Hair Care

Why Are Sulfate Based Shampoos Bad For You?

Here's all you need to know!

The right shampoo can and should leave your hair silky smooth, manageable and clean. The wrong shampoo, on the other hand, can leave your hair stiff and lifeless and even have unintended negative impacts on the rest of your scalp and skin. When we think of a great shampoo, we often think of shampoos that smell delicious, lather up well and rinse out easily. Unfortunately, many of those shampoos that we think are great often contain hair-harming ingredients known as sulfates.

We all want hair that’s full-bodied, rich and full of life free on natural oil. There are many different ingredients that are used to extract excess 0ils out of your hair and leave it nice and clean. That’s where sulphates came in. Sulfates were thought of being an excellent substance for absorbing excess oils in the hair along with general dirt and grime. The problem with that is that it may do too good of a job.

Why Are Sulfates Used?

Sulfates are used in almost all of our cosmetic products. From toothpaste, to body washes, facial cleansers and more. They do have some purpose and are useful in the right situations. The problem with using sulfates on hair, however, is that it is too strong and too drying. To get an idea of how damaging and corrosive sulfate based products can be, here’s an excerpt from on the production of sulfates:

“‘Sulfates are synthetic ingredients partially based on sulfur, which is derived from petrolatum or other sources,’ explains Yves Lanctôt, a chemist and product consultant in Laval, Que. However, sulfates are not just petrolatum-derived. The largest part of the molecule comes from lauryl alcohol, which is derived from coconut oil or other plants. To make sulfates, lauryl alcohol is reacted with sulfuric acid. Sulfur can be found naturally on earth, but for manufacturing it’s generally produced using petrolatum.”

As you can see, it’s a synthetic ingredient not found naturally on its own in nature. Don’t fool yourself into thinking sulfates are anything like naturally occurring”sulfur”. Sulfur is merely an ingredient used in combination with synthetic molecules in order to produce this overly-drying and unnatural substance.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Sulfate Shampoos?

Sulfates may have their advantages (i.e. they’re cheap to produce and act as an emulsifier, eliminating excess grease and dirt) however, the negatives far outweigh the positives — especially when it comes to your hair. In summary, here are three of the main reasons why you need to go sulfate free. For your hair’s sake, your health’s sake, and also for the planet.


1. Sulfates Wreak Havoc On Your Hair

Especially After Frequent or Prolonged Use – Do you ever feel like your hair is always hard and brittle, no matter how much conditioner you use? Chances are, it’s caused from the sulfates in your sulfate based shampoo. Hair becomes brittle and weak due to the excessive dryness from the use of sulfates in the shampoo. If you want hair that’s naturally bouncy, full of life and soft, you need to look for a shampoo that doesn’t use sulfates.

2. Sulfates May Potentially Be Hazardous to Your Health

On top of the fact that sulfates are overly drying for your hair, scalp, and any other parts of your body that you’re sulfate based shampoo may come into contact with, sulfates may also be potentially harmful to your health. In the production of sulfate based shampoos, many chemicals and molecules are created in the process as well. Some of these chemicals produced include SLS and SLES. These molecules are known to cause irritation, which is why many more people using sulfate based shampoos have a reaction. Additionally, these chemicals are known to cause cancer in large amounts (although the US FDA attests that SLS and SLES are safe ingredients in small amounts).

3. Sulfates Rely on Nonrenewable Energy Sources

While we may not realize it, sulfate based shampoos are actually contributing to climate change and use resources on our planet that will never be able to be used again. Petroleum is only produced and made by the Earth in limited quantities — it’s quite wasteful to use its byproducts on your hair (especially when there are much better, healthier alternatives).

What Alternatives Exist to Sulfate Based Shampoos?

There are a wide selection of products to choose from for your hair that aren’t sulfate based. Shampoos that are sulfate-free tend to be a bit higher priced and may not give you as great of a lather (as that’s one of the main functions of sulfates), however, they get the job done. And they get the job done well, at that. Sulfate-free shampoos are a great alternative to sulfate based shampoos as they cleanse the hair without leaving it overly dry.

Everyone is talking about it! Have you tried Wow Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Yet? It does not contain Parabens or Sulphates.

If you care for your hair, care for your health and want to have vivacion hair that’s ultra-soft, it’s best to ditch sulfates and go for a shampoo that’s natural and free of sulfates.

Do you use sulfate-free shampoos? Which brands do you use? Lets us know in the comments below!

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