Before we get all panic stations, chemicals aren’t necessarily bad for your hair

Working on a hairdressing magazine brings daily shocks and surprises – don’t even ask me how many brands of hair extensions there are, or about the various methods used to apply them. But for all of the bamboozlement, there is a lot to learn, and some of it I’m oh-so-glad to pass on to the rest of you. 

Today’s big news? Generally speaking, shampoos and conditioners are full of chemicals. Now, before we get all panic stations, chemicals aren’t necessarily bad for your hair. Your hair is dead, y’know, and will eventually get trimmed off and thrown away, and whatever you put on your hair will not be absorbed into your bloodstream (although chances are it’ll get in through your skin in the shower, in very tiny amounts). 

But chemicals aren’t great for the environment (don’t even get me started on microbeads), and ultimately, it’s just nice to have some options, isn’t it? Without further ado… 


This sulphate-free range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products is unusual in sulphate-free terms: not only is it concerned with making sure its products are free of nasties, but it’s got a second focus – colour.

Pureology promises to help conserve your dye job. Does it work? Who can say? What we can say, though, is that Pureology smells and feels incredible and, unlike many natural haircare choices, it lathers up amazingly! It’s my favourite of the sulphate-free ranges I’ve tried. P.S. This is salon-only.

Color Wow

Color Wow doesn’t even use “sulphate-free” in its “about us” page, instead focusing, like Pureology, on offering a solution for colour-treated hair that fades before its time. Its root touch-up powder is a godsend for people suffering from thinning hair, and its Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac is an incredible glossing treatment that makes hair super shiny. If you need credentials, Gail Federici, co-founder of John Frieda’s haircare company, is at the helm.


You need no introduction to the concept of no-poo shampooing, so Wen should be a slam dunk. It’s the haircare brand of LA sleb stylist Chaz Dean (a fact you will not be able to miss if you visit the website), based on a whole no-pooing theory and totally sulphate-free. Huzzah! I have yet to try it but I’ll admit I am intrigued. And Chaz’s eyes do kind of draw you in… 


This nasty-free brand has a long and, frankly, rather tedious back story about rain forests and indigenous peoples and the incredible ojon oil from which it takes its name – but if you ignore all that, what you get is seriously tasty haircare that’s everything-free, and also takes sustainability seriously, working to promote sustainable development in the areas from which it sources its ingredient. Haircare with a conscience: I love.


This Italian brand is kind of new to me, and I’m a total convert (currently using their replumping range to attempt to re-inject some vigour into my poor, bleached locks) – for one, the packaging is gorgeous (and I love a Top Shelf-worthy cosmetic), but for two, there’s a really strong emphasis on sustainability that’s at the forefront of the brand’s ethos, and this kind of full-circle thinking should really be a priority for those of us who apply at least 10 products to our skin and hair before we leave the bathroom each morning.

Is everything sulphate-free? Nope: that’d be the Naturaltech and Authentic lines only, for now. But they’re trying, and in more ways than one.