These days, more and more people are looking at the labels on their hair shampoos and calling into question the ingredients listed. Good thing too; there are some pesky chemicals that lurk in many cleansing and hair styling products that can cause dreadful problems for your tresses. One such chemical is sodium lauryl sulfate, and more and more brands have recently released their own lines of Sulfate-free Haircare Products for those who have started shunning traditional shampoos. But do sulfates really cause problems for your scalp and mane? Why the surge in sulfate-free shampoos? And do these products keep the coif looking as good as traditional hair-care products?
Sulfates are a type of lathering detergents, which make hair-cleansing products foamy and bubbly. The most common sulfate in hair shampoos is sodium lauryl sulfate, which cuts through oil on the scalp and removes it. Sodium lauryl sulfate also allows the other ingredients in the shampoo to absorb into the scalp and body more easily. While this is good for the vitamins and natural ingredients in haircare products, it also allows additional chemicals to work their way into the body. In addition, sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate the skin. It strips the scalp of its natural oils and dries out the hair shaft, which can cause your locks to look and feel frizzy.
That said, many people choose to use shampoos that contain sulfates because they don’t believe hair can become clean without the suds. With sulfate-free shampoos, the lathering detergent has been replaced by other cleansing ingredients, so it foams less than its sulfate-filled counterparts. While the bubbles don’t actually have anything to do with how clean the hair is, many people wind up using too much shampoo to try to get that clean feeling they got from the sulfate shampoo.