Why you should be using a sulphate free shampoo

You may have heard the term "Sulphate-Free" over and over again, especially within the last year but what actually is a sulphate free shampoo? Are sulphate free shampoos better for your hair and what brand of sulphate free shampoo should you be buying? 

Firstly, we're going to start off with some of the basics, what are sulphates, what are the effects of using sulphates and what the bennefits are from using sulphate free shampoos

What are sulphates?

So, sulphates may actually be more common than you would believe as they're a widely used cleaning agent that can be found in almost any cleaning products from shampoos (obvioiusly), toothpaste, car washing products, floor clearners. Shampoos will ofcourse contain a much lower level of sulphates than perhaps a floor cleaner would. 

If you're about to head off to your shower and read the bottles of shampoo that you have in there, you may not actually see the world "Sulphate", Sulphates can often be called SLS. The idea of SLS is that it gives you that lathering effect which will wash away any product buildup and excess oils that are currently in your hair.

When did we start using Sulphates?

After doing a little bit of research online, we came to find out that sulphates have actually been around for a lot longer than any of us would have thought and sulphates were actually first used in shampoo as we know it as early as 1930 when Procter and Gamble made the first sulphate based shampoo! Since then the formula of modern shampoo that we know hasn't really changed much. As we've come to understand, sulphates aren't actually one compound. It isn't just one ingredient that shampoo manufacturers just add into their product to turn it into a cleaning agent. Sulphates is actually just a generic name for any compound containing a sulphate. Currently the most common sulphates that are used in shampoos are Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Ammonium Laureth Sulphate. 

I don't see that we're going to be remembering those names off the top of our heads any time soon, but it is good to actually put some names to what sulphates are and actually know that we could recognise them on bottles if we wanted to at any point. 

What are the effects of using Sulphates?

To say that there aren't any effects of sulphates would be a lie but the effects of using sulphates are not something that we feel you shouldn't be overly worried about. Yes, they have effects the same as any beauty product would do. One of the effects that you may notice is that sulphates can sometimes be a little too good at their jobs and can in fact take away a little too much of your hair and scalps natural oils, leaving it feeling dry, frizzy or even causing your scalp to become irritated and red as sulphates are known to be irritants which is why, if you get shampoo in your eyes it stings! 

Benefits of using Sulphate free shampoo

If you've visited our Wolverhampton Hairdressers, here is the reason that we always recommend a sulphate free shampoo to our clients after any chemical service such as a colour or a brazilian blow dry. Sulphates will strip hair colour! Yes... You've just spent all that time with us and you've just spend your hard earned cash all for those nasty sulphates to fade your hair colour.... Don't worry, sulphate shampoos do exist and as soon as you switch to a sulphate free shampoo, you will notice that your hair colour lasts longer. Sadly, we can't stop your roots from coming through but this will certainly help your hair colour everywhere else remain fresh!

Do Sulphates cause cancer? 

Whilst doing the research for this blog we saw a lot of people talking about sulphates causing cancer and a lot of people asking the question "do sulphates cause cancer?". We can tell you that we've done some digging on some very reputable websites and we have found the answer to this question.... Sulphates do not cause cancer, this is infact a huge myth that suprise suprise has been grosely over exaggerated by the media which isn't really a suprise, we've all seen the fake news stories on Facebook. 

Now, let's take a look at those ingredients again and break them down one by one... Do you remember the names of those compounds in our Sulphates group? No? Me neither, let's scroll back up and get those... 

Ok, Sodium Laureth Sulphate. What is this... Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a cleaning agent that is found in many cleaning products and has often had its safety brougth into question, however most people are actually exposed to this sulphate on an average of 1 - 2 times per week! It has been claimed to be a Carcinogen however the actual origin of this claim is uncertain and there has been no scientific proof to back this claim up and is not listed as a Carccinogen buy the International Agency for Research on Cancer and in 1998 an article was published by the American Cancer Society in an attempt to correct the publics misconception of Sodium Laureth Sulphate

Onto the next sulphate...

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, yet another name that we're probably not going to be able to remember off the top of our heads. This sulphate again has had some bad rep for being a cancer causing incredient (Carcinogen), however this widely used ingredient again has had no scientific backing to say that it does actually cause cancer. Whilst it can cause skin and eye irritation we've found no evidence that it is a Carcinogen. 

Last but not least, we've got Ammonium Laureth Sulfate... Now we've not actually been able to find out much about this ingredient other than that like the other sulphates it is an irritant to both skin and eyes however the danger of this is low. Again this ingredient is used exactly the same as the others, to clean the hair and scalp and act as a foaming agent which causes the lathering effect. Again, as we've mentioned about the other sulphates, we have found no evidence as it being listed as a Carcinogen anywhere that has any backed evicence to say otherwise... 

To Summarise...

What have we learnt? Personally, i do have sensitive skin and i do use sulphate free shampoo because of this, also, i don't want my hair feeling any thinner than it already is. 

Sulphate free shampoo's are better to use if you have chemically treated hair!