What Are The Best Drugstore Shampoos for Keratin Treated Hair? Can You Trust Them?

By Tina Moretti
Published 03 Nov 2018 / Updated 26 Dec 2021

What Are The Best Drugstore Shampoos for Keratin Treated Hair? Can You Trust Them?

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I checked out the so-called affordable best drugstore shampoos for keratin treated hair to see whether they live up to their claims for being sulfate-free and salt-free.

And here’s what I found…

They are no doubt cheaper and easier to buy next door.


When I took a closer look at the ingredients, I figured out that they were not always truthful about what’s inside the bottle.

Let me show you a few examples:

“Sulfate-Free (SLS-Free)” Drugstore Shampoos

I’ll start with a popular brand that people ask me a lot of questions about:

Organix (OGX).

OGX have a great variety of shampoos ranging from coconut milk to argan oil to Brazilian keratin smooth.

If you search for drugstore shampoo for keratin treated hair on Google, you’ll most likely see one of them in the list.

best drugstore shampoo and conditioner for keratin treated hair sulfate free colored and color treated hair
Sulfate free drugstore shampoo brands

And I can guarantee you’ll always find them on the shelves in your local shop.

But don’t be mistaken by the Brazilian keratin smooth version.

At first, it looks like a prime candidate for post keratin treatments, but it flatters to deceive.

It only took me 2 seconds to identify what was wrong with it.

Let me show you …

The OGX Sulfate Free Shampoo

I walked into my local Boots store, picked one of them, and looked at the back of the bottle.

Check out what it says:

organix shampoo sulfate and sodium free
Does OGX shampoo have sulfates?

This Organix shampoo ingredients list reveal:

Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate right at the top.

What is it exactly?

According to the EWG Cosmetic database:

Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate is a mixture of long chain sulfonate salts prepared by sulfonation of C14-16 Alpha Olefins. It consists chiefly of Sodium Alkene Sulfonates and Sodiumhydroxyalkane Sulfonates.

The primary function is to work as a surfactant – Cleansing Agent*

EWG Cosmetic Database

The fact that it contains surfactants and salts (Sodium) is a big NO for me.

You should be looking for sulfate and sodium free hair products.


Sulfates in Shampoos

Sulfates are surfactants that strip keratin from your hair prematurely. They also leave your hair extremely dry and frizzy.

Sodium Chloride in Shampoos

Also known as salt, sodium chloride works as an exfoliator, which means it will strip keratin from your hair.

You should only use it if you want to undo a keratin treatment that’s gone wrong.

So to answer most people’s question about using Organix shampoos for keratin treatments …

Are OGX Organix shampoos sulfate free?

No. Not all of them. The only OGX sulfate free shampoos are:

  • OGX Nourishing coconut milk
  • OGX Renewing Argan oil of Morocco
  • OGX Collagen and Biotene

Although not advertised as post-keratin treatment shampoos, they may be safer than the Brazilian keratin smooth.

My next encounter: L’oreal.

The EverPure L’Oreal Sulfate Free Shampoo

does loreal shampoo contain sulfate

L'Oreal Everpure


The Loreal “no sulfate” shampoo range

Another popular shampoo you can find at your local chemist is the EverPure L’Oreal sulphate free shampoo range. All cleverly marketed as sulfate-free.

But are they really?

After checking the ingredients list, I found 2 risky ingredients:

  • Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

Although they do appear to be sulfates, they are entirely different from sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfates (which you should avoid altogether).

What is Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate?

According to Aisha Crump, a chemical engineer and the founder and CEO of Honey Baby Naturals:

“Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is a cleansing agent also known as a surfactant, but it is not considered a sulfate. It is a common chemical found in many “greener” or more natural formulas that are used to replace the harsher sulfates because of its non-irritating yet effective properties. It is found in many shampoo and cleansing formulas and is used for its degreasing, foaming, and emulsifying benefits. It is known to be extremely gentle to the skin and hair even at higher concentrations.”

Speaking to NaturallyCurly.com

What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) is a better alternative to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Derived from coconut and palm oils, it conforms to Ecocert’s natural and organic cosmetic standard.

In other words, SLSA is less harsh than SLS with a larger molecular size that doesn’t irritate the skin.

Even though it is considered mild and gentle, it is still a surfactant.

Now, as much as L’oreal tries to dress up its ingredients list …

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is what customers think about the product.

Here are more L’Oreal sulfate free shampoo reviews »

Again, I am not entirely convinced with L’Oreals range of sulfate-free shampoos.

So I am skipping this one too.

The Tresemme Sulfate Free Shampoo

You’ll never fail to spot a Tresemme shampoo at your local Boots, Superdrugs, or Walmart store near you.

They come in huge bottles and definitely give you the impression that you’re getting a massive bargain for your bucks.

It’s one of those shampoos that sell like candies.

You will even find a keratin smooth shampoo that is supposedly good enough to use after a salon keratin treatment.

But is Tresemme sulfate free?

