The hair industry is booming nowadays and you cannot go to even a small local shop and not find a whole array of different hair shampoos and products. Every company has at least several different types of shampoo which contain a special formula for different types of hair: straight, curly, coloured, dry, oily, brittle and so on. Another trend that is noticed of recent is sulfate-free shampoos, and because it is constantly being shoved in everyone’s face, people believe that sulfates are really harmful and should be avoided. We hope that with the information below we will help disambiguate this question and let you know more about these ingredients, who should actually avoid them and why.
So, what are sulfates actually?
Put simply, sulfates are surfactants, which are compounds that attract oil and water. This gives the sulfate shampoos the ability to create a lot of foam and more easily lift oil and dirt from the scalp. This helps for easier and quicker cleansing of the scalp. Especially for people that have oily hair and dandruff, sulfate shampoos are the most effective way to cleanse the scalp. Also, it makes for a better bathing experience for people that love to get all lathered up and enjoy a foamy bath. The most commonly used sulfates in shampoos are sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. Just for additional information, the laureth sulfates (or ones ending on -eth) are the milder version, and also the ammonium sulfates are milder than sodium ones.
Who should opt for sulfate-free shampoos?
While the majority of people are perfectly fine using sulfate shampoos, there are many people who would benefit from a sulfate-free hair wash. The downside of sulfates and the thing that gives them such a bad rep, is that along with the dirt they also strip the scalp of some natural oils that are necessary for having healthy skin. Here we will point out who should be avoiding sulfate shampoos and choose a sulfate-free substitute.
· People that have sensitive skin
People that have sensitive skin may experience irritation of the scalp when using sulfate shampoos as sulfates shed the natural skin oils leaving it dry.
· People that have eczema
People that suffer from eczema really know the struggles when it comes to skincare, and using normal everyday products can be quite the challenge. Needless to say, this also goes for the scalp as well, so they should definitely try to use sulfate-free shampoos as they are prone to scalp irritation, so this will save them one headache in dealing with eczema.
· People with fine delicate hair
People with fine and delicate hair may find that sulfates might be a bit too strong, so it’s better to ditch them and go for sulfate-free shampoos.
· People with dyed hair
People with dyed hair should also consider using sulfate-free shampoos because sulfates are harsh cleansers and will strip the colour of the hair much faster than usual. A lot of people have tried this and confirm that after using sulfate-free shampoos the hair colour tends to last much longer. Another reason why people with dyed hair should use sulfate-free shampoos is that hair dyes tend to dry out the hair, and so using sulfate-free shampoos is a good way to avoid additional hair dryout. People that colour their hair should also consider using special shampoos for colour treated hair, not only sulfate-free shampoos if they want to retain the hair colour much longer.
· People with naturally frizzy hair
People that have naturally frizzy hair should definitely consider using sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates lift the cuticle of the hair and thus will increase the frizziness of the hair. Sulfate-free shampoos are easier on the hair and skin and don’t strip the natural oils on the scalp and hair and thus leaving your hair more moisturized.
· People with curly hair
People with curly hair will definitely sense the difference of using a sulfate-free shampoo. As curly hair tends to be frizzier as well, these shampoos keep the moisture of the curls, help tame them and definitely help the hair to form in better curls.
· People with naturally dry and coarse hair
People that have dry and coarse hair sometimes feel like they have a broom or a brush on their head. Sulfates can actually add onto the harshness of the already parched hairs and reduce the shine of the hair leaving it feeling and looking lifeless. This is why by opting for a sulfate free shampoo, they will retain more of the natural skin oils as well as the moisture of the hairs and this will help the skin oils run down the hair more easily leaving it softer and more moisturized.
· People with damaged hair
People that have damaged hair not only need to consider using products to help repair the hair, but also not to make the condition worse. This is where sulfate-free shampoos will definitely contribute to not dry out and additionally damage the hair and thus give it a better chance at repairment.
Needless to say, sulfates are not harmful ingredients for people with normal hair and skin, and they are the detergents responsible for the suds and all the nice foam that creates when we are having a bath giving us that squeaky-clean feel at the end of the bath. However, people with the above-mentioned hair types or issues should definitely consider using sulfate-free shampoos as it will make a big difference for them. People that have never used sulfate-free shampoos may find it strange that there is very little to no foam when they are taking a path and will have to do a longer and more thorough scalp massage in order to clean their scalp. This might make them feel as they are not cleansing their hair and scalp properly or enough. However, sulfate-free options have more developed formulas nowadays, so even using these substitutes for sulfate shampoos can still give you that satisfying and refreshing feeling.