Sulfate-Free Shampoo: Is it Worth the Hype?
Over the past years, the popularity of sulfate-free shampoos has dramatically increased, and beauty influencers rave about the gentle cleansing benefits and eco-friendly ingredients. If you go down the hair aisle at any store, you will see tons of different sulfate-free shampoos that are supposedly better than traditional shampoos. But are they really better for your hair? Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of sulfate-free shampoos so you can decide for yourself if it actually is worth the hype.
What are Sulfates?
Sulfates are surfactants, which are compounds that attract both water and oil, that is used in shampoo to create a lathering effect and to easily wash away dirt and grime. Sulfates are found in a lot of personal care products, including shampoos, body wash, face wash, toothpaste, and other items such as household cleaning products.
Why are Sulfates in Shampoo?
Shampoos with sulfates are designed to clean your hair and your scalp. When sulfate is combined with water, it can easily wash away dead skin cells and dirt. Sulfates create that lathering, sudsy consistency that makes it easier to clean your scalp.
The two primary sulfates found in shampoos are:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This helps produce rich foam in shampoos that can be easily rinsed. It’s frequently found in shampoos formulated for oily hair.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): These types of detergents provide cleansing and foaming properties that can help normal-to-dry hair types.
What is the concern about sulfates in hair care?
There has been a lot of controversy lately over sulfate products and their potential negative effect on our health and environment.
- Sulfates and Your Skin
Although sulfates are generally safe, they are known to cause skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin. In a test among 1,600 patients in Germany for SLS irritancy, they found 42% of patients had an irritant reaction.
If you suffer from skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sulfate-free shampoos.
- Sulfates and Your Hair
Overexposure to sulfates could lead to the deterioration of hair protein. Since sulfates are such efficient cleaners, sulfate shampoos may pull a lot of your hairs natural oil out, leaving it dry and brittle.
- Sulfates and The Environment
There is even more controversy over the impact sulfate shampoos have on the environment. Many shampoo companies derive their sulfates from harvesting palm oil, which often destroys forests and natural habitats.
Who should be using sulfate-free shampoo?
Overusing sulfate shampoos can be harsh on your hair, making it dry and brittle. If your hair has been recently colored, chemically treated, or you naturally have dry or coarse hair, consider trying a sulfate-free shampoo to see if your hair health improves.
You might want to avoid sulfate-free shampoos if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition such as rosacea. Sulfates can be harsh on the scalp and may cause irritation. Sulfate-free shampoos are much milder. It’s ultimately up to you, but we recommend trying our sulfate-free shampoo to see if it makes a difference in your hair health.