When I checked the product description at my local Superdrugs, this is what it says:

Formulated without Sodium Chloride – suitable for use after a salon keratin treatment.

However, when I checked the product ingredients list, this is what I found:

The shampoo was not 100% sulfate-free.

I’ll be honest with you:

I do not like Tresemme shampoos.

They make your hair feel heavy and itchy after a while. Same like most Head & Shoulders shampoos.

If it works for you. Great.

But please do not go anywhere near these shampoos if you’ve had a keratin treatment. You’ll regret it.

Other Drugstore Sulfate Free Shampoo Brands List


I can go on and on about a massive list of products that are easy and cheap to buy at Walmart, Boots, Superdrugs etc etc.

For example:

You get the drift right?

Don’t get me wrong. These brands do make an effort to replace harsh sulfates with better alternatives, but it’s the customer reviews that have me on edge.

So I did all the hard work of checking the reviews, so you don’t have to.

Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t find a good post keratin treatment shampoo at your local chemist.

After a lot of shopping around, I managed to find one that ticks all the boxes:

  • Sulfate free
  • Sodium Chloride free
  • Safe for color and keratin treated hair
  • Gentle formula
  • Organic

And best of all: No bullshit marketing. No hype.

Here’s an honest and simple brand that does exactly what it says: Aveeno

Yes! You’ve got to check out the Aveeno Pure renewal shampoo.

organic shampoo without sls

Aveeno Pure Renewal


The Aveeno shampoo and conditioner without sls.

After all, Jennifer Aniston is a big fan too!

In an interview with Enews, she said that she likes simple things, which is why Aveeno is one of her favorite products.

Check out the interview here:

ENews: Jennifer Aniston Swears by These Beauty Products and so Should You »

And who doesn’t want Jen’s beautiful hair?

You do my friend. You do.

So let me tell you why it rocks.

The Aveeno Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Aveeno products are so gentle and down to basic botanical ingredients that it’s even safe to use for kids.

At first glance, all the ingredients look spot on.

It looked like a clear winner.

But to make sure I didn’t end up with unexpected surprises, I dug deeper into the list of ingredients to find out what’s in there.

Here’s the detailed list of ingredients in the Aveeno Sulfate-Free shampoo:

Ingredient Description
Aqua Water
Sodium Cocyl Isethionate Fatty acids from Coconut oil.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine Organic compounds derived from coconut oil.
Ammonium Lauroyl Sarcosinate Prepared from fatty acids and sarcosine, which is a breakdown product of creatine or caffeine.
Acrylates Copolymer A group of polymers which could be referred to generally as plastics.
Cocamide MEA A compound synthesized from coconut oils and ethanolamine.
Dimethicone Silicon-based organic polymer.
Sodium Hydrolyzed Potato Starch Dodecenylsuccinate Potato starch foam booster
Fragrance Scent
Phenoxyethanol Preservative in cosmetic products as stabilizers
Sodium Hydroxide An inorganic compound used to control the pH levels or serve as a buffering agent.
Citric Acid Citric acid is a white, odourless crystalline powder, which naturally occurs in citrus fruits.
Caprylyl Glycol hair conditioning agent that may be plant-derived.
Propylene Glycol Synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water.
Glycerin Naturally occurring alcohol compound and a component of many lipids.
Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride Water-soluble derivative of natural guar gum, and delivers conditioning properties to shampoos.
Laminaria Saccharina Extract An extract of the thallus of the alga.
Polyquaternium-7 Anti-static agent and film former used in hair care products.
Methylisothiazolinone Preservative in personal care and cosmetics products.
Titanium Dioxide A white, opaque, naturally occurring mineral that helps to add definition to bubbles in lather.
Mica Naturally occurring mineral dust often used in makeup foundations as filler.

* Information derived from Wikipedia, EWG.org, CosmeticsInfo.org

Now I know none of these tong-twisting ingredients make sense to you.

Because let’s be honest – who actually cared about chemistry classes?

But the good news here is …

  • No Harsh Sulfates
  • No Sodium Chloride

The Aveeno Pure Renewal is by far the best drugstore shampoo without sulfates. (SLS/ SLES – Sodium Lauryl / Sodium Laureth).

Not only that:

I’ve been using Aveeno skin products for a while, and they are brilliant.

I will definitely vouch for their shampoos too.

It’s a trusted brand I have fallen in love with.

I am currently on week 3 using this shampoo, and my awesome done-at-home keratin treatment still looks fresh like it was just done yesterday.

best sulfate free drugstore shampoo and conditioner

Aveeno Pure Renewal


Best drugstore sulphate free shampoo.

Best Drugstore Shampoo for Keratin Treated Hair?

In my opinion, the Aveeno Pure Renewal is the ideal and most affordable shampoo for keratin treated hair you can buy at your local drugstore.

  • It’s cheap
  • Sodium Sulfate free
  • Suitable for salon treatment aftercare

And you can just pick one up on your way home anytime.