5 Reasons Why Sulfates Are Bad for Your Hair and Health
Do you ever wonder what causes the soap suds to start flying when you hit the shower and start scrubbing?
Well, to answer that question right off the bat, the bubbles are caused by an ingredient known as sulfates. They are a mixture of molecules known as surfactants whose properties allow them to attract both water and oil.
Yet there is more to sulfates than there seems at first!
While they’re par for the course in the haircare industry, they’re not as healthy as many people think. Indeed, there has been a large shift as of late to haircare products that are sulfate free.
The Use of Sulfates in Haircare & Cleaning Products
Because sulfates attract both water and oil, they are able to separate dirt, oil, and other debris from your skin and hair easily. Not only that, these chemical substances significantly improve the effectiveness of any cleaning products.
This is the primary reason they’ve been a central ingredient since the 1930s. However, they are extremely harsh to your skin and body and are widely used in:
- Haircare Products (Such as Shampoos and Conditioners)
- Home Cleaning Products (Such as Floor Cleaners)
- Industrial Cleaning Products (Such as Engine Degreasers and Car Wash Soaps)
While shampoos and conditioners are safe to use in a general sense, they’re much harsher than they need to be. They tend to strip the hair, scalp, and skin of natural oils, leading to excessive dryness and irritation.
5 Negative Effects of Sulfates in Shampoo
Sulfates aren’t exactly bad for your hair. They’ve been deemed as safe by the FDA and other organizations. Unlike some people claim, they will not cause cancer.
However, just because they’re not bad for your hair, doesn’t mean they’re good for you either. There are at least five different reasons that sulfates aren’t good for you:
- Irritates Skin – Sulfates are harsh. They cause minor hair and skin irritation in the majority of people. They’ve also been known to irritate the eyes. A smaller group of people experience severe allergic reactions from these chemical substances.
- Strips Hair – Sulfates strip your hair of its natural oils. These natural oils are essential for the overall health and beauty of your hair. Without them, your hair becomes overly dried out.
- Clogs Pores – The natural oils from your hair and skin actually keep your scalp clean and clear. When sulfates remove these natural oils, your pores are much more likely to become clogged. This can lead to pimples, acne, and other skin conditions.
- Slows Growth – Even just small amounts of these chemicals have been shown to damage hair follicles, slowing down hair growth. It’s been shown that hair growth can be slowed by as much as eight times the normal rate.
- Long-Term Damage – Using shampoos that contain sulfates over an extended period of time, can lead to long-term damage that is most noticeable in the appearance of your hair.
Pay attention: You don’t need a product that’s as effective. In fact, sulfates are so strong they can actually cause dryness and irritation of both your scalp and hair.
Does Your Shampoo Contain Sulfates?
If your bottle states that it is “sulfate-free,” then you can rest assured that it doesn’t contain sulfates. If it doesn’t explicitly state this, then there is about a 90% chance that it does.
Take a look at the ingredients label on your bottle. The most common sulfates used in shampoo include:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
- Ammonia Laureth Sulphate (ALS)
Because there are dozens of other less common sulfates, it’s best to find a brand of “sulphate-free” haircare products if you want to avoid these substances for good.
My Recommendation – Try Alternative Shampoos
Today, there are more alternatives to sulfate-based shampoo than ever before. After using these, you’ll likely notice your hair is softer and healthier than ever before.
I have picked for you three best options on the market:
- Jason Restorative Biotin
- Aveeno Pure Renewal
- Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Milk Extra-Rich Hair Conditioner
You’ll notice that sulfate-free shampoos do not create much foam and are a little costlier. However, the health benefits, in both the short and long-term, pay off big time!
Fork over a little extra money upfront and you’ll reap the rewards long into the future. Your skin and hair will thank you.
Excellent Video on Sulfates in Cosmetics
Do you use a natural shampoo? Which brand do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.