man shampooing hair in shower

Sulphates: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Are you tired of bad hair days and in search of the perfect hair care routine? Well, it's time to talk about sulphates, those bubbly little chemicals that have been causing controversy in the world of hair care.

Sulphates are like that one ex you just can't quit - they may make you feel good in the moment, but they'll leave you high and dry in the end. In this blog post, we'll be exploring the good, the bad, and the downright ugly aspects of sulphates in shampoo, and why you should consider kicking them to the curb.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about the dirty little secrets of sulphates and how they can impact your hair.

The Good

What are sulphates and why are they used in shampoo?

Sulphates are the life of the shampoo party, they're the ones responsible for creating that rich, bubbly lather that we all love. They're chemical compounds that help to break down dirt and oils in our hair, making it easier to wash them away.

When you rub that shampoo into your scalp, the sulphates work their magic by attracting both water and oil, creating an emulsion that lifts away dirt, sebum, and product buildup. Sulphates are so effective at cleansing that they're used in a variety of cleaning products, including dish soap and laundry detergent.

In addition to their cleansing powers, they can also help to create volume in hair by lifting the roots. Plus, they're cheap and easy to produce, which is why they've been a staple ingredient in hair care products for so long.

aluminium shampoo and conditioner refill bottles lying on blue background with bubbles around them


The Bad

The Negative Effects of Sulphates on Hair

While sulphates may be effective at cleaning your hair, they can be a case of too much of a good thing. When used frequently, sulphates can strip your hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness, frizz, and damage. This is especially true for people with curly, thick, or coarse hair, as these hair types are already prone to dryness.

Sulphates can also irritate the scalp and cause inflammation, leading to dandruff or other scalp conditions. And, if you're a sucker for a regular dye job, sulphates can actually cause your colour to fade more quickly, gutting for both our wallets and our locks.

The Ugly

Common Sulphates Used in Shampoo

The biggest, baddest sulphate boy is sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). It's the most widely used sulphate in hair care products, as it's cheap and unbelievably effective at creating a rich, satisfying lather. While it's baby bro sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) is slightly milder on your strands.

Both SLS and SLES can be harmful to your hair, as they can strip away the natural oils that keep your hair healthy and moisturised. This can lead to dryness, frizz, and damage, as well as irritation and inflammation of the scalp. SLS and SLES can also be harmful to the environment, as they can be toxic to aquatic life when they're washed down the drain.

Other less common sulphates that can be found in shampoos include ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS) and ammonium laureth sulphate (ALES). While these sulphates are slightly less harsh than SLS and SLES, you might find they still cause hair that's drier than it should be.

back of girls head using shampoo


The Alternative

Benefits of Sulphate-Free Shampoo

But don't fear! Sulphate-free shampoos are becoming more and more popular. And they're becoming more effective than ever. Win. Win.

Sulphate-free shampoos use gentle cleansers that are derived from natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and tea tree oil. These natural ingredients can effectively cleanse your hair without stripping away the natural oils that keep it healthy and moisturised. In fact, many people find that their hair feels softer, smoother, and more manageable when they switch to a sulphate-free shampoo.

Benefits can include:

  • Reduced scalp irritation
  • Reduced frizz
  • Reduced irritation of skin around the hair (neck, back, hairline acne)
  • Leaves hair softer and more conditioned
  • Leaves curly hair more intact
  • Less time between washes
shampoo and conditioner refill pouches with star ingredients listed: vitamin e, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, argan oil, aloe vera and sweet orange oil
You're a Smooth Talker - sulphate free shampoo

Other alternatives to sulphates that you can look for in your hair care products include coco-glucoside, decyl glucoside, and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSA). These ingredients are derived from natural sources and are less harsh than traditional sulphates, making them a great option for people with sensitive or damaged hair. 

So, let's say goodbye to the bubbly, foamy lather of sulphates and hello to the gentle, natural cleansing power of sulphate-free shampoos. 

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