We keep hearing it everywhere; when it comes to shampoo, sulfate-free is the way to go.
Sulfates strip natural oils from the scalp and hair, which your hair needs to stay healthy, leaving it dry and brittle. They can also make the scalp dry and prone to irritation.
Unfortunately, many well-established shampoo and conditioner brands still use sulfates today, so that makes it harder to find the ones we should be using.
However, we’re noticing more and more hair care brands entering the anti-sulfate space. Hairstory, R+Co., and Bumble and Bumble are a few of the main contenders when it comes to “sulfate-free shampoo”.
Our editors compared the three brands’ “shampoo” to see which came out on top. Here’s what we found…
- All three brands are sulfate-free
- All three brands are cruelty-free
- All three websites have a quiz
- Hairstory and Bumble and bumble offer subscription options (The Hairstory Refill Club / B&b’s auto-replenish option).
- Bumble and bumble and R+Co sell a wide range of different shampoos.
- Hairstory New Wash is not shampoo; it’s a detergent-free shampoo alternative.
Hairstory New Wash Overview
We appreciate how stripped back Hairstory is as a brand. It’s completely different from any other hair care brand we’ve come across. Hairstory is not only anti-sulfate, it’s anti-shampoo. They believe that where shampoo is the problem, Hairstory New Wash is the solution.
They keep it simple by offering just three types of New Wash: Original, Rich, and Deep. You can take a quiz on their website to find which is best for your hair type. We ended up ordering New Wash Original.
It's a one-step product that both conditions and cleanses – unlike Bumble and bumble and R+Co – and their main ingredients include four conditioning oils, such as Peppermint and Jojoba, along with Aloe Vera and hydrolyzed keratin.
Replacing shampoo and conditioner with Hairstory New Wash was strange at first. There was definitely an adjustment period, but after a few weeks, our hair was the healthiest it’s ever been. Since it's free of detergents – which is where you’ll find sulfates – New Wash doesn’t strip the scalp of natural oils and puts an end to the never-ending wash-grease-repeat cycle.
If you search "life-changing" in their reviews, you'll find pages and pages of results, and we can understand why. New Wash allows your hair to be completely free of toxic chemicals and brings it back to its youthful health. It adds shine, volume, and helps keep color from fading if you have dyed hair!
It’s definitely worth $40 since it lasts a long time and you won’t need any other hair product with it! We’ll definitely be signing up for their Refill Club too – better for our hair and the planet.
Bumble and bumble Overview
The first thing we realized when we went on the Bumble and bumble site was the sheer amount of shampoos and conditioners they offer. It was hard to know where to begin. For comparison purposes, we focused on their best-selling Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo, but they also have a quiz to help you find your product match.
This is a moisturizing shampoo for dry hair. It contains mostly oils to help hydrate and soften brittle, damaged hair. It was immediately clear after trying it that you need to use it with conditioner for best results, so you’re looking at spending $64 for the full set.
After a few weeks of using Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, we did find our hair to be shinier, but we were underwhelmed overall. We also felt it was clogging pores on our scalp (we noticed pimples popping up which we had not experienced before).
We had a similar experience on the R+Co site in terms of there being an overwhelming amount of products to choose from, and the product titles were super-confusing. Between Television Perfect Hair Shampoo, Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo, and Super Garden Shampoo, we had no idea where to begin.
We decided to take their quiz to see where it would take us, and after asking about 12 questions about hair type and goals, it recommended the Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo and the Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner which came to a total of $61.
The shampoo is for restoring moisture levels and shine, and the conditioner is for dehydrated coarse hair. After trying these both out for a few weeks, our hair looked shinier and less dry, but overall we were disappointed with the results for the price we paid.
All of these products have their merits. They’re all cruelty-free and paraben-free. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to results. The product that gave us the best results by far was Hairstory New Wash.
If you’re patient enough to get through the adjustment period with New Wash, it will transform your hair. If your hair doesn’t need much of a transformation and you just want a bit of shine, maybe Bumble and bumble or R+Co. is for you, but we’re not sure it’s worth the $60+ you pay for the results you get.
We’ve even signed up for the Hairstory Refill Club so we can save up to 15% on each order and get free shipping. Hairstory New Wash is the most affordable at $40 and gives the best results, so it’s a no-brainer – we’re recommending Hairstory.