Tried & Tested: SLS-Free Shampoos

Sodiium laureath sulfate or SLS is a chemical ingredient normally found in commercial shampoos that are widely sold at the supermarkets and pharmacies. It functions as a detergent with cleansing and foam-building properties. The trouble is SLS is said to be a toxic ingredient which is suspected of being carcinogenic and might be able to penetrate into our system with continued use.


Because I have natural curly hair, it has always been dry and brittle. And ever since I started colouring my hair, it becomes even worse when I fail to maintain it properly. It’s especially frustrating when the weather is hot and humid, as my hair starts to look even more unhealthy, dry, brittle, and overall dull.

I normally use commercial shampoos from a major brand, so I tried these SLS-free shampoos for a month to find out what difference does it make when I use natural shampoos with no harmful chemicals and pollutants:

SHAMPOO #1: Melvita Flower Honey and orange Blossom Shampoo

What: This smooth and sulfate-free shampoo combines Orange Blossom and Flower Honey with nourishing properties to answer the specific needs of dry hair.

Price: RM65 (200ml), RM112 (500ml)

Ingredients: Some of the major ingredients include water, glycerin, coco-betaine, hordeum vulgare extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower water, xanthan gum, citrus (orange) oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil, avena strigosa seed extract, honey.

Thoughts: The mild-smelling shampoo has a light orange colour and is see-through, with gel-like form. After about three weeks of using it, I did notice a significant change in terms of the texture of my hair, which is now less frizzy. I also noticed that my hair appears to be a lot more neat and tidy. I normally dread the thought of having to brush my hair since it will end up looking dishevelled, so to see my hair looking neat and tidy than normal is enough to make me less embarrassed when going out. I love how my hair smells pleasant and that I don’t have to work too hard at styling it just to get the right look that I want.

Available at Melvita

SHAMPOO #2: The Natural Story Lemon & Tangerine Shampoo

What: 100% pure natural lemon and tangerine shampoo which is suitable for all hair types.

Price: RM34.50 (500ml)

Ingredients: Some of the ingredients include deionised water, decyl glucoside, flower extract, leaf extract, lemon peel extract, citric acid, sodium chloride, lactic acid, peel oil.

Thoughts: This shampoo is almost scentless. Though there’s still a hint of tangerine to be smelt, it’s not noticeable after showering. The shampoo is clear in colour and the form is very watery. After about three weeks of using it, I noticed that my hair looks kind of wavy instead of curly. I also like the feeling of the shampoo on my head; it’s soft and smooth. I really like the wavy-looking hair this shampoo has given me, although my hair doesn’t smell as strong and noticeable as when I was using shampoo #1. Personally, I prefer my shampoo to have a strong smell even after showering, but if you like it the other way, this shampoo is more suitable for you than the other two.

Available at Natural & Eco Republic

SHAMPOO #3: Paul Penders Love In The Layers Shampoo

What: The shampoo, with coconut oil being its main ingredient, has a formula ​made by mixing 22 organic herbs with ​community produced pure organic coconut oil as cleansing agent.

Price: RM79.90 (300ml)

Ingredients: Some of its ingredients include water, potassium cocoate, Angelica powder, flower powder, root powder, leaf powder, soybean oil, sorbic acid, glycerin, sodium chloride, leaf juice, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Thoughts: This shampoo has the most noticeable smell of all three, and the smell reminds me of a baby lotion, which is quite soothing. There’s a thick white layer on top which is organic coconut oil, and it needs to be shaken before use. This is to separate the coconut oil from the herbal part during washing so that the fine layer remains on hair even after rinsing. After about three weeks of using it, my hair feels a little soft, with my scalp less itchy. I also noticed that my hair doesn’t fall off as much as it used to, especially when I’m running my fingers through my hair.

Available at Paul Penders



Overall, I think the shampoos could be a good long-term investment, especially when you use it properly and with complementary conditioner. On the other hand, how can you tell if your shampoo is really SLS-free? Look out for these ingredients:

  • Amino Acid Sulfosuccinates (mild and anti-irritant properties)
  • Glutamates (hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic – one of the mildest active agents on the market)
  • Taurates and Fatty Acid Isethionates (they have an excellent cleansing ability and hair conditioning effect)
  • Gulcosides (obtained from renewable, plant-derived raw materials – one of the gentlest cleaners)

Additionally, you might also want to steer clear of so-called SLS-free products which contain the following ingredients:

  • Cocamide DEA
  • Cocamide MEA
  • PEG’s, PEG8
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Hydroxysultain

Would you switch your commercial shampoo with SLS-free shampoos?

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