7 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos For 4C Hair, As Per An Expert + Buying Guide

When it comes to nourishment, these shampoos know a thing or two.

Reviewed by Lindsay Loo, Cosmetologist Lindsay Loo Lindsay LooCosmetologist insta_icon
Written by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 3 years
Edited by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
 • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process.

The 4C hair type can be challenging to manage! Regular shampoos may not cover every aspect of managing 4C tresses. Since people with 4C hair types need more attention and care to keep their hair healthy, the best sulfate-free shampoo for 4C hair can help keep the curly locks frizz-free and more manageable. The shampoos specially designed for 4C hair texture help protect the tresses from chemical damage and minimize breakage and shedding, split ends, and frizz. They are devoid of parabens and sulfates to minimize hair loss and reduce further damage.

So, if you are craving healthy, moisturized, and manageable hair, sulfate-free shampoos are a must! Scroll down to check out our list of the 7 best sulfate-free shampoos for 4C hair.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Plant-Based Formula:Renpure Originals Biotin And Collagen Thickening ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Pre-Detangling:Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best In Budget:Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Chemically-Treated Hair:Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Volume Control:SheaMoisture Deep Moisturizing Shampoo Price on Amazon
Best Color-Safe Formula:Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Lightweight Formula:My Black is Beautiful Hydrating ShampooPrice on Amazon

7 Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos For 4C Hair – According To Reviews

1. Best Plant-Based Formula:Renpure Originals Biotin And Collagen Thickening Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.3
Renpure Originals Biotin And Collagen Thickening Shampoo Image: Renpure

The Renpure Originals Biotin and Collagen Thickening Shampoo contains all the essential vitamins and amino acids that enhance the volume, strength, and elasticity of the strands making your tresses silkier and shinier. It is formulated with plant-based ingredients and does not contain harmful chemicals that can damage your hair. This hydrating formula shampoo helps nourish the tresses from their roots and keeps them frizz-free. This video review detailing a tester’s experience will help you understand more about the product.

Product Dimensions: 3.25 x 3.25 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 2.08 Pounds

Key Ingredients: Biotin, Coconut oil, and Citric acid

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Dye-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Organic formula
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Overpowering fragrance
protip_icon ProTip

To prevent flattening of the curls, rinse your hair upside down. Rinsing hair backward pulls back the hair, affecting the volume and bounce. You can also loosely tie it into a top-of-the-head ponytail at night.

2. Best For Pre-Detangling:Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling Shampoo Image: Mielle Organics

The Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling Shampoo detangles the locks and conditions them without stripping them of natural moisture, providing a residue-free cleansing experience. Its organic formula incorporates pomegranate extract and honey, known for their strengthening properties and ability to promote hair growth. This shampoo nourishes, moisturizes, and conditions your coily hair from the roots to the tips and reduces frizz and flyaways. It is suitable for both high and low porosity 4C hair types. To find out more about this gentle cleanser, check out this video on YouTube detailing a tester’s experience.

Hair Type: All, Curly, Damaged, Coily | Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 2.2 x 8 inches | Weight: 13.6 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Pomegranate and Honey

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Detangles the hair
  • Organic formula
  • Paraben-free
  • Value for money
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Thick consistency
protip_icon ProTip

Do not brush or detangle wet hair post-shower; it will disrupt the curl pattern and lead to a mess. Use a wide tooth comb to detangle the hair while conditioning.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Almost 1,278 happy users have mentioned the value and quality of this product.

3. Best In Budget:Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo Image: Cantu

The Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo is formulated with shea butter, offering a soothing and healthy scalp formula that gently cleanses while retaining moisture and promoting hair growth. This sulfate-free shampoo conditions the hair to reduce breakage, frizz and split ends, and also protects hair color. It lathers well and removes heavy product build-up without any residue. This dermatologist-tested product is mildly scented and helps strengthen 4C coils. This video review detailing a tester’s experience will help you understand more about the product. Include this shampoo in your hair care routine and make your color-treated hair soft and clean after a wash day.

