Why are Sulfate-Free Shampoos Better for Your Hair?
For most people, shampoo containing sulfate has never been an issue. They shampoo their hair; enjoy the great lather and their clean hair when they exit the shower. Instead, they may have had a problem with oily skin, scalp problems or their hair drying out and getting a little frizzy. So, why are sulfate-free shampoos better for your hair?
Rarely do people associate scalp and hair problems with the ingredients in their shampoo. But, with the move toward organic and natural based products, the ingredients in shampoos and conditions has come under the spotlight - in particular, the surfactants that cause the bubbles and suds in soaps, shampoos and detergents.
In the past several decades many manufacturers have used inexpensive, harsh surfactants (SLS or sodium laurel sulfates) in their products to reduce expense; thus, increasing profits or allowing "name brands" to sell inexpensive versions in chain stores and discount pharmacies. The result of these can products use can range from dryness, hair loss and frizz, to loss of color, breakage, split-ends, and lack of control.
What Exactly Is Sulfate?
Sulfate, or sodium laurilsulfate (also known as sodium laurel sulfate or SLS), is a chemical used in many commercial preparations. It is often used for cleaning solutions in the kitchen. In other words, it is a grease cutter and a drying agent. It is also a surfactant.
A surfactant reduces the surface tension so that instead of having two small drops of water, they will now more readily combine to make one, larger drop. It will also permit the mix of oil and water, which does not happen under normal conditions because surface tension keeps each as their own entity.
Think about it, if sulfate can cut the grease in house cleaners, it can certainly destroy the natural oils that are in your hair. Without oil, your hair will turn frizzy. Your scalp will also become devoid of the natural lubricants. Your body’s response is to make more oil. This becomes a vicious cycle the more you wash your hair. Not only will your scalp become very oily, so will your forehead where shampoo is in contact with it.
The Benefits Of Sulfate-Free Shampoos
One of the real benefits is that with a sulfate free shampoo you eliminate sulfate allergies. You may still be allergic to other ingredients of the shampoo, but you will not experience an allergic reaction to sulfates. The other benefit is that your hair remains healthy instead of being stripped of its oils that keep your hair smooth and shiny. Healthy hair grows faster and is stronger, keeping breakage to a minimum.
Your skin is another beneficiary of sls free shampoo. With natural shampoos, or shampoos without sulfate in it, the cycle of stripping oil from skin, producing excessive oil, stripping again will be broken. This will not only be a healthy change for your hair and skin, it will also save you money on corrective products you didn’t need in the first place.
How Effective Is Sulfate-Free Shampoo?
Sulfate-free shampoos clean just as effectively as do the sulfate shampoos. There is only one draw-back. It does not lather like the sulfate shampoos. This can be disturbing to those who associate cleanliness with lather. The two have nothing to do with each other.
Once you are used to the non-bubbling shampoos, you will soon notice the benefits of clean hair and naturally oiled skin and scalp. Your hair will lose its frizz and it will feel so much smoother because of it. Split ends will also be reduced or become a thing of the past altogether.
The biggest benefit is that you may actually gain some hair volume because of the health of your scalp and hair follicles will improve without the irritation of sulfate in your shampoo. So, if you have a sensitive scalp, chronically dry or brittle hair, color treatments or perms, these are some of the reasons why sulfate -free shampoo is better for your hair.