Should I Be Using A Sulfate-Free Shampoo?
Curious as to whether your hair can look and feel just as healthy if you lose the sulfates? Here’s everything you need to know
When it comes to clean or natural beauty, many people think that anything that sounds synthetic within the ingredients list of hair care products can be off-putting, but it’s important to look beyond the hype. Sulfates are a great example of this: used in hair care for decades, many of us are keen to side-step them now, thanks to negative headlines about their impact on skin, hair and the environment. But why are they in so many products, from hair care to toothpaste to cleansers? Surely sulfates can’t be that bad?
Sulfates act as foaming agents, so they create a lather that helps to lift dirt and excess oil from your hair. They’re generally safe (as indicated by the sheer volume of products they’re used in), but safe can be different to desirable. Here’s what to know about sulfates, so you can make the right choice for yourself and the planet.
Sulfates can strip good oils
The most common sulfates used in hair care include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES). They became popular because they’re so efficient at removing dirt, sebum and residues. They can also be a little too efficient, because as well as cleaning away all that dirt and pollution, they can also strip all-important natural oils and moisture from the hair, which help keep hair healthy and glossy-looking.
Sulfates can be troublesome if you have sensitive skin, as in shampoos they can leave the scalp dry and irritated. They don’t provide much love for curly hair either, which craves and needs moisture, plus sulfates can also prematurely dull colored hair.
The effectiveness of going sulfate-free
Happily, the planet provides plenty of ingredients that can also effectively remove dirt, but crucially, without stripping away natural oils. Charcoal is known for its detoxifying properties, which means it removes excess dirt and oil gently. Try Love Beauty And Planet’s Sulfate-Free Charcoal & Bergamot Shampoo for a detox that will also hydrate your scalp. It’ll get your locks ultra-clean, while the citrus scent of bergamot leaves you feeling energized.
Another way to care for the planet alongside your hair is by switching to a concentrated shampoo and conditioner, which requires half as much product to get the same amazing results. Try Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Indian Lilac And Clove Leaf Shampoo and Conditioner. Known as ‘the bestower of health’ thanks to oil rich seeds and vibrant leaves, Indian Lilac has incredible moisturizing and regenerative properties. By using it, you and the planet get more beauty with less bottle thanks to its concentrated formulation: using half your usual amount of shampoo over the same number of washes requires less water to make, and enables us to use smaller bottles containing 50% less plastic than our 13.5 ounce bottles.
Although they have a place in some beauty and hair products, given that sulfates can irritate the skin and strip precious oils that naturally protect hair, it’s good to avoid them when you can. Changing to a sulfate-free option has benefits for your tresses and can put less pressure on the planet. That’s a pretty big win all-round.