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Sulfate Free Shampoos and Natural Hair Care

Updated on January 17, 2019

Why Are Sulfates Bad For Hair?

Why are sulfates bad for hair? The answer to this question is actually quite surprising.

An increasing number of people are beginning to learn the various negative aspects to using hair products that contain sulfates.

The more you discover about the question of why are sulfates bad for hair, the more likely you are to begin to wonder about your alternatives.

While these alternatives to shampoos containing sulfate do indeed exist, a little education on the subject is still essential.

What Are Sulfates?

The answer to the question of why are sulfates bad for hair demands a little background first.

Take a quick look at the ingredients list for the shampoo you’re currently using. If you notice that one of those ingredients is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), then that’s where your sulfates are coming from.

These chemicals are quite commonly found in not only shampoos, but in a host of other cleaning/hygiene products, as well (such as toothpastes and soaps).

Why a company would choose to include a chemical that contains sulfates is not a difficult concept to understand.

These chemicals act as a foaming agent, are cheap to include in the products, and are capable of removing that unpleasant-feeling oily buildup in your hair.

There are other reasons as to why sulfates are prevalent in your current shampoo, but those are certainly the main ones.

With all this in mind, you are in a better position to ask yourself why are sulfates bad for hair.

Are Sulfates Bad For Hair?

On the subject of whether or not sulfates are bad for your hair, an increasing amount of information points to the following fact: Sulfates are not good for your hair.

While the severity of this fact can vary from one person to the next, there are a number of reasons as to why sulfates are not good for your hair:

Chemicals containing sulfates are known as surfactants. What this means is that the chemicals in your shampoo that contain sulfates are largely designed to degrade the surface tension for liquids, in order to make it easier for them to be spread around.

Sulfates have a strong potential to be an irritant to your hair, skin, and even to your eyes. The degree to which this can be the case varies from one person to the next.

Some experience very minor irritations through the use of shampoos containing sulfates. Others have severe allergic reactions.

Sulfates are capable of stripping your hair of essential oils. This can lead to the feeling that your hair has become extremely dried out, both in terms of its appearance and how it feels to the touch.

Can Damage The Hair

Continuous use of shampoos that contain sulfates have the potential to cause long-term damage to your hair. This damage can be realized in terms of its appearance, as well in terms of the overall health of the hair itself.

A 0.5% concentrate of the chemical that contains sulfates in a bottle of shampoo has been proven to have the potential to act as an irritant.

A little research on the subject of chemical concentrations in shampoos will show you that a number of shampoos have concentrations of chemicals containing sulfates that range between 10%-30%.

Some of the consequences that can result from using shampoos containing sulfates include irritation of the eyes, irritation of the scalp, tangled up hair, hair that feels frizzy or fuzzy, or hair that has become split.

In some cases, the consequences can even include swelling of your hands, your face, and your arms. These are some of the reasons why shampoos that contain sulfates are bad for your hair.

6 Facts About Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a cheap foaming agent. It creates foam, bubbles and lather.
  • It is also used as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of the product.
  • SLS is also used in many other products such as soap, detergents and toothpaste.
  • SLS is derived from coconut oil.
  • It can cause allergy and ezcema.
  • SLS can cause dry scalp because it strips the hair of its natural oils.

Sulfate Free Shampoos

With all of these reasons as to what shampoos containing sulfates can do to your hair, you’re likely going to start to wonder if it’s perhaps time to start looking at alternative shampoo products.

Fortunately, these alternatives do indeed exist. Not only do these alternatives exist, but they can be found in a variety of different places.

The most important thing to consider with sulfate free shampoos is the fact that the best of them are going to leave your hair feeling softer and cleaner than it ever has before.

Best of all is the way it’s going to do this without causing any particular irritation to your hair.

When it comes to the subject of sulfate free shampoos, it’s important to look for natural ingredients. Organic shampoos can bring a lot of benefits to the table.

Unfortunately, certain alternative shampoos have simply replaced sulfates with other damaging chemicals. As long as you focus your search on sulfate free shampoos that contain natural ingredients, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

It’s true that sulfate free shampoos are a little costlier, but the benefits are such that you’re probably not going to care.

5 Great Benefits Of Sulfate Free Shampoo

Everyone uses some type of shampoo to clean their hair. But, not all shampoos are created equally. Many shampoos harbor a detergent known as sodium lauryl sulfate, a type of chemical mainly used to remove oils from hair.

Although sulfate-harboring products are common on store shelves, some people can't use these products on their hair or skin.

Sulfate-harboring shampoo, to provide an example, often strips hair of its essential, natural oils and even strips away pigmentation from hair dye.

Due to the nature of sulfate, many people want to use sulfate free shampoo instead. This type of shampoo is safe to use on any type of hair, especially since it doesn't strip away essentials or pigmentation.

Benefit #1

- It reduces the chances of developing irritation or inflammation within scalp.

