For a long time, I did not know the difference between sulfate-free shampoos and the ones that contain sulfates. I did some research and slowly answered all the questions I had about this topic. I have to admit, it would have been better if we knew in advance what the major difference was between the two.
What are sulfates?
Sulfates are part of the type of surfactants that play an important role in the effectiveness of shampoos. Sulfates are foaming and cleaning agents. They attract oils and water, which means that they effectively remove dirt and oils when combined with water. They are the compounds responsible for removing dirt and oils from the hair and from the surface of the scalp. The most common sulfates in the shampoo are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate.
Sulfates are easy to detect because in the case of a shampoo, they are the ones that make foam. It is safest to check the product label to see if it has sulfates or not.
Why wouldn’t you want sulfates in your shampoo given their properties?
Well, because they do their job too well. This means that sulfates remove, in addition to dirt and excess sebum, the natural oils from the scalp you need, leaving the hair dehydrated and causing irritations on the scalp. Therefore, sulfate-free shampoos are considered to be milder alternatives to your hair, which does not attack your scalp or hair.
What type of shampoo should you use for your hair type?
According to specialists, for people who have hair with a tendency to thicken and need to wash daily or once every two days, the shampoo that contains sulfates is the most suitable. At the same time, the sulfate shampoo is necessary in the case of people who regularly use styling products such as hair wax, gel or hairspray. That is because sulfate-free shampoos do not have the ability to remove them.
On the other hand, for people who have dehydrated, dry or damaged hair or often expose it to cosmetic treatments, sulfate-free shampoos are recommended. They need a shampoo to carry their hair, and sulfate shampoos will aggress it, hurting it more.
Women with wavy or curly hair should also use a sulfate-free shampoo. In such a situation, sulfates lift the cuticle of the hair, making it more prone to electrification. On the other hand, the sulfate-free version will leave the hair hydrated so that it can cope with the static effect. And in the case of scalp problems such as irritated scalp or the presence of eczema is recommended, rather, the sulfate-free version of the shampoo.
Do you have dyed hair? The sulfate-free shampoo is also more suitable for you. That is because dyed hair is more dehydrated than usual and a regular shampoo would contribute to its dehydration. Moreover, sulfate-free shampoos are softer, which means that they will discolor your hair shade to a lesser extent.
Choose the right shampoo for your hair type and give it the shine it deserves.