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Some harmful chemicals in shampoo can do more harm than good. Avoid shampoo products that have sulfates in them as they can ruin your hair with regular use.
Recently, there has been a trend to remove harmful chemicals in shampoo. In fact, over the past few years many shampoo brands have been transitioning to being “sulfate-free” due to recent research. Studies show that certain harmful chemicals in shampoo are causing problems for heavy users.
Why is this? It has been shown that harmful chemicals in shampoo, particularly sulfates, lead to dry hair and cracked scalps. This has been particularly the case for individuals with long hair, or for those who straighten their hair.
What do sulfates do to hair?
Naturally, the first question should really be what are sulfates why are they used in shampoo? From a scientific perspective sulfates serve as a cleaning agent to dissolve dirt, oil, and boost foam levels.
Sulfates allow the dirt and oil to remain in liquid form which allows them to be easily washed out of the hair without any hassles. The two “bad” sulfates that are being removed in current shampoos are: sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES). Sulfates are an excellent cleaning component, but they are almost too good at their job.
The problem behind sulfates is they serve as an eye irritant, skin irritant, and can over-strip hair leaving the clean hair very dry. Compounded with straightening hair or adding hair products, the hair becomes badly damaged, particularly in individuals with longer hair that breaks more easily.
How to combat the impacts of sulfates
There are two possible options to helping yield healthier hair. The first is to look out for harmful chemicals in shampoo and buy only sulfate-free products. This is not terribly difficult nowadays with the switch to sulfate-free products occurring a few years ago.
Sulfate-free products are relatively close in cost to their sulfate counterparts, and they bode much better to the hair. Although sulfate-free products will not create all of the suds that sulfate shampoos do (these suds in turn are what washes the oils and dirt out), the sulfate-free products still clean the hair but leave more of the natural oils behind. This leaves the hair staying moist and prevents the hair and scalp to dry, crack, and damage.
The second alternative is to reduce the amount of times you shampoo your hair. Conditioning the hair is fine, but over shampooing is bad. Only a small percentage of people actually need to shampoo their hair. This small group includes people who live in very humid areas, or sweat profusely or workout frequently. Besides this small group, it is recommended to shampoo the hair once every few days.
Whether you are looking to add moisture to your hair, prevent the scalp from cracking, or trying to keep hair colors in longer, make the switch the sulfate-free shampoos to see the results! And, be on the lookout for other toxic ingredients used in beauty products.
Shampoo in hand photo credit Maya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net