And mostly because it doesn't seem to matter anyway, I've decided to try and use sulfate free products. I know there are a good number of high end sulfate free products, but I'm just not interested at this point in shelling out the money, so I'm using drugstore brands.
I've been using them for probably 8 weeks. About 4 weeks ago, I had my naturally very dark brown hair highlighted. It was a total disaster, but I'll save that for another post.
Before the highlighting, I really couldn't tell any difference with the products. My hair didn't look better or worse.
The first product that I tried was the L'Oreal EverCreme shampoo and conditioner. They were okay. I can't say they performed dramatically better or worse than any other drug store shampoo and conditioner. They do feel a lot like "regular" sulfate containing shampoos and conditioners. The shampoo lathers a TON. So if you want to go sulfate free, but you like lather, these might be the ones for you.
Then I moved on to the L'Oreal Ever Creme Cleansing Conditioner, which I somehow managed to not take a picture of and I'm too damn lazy to walk upstairs and get it out of the bathroom. So here, this is what it looks like, complements of L'Oreal.
This product doesn't really lather at all, so if that's a deal breaker for you, you probably should know up front. It is also really heavily fragranced. I didn't particularly notice it when I applied it, but when I went to rinse the product out, wow. It was strong. I don't have a very acute sense of smell at all, but it was overpoweringly floral to me. So again, if you aren't into that, you should probably know.
I do like the packaging. It doesn't take up much space. The pump is really short, so it's easy to pump one handed without risk of shooting a wet bottle across the shower.
My hair is thick and curly. It is at my shoulders. I needed A LOT of this product in order to be able to work it through all my hair.
After watching April's review of the Salon Grafix Conditioning Cleanser, I decided to give that one a try as well. I picked it up at CVS for around $8. Like the L'Oreal conditioning cleanser, it is heavily fragranced as well, but it's citrus scented, which I like a lot more than floral.
Like the L'Oreal conditioning cleanser, it does not lather one bit. I needed way more product than the directions indicated in order to get it worked completely through my hair.
As far as packaging, the pump is a little longer than I'd like it to be. I definitely need two hands to get this product out. I did notice that my hair seemed to have a bit more body and texture after using this product. If you're looking for volume, this could be a great thing for you. I already have quite a bit of volume, so I'm probably going to limit my usage of this product.
So like I said for about 4 weeks, I had been using these products (the L'Oreal products at least, I only picked up the Salon Graphics about 2 weeks ago) and then I got my hair highlighted. It's fried. I haven't wanted to invest in more expensive sulfate free options like Bumble & Bumble or Wen, but I have to say the drugstore products just are not cutting it. My hair is so dry, even with using argan oil.
This is completely counter-intuitive to me. I would think that gentle products, especially the conditioning cleansers would be super moisturizing, but that is just not my experience. I switched back to my old Pantene shampoo and conditioner for one wash and the difference was huge. My hair was soooo much softer and looked healthier from the Pantene.
I'm still not sure at this point what I'm going to do. I was happy with these products until I went and fried my hair. As soon as it recovers, I plan on going back to them. Right now I'm alternating between the L'Oreal EverCreme shampoo and conditioner and Pantene.
Have you guys gone sulfate free? If so, what products do you like? Are conditioning cleansers your thing or do you need to have a lather?