Why Your Natural And Sulphate Free Shampoos Don’t Work


Is your natural shampoo leaving your hair looking less than desirable?  Let’s chat.

In the salon world there’s a general stigma that natural products don’t work, and they’d be correct. We couldn’t find a winner… we tried. A full year of testing brought us to the conclusion that natural shampoos may cleanse the hair (well, sometimes) but they also stripped our color, dulled our shine and made our hair feel like the straw from a farmers fall harvest. We wanted them to work, we really, really, wanted them to work but being from the salon world, we just couldn’t get past the fact that even though we were using really beautiful, natural formulas—we were undermining everything that we worked so hard to improve—the quality of our hair.

Let’s break it down.




Creating a shampoo (or all hair care for that matter) that works, is a complex process. It involves much (much!) more than buying a few organic ingredients and essential oils and whipping them together in our Kitchenmaid mixer—no matter what Pinterest or the DIY sites tell you. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes chemistry going on here folks. Now please understand that the term chemistry and the word chemical are two separate things and not to be confused with each other. Chemistry is science, chemical is synthetic, and some synthetics are actually quite safe—because of science.




Certain ingredients have a synergy that contribute to the whole. Making a cake, for example, requires specific ingredients working together to make the end result a yummy treat. If you decided to use baking soda instead of powder, water instead of oil, or maybe you used more flour than it required and eliminated some of the sugar, chances are it could still turn out somewhat ok (or maybe its an epic fail) but it won’t be nearly as delicious as if the correct ingredients were combined in the correct way.

The science of hair care is much the same. There are specific ingredients—and the combining of these ingredients—that are needed in order for the results to turn out as expected. Salon brands have the science part figured out—that’s why they perform so well, and natural brands have the integrity part figured out—which makes them great for our bodies and the environment. But unfortunately, the natural brands are missing the one differentiator that, if included, could open up an entirely new beauty niche. The science. Low science equals low performance, and better living through chemistry leaves little room for nature. Combine them both and you’ve got a winner.




Natural shampoos can be quite a contradiction as well. We have to remember that the scalp is underneath all of that hair and if there is a ingredient that is stripping the natural oils, such as a castle soap (which ironically enough is made with an oil), the scalp overcompensates and actually produces an excess of sebum/oil to make up for it. So the same ingredient that strips, also makes the hair feel greasy and heavy. Coconut oil is all the rage these days but if used in the wrong proportions, it leaves the hair a greasy, hot mess. Natural does not always mean good, unless, of course, it is used correctly.


So what the heck do we do? We want to live a green, toxin-free lifestyle yet we also want to have beautiful, healthy hair! We know that when we look and feel beautiful, we show up as our best self—and that benefits everyone.


There’s a few things you can do to improve your experience!

  • DON’T GIVE UP SO QUICKLY: Many folks try a natural/sulphate free shampoo and give up after the first try because it doesn’t lather. You have to remember that natural shampoos don’t have harsh surfactants (cleansers) and won’t break through the plastics and silicones in your current styling routine. So give it a few days! And remember that if you continue to use styling products with the afore mentioned ingredients while using your natural/sulphate free shampoo—it will probably never give you a good lather. Make sure you stop back to check out our next post on Detoxing Your Hair!
  • ADD MORE WATER NOT PRODUCT: Let the water do the tough job of breaking down dirt and oils first, then massage in your shampoo. This will not only save you money by using less product, but it will ensure your hair gets a deep, healthy cleanse without stripping. We like to use the rule of 10 which is to get your hair wet while you slowly count to 10!
  • TEST IT OUT: Have you had your water checked for its hardness? Minerals such as lime and iron (thanks Minnesota water) will have you struggling to get a lather. You may need to shampoo more than once to get a great lather.

The good news is that technology is always improving and advancing. A LOT has happened since the green beauty movement kicked into gear several years back. We’ve invented robots that vacuum our floors, we turn on lights by the sound of our voice, and we wear tiny little computers on our wrists that connect us to the world while simultaneously counting our steps.

Don’t you think it’s possible we could create a shampoo that is natural, sulphate free AND performs?

We not only think it’s possible, we know it’s already been done. Meet AHNESTI Haircare—where science and nature combine to finally create a predictable outcome!

Color Safe – High Performance – Eco-friendly




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