Oftentimes, the effectiveness of a given hair care product comes down to the ingredients it’s made with. The better the ingredients, the better it will be for your hair and vice-versa.
But sometimes, it’s the lack of certain ingredients that can make all the difference. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about sulfates and why they’re bad for hair, but do you know the reasons why? Today, we’ll be diving into why sulfates wreak havoc on hair, and the best sulfate free shampoo and conditioner to try instead.
Ready to discover the benefits of shampoo without sulfates? Let’s get into it!
What Are Sulfates Exactly?
Before we get into our SLS free shampoo (Aka. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) picks, it’s important to understand what sulfates are and why they’re harmful to hair.
Do you know the mountains upon mountains of foam that a lot of shampoos and body washes create when you use them? That’s the work of sulfates. Sulfates are super effective foaming agents and are often used in bath products for their foaming and cleansing properties.
Sulfates are synthetically made in a lab, often from fatty alcohols found in vegetables. But just because sulfates are made from vegetables doesn’t mean they’re all that healthy for our hair and bodies. The amount of sulfate and paraben-free shampoo you see on shelves these days should be a good sign that it’s not the best thing to put on our hair.
Are Sulfates Bad For Your Hair?
One of the biggest problems with sulfates is that they tend to strip away the hair’s natural oils. Over time, this can cause excessive dryness and brittleness – something none of us want. If you have an especially sensitive scalp, sulfates can also cause redness, irritation, and itching.
When it comes to aging hair, sulfates weaken the hair’s cuticle, making your hair more prone to both heat and environmental damage. Additionally, as we get older, our scalps require more moisture to stay healthy. Sulfates strip away our natural layer of moisture, creating a drier scalp that may be more prone to irritation. This is one reason it’s important to make the switch to SLS free shampoo.
The Benefits of SLES and SLS Free Shampoo
Curious to know how sulfate and paraben-free shampoo can level up your hair care routine? Check out the benefits of shampoo without sulfate.
1. Preserves naturally moisturizing hair oils
One of the most impactful benefits of incorporating an SLS free shampoo into your routine is that your scalp will be able to retain its natural moisture barrier. If you’ve been struggling with dry or damaged hair, letting your scalp hold onto these natural oils will be a big help. The more natural moisture your scalp can retain, the healthier your hair will be overall.
2. Longer-lasting hair color
Did you know that using the best sulfate free shampoo and conditioner will also help you keep your color-treated hair for longer? It’s true! SLS free shampoo can help extend the life and vibrancy of your color for four weeks or longer.
3. Frizz-free hair
Frizzy styles had their place in the 80s, but nowadays, we’re doing everything we can to keep frizziness at bay. Part of a great frizz-free routine is, you guessed it, adding the best sulfate free shampoo you can find to your routine.
4. Reduced scalp sensitivity
Remember how we mentioned that sulfates can cause inflammation and irritation? Switching to an SLS free shampoo can help calm a sensitive scalp right down. Plus, you’ll be treated to softer and silkier hair than ever before - who doesn’t want that?
Who Should Use Sulfate and Paraben Free Shampoo?
The good news is, everyone can benefit from making the switch to shampoo without sulfate. Whether you have great hair or are experiencing issues like dryness or irritation, SLS free shampoo can help give your hair the boost it needs to get (and stay) healthy.
Additionally, if you’re struggling with conditions like rosacea, contact dermatitis, or eczema around the scalp, sulfate and paraben-free shampoo can also help provide relief.
How Do You Know If Your Shampoo Is Sulfate-Free?
When it comes to finding the best sulfate free shampoo, it’s important to never trust labels without looking at the ingredient list first. Some brands claim to have sulfate and paraben-free shampoo, but upon closer inspection are misleading.
For example, a brand may say they make sulfate free shampoo, but use sodium lauryl sulfonate, a modified version of the more commonly seen sodium lauryl sulfate. While the names may be different, they both carry the same harsh effects on the hair.
When looking for the best sulfate free shampoo to try, take your time reading the label, and familiarize yourself with ingredients to look for. The best sulfate free shampoo should include ingredients like glucosides, sulfosuccinates, glutamates, and other plant-based surfactants. These naturally-derived ingredients are much gentler on the hair and clean just as well without all of the foam and potential dryness.
What Are The Problems With SLS Free Shampoo?
