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Are sulfate-free shampoos better for your hair? We have the answer for you

Updated on:1 February 2021, 14:08pm IST
If you’ve been planning to switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, then we suggest you read this before jumping on to the bandwagon.
Geetika Sachdev
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Sulfate-free shampoo: Is it good for everyone? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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There is an overload of information when it comes to hair care. And if there’s one trend that has taken the industry by storm (or that’s what it seems like), it is the inclination towards sulfate-free products. Experts suggest that sulfate-free shampoo is the best option for your hair, because it gently cleans your tresses. Even if you don’t believe in this trend, you almost always end up buying sulfate-free products, because they are everywhere today. 

But what’s the big deal about sulfate-free shampoos, and are they good for you? That’s exactly what we intend to find out in this article. 

Are you ready to find out? 

What are sulfates and why should you avoid them?

Before getting into the technical side of things, let us tell you that sulfates are chemicals that make your shampoo sudsy. By definition, they are surfactants that attract both oil and water. The very nature of sulfates is to attract grime and dead skin cells, so that they are removed from your skin and scalp. 

You may think sulfate is good for you, but there’s more. These chemicals also strip natural oils from the scalp and hair, which makes your tresses dry and frizzy. In case you have a sensitive scalp, then it can aggravate certain conditions and make your situation worse. 

sulfate-free shampoos
Sulfate can damage your hair. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The three most commonly used sulfate compounds used are sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate. Each of these chemicals has a different intensity, but they are equally bad for your hair. 

Who should use sulphate-free shampoo?

First of all, those who have dyed hair should use sulfate-free shampoos, because if you use ones with sulfates, your hair colour is likely to fade! They are pretty harsh cleansers, and the effect is visible! 

Those who have frizzy hair must embrace sulfate-free shampoos for sure. That’s because this variety of hair cleansers do not strip away the natural oils from the scalp and hair, ultimately leaving your hair full of moisture. It also helps in case you suffer from scalp irritation. 

Remember because they are gentle, sulfate-free shampoos need to be massaged properly into your scalp and hair. So, if you are someone who doesn’t enjoy so much scrubbing and massaging, then you’d want to give up on this idea! 

Here are some benefits of sulfate-free shampoos:

1. These shampoos help to retain the natural moisture of the hair
2. They are great for those who have coloured hair
3. They are much milder on your scalp, and control any kind of irritation and inflammation
4. They are also gentle on the eyes, even if the shampoo accidentally enters your eyes
5. Since they are made of plant derivatives, they are also environmentally-friendly
6. They are good for hair with low porosity, which means your hair finds it difficult to get moisture

Who should NOT use sulfate-free shampoos?

There are some people who believe their sulfate-free shampoo makes their hair more greasy, just seconds after they have washed it. Well, it’s true in some cases. That’s because most sulfate-free shampoos are formulated in such a manner that they do not strip away natural oils from the hair and scalp. And since they are very mild, the product buildup stays on the tresses and makes it look greasy. 

Another reason to ditch these hair cleansers is that they lack strength to clean the scalp, which is why they try to make it up with higher concentrations of other surfactants. This can be harsh on your hair, causing your oil glands to overreact, giving rise to overproduction of sebum. 

sulfate-free shampoos
Go sulphate-free! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Last but not the least, sometimes sulfate-free shampoos contain a lot of conditioning ingredients. It feels less like you are shampooing, and more like conditioning your hair. This again leads to a buildup. 

All in all, sulfate-free shampoos are not bad for your hair, but you need to check if they work for you!

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.