WHY YOUR SHAMPOO SHOULD BE SLS-FREE
Have you ever found yourself looking for a new shampoo and noticed a number of “sulfate-free” products on the shelves? While you might think shampoo is shampoo, there’s a big difference between regular shampoo and sulfate-free shampoo. But what exactly do sulfates do, and why should you steer clear of them? Let’s break down this much buzzed-about ingredient.
But first things first…
WHAT ARE SULFATES?
Sulfates are foaming agents that can be found in many personal care products, from shampoos and body washes to toothpastes and facial cleansers. They are aggressive detergents and were first introduced into beauty care in the 1930’s. Sulfates act as surfactants, meaning they foam and emulsify greasy substances by attracting both oil and water. While one end of the molecule clings to oil and dirt, the other clings to water, thereby lifting grease off of your hair and skin and producing the foaming lather which most people today associate with the feeling of being clean.
There are various types of sulfates, but the ones most commonly found in beauty and personal care products are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), widely considered asthe strongest sulfates. Due to the fact that sulfates are cheap, easy to make and very powerful, they quickly became popular as chemical inputs and are now a part of most household cleaning products. They’re so effective at what they do that they are even used in the manufacturing and construction industry to degrease heavy machinery. Yes, that’s right. The same sulfates to clean your hair are used across the construction industries. You might think SLS can’t be that bad if it’s been in our shampoo for such a long time, right? Wrong. More and more evidence shows that SLS and SLES have a much bigger impact on our health and beauty than previously anticipated.
WHY SULFATES SHOULDN’T GO ON YOUR HAIR
Your skin, follicles, hair, proteins, lipids and microbes make up your dermal biome– a natural ecosystem that keeps you healthy and protected. Whenever your biome is balanced, your hair feels strong and your skin is clear and itch-free. However, as soon as this natural balance is compromised, your hair can become fragile and your skin can feel dry and irritated. That’s exactly the problem with sulfates: since they are so aggressive, they strip all the protective oils from your hair and scalp and disrupt your biome’s delicate balance. Need more reasons why to keep away from SLS and SLES? Here you go:
They dissolve all of the natural oils on your scalp. By washing away oils, proteins and anti-microbial peptides (fragments of proteins that keep your skin intact), sulfates cause your hair and scalp to loose moisture and become more vulnerable to infection, damage, microbes and allergens.
They irritate the scalp and skin. Every time sulfates strip natural lipids off the scalp, your body’s protection mechanisms are reduced, making it easier for other chemicals to enter the top layers of the skin. This not only leads to irritation, it can worsen dandruff and eczema by allowing bacteria to get into the underlying layers of your skin and wreak havoc.
They lift your hairs’ cuticles. The cuticle is the outer cellular layer of a hair, which strengthens and protects the hair shaft. Sulfates have the ability to lift the cuticle, which weakens the entire hair strand and can lead to breakage, frizz and split ends. As if that weren’t enough, a lifted cuticle also leads to more moisture being absorbed, meaning that your hair can take up to twice as long to dry. So if you dry your hair with a hair dryer, you’re exposing your already damaged hair to even more heat than necessary.
They fade colored hair. If you love spicing up your hair with new dyes, be aware: sulfates will strip your hair of its color and leave you with washed out, brittle locks.
They cause flyaways. Sulfates leave a negative electric charge on your hair that can cause static and flyaways.
They can cause hair loss. Sulfates damage hair follicles, which in turn leads to hair loss - especially if you don’t thoroughly rinse shampoo out of your hair.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCT
So, now that you’ve decided to avoid SLS and SLES, you still need to clean your hair to remove dirt, sweat, excess oil and dead skin. Sadly, many beauty companies care more about their profits than they do about your health, which is why they keep clinging to this cheap chemical. The good news? Nature combined with science has progressed significantly over recent years, and is making all the harsh chemicals that harm your biome completely unnecessary! By choosing the right products labelled free of SLS, you can take care of your hair by working with nature, instead of against it. Discover hair care products free of harmful sulfates, parabens and silicones, which will transform your hair while supporting its natural ecosystem here. ViTA’s natural, non-toxic botanical formulas and gentle ingredients will give you the best results and leave your hair nourished and beautiful, without irritation or dryness.