Are there any problems with using sulfate and paraben-free shampoo? There are no harmful effects of using sulfate free shampoo. For some, the lack of foam may be strange but is easy to get used to after a few uses. Others may find they need to use slightly more product to achieve a deep clean, but that experience isn’t universal. All in all, while it might take some time to get used to using a shampoo without sulfate, the benefits will outweigh the initial strangeness.
The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoos and Conditioners
Ready to try a sulfate free shampoo for yourself? We’ve compiled our top picks of shampoo without sulfate based on hair color, texture, and more!
For damaged, fragile hair prone to split ends
For damaged hair, I recommend Split Fix™ Shampoo. Thanks to its gentle formula, this shampoo creates an invigorating clean without stripping the hair of essential oils.
Since this is a sulfate free shampoo, it requires a slightly different approach than traditional shampoos. After wetting your hair, apply a small amount of Split Fix™ Shampoo to your palm, and then massage it into the scalp. Rinse out with water, then repeat. The second wash will activate the foaming process and remove stubborn build-up and excess oil from the hair.
For wavy, curly hair
Shampoo without sulfate is a great choice if you’re someone with textured hair. Preventing breakage and dryness is key, which is why Curl Crush™ Shampoo is formulated with organic aloe vera and other nourishing ingredients for maximum hydration.
For thinning hair
For those looking to improve the thickness and density of their hair, it’s important to go with a sulfate free shampoo. Grow Perfect™ Shampoo is specifically formulated with hair loss in mind, with ingredients like Anagain™ and organic rosemary oil that help stimulate hair growth.
Both natural and color-treated blondes can find themselves battling brassiness. That’s why Enriched Blonde™ Silver Shampoo both treats and reduces yellow, orange, and brassy tones in blonde hair. If you’re looking for the best SLS free shampoo that will help maintain your gorgeous color, we’ve got you covered.
For greasy hair and dandruff
Most anti-dandruff shampoos are formulated with harsh sulfates that can aggravate your scalp even further. I recommend opting for a sulfate-free, antimicrobial dandruff shampoo like Instant Relief™ Dandruff Shampoo that instantly soothes dandruff-related symptoms, powerfully clears away flakes, and balances healthy moisture levels on your scalp.
Other Good Shower Habits
Along with using a shampoo without sulfate, it’s important to practice other good shower habits to ensure your hair can be as healthy as possible. After you’ve picked the best sulfate free shampoo for you, don’t forget to check this list to see how you can optimize your hair care routine.
Wash your hair only as often as you need to
This is a big one. Overwashing your hair can lead to excessive dryness, irritation, breakage and even hair loss. So often we think we have to wash our hair every day, but for most of us, we can get away with a much less intensive routine.
For normal hair types, anywhere from 2-3 times a week is the sweet spot. If your hair is on the thinner or more oily side, opt for more. If you have curly or textured hair, you’ll want to wash your hair even less to retain your lock’s precious moisture.
Don’t forget to use a conditioner (one that’s silicone-free!)
The right shampoo pick can make all the difference between happy, healthy hair, and hair that’s dry, limp, and lifeless.
But, to round out a good hair care routine, it’s important to find the right conditioner for your hair type. We love our Split Fix™ Conditioner for promoting strong, healthy hair. Our targeted, silicone-free formula is all-natural and perfect for restoring dry, brittle locks to their natural bounciness.
After shampooing, apply a generous amount of conditioner to your ends and mid-lengths, avoiding the roots. Remember to use conditioner each time you shampoo for optimal hair health!
Make sure to use moisturize the hair and scalp
Another great shower habit we often forget about is scalp maintenance. Our scalp is our hair’s first line of defense, and the better care we give it, the healthier our hair will ultimately be.
Want to get proactive about helping your scalp look and feel its best? Try a Scalp Delight™ Detox Scrub. Whether you’re dealing with flakiness or excess buildup, this scrub will help slough away dead skin cells and stimulate new hair growth. Plus, ingredients like bilberry and oat extract help boost shine, repair breakage, and prevent split ends. That’s a lot to love from one scrub!
Want an even more luxurious shower experience? We recommend applying your shampoo or scalp scrub with a gentle scalp massage brush. Soft, silicone bristles will help improve blood flow and hair growth while giving you a hair-tingling experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Remember the inner hair care
Using a shampoo without sulfate is just one step you’ll want to take on the path toward a better hair care routine. Eating a healthy diet, along with exercising and getting enough sleep are all important factors contributing to your hair’s health, along with what hair supplements you take.
Make sure you’re leading a healthy lifestyle to achieve the healthiest hair possible!
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