Thank you for popping by, I'm sitting here enjoying the Italian sun whilst I write this weeks instalment of The Hairy Truth for you. listening to the crickets and drinking my water (I would liked to have said enjoying a glass of vino however I'm trying to be better health wise and well its wasted calories that I'd rather be used on food) and its hot here so water is the best liquid to keep me, my hair and my skin nice and hydrated.
Today we are going to discuss how sulfates in our hair care effect our hair and skin. There's lots of comments around stating they may not be good for our health and others that claim they may be fading your colours and causing damage to your hair. So lets dive right in and find out what effect if any they are actually having.
WHAT ARE SULFATES?
Sulphates are surfactants that are found in almost all cleansing products, for skin, hair and general household cleaning. They are designed to separate grease and dirt from the host and as water passes over be washed away, they are also responsible for the foaming action we find when mixing them with water. They do this very efficiently and therefore are widely used across many brands.
The most commonly used sulfates are Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Ammonium Laureth Sulphate (ALS) and in many cases when a product claims to be sulphate free it's usually free from one of these not necessarily a surfactant itself.
Most shampoos contain around 15% or less
DO THEY HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON YOUR HAIR, SKIN AND HEALTH?
There are quite a few rumours floating around regarding sulphates and how they effect our hair, skin and health. They are rumoured to be linked to cancer, be harmful to our hair and skin, cause irritation and fade your hair colour.
Are they linked to cancer?
This one is the scariest of the rumours and thankfully I can safely say that no, they are not linked to cancer and cannot cause cancer. There is no evidence that suggests they are linked to cancer, 'sulphate are not carcinogenic' says the American Cancer Association. Three further agencies have also rated sulphates as being non-carcinogenic; The occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Do they cause irritation?
As they are the best at separating oil and dirt that will then be washed away, this also means they will remove natural oils from the hair and skin, this is not necessarily a bad thing as our hairs naturals oils will hold onto dirt. They can cause slight irritation if left on the skin for longer than required or for those with sensitive skin. Higher quality shampoo's will use lower quantities as possible to minimise skin irritation and contain conditioners and their own oil compounds to replace what the hair loses during cleansing.
Are they harmful to hair?
Some sulphates are harsher and more abrasive to the hair and skin than others. Sodium Laureth Sulphates are gentler to the hair and cleanse efficiently without causing damage, others are slightly more harmful but most shampoo and conditioner ranges will have conditioning ingredients to counteract this.
Do they fade your hair colour?
It's a very common miss-conception that sulphates cause your hair colour to fade. This is not the case and has been scientifically proven, Some ranges go sulphate free purely for commercial reasons.
ARE SULPHATE FREE BETTER FOR YOU THEN?
In order to be sulphate free but also do they same cleansing action there has to be a substitute ingredient, which will do the exact same job because after all they need to cleanse your hair and skin in order to be able to remove dirt and oil from your hair and skin.
They have the same effect on your hair and skin and in some cases are as harsh or harsher on them. They can however be less irritating so there is a benefit in some ways.
So there you have it.
Sulphates are brilliant at why they do, some are slightly harsher to the hair and skin than others but all in all many of the bad press around them is not true and mainly hearsay. Your slylist can recommend the best product to suit your hair type however whether it is sulphate free or not shouldn't really need to factor into it.
Until Next Time : Happy Hair Day
Nicola Iannetta x
Hi there and welcome to The Hairy Truths.