People with sensitivities to certain hair care products probably have experienced inflammation from sulfate-harboring shampoos. This irritation often causes a person's scalp to become itchy, sore and unbearable to manage until it subsides.

No one wants an irritated scalp. That's why it's important to avoid using products that contain harmful ingredients, such as sulfate.

Benefit #2

- It increases moisture retention within the hair.

The hair is a haven for natural oils and other forms of moisture, such as those bought on by water and hair products. But, when you use a sulfate-harboring shampoo, your hair may lose the ability to retain moisture over time.

Sulfate free shampoo, on the other hand, gently cleans your hair. That way, you don't have to worry about dealing with excessively dry hair long after it dries.

Benefit #3

- It improves and retains the hair's natural oils.

The hair follicles produce plenty of natural oils that help keep the hair moisturized and healthy. However, the oil-stripping properties of sulfate often strip these natural oils out of hair, causing the hair to become brittle, dry and unmanageable.

Sulfate free shampoo gently washes the hair without stripping out its natural oils. By helping retain those natural oils, you won't have to worry about your hair becoming excessively dry nor developing an itchy scalp.

Benefit #4

- It retains hair color in dyed hair for longer periods of time.

Ever shampoo and wash your hair, only to find that your hair dye's starting to fade? What about after each time you wash your hair with a sulfate-harboring shampoo? That's what sulfate does—it strips out oils and even pigmentation from your hair.

Sulfate free shampoo doesn't. This shampoo gently washes your hair without stripping out any of its natural and temporary properties –temporary, as in hair dye pigment. That way, you can enjoy your dyed hair for longer periods of time.

So, don't forget: always use sulfate free shampoo on dyed hair.

Benefit #5

- It prevents the scalp from absorbing harmful chemicals.

Did you know that studies found that sulfate can eventually be absorbed by the liver? When this happens, it mimics estrogen found in the body, which could potentially cause hormonal issues in people.

The substance may also contain 1.4-dioxane, a substance that's known as a harmful carcinogen.

However, such information is still under extensive research, but the sentiment is still there for those concerned about using sulfate-harboring shampoos.

Paraben Free Shampoo - Everything You Need To Know About It

Less then 50 years ago, leaded gasoline was all the rage. Lead in gasoline helped to create more efficient fuel that was easier to transfer and use.

Despite all the warnings over the past 2 millennia regarding lead, millions of American cars used this gasoline.

It took nearly two decades before action was taken to stop putting lead in gasoline, leading to countless Americans getting sick and even dying due to lead exposure.

In the United States, we have a system that stops harmful products from being mass distributed. However, as the above example illustrates, harmful chemicals and metals can find their way past regulation and cause health concerns.

A Common Ingredient In Shampoos

This is one reason why many people are concerned about Paraben. An ingredient within many shampoos, conditions, and beauty supplies, Paraben is now being questioned because of theoretical links between it and a number of health problems in men and women.

As a result, Paraben free shampoo has exploded in the market place, taking advantage of fear and possible health concerns to provide a product free of this chemical.

To help get to the bottom of this problem, lets examine Paraben, and take a moment to explain what it is. In addition, we will take a look at Paraben free shampoos.

What Are Parabens And Why Are They In Shampoo?

Parabens are the most frequently used preservatives in the world of personal care products. As a preservative, they help hold together the various mixtures we use.

This helps keep the personal care products lasting longer before they go bad, as well as retain whatever desired texture they were given.

Finally, they help things like pests, fungus, and bacteria from growing in the personal care products you use daily.

Because of this incredibly useful role, Parabens have found themselves in a number of useful roles, including your shampoos.

As this is the way in which people most come in contact with Parabens, it is the leading target for the anti-Paraben movement.

As a result, there is now Paraben free shampoos on the market. Instead of using Paraben as a preservative, they use another of a wide range of chemical preservatives instead.

The particular kind of preservative used will depend on the particular shampoo manufacturer.

Why Are People Afraid of Parabens?

Paraben shares a chemical formula similar to estrogen. In that way, it is feared to replace estrogen in the body.

When chemicals have done this in the past, they have led to a wide range of health problems in people, including increased risks of cancer.

Parabens have a minor estrogenic effect, raising fears that they may be causing widespread health damages. In addition, Paraben has two OH side groups in its chemical formula.

An OH group is also known as an Alcohol, and having two of these is often seen in things that mimic estrogen in the human body.

While the design of Paraben is similar to other things that hurt the human body, not all chemicals with OH pairs are harmful.

In fact, the chemical composition of some parts of wood have the same OH pairing in them, and they are not harmful to people at all.

The biggest problem with Paraben is that we do not know how much of a risk it may pose. Sufficient research regarding Paraben has yet to be done.

As a result, we are not sure if it is truly bad for us or if it is perfectly harmless. In addition, we have to consider that not everyone is the same.

