sulphates are bad for hair, to understand why, we first need to set down what they are and why they are used in shampoo. Sulphates are commonly found in shampoos in a few different forms – sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, and ammonium laureth sulphate. These are often abbreviated to SLS, SLES, and ALS.
What are sulphates?
Sulphates are a type of surfactant, a key cleaning part in a shampoo. And a primary component of most cleaning products, the word itself means surface active agent. To simplify this, shampoos are a mixture of water and oil, two things that don’t mix well on their own. Surfactants are what bring these two together. Once bonded, oil and water molecules rub against dirt and grease to cleanse.
Why are sulphates used in shampoo?
Sodium lauryl sulphate – one of the most common sulphates used in shampoo – is both very easy and inexpensive to make. As we’ve established, it is ultimately a cleaning ingredient. But most importantly SLS is what makes your shampoo lather while it cleanses your hair.
So, if they make it clean, why are sulphates bad for hair?
The simple reason why sulphates are bad for hair is that they can strip away your natural oils. This is because they make for some rather harsh detergents. Your scalp produces sebum (often referred to as oil or grease) to protect itself. This oil then travels down the hair shaft when you brush your hair, adding moisture and shine.
Over cleaning your hair – especially with these naughty sulphates – can result in your scalp making excess oil. Which then makes your hair feel greasy.
If sulphates are bad for hair, what are the alternatives?
There are a few far more gentle elements that can effectively cleanse your hair without stripping away all your natural goodness. Aloe vera juice is a fantastic example of this and a hero ingredient at The Hair Movement! Sodium Methyl Isethionate is another great cleaning agent that comes from coconuts. Comes from sarcosine – an amino acid that is made naturally in the body – Sodium Laurel Sarcosinate is frequently raved about for being not only a thorough cleaner but a very gentle one.