Decoding the label of a beauty product can be a bit daunting and you can easily go down a rabbit hole of “X is bad for you”. So we want to help you understand better what some of the ingredients in beauty products do and how to pick the right haircare for your needs, starting with a highly debated question: “are sulfates good or bad for you?”
What are sulfates and what do they do?
Sulfates are detergents, or surfactants – a type of ingredient added into cleansing products to make them lather or bubble, and to remove dirt and oil. They work by attracting both oil and water, meaning the grease trapped in the lather will rinse away with the water.
The most common sulfate is sodium lauryl sulfate, mostly found on the ingredients lists of soaps, shampoos, shower gels and toothpaste. Despite its negative reputation some time ago, SLS is safe to use health-wise, but sulfate-free shampoos are considered gentler shampoos for the scalp and hair and are usually recommended to those with sensitive skin.
What are sulfate-free shampoos and how do they work?
Sulfate-free shampoos are shampoos formulated without sulfates (surprise, surprise)…
A common misconception is that we need to be covered in foam in order to “feel clean” but think of all the cleansing products that are non-foaming – removing make up is just as effective without lathery bubbles.
We design our shampoos by following a minimalist formula, where we use only the ingredients needed and nothing extra. This means we’ve replaced the sulfates with natural origin cleansing ingredients that clean and lightly condition the hair at the same time.
Due to their formulas, the shampoos will foam less. You will notice that if your hair is dirty, the first time you shampoo you won’t get that much foam because the surfactant ingredients are busy cleaning the hair – not foaming. Once the hair is cleaner, more foam will appear.
One useful tip to make the shampoo work better is to ensure your hair is sopping wet when applying the product. Massage the shampoo on the scalp and roots and also start applying shampoo from the nape area up.
Add a bit more water with your palms for more lather. If your hair is very dirty, pre-shampoo first with a small amount.
Switching to a sulfate-free shampoo
When changing to a shampoo with natural origin ingredients and no sulfates your hair might feel somewhat different after the first few washes. That’s because the scalp and the hair need to adjust to the different types of ingredients.
As mentioned before, sulfates strip the natural oils from the hair and scalp, so your scalp and hair will have to work to maintain the balance. It’s also important to know that when you remove the sulfates, your hair might be oilier for a while until it adapts to the new routine.
Discover our range of sulphate-free shampoos and find out everything you need to know about using a shampoo bar. You can also discover more about another controversial ingredient that's commonly found in hair care products, silicone, and learn about switching to silicone-free products.