Updated: Jan 24, 2020
More and more people are asking about ingredients. What's being added to our food? What goes into my skin care products? Why not question what goes into your hair products too? I challenge anyone reading this to go to your shower and take a peek at your shampoo bottle ingredients. (SLS) sodium lauryl sulfate, (SLES) sodium laureth sulfate, and (ALS) ammonium lauryl sulfate are the 3 sulfates commonly found in shampoos. They are also found in many other cleaning products and soaps. Sulfates act as a foaming agent to help give us the squeaky clean feeling we expect when our hair gets an oily buildup. So far so good right? The reality is that these sulfates in our shampoos strip out not only our hair color, but our hair's natural oils. This leaves our hair feeling dried out, tangled and thirsty.
On top of that we become more prone to frizz because the hair shaft is so dry, its trying to soak any moisture it can find in the air. Over time, the more we use these shampoos, the more our hair becomes lifeless and dull. Research for chemical concentration in shampoo has shown that a number of shampoos have a concentrated amount of chemicals with sulfates ranging up to 30%. At just 0.5% there is the potential to cause irritation. This would explain why some of us notice a difference on our scalp quicker than others after switching to sulfate free. I am very sensitive to a handful of ingredients, so I switched my hair care routine years ago after taking a product knowledge class. The first few times I washed my hair with sulfate free products, I had to adjust to the lack of lather. I was told to use less of the product and work it onto my scalp by adding more water as needed. Within 2-3 washes my scalp felt noticeably better, it was no longer itchy or dry. The ends began to look healthier and stronger, rather than dry brittle pieces of hay. My hair would get so tangled after showering that I would plow through product and now I only need to use a small amount of detangling spray to get through my knots.
Sulfate free options are becoming increasingly available in a variety of brands. Ultimately I look for sulfate free shampoos with the most natural ingredients. These shampoos do tend to cost more but you are paying for those benefits. So many drugstore hair products contain sulfates because its cheap for the companies to add them to the product. The phrase, "you get what you pay for," has never rang more true. Its so important that we take good care of our skin in the same way we would be mindful of what we eat and how we take care of our bodies. Considering that our skin is our body's largest organ, we need to be aware of what goes onto our body, as well as, what we put in it. Below are a few of my favorite sulfate free brands, always be sure to check the ingredients on any bottle before purchasing it. Over the last few years my health has become the leading factor in any product I decide to purchase. You are investing in the overall health of your hair by making the switch to sulfate free!