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The Benefits of Ditching Sulfates In Your Hair Products – According To Us

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The first thing you might be thinking is “What are sulfates?”

In short, sulfates are detergents used to create that wonderful sudsy lather you get from soaps and shampoos. We have to admit, we love a good lather. It gives us the illusion that a product is working, right? The bigger the lather, the better the product. Well, we found this not to be the truth. At least it wasn’t for us.

Sulfates are detergents.

Which means they clean. For hair, maybe even too well. Yes, cleaning is good until the sulfates strip your hair from it’s natural oils and nutrients.

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How can you identify sulfate ingredients on product lables?

Sulfates can be tricky when listed in the ingredient of a product. Sulfates are most commonly listed as the following:

  • Sodium Laureth, Myreth, or Lauryl Sulfate.
  • Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Xylenesulfonate
  • Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate

This list probably looks overwhelming and honestly it is. When we read the ingredients of a hair product, when in doubt, we put it back on the shelf if any ingredient ends in -ate. This is a method we use just to be on the safe side.

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In January of 2016, I started my transition from years of heat damage. I immeditely took to the internet  to figure out what I had to do to restore my natural curls. Most of the information I received came from other curly girls on Youtube. I probably  watched 100 videos, all of which said, in so many words, “stay away from sulfates”. Of course I took their advice because I wanted beautiful and healthy hair. I ditched all of those products and went out to exclusively buy sulfate-free hair products. During this time, I had never even heard of sulfates, let alone read the ingredients on the back of a product bottle.

Upon ditching the sulfates, I immediately noticed a change in my hair. My hair seemed to have an easier time retaing moisture and my scalp felt less dry.

Since then, I have converted Hannah and she now exclusively uses sulfate-free hair products.

She swears by it. So much so that she stares at her own hair in awe of how much it’s grown, how moisturized and healthy it looks and feels. She also experiences much less breakage. Before Hannah went sulfate-free, she was experiencing a lot of breakage and her blonde hair seemed to be dulled.

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Why would we use a product in our hair that includes ingredients found in dish soap.

Now, it’s important for us to mention that we have nothing against sulfates in household cleaning products. They’re safe to use on your dishes and other household items.

Let’s test it out, go into your kitchen, grab your bottle of dish soap and look for any of the sulfates that we listed above.

If you transfer your dish soap into a soap dispenser, try googling the brand of dish soap you currently use and read the ingredients list. We’ve tried it and we found Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate as the 2nd and 3rd ingredients. This made us ask ourselves: “why would we want to use a product in our hair that uses the same ingredient as dish soap?” A product used to completely strip away dirt, grease and grime. To answer that question, we don’t.

If you’re currently using hair products with sulfates such as shampoo, that squeaky clean feeling you get after washing your hair may not be such a good thing after all. In our experience, if our hair feels squeaky clean, we probably just stripped our hair of it’s natural oils.

Some of the benefits of going sulfate-free.

  • Moisturized hair as sulfates strip the hair of natural oils.
  • Less frizziness (especially for those with curly hair).
  • Less scalp dryness and irritation
  • Sulfate-free hair products contain more natural oils which are beneficial for hair health.
  • Color treated hair lasts longer as sulfates strip color and the outer layer of the hair.

So how can you ensure that the products you buy are sulfate-free?

It takes time to get into the habit of reading product labels, especially the ingredients. Sometimes, a product ingredient list can look like an unfamiliar language. To start, browse through the haircare aisles and check out the products that openly advertise sulfate-free on the front of the label. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure the product is free from sulfates.

If you use sulfates in your hair, that is completely fine as well. If you are looking for a change in your hair health, try going sulfate-free as a trial run. We hope you see improvements in your hair’s health and appearance like we did by going sulfate-free!

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Until next time,

Ariana & Hannah

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15 Comments

  • Reply anhistorianabouttown March 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I stopped using sulfate based shampoo roughly 4 years ago, and it is crazy to see the difference in my hair. It seems counter-intuitive- don’t I want those suds in my hair?? Little did I know that a lot of lather don’t necessarily mean good for your hair. It is insane just how many shampoos have sulfate in them!!

  • Reply Kirstyn Todd March 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    That sounds legit. I think it would be better for me to go sulfate free. I want to keep my hair as healthy as possible. Thank you for this!

    kirstyntodd.com

  • Reply glossedangeles March 7, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    This is awesome! Love your blog and your writing style! So many good tips 🙂 Thanks for sharing…xx Kayla

    • Reply theangelinos March 7, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you for reading! We’re happy you took something from our blog post 🙂

  • Reply Joan Cajic March 8, 2018 at 1:46 am

    I stopped using sulphates when I went natural and so far my hair is so loving it and if I dare use any shampoo with sulphates, my hair does know there’s something wrong and just changed.

    • Reply theangelinos March 8, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Sulfates have definitely held my hair back in the past. Since going sulfate-free, my hair is growing more than ever.

  • Reply Amanda Kruse March 8, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I did not know this about hair products. Definitely going to see if there is sulfate in my shampoo and conditioner.

    • Reply theangelinos March 8, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Sulfates are definitely common in hair products, especially Shampoo’s. If you are considering going sulfate-free, start by reading the ingredients of shampoo and conditioner bottles. It can be confusing but if an ingredient ends it -ate, We avoid it to be sure.

  • Reply Cindy Gordon March 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I just started using a shampoo and conditioner combo that was sulfate free. SO GLAD I DID!!

    • Reply theangelinos March 8, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Yes! we’re so happy to hear that you’ve gone sulfate free! Our hair has flourished by ditching the sulfates.

  • Reply Taylor Reese March 9, 2018 at 5:55 am

    I just switched to sulfate free and I am never going back!!!!! My hair is soooo much better.

    xo
    Taylor
    http://www.reeseshardwear.com

  • Reply Willow March 9, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I have been using all natural shampoo and conditioner for over twenty years and love it.

  • Reply Dr. Elise Ho March 11, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I just ordered shampoo and hair product that is free of all the icky stuff and full of all the good stuff. I cannot wait to try ti.

  • Reply Roxy March 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I ditched shampoo with sulfate in it a few years ago and I’m so glad I did. Between that and protective styling my hair has FLOURISHED!

  • Reply Jackie Penn March 16, 2018 at 2:26 am

    Loved your article and very helpful info, especially avoiding -ate products. 🙂

    I only use nontoxic personal care items and household items. So much of what’s out there these days is full of harmful toxins. Read the label before you buy! I recommend going to EWG.org when you want to know the toxicity of an ingredient.

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