Sulfates: friend or foe?

Recently, whenever we hear the word ‘sulfate’ we have been taught to treat it as something to avoid at all costs. Sulfates, its scientific names being; sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate on an ingredient label; work as a cleansing agent in getting dirt and/or oils out of the hair. It is also one of the components of shampoo that creates lathering suds. This is essential for proper hair cleaning and cleansing. It avoids any potential build up, clogging of the pores and contributes to proper removal of any dead skin cells. So, if sulfates help cleanse your hair…why are they so bad? There is a common misconception that all sulfates are carcinogenic and toxic. However, there has not been any medical research behind this claim since the FDA and American Cancer Society consider sulfates safe for use.  Naturally derived sulfates will give you a clean scalp without the harshness and negative impact to your skin and scalp.

Something not everyone is aware of is,  there are chemical sulfates and natural sulfates. When we deal with chemical sulfates, it can have a negative impact on our hair and skin. Earlier we mentioned sulfates are good for cleansing; this is true. However, chemical sulfates will eventually strip natural oils from the hair. This causes dryness…eventually leading to a frizzy nightmare. Sulfate-free shampoo may seem like an easy answer to that problem. Yet, sulfate-free shampoos are made with ultra mild cleansing agents. It works great for not stripping natural oils, but it’s not strong enough to remove buildup on the hair and scalp such as oils, products, and dead skin cells. This is when naturally derived sulfates come into play.  For example, Aveda uses both sulfate-based and non-sulfate-based cleansers in their shampoos to achieve the desired end benefit. Their diverse line of products are tailored to fit everyone’s hair type/concern. They use natural derived ingredients that leave the hair feeling nourished and refreshed, without the harsh chemicals. They also apply this ideology towards their skincare. Helping everyone get the best products without having the negative impacts. It is a little tricky to find natural, non-toxic products. Not all “green label” products are fully organic or natural. The best option here is to stay informed and always read the labels and research ingredients!

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