Have you noticed “Sulfate-Free” popping up on shampoo and conditioner bottles everywhere? Commercials touting that their products are sulfate-free? Sulfate-free is often compared with natural or organic shampoos and conditioners and considered safer for your use. But really, what does sulfate-free even mean? Should you care? You may have these products and not even know exactly why you wanted them so badly. Ah, how the media sways us.
Anyway, sulfates are the things that give shampoos a thick lather when you shower. The ingredient can cause frizziness and can damage color-treated hair. Salons may even tell you that you shouldn’t08-26-13 use a shampoo or conditioner that contains sulfates after you get your hair colored or get a chemical treatment such as a perm or chemical straightening.
Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners say that they let curls stay curlier, hair will be less frizzy and colored hair stays brighter for longer, but dermatologists say you probably won’t see a huge difference. They do recommend you use a sulfate-free product however if you have allergies or any skin problems. Sulfate-free shampoos also can help keep your hair moisturized for longer.
When switching to a sulfate-free shampoo or conditioner, you may notice it does not lather as much but it will clean your hair just the same. It may also be more expensive, but if using products with less chemicals is very important to you, this probably won’t be that much of a problem.
I recommend you switch to a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner if you chemically straighten, perm or color your hair regularly or if you have any allergies or scalp problems. Also, if you swim regularly and get a dry or itchy scalp, it may be in your best interest to check out a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Check the label if you’re not sure if a product is sulfate-free. It will probably say on the front, but check the label for sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate and abbreviated as SLS, which are sulfates. These same sulfates are found in laundry detergent and other home care products. You may not want to use something in your hair and on your skin that you wash your clothes with too.
Have you ever used sulfate-free shampoos or conditioners? Do you notice a difference? Do you think it is worth using? Tell us your story!