Paraben Free Shampoo
SLS shampoo or more appropriately, SLS-free, refers to cleansers that are free of Sodium Laurel (Lauryl)Sulfate. Sodium Laurel Sulfate is the key ingredient used in many lower-priced, OTC and store bought shampoo products.
Not to be confused with its healthier Sodium Laureth Sulfate, SLS has been found to compound and aggravate scalp problems and trigger damage to the hair follicles.
What are Sulfates?
Sodium sulfates are surfactants. Surfactants are used in a variety of cleaning products, such as dog shampoo, carpet cleaners, detergents, and industrial cleansers.
Depending on their use, they may be combined with de-greasing agents, emulsifiers, bleach and coloring agents.For hair products, SLS came into common use in the 60's as a opportunity for less expensive shampoos to compete price-wise with the increasing penetration of professional salon products in the market. Due to the lower cost to produce such products, Sodium Laurel (Lauryl) Sulfate continued to gain popularity in formulations.
The SLS Impact
As with many products, especially those approved by the FDA, long-term research and impact on a broad population was unknown. But, what has been shown either through empirical evidence or clinical studies, is that many people have shown either an allergic reaction or have observed near or long-term deterioration of hair and scalp health.
This has manifested itself in a variety of problems: Increased brittleness and dryness, scalp inflammation, excessive oiliness, scalp psoriasis, dermatitis, scalp sores, and hair loss - thus the rise in SLS shampoo popularity.
SLS Shampoo Benefits
There are many alternatives now available that have been proven to improve cleansing action as well as improving scalp health.
Botanical extracts such as willow bar, sage, fenugreek, and yes, the cousin Sodium Laureth Sulfate, have all shown foaming and lather maintenance while being gentle on the scalp. SLS-free is now the nomenclature most used in the hair industry.
Though extracts and botanicals are more expensive, they regularly improve the scalp's function and health and reduce the possibility of inflammation, scaling and flaking, excess oil, and an overall reduction of sores,dandruff, scalp and hair diseases.
- Improved circulation and blood flow to the scalp
- Improved follicle thickness and pliability
- Increased strength and reduced splitting and breaking
- Reduction of ancillary and related scalp and hair diseases
- Lower risk of thinning, balding and loss
- Generally color-safe and improved shine
While an SLS-free shampoo may not be the solution for all problems, it has been shown to be as, if not more, effective for hair product cleansers. Increased shine, body and volume for most people is the the "proof in the pudding"!