decent, hats for when a trip to the hairdressers inevitably went wrong and I ended up looking demented.

Following my last "proper" hair cut when the hairdresser cut it too short and made it look flappy and ridiculous three years ago, I decided enough was ENOUGH. That was IT. I was going to grow my hair. Unfortunately my hair didn’t quite want to play ball, so it took months and months for it to get past that flappy stage.

It’s hanging around nipple length at the moment, which is handy if I ever want to recreate that Alanis video and walk the streets with no top on, and isn’t in too bad condition thanks to the myriad of treatments I stock in our bathroom. It looks like a chemist in there, for realz.

Since I want to nurture my new found-ponytail, I have been using SLS-free products recently in a bid to be as scalp friendly as possible. Sulphates have been used for decades as cleansing and foaming agents in cleaning products, shower gels and hair products, and no doubt you have used them. They aren’t dangerous, but they can strip the hair of natural oils and leave dry ends weak and damaged, bad news if you’re trying to get some length!

Over cleansing with products that use sulphates can actually strip your hair of color, meaning that expensive dye-job won’t last half as long. Bad times, yo! I recently dip-dyed the ends pink, and have found that washing with these gentler cleansers means that my color has stayed brighter for longer. Double win!

Actually getting your grubby mitts on an effective SLS-free shampoo (conditioners don’t contain SLS) used to be a struggle, but advances in magical beauty technology mean that there are a stack of shampoos out there on the market containing gentler cleansing agents derived from corn, coconut and oats -= gentler agents actually cleanse the hair just as well as these harsher chemicals. Look out for "sulphate-free" or "SLS-free" on the packaging -– these products will be gentler and kinder to your scalp and hair.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks lathering, rinsing and repeating, and here are my SWISHY PONYTAIL TOP THREE:

Bumble and Bumble Straight Shampoo £23 for 250ml

This one lathers like a dream (not all SLS free products do, although foaming isn’t an indicator to how well your hair is being cleaned), felt luxurious and made my hair soft and manageable. My highlights also looked bright, and fresh, when in fact I was testing this shampoo before I had my roots done and the color was as dull as dishwater. Quite a feat! The only issue I have is the price, which is pretty hefty for a shampoo. It needs to be able to make me a cup of coffee and brush my hair for me to warrant the price. It is kinda worth it, though.

L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo £5.99 for 250ml

This was just a fraction of the price and still lathers well, and has a sweet, pleasant fragrance. The formula contains botanical rosemary and juniper oils, and is really quite moisturizing, so may not be good for those with oilier hair. I enjoyed using this and would probably buy it again, as the ends of my hair were definitely less dry and damaged after using it –- even when I use my salt spray which absolutely sucks the life out of it (but makes it look HAWT).

Joico Smooth Cure Shampoo £12.99 for 350ml

I hadn’t heard of this brand before I started looking out for SLS free products, and I’m really glad I have. I trialed the "Smooth Cure," for frizzy and coarse hair, and I found it smoothed out my pony and left me swishing it like I thought I was in a haircare advert. It’s a little pricier than the L’Oreal, but you DO get more product (and I preferred the fragrance, I’m a sucker for a scent). They do tons of different offerings, and I’m definitely going to order some of the K-Pak Liquid Reconstructor next. I LOVE BUYING STUFF!

So that’s my round up of the best I’ve tried, and I tried A LOT. I chose three because I hate actually having too much choice, you know? Have you switched to SLS free? If you have, how have you found it? Have you found another brand you love? And what was your WORST EVER HAIRCUT? Share the love, people!

Natalie’s taking riveting photos of her ponytail and posting them on twitter: @Natalie_KateM.