The Purpose of Sulfates in Hair Shampoos
Sulfates are powerful cleansing agents, that are included in hair shampoo formulas to provide better lathering ability. When mixed with water, sulfates effectively lower surface tension in the water, making it easy to wash away oil and dirt from your hair. The most common sulfates in conventional shampoos include SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), ALS (ammonium laureth sulfate), and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate).
SLS is an inexpensive detergent that helps remove excess oil from the scalp and hair. However, harsh sulfates in hair shampoos can strip hair natural oils, leaving your hair prone to frizz and making your scalp dry and vulnerable to irritations.
Common Adverse Effects Associated with Sulfates in Hair Shampoos
Although very common in hair care products, sulfates do more bad than good when used as a primary cleansing agent. The following is a list of negative adverse effects on scalp and hair associated with sulfates:
- The cleaning power of sulfates is overwhelming and can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving your strands dry and frizzy.
- Sulfate-based shampoos can compromise the natural moisture balance of your scalp, causing itchiness and redness.
- SLS creates deposits in hair follicles that may result in hair loss. The damaged follicles have a hard time recovering, and your hair will grow slower than normal.
- The aggressive cleaning action of sulfate detergents can strip the color from your hair, leaving you with dull, faded locks.
- SLS removes good bacteria that are necessary for having a healthy scalp, leaving your skin vulnerable to infections.
- SLS tends to destroy the protective layer of the skin, allowing potentially toxic chemicals to penetrate the deeper dermal layers and accumulate in the body.
- The negative effects of using sulfate-containing shampoos are not limited to the hair and your overall health. Sulfates in personal care products also pollute our groundwater and the environment.
Benefits of Using Sulfate-Free Shampoos
Sulfate-free shampoos have become very popular recently as consumers increasingly opt for more natural personal care products. Here are some more benefits of using shampoos without sulfates:
1. Hair shampoos without sulfates eliminate dirt and excess oil without ruining the skin protective moisture barrier.
2. Natural cleansing agents gently cleanse your strands without stripping their moisture, which helps reduce breakage and shedding.
3. Using a shampoo without sulfates helps preserve the hair color for longer.
4. Using sulfate-free shampoos protect your hair against premature aging, reducing the occurrence of gray hair.
5. Sulfate-free shampoos leave your hair soft, silky, and easier to style.
6. Hair shampoos formulated with mild detergents reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
Effects of Sodium Chloride on Keratin Treated Hair
Since a keratin treatment is an expensive and time-consuming process, you’ll want to take appropriate care of your hair by choosing a shampoo and conditioner that add to the longevity of the results. You are recommended to use shampoos and conditioners that are formulated without sulfates and sodium chloride in order to support the longevity of your smoothing treatment. Before buying any aftercare product, you need to check the label to ensure that the ingredients are compatible with your treatment.
Sodium chloride is used in hair shampoos as a thickening agent because of its ability to increase the thickness of liquid personal care products. However, sodium chloride has a tendency to open up the cuticle and pull moisture and keratin proteins out. Salt can diminish the duration and quality of your keratin treatment, so you may need more frequent reapplication. Any product that opens up the cuticles should be avoided after receiving a keratin treatment.
Sodium chloride is not a toxic substance and even some brands of organic shampoos may have salt listed on the label. However, if your hair is chemically straightened, make sure that your shampoo is salt-free.
Keep in mind that salt water contains sodium chloride and can negatively affect the treatment you have received.
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