Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Now this is a sulfate-shampoo to invest in! This product is marketed toward curly or textured hair, but I think that it would benefit anyone looking for a more natural approach to their shampoo. This retails around $9 per bottle, and you can buy it just about anywhere including Ulta and Target.

The product description cites that this product is paraben free, alcohol free and sulfate free. In fact, this shampoo has one of those ingredient lists that I can actually guess what at least 80% of the input actually is, which is a good start: there are a lot of coconut-based ingredients, and a lot of flower extracts as well. I did end up googling phenoxyethanol, though: today I learned, that it is a glycol ether, not an alcohol. So based on this almost all-natural ingredient listing, my expectations of this product to put moisture back in my hair were high.

This comes out as a clear liquid that’s not as easy to lather as most shampoos, so you may need a little more product than usual based on your hair length. Like several sulfate free or “natural” shampoos I’ve used, it may seem like it’s more difficult to wash out the shampoo completely, to the point where you may wonder if you were ever washing it out at all, but hang in there. The smell of this shampoo is, as the title states, very vanilla-y. Not my favorite scent — but that’s just personal preference. When you step out of the shower and comb through your hair, you’ll notice your hair is pretty darn soft, almost as though you’ve sprayed a detangler or a leave-in through it already.

When my hair is dry, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in how shiny it is. I wouldn’t say this persists through the entire day, but it is very evident the first couple hours of jumping out of the shower. Overall, I felt that my hair has been healthier since using it.

There are a few drawbacks to using extract-based shampoos. Like I mentioned before, you won’t experience a “clarifying” effect, particularly since there are no sulfates. You aren’t going to get a head full of hairspray out easily with this, unless you take a 45 minute shower and scrub really hard. And of course this isn’t going to deliver any miracles if your hair is already damaged — but that would be the case with any shampoo.

Last but not least, my personal jury is still out on the concept of sulfate-free shampoos as a whole. I still feel that I am dyeing my hair at the same frequency that I was before — it seems to become dull at the same rate if I weren’t using a sulfate-free shampoo.

But overall, I really love this shampoo: this is going to be my go-to response whenever someone asks me “What shampoo do you use?” I think it’s best for everyone to try to move toward a more natural-ingredient approach, regardless of hair type. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5