So, you’ve decided to avoid sulphates. However, you still have to get clean to stay healthy. When you clean, you remove sweat, dead skin, dirt and the excess oil and bacteria you don’t need. Sulphates make this whole process much more efficient. But, what exactly are sulphates? And, more importantly, what’s wrong with them?
Most of us don’t really think about chemicals when choosing a shampoo for our hair. You decide based on the shampoo’s fragrance, or what the shampoo can do for your hair. If you do check for sulphate-free, bravo!
Sulphates are inexpensive, powerful, and everywhere
You see that foaming lather you’ve come to associate with being clean, sulphate is responsible for that. They are not just in body washes, lathering shampoos and toothpastes, but also in household cleaners and soaps. In fact, because they are so effective that manufacturing and construction industries use them to clean and degrease heavy machinery.
Sulphates are surfactants – meaning, they can lift the grease and grime off of our skin and hair, dissolving it into solution. This then allows you to rinse everything down the drain. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more easily. Water beads up when sprayed on a freshly waxed car. But, mix it up with a surfactant, it spreads all over the car.
Sulphates are one of the most common chemicals in our everyday products. The most common are Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS).
Gary Rom Sulphate Free Shampoo
How sulphates affect you
Sulphates wash away the proteins, water-proofing oils and natural anti-microbial peptides our biomes create. Biomes are the natural living ecosystem that our hair and skin are part of. Without the biomes, you are exposed to allergens, harmful microbes and environmental pollution. Thus, leaving you vulnerable to infection and illness. Lets look at how sulphates in your shampoo can affect your hair.
They lift the cuticle of the hair
The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair shaft. Because of the reduced surface tension, sulphates work their way under the cuticle causing frizz or dryness. The compromised cuticle and cortex makes the entire hair strand weaker. This is turn makes it prone to damage, split ends and breakage.
They make your hair take longer to dry
More moisture is absorbed into the cortex when the cuticle is lifted. This then takes up to twice as long to dry. Using a hair dryer weakens the hair even more because of the heat exposure on the already-compromised hair strand.
Furthermore, sulphates have a negative electric charge. And, that charge can cause static and flyaways. To neutralize this, you have to coat the hair with a synthetic, silicone-based conditioner (more chemicals), thus, masking the damage with an artificial shine.
They cause scalp irritation
The scalps natural water barrier is broken because of how sulphates strip the natural lipids off the scalp. Chemicals from other products can then go through the top layers of skin, causing inflammation and irritation.
They cause follicle stress
Each hair follicle is covered by a “lipid cap.” Sulphates remove this protective cap, therefore, exposing the good bacteria which then die. The bad bacteria then have direct access to a now undefended follicle.
Many products are now labeled “sulphate-free.” However, most of them rely on chemical compounds that are only an atom or two away from a true sulphate. So, always double-check.