Is it true that SLS-free shampoos are better than other shampoos?
In recent years, the beauty world has been actively discussing the harm of sulfates. They are credited with many negative effects: from irritations and allergies to carcinogenic properties and the ability to provoke diseases. However, most of the shampoos sold today in Ukrainian cosmetic stores contain sulfates. These surface-active agents (surfactants) are also included in other usual cosmetics: shower gels, toothpaste. The most famous surfactant is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Given the widespread prevalence of sulfate formulations and the popularity of SLS-free shampoos, it's worth looking into: are all sulfates the same, why are they added to the compositions and how they affect the human body.
Contradictory ingredients: why sulfates and parabens are needed?
Sulfate-based surfactants have good cleaning and degreasing properties. Thanks to them, shampoos foam well, thoroughly wash the scalp and hair. But they have differences. The well-known sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS is very aggressive on the scalp and hair. It can cause allergies, dryness, itching, skin irritation and weakening of hair. On the other hand, Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLES cleans more delicately and gently. If you replace SLS with slеs as part of the shampoo, it will be more delicate to the scalp, while removing impurities no less effectively.
Parabens are another ingredient considered harmful in cosmetics. They are used as preservatives to increase the products shelf life, reduce the risk of infection with bacteria and fungi. Parabens improve the stability of cosmetic formulations. Their harm is that they have an estrogen-like effect. Parabens are also thought to increase the risk of cancer. Therefore, today, paraben-free and SLS-free shampoos are gaining in popularity as safe hair cleansers.
Situations when it is necessary to buy SLS-free shampoo
Choosing a shampoo with or without sulfates is an individual decision, but there are situations where sulfate-free shampoo will be the best solution. For example, after keratin straightening, lamination and many other salon procedures for hair, a professional SLS-free and SLES-free shampoo is necessary to maintain the effect of the procedure. Sodium lauryl sulfate-free hair products are better for those who have hypersensitive skin, hair dyed in bright colors (to maintain color fastness) and severely damaged hair. Baby SLS-free shampoos are a safe alternative to gently cleanse baby's delicate scalp.
If you decide to use sulfate-free natural shampoos, wanting to choose the least aggressive products, you should remember that they: do not foam well, do not wash out styling products and silicones, have high consumption, are expensive. Repeated washing may be required to rinse the hair and scalp well. Optionally, you can alternate sulfate-free products with those that contain Laureth Sulfate and do not contain Lauryl Sulfate.