In addition to cleansing agents, hair shampoos contain conditioning and nourishing ingredients for hair and scalp. Hair shampoo may contain additives to make the product more appealing, as well as preservatives to increase product shelf life.
Thickeners are additives used to increase viscosity, which makes the shampoo easier to spread across the hair. Sodium chloride or table salt is the most widely used thickener in hair shampoos. It helps enhance viscosity and gives the shampoo a creamy texture.
Manufacturers use sodium chloride for thickening purposes because it’s cheap yet effective.
Is Sodium Chloride Safe?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rated sodium chloride as a low hazard. The safety data sheet shows that sodium chloride may slightly irritate the skin and eyes. That means that sodium chloride is a relatively safe ingredient in hair products.
Being organic, sodium chloride can often be found in many organic shampoos.
Is Salt Bad for Your Hair?
Sodium chloride is highly hygroscopic, meaning it tends to attract water from its surroundings. Consequently, salt can absorb moisture from your hair, leading to dryness. Just as consuming foods high in sodium chloride increases thirst, salt can leave your hair feeling dry.
This drying effect is a reason why people with dry and naturally curly hair should use salt-free hair products, especially these products that are meant to stay in the hair for a long time. Since curly hair is prone to damage due to dryness, curly-haired people should use a salt-free shampoo.
People with oily and normal hair can be more comfortable with salt-containing hair shampoos. The amount of salt in shampoo is relatively small and doesn’t have a significant drying effect on normal hair.
Does Salt in Shampoo Have any Benefits for Hair and Scalp?
1. Salt in Shampoo for Oily Hair
People with oily scalps and hair can benefit from using a sea salt scrub mask. Sea salt is better than plain salt for scalp nourishing purposes. Sea salt contains naturally-occurring minerals, while table salt has been chemically treated to remove trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, bromine, zinc, and sulfur.
2. Salt in Shampoo for Hair Growth
Table salt contains a small amount of added iodine, known for its ability to increase follicle strength and stimulate hair growth when applied topically.
3. Remedy for Dandruff
Salt helps in absorbing the excess oil and moisture from the scalp. Too much oil on your scalp can exacerbate dandruff. Excess moisture may lead to fungal growth, resulting in dandruff. By absorbing the excess moisture, salt prevents fungal growth. Absorbing excess oil salt helps clean your scalp and remove the dandruff flakes.
If you have oily hair and dandruff, try to wash your hair with a mixture of salt and shampoo. Keep the ratio of one-part salt to two parts shampoo. Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage gently with your fingertips. Wash your hair with lukewarm water.
4. Textured, Fuller-Looking Hair
Salt lifts the cuticles, causing hair fibbers to expand and look thicker. This can be beneficial for people with fine and straight hair that needs more volume and texture.
When Do You Really Need to Use Salt-Free Shampoo?
If you have received a keratin treatment, you probably already know that using harsh shampoos and inappropriate hair products can strip the treatment of your hair. Salt is one of the ingredients you should avoid in hair products.
Therefore, to make sure that your shampoo will not undo the results of your keratin treatment, you should only use gentle and salt-free hair shampoos.
Shampoos without salt have become a trend because of the increased popularity of keratin straightening and smoothing treatments, so you can easily find one online and at local beauty stores.
So, Should You Switch to Salt-Free Shampoos?
If your hair is prone to dryness and frizz, choose shampoos without sodium chloride. Retaining moisture inside your hair is essential for keeping your hair in good condition.
If your hair is keratin straightened, you should avoid hair shampoos that have sodium chloride listed on the label.
Unless you have dry hair or have received a keratin treatment, you should be comfortable with using shampoos that contain salt as a thickening agent. There are many more harmful ingredients in an ordinary shampoo you should avoid, including fragrances, parabens, SLS/SLES, DMDM hydantoin, and Methylisothiazolinone.
Last Updated on October 22, 2022 by Gaga
Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.