What is sulfate free shampoo?
Sulphate, or sulfate free shampoo depending on how you spell it, is a growing trend in the haircare industry. But why? Do we really need sulfates in shampoo, or can shampoo without sulfates provide the same level of cleanse? We investigate the truth behind sulfates, as well as alternatives for sulfate free haircare.
What are sulfates?
Sulfate is the word used to describe a chemical that reacts with sulphuric acid and forms a salt. There are many kinds of sulfates that are widely used in multiple industries. In the haircare industry, the sulfates most commonly used are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which are produced from petroleum and plant oils.
Why are sulfates in shampoo?
Sulfates are what gives your shower gel and shampoo that thick lather that we associate with cleansing. They are great surfactants, which means they attract both oil and water. While one molecule attracts the unwanted oil particles in our hair, another clings to the water. When you rinse off the sulfate lather, the grease is washed away with the water.
Are sulfates bad for the hair?
A quick look online will show you that opinions vary when it comes to whether sulfates are good for the hair or not. So, when in doubt, let’s look at the scientific research. In fact, there isn’t any concrete definitive proof that sulfates might be damaging to either the skin or hair. Scientific progress, however, is advancing rapidly, and we should know more soon. In the meantime, sulfate free haircare products are being formulated to give consumers an alternative.
What is sulfate free shampoo?
A “no sulfate shampoo” might seem quite obvious; it’s a sulfate-free shampoo, so you won’t find any sulfates in the ingredients. But, if sulfates provided the emulsifying, cleaning ability in shampoos, what is used instead to cleanse the hair? It depends on the product. Some sulfate free shampoos contain no lathering agents at all, which is why you won’t get much or any foam out of them.
But despite how this might feel to our senses (being so used to lather = washing), this doesn’t mean they aren’t cleansing the hair. Low, or no, lather haircare products can also remove the dirt and grime from the hair fibre, but they tend to leave a little more of the hair’s natural oils behind. This can be great for naturally dry hair. Coloured hair also tends to respond well to sulfate free shampoo, which – if over-used – can strip the hair of its colour.
The best sulfate free shampoo for different hair types
Opting for a shampoo without sulfates doesn’t mean compromising on hair quality, and it’s essential that you use a shampoo and conditioner tailored to your hair type. For colour-treated hair, for example, we love the Vitamino Color A OX sulfate-free soft cleanser. It purifies the hair (you only need half the usual dose) without stripping the colour.
For a complete collection of sulfate-free haircare, made from 80-99% natural origin ingredients, the new Source Essentielle range is a must-try. Thanks to its variety of formulae for different hair types, there are options for everyone. Multiple shampoos for different hair concerns, two luxurious balms and a daily detangling cream – all sulfate, paraben and silicone free, and packed with natural ingredients to care for your scalp and hair.
Sulfate free and environmentally friendly
An extra bonus for eco-conscious consumers, the Source Essentielle haircare collection uses part-recycled packaging (50% PET recycled plastic) that can be refilled in salons. On the back, you’ll see all the ingredients you’re about to apply to your hair. The packaging is transparent, like the formula, and square-shaped so as to allow for a maximum of product with minimum plastic.