What You Need to Know About Sulfate-Free Products

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Shampoo and conditioner

Over the past year, one