While Paraben may be bad for me, it may be perfectly fine for your body. Until research is done regarding what Paraben does and how much of a tolerance our bodies have, nothing will be known for sure.

What Are Some Paraben Free Shampoos I Can Buy?

If you don’t want to risk Paraben contact until evidence comes out one way or another, then you have a number of Paraben free shampoos to choose from.

Paraben free shampoos are offered wherever you can find shampoos. They are increasing in popularity, leading to a wide selection in the marketplace.

The Company Quenched offers a variety of Paraben free shampoos, conditions, and moisturizers. Other companies with Paraben free product lines include Rahua, Marulagold, and Weleda.

Where Does That Leave Us?

Simply put, Paraben may be dangerous. However, there has not been enough research or concern on the part of the FDA to issue a ban on its use.

For those who fear that Paraben will be as deadly as leaded gasoline, then there are a number of Paraben free products for them to choose from.

This includes a wide range of Paraben free shampoos made by a variety of companies. As it may be some time before definitive results come in, you may just want to play it safe and avoid Paraben.

What Ingredients To Avoid In Shampoos And Hair Care Products

Everyone loves the idea of having perfect hairstyles that emulate professional looks that you have when you leave the salon.

The main problem is that many people end up with dry and damaged hair before they know it and your shampoo could be the main culprit.

There are a wide variety of ingredients that are included in traditional shampoo formulas that have been extensively studied and have shown to be damaging to the hair and skin of people that use them.

Below is an informative guide to teach you about the different ingredients that you should be avoiding in your shampoos and the ingredients that you should be looking for.

If you’ve done any research into chemicals and compounds that are bad for your hair, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the 3 hair killers:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates


Commonly known as the ingredients that are responsible for creating the thick bubbly lather in shampoos, sulfates were originally designed for industrial cleansers.

These chemicals are responsible for cutting through grease and grime in order to get rid of all of the oil in your hair.

The main problem is that your hair doesn’t need all of its oil removed, just the excess that is created throughout the day.

The more oil that is removed from your hair, the more oil your body is going to produce to make up for what it doesn’t have which results in heavier and greasier strands than ever before.

There are also harmful byproducts that have been found inside of sulfates, including 1,4-dioxane, which has been linked to kidney and liver damage.


Parabens are typically known to be antifungal and antibacterial agents that help to clean different surfaces, but in an incredibly unhealthy way.

Numerous studies have shown that parabens have been found inside of tumors and can be related to significant changes in hormone functions, particularly in younger girls.

One of the largest concerns that consumers have with parabens is that they are found in almost every type of children’s shampoo because they are such strong preservatives that keep formulas better for longer.

There has been some speculation around whether formaldehyde is one of the main gases that is exuded from parabens after they have been stored for a short period of time.


Phthalates are typically found inside of plastics but they can also be used to create the majority of fragrances that you have in your shampoos.

These ingredients are on a variety of lists in different countries that point directly to carcinogens, the items that are responsible for creating cancer and other ailments.

Other studies have noted phthalates are responsible for disrupting the endocrine functions in young girls and exacerbating the symptoms of asthma in both children and adults.

In fact, California banned the use of phthalates in children’s toys dating back to 2009. The main way to make sure that you don’t fall victim to these harmful components is to read through the ingredients list on your shampoo.

If it simply states “fragrance” there’s a high probability that phthalates are in the formula.

Instead, look for labels of essential oils and specific scents that are used to create the fragrance.

Ingredients to Look For In Shampoos

Now that you’re aware of the 3 main things to avoid when you’re shopping for shampoos, it’s important to consider the beneficial components that every formula should have so you can reap the benefits of healthier and moisturized hair.

Raw Plant-Based Ingredients

Opting for 100% organic shampoos is by far your best bet when it comes to making sure that you and your family are protected from the dangers of harmful chemicals.

There are a variety of different brands that have the mission to avoid all unnatural ingredients when creating their formulas.

There are thousands of plants around the world that offer just as many cleansing properties as man-made synthetic chemicals and they smell much better than you could imagine.

Ensure that you read through the ingredients of your shampoo and notice if there are any raw plant-based items included.

Minimal Packaging

One thing that is known about healthier options in terms of shampoos is that the companies don’t spend a lot of time creating extravagant packaging that is only going to damage the environment.

Try to find companies that work with recyclable materials as you can know that their idea of protecting their consumers and the environment is their number 1 priority.

In fact, you could also choose to opt for bar soap designed for your hair instead of liquid shampoos as they have the least amount of packaging imaginable.

Homemade Products

If all else fails and if you’re feeling a little creative, consider making your own homemade shampoos at home from a variety of different ingredients including baking soda, olive oil, coconut milk, avocado, and more.

You can get the perfect amount of moisture from items that you would generally buy from the grocery store.

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© 2019 Tom


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