In a more health conscious world we are living in it is no surprise that the beauty industry has not missed a beat when it comes to its beauty products. Sulfate-free products have been on the rise for many years. Sulfate has been in many products for ages! So what’s the big deal?! What is sulfate? Is it really that harmful? Is it okay to keep using shampoos containing sulfate? Why use sulfate-free products?!
Sulfate is short for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). It is a surfactant, or ingredient that is used to break up dirt and oil build up. It’s popularity is due to its deep cleansing, emulsifying (suds, foam) and easy rinsing abilities. People equate lots of suds with lots of clean, right?! So naturally, many product companies have used it as a first ingredient for decades. SLS is found in many products such as shampoo, soap, and even toothpaste.
SLS has been known to cause irritation to the scalp, strips hair color (artificial), reverses keratin or amino-acid based straightening treatments, and may also cause frizziness to curly hair. People with skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis should look into using shampoos and soaps that are sulfate-free. As for those with lots of texture in their hair sulfate-free products have proven to maintain a smoother curl with little to no frizz. SLS opens the hair shaft to deeply clean the hair removing build up also stripping the hairs natural moisture which often leaves the hair shaft open resulting in frizzy strands.
So the sulfate has been removed. How does the hair and scalp get clean? What does one do without volumes of suds? Easy! There are other thorough, gentle, non-stripping surfactants to choose from. Look for ingredients, mild surfactants such as Sodium Lauroyl Isethinionate (also known as Iselux), Sodium Methyl Cocoyl and Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate in your shampoos. These ingredients are naturally derived from plants and minerals. Some will give little to no lather while some will give lots of lather.
Be mindful to rinse hair thoroughly before you shampoo to remove excess build up. They are very gentle yet very effective in cleansing the scalp and hair leaving manageable and retaining the skin and hairs natural moisture. They will also help preserve the vibrancy in your hair color, and won’t strip your keratin or amino acid based straightening treatments.
Two professional product lines that I use in the salon are Design Essentials and ColorProof. Both lines have a great selection of sulfate-free products to choose from.
SLS can be irritating to skin
SLS can strip hair of its natural oils
Sulfate-free benefits hair retaining natural oil
Sulfate-free is non-irritating to skin
Sulfate-free leaves hair frizz free
Sulfate-free preserves hair color
Sulfate-free maintains straightening treatments
‘Every great head of hair starts with clean hair!’