Hair Type: Wavy, Curly, Coily | Product Dimensions: 3 x 1.75 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 14.11 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Shea Butter and Glycerin

Pros

  • Reduces frizz
  • Minimizes split ends
  • Prevents hair breakage
  • Color-safe
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • None
protip_icon ProTip

Use the shampoo twice in a wash cycle for optimal removal of oil and dirt. And rinse well to remove product residue from the hair.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 565 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

Renpure Originals Biotin And Collagen Thickening Shampoo
Best Plant-Based Formula
Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing And Detangling Shampoo
Best For Pre-Detangling
Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo
Best In Budget
Dimensions 3.25 x 3.25 x 10.5 inches 2.2 x 2.2 x 8 inches 3 x 1.75 x 8.5 inches
Weight 2.08 Pounds 13.6 Ounces 14.11 Ounces
Hair Type- All, Curly, Damaged, Coily Wavy, Curly, Coily
Rating
Reviews-1,278565
Price$6.98$9.99$5.38

4. Best For Chemically-Treated Hair:Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.5
Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo Image: Design Essentials

The Design Essentials Design Essentials Moisturizing & Detangling Sulfate-Free Shampoo is formulated with almonds and avocado that naturally hydrate the tresses and retain moisture. It gently cleanses the scalp and detangles curly, coily, and kinky locks. This shampoo strengthens brittle hair strands and promotes hair growth. It works wonders on coarse texture and chemically-treated hair and revitalizes dull hair that has lost its natural luster. This product is free of harsh chemicals, mineral oils, and parabens.

Hair Type: Wavy, textured, Frizzy, Color Treated, Curly, Dry, Chemically Treated, Thick, Coily | Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.1 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 12.8 Ounces.

Key Ingredients: Almond and Avocado

Pros

  • Gentle formula
  • Detangles the hair
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Suitable for chemically-treated hair

Cons

  • May leave residues

5. Best For Volume Control:SheaMoisture Deep Moisturizing Shampoo 

The SheaMoisture Deep Moisturizing Shampoo helps restore dry, dull, and over-processed hair, and keeps your strands moisturized and shiny. The potent blend of shea butter, argan oil, and sea kelp gently cleanses the scalp to remove product buildup. This sulfate-free shampoo lathers well and helps retain essential moisture to protect and repair damaged hair. Multiple reviewers highly recommend this shampoo for curly hair types as it keeps them hydrated and makes them manageable.

Hair Type: Curly, Coily, Dry | Product Dimensions: 2.68 x 2.68 x 6.2 inches | Weight: 13 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Sea Kelp, and Argan Oil

Pros

  • Mild formula
  • Enhances hair volume
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Mineral-oil free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Color-safe

Cons

  • Overpowering fragrance
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 976 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

6. Best Color-Safe Formula:Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.4
Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Shampoo Image: Carol's Daughter

The Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo hydrates your tresses and makes them softer and more manageable. It contains rosemary extract, which not only adds moisture and shine to your locks but also revitalizes dull and dry hair, leaving it looking healthier and more vibrant. This color-safe shampoo is enriched with aloe leaf juice, shea butter, sweet, clover, lavender extract, and rose that make your dry, brittle, textured hair shiny, soft, and more manageable. It helps retain natural hair moisture, prevents dryness, and aids hair growth. Reviewers on Amazon love the fragrance of this product, as well as the moisturization it provides to thick and curly hair.

Hair Type: Dry, Curly | Product Dimensions: 2.99 x 2.24 x 8.34 inches | Weight: 12 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Lavender and Rosemary 

Pros

  • Pleasant-scented
  • Paraben-free
  • Nourishing formula
  • No artificial color
  • Color-safe
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Might be slightly greasy
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 502 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

7. Best Lightweight Formula:My Black is Beautiful Hydrating Shampoo

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.3
Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo Image: Nothing But

The My Black is Beautiful Hydrating Shampoo is a creamy, lightweight formula suitable for 4C textured and transitioning hair, and ideal for maintaining natural hair health. This anti-breakage shampoo restores hair strength and hydration without stripping the natural scalp oils. The sulfate-free shampoo formula also enhances moisture retention and keeps your hair from getting dry. The rich blend of nourishing ingredients like coconut milk, honey, ginger, and turmeric prevents tangles and penetrates deep into the hair cuticle to condition your tresses, making it suitable for coily and kinky hair. Many reviews from people with 4C hair mention that the shampoo improves hair elasticity and keeps the strands healthy and gorgeous.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.92 x 1.92 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 9.63 Ounces.

Key Ingredients: Golden Milk and Honey

Pros

  • Creamy formula
  • Lightweight
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Pleasant smell

Cons

  • Sticky texture
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

4C hair is not the easiest hair type to care for. It can be coarse, frizzy, and kinky, which makes them exceedingly difficult to maintain. It is also the most sensitive hair type to harsh chemicals, so a sulfate-free shampoo is the best option for 4C hair. With all available options out there, use this guide to get the best sulfate-free shampoo.

