You may have heard of sulfate free shampoo and that using shampoo without sulfate can be beneficial for your hair and beauty regimen, but why? To better understand why sulfate free shampoo may be best for your hair, you should know what is sulfate free shampoo, what do sulfates in shampoo do to your hair and what are the benefits of sulfate free shampoo?
Sulfates 101: What Are Sulfates?
Sulfates are a type of cleansers that are highly effective at removing dirt and oil from the hair and body. They usually appear on the ingredients list of a beauty product as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, and can be found in the formula for most rinse off beauty products, including shampoos, face wash, body wash, soaps and more.
Clean hair sounds like a great thing, so you may think having sulfates in your shampoo is good. But while sulfates are good at cleaning, they can have some drawbacks if you have certain types of skin or hair. Sulfate shampoos are considered safe when used briefly and rinsed out thoroughly, but some people may have reactions such as redness or skin rash if they’re sensitive to sulfates. Let’s take a look at some of the problems a shampoo formulated with sulfates can cause.
Side Effects of Sulfates in Shampoo
There are sometimes where shampoo that contains sulfates can be damaging to your hair and body. Here’s a closer look at those symptoms, which may also answer: Why use sulfate free shampoo?
- Scalp irritation: Sulfates are known to irritate the skin. When applied as a detergent on your scalp, they remove oil, but they remove this oil so effectively that they can actually strip away your scalp’s protective layer too. With a compromised barrier to your scalp, it’s very easy for harmful bacteria to get in and for needed moisture to get out. This can leave your scalp dry, itchy and more sensitive.
- Dry hair: Your scalp isn’t the only thing that suffers. Sulfates can also affect your hair. You may compromise healthy and glossy hair if you use sulfate-laden shampoo because the sulfate gets rid of oil so well that it strips away some of your hair’s natural moisture and shine. The effect is compounded if you have already have dry and curly or frizzy hair that already has difficulty retaining moisture.
- Fading color: The same principle with sulfates drying out your hair also applies to its effect on hair that has been dyed or otherwise colored. Sulfates strip the color from your hair, undoing the effects of your hair dye and causing your hair color to fade more quickly or appear dull.
- Hair loss: The research isn’t fully conclusive on whether sulfates in shampoo directly cause hair loss, but there have been some claims that sulfates can contribute to hair loss, thinning and shedding indirectly, by causing inflammation of the scalp. It makes sense that by compromising the scalp, sulfates impact its ability to effectively grow healthy hair.
It may be a good idea for you to use a sulfate free shampoo if you have sensitive skin, dry hair, naturally curly hair, dyed/colored hair or you want to take every precaution to avoid the possibility of indirectly contributing to hair loss.
Sulfate Free Shampoo Benefits
So should you use a shampoo without sulfates? The answer is yes! Switching to a sulfate free shampoo is always beneficial for your hair. Sulfate free shampoo not only preserves natural oils on your scalp and hair, but also is a more color safe option for hair that has been dyed.
Two potential drawbacks you may experience when you switch to sulfate free shampoo involve the way it lathers (or rather, doesn’t) and how effectively it removes dirt and oil if you have hair that tends to get very oily. Sulfates cause shampoo to lather well, and because they’re such powerful cleansers, they more easily remove dirt and oil from hair.
If you miss the lather or don’t think your hair is getting as clean as you’re used to, give your hair some time to adjust to your sulfate free shampoo routine. As with everything else related to hair and beauty, it can take time for you to see results. Be patient and you’ll start to see your hair feels and looks much better after switching to a sulfate free shampoo and start seeing the sulfate free shampoo benefits in action.
Want to see even more positive changes for your hair when switching to sulfate free products? Try taking natural hair growth supplements to get healthier, stronger and thicker hair.