If bad hair days are a normal occurrence to you and you’ve done everything you can to address it, then maybe it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Take a good, long look at the ingredients list of your shampoo. If sulfate is high on the list, consider making a switch to products that don’t contain any of it.
What is Sulfate?
Sulfates are everywhere from your body wash, facial cleanser, and even some household cleaning products. The main types you will see are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
They are in most shampoos because they form into a thick lather, giving a soapy effect to the product you are using. They are chemical foaming agents and are excellent cleansers. So no, they are not necessarily bad. However, they don’t give any benefit to your hair either.
Sulfates do not add nutrients to your locks. On top of that, these chemicals can be so good at washing away dirt and grime that they can even strip your hair off of the natural oils it needs. This leads to a loss of moisture and when it comes to your tresses, that’s bad news.
Enter sulfate-free shampoos. These are milder and less drying alternatives. And yes, they’re also less frothy but for a good reason.Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the why’s.
Why Go Sulfate-Free?
If you are experiencing some hair issues, have sensitive hair, or if you just want to take extra care of your scalp, sulfate-free is the way to go!
Better Care for Colored Hair
From determining whether to hop into a hot-cold shower or skip it entirely to figuring out how to protect your hair from the heat of the sun, dyed hair needs extra patience, love, and care. What’s great about sulfate-free shampoos is that they don’t leave your hair looking faded and lackluster in comparison to your normal sulfate-filled products.
Hair coloring usually leaves your locks drier than usual. With a sulfate-free shampoo, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about your hair drying out. And since they’re gentler, they are less likely to wash away the beautiful colors you’ve applied to your hair.
Coarse Hair Protection
When you run your fingers down the length of your hair, what do you feel? Dry and rough? Or smooth and soft? If it’s the former, then you probably have coarse hair. What your locks can benefit from a no-sulfate shampoo is that you wouldn’t have to fuss about your hair’s moisture.
Another great alternative for people with coarse hair is to co-wash. This is a technique wherein you use a conditioner with shampoo to clean and moisturize your hair.
Sensitive Scalp Solution
Since they are essentially harsh chemicals, shampoos and other personal care products that contain sulfates can irritate your skin and even cause inflammation. So if you are experiencing scalp or skin sensitivity or if you have any allergies, switching to sulfate-free shampoo might just be worth the shot.
However, if you are encountering serious hair issues such as flaking, severe itching, or red patches, don’t forget to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to understand what’s happening to your scalp.
Never Too Drying
Since sulfates can be just a tad bit too harsh on your hair and its natural oils, sulfate-free shampoos are great alternatives that won’t leave it too dry and brittle.
Other than its drying effect, sulfates also tend to damage your hair’s cuticle structure, weakening the hair strand. This is what makes your hair look dull and more prone to breakage and split ends.
If you don’t want to deal with any of that, skip the sulfate! A good sulfate-free shampoo will be your new BFF.
Gentle On The Eyes
While this won’t be a problem to those who can avoid getting shampoo in their eyes, shampoo without sulfate can be something of a miracle to those who suffer from the occasional eye stinging.
Some shampoos with sulfates in their formula are more irritating to the eyes than those without them. If you find yourself getting suds on your face and eyes, you can stop the stinging by switching to products that don’t contain any sulfates.
While frizz-free is an impossible dream, taming frizzy hair is made easier with a sulfate-free shampoo. The thing with shampoos with sulfate in their formula is that they lift the hair cuticle which contributes to your hair getting super frizzy.
Without this harsh chemical, your hair locks in the moisture it needs to look and feel healthy and soft.
Take great care of your hair by giving it what it needs. So if it requires something gentler, then it doesn’t hurt to try products without any sulfate in them.
Fair warning: if you’re switching from a shampoo with sulfate to one that doesn’t have it in its ingredients list, there might be an adjustment period for your hair. However, it’s definitely worth trying out for yourself and determining whether or not a sulfate-free hair care routine is right for you.
~Author: Katherine Pierce
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.