What To Consider When Buying Sulfate-Free Shampoo For 4C Hair

  • Check The Ingredients

The ingredient of shampoo is an essential factor to consider. Look for nourishing ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and plant-based ingredients. They will help with cleansing and conditioning 4C hair very well. Panthenol and glycerin should also be among the top components on the list. Also, look for ingredients that will not damage the curly and wavy hair. It is important to look out for paraben, alcohol, sulfates, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These are known to damage hair when used frequently. Lindsey Loo, a cosmetologist, agrees with this saying, “While choosing a product to maintain your 4C hair, read the ingredients list and labels to make sure you are investing in the right hair care for your hair’s needs.”

  • Identify Your Hair Type

Know your hair type well before getting a shampoo. Have a better understanding of your hair type to find out which type of shampoo will suit you. You need one that is gentle enough and capable of handling your hair type. For example, if your hair is coarse and tangled, it would be best to try an oil-based shampoo. However, conduct a small test on your tresses before committing to any product. Ensure that the shampoo you are choosing is gentle enough to handle your hair type.

  • Color Safe

If you have colored hair, look for a color-safe shampoo. It should be able to prevent the color of your hair from fading.

  • Chemical-Free

Look for a shampoo made without any harmful chemicals. As 4C hair is the most sensitive to chemicals, you should choose chemical-free shampoos for 4C hair that will care for your natural texture.

  • Allergy-Free

Opt for a dermatologically tested hair shampoo if allergic to certain substances. Look for a hypoallergenic shampoo because it is mostly safe to use. They will not cause irritation or any allergic reaction to your scalp. You can also look for a fragrance-free shampoo to avoid any reactions.

Choosing the best sulfate-free shampoo can be quite a task as there are too many products available on the market. In this section, we will discuss how to look for the best sulfate-free shampoos for 4C hair.

How To Find The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For 4C Hair

  • Gentle And Nourishing Ingredients: If you have coily and kinky hair, gentle cleansing is ideal for you to provide your curls with proper restorative care. Look for mild ingredients that cleanse your scalp and help retain natural hair moisture without damaging the follicles.
  • Allergy-Free Product: If you are allergic to nuts or gluten, it is better to select dermatologist-tested shampoos that are hypoallergenic, anti-irritant, and fragrance-free.
  • Avoid Over-Drying Formula:Dry hair can cause breakage and lead to brittleness. Therefore, it is better to avoid products that dry out your scalp or curly strands.

Infographic: Key Ingredients To Look For In Shampoos For 4C Hair

4C hair needs a bit more care than the other hair types. It is prone to damage as it gets dry easily and loses its elasticity. This can be handled with a premium shampoo made with nourishing and moisturizing ingredients. Check out some of them in the infographic below.

Some thing wrong with infographic shortcode. please verify shortcode syntax

The Bottom Line

Sulfates in regular shampoos are harsh and drying elements, which ultimately cause more breakage on your 4C hair. The best shampoos for 4C hair are enriched with gentle ingredients suitable for coily and kinky strands. However, while selecting the right products for your hair, it is better to choose sulfate-free shampoos with curl-friendly and restorative effects that will not damage or tangle your curls, while enhancing hair manageability. Also, avoid shampoos that cannot retain moisture or condition your tresses. The Renpure Originals Biotin And Collagen Thickening Shampoo is the perfect solution for thickening and volumizing thin hair without the harmful effects of sulfate. For those seeking a gentle deep moisturizing formula, try the SheaMoisture Deep Moisturizing Shampoo. If you have a sensitive scalp, steer clear of sulfate-free shampoos that contain allergic ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are sulfate-free shampoos better?

Yes. Sulfate-free shampoos are a better option for your 4C hair because they cleanse your hair gently. Unlike regular shampoos containing sulfates, they do not dry out the strands or fade your hair color.

Does sulfate-free shampoo make your scalp itch?

No. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentle on sensitive scalp and hair. They do not irritate the scalp or cause unwanted itching.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Our author, Krati Darak, is a certified skin care coach and a hair care enthusiast who loves reviewing hair care products. She has curated this list after researching and checking online reviews on various e-commerce websites. Her well-researched article ensures that the best shampoos for 4C hair are gentle on the scalp and strands. These shampoos with lightweight formulas are made of organic ingredients and do not contain sulfates.


Lindsay Loo

Lindsay LooCosmetologist

Lindsay Loo is a cosmetologist who has spent 10 years behind the chair in a storied salon in Chelsea. She is a certified Wella Master Color Expert and also has experience backstage at New York Fashion Week. She has a private studio and loves to make her clients feel amazing and welcomed.read full bio

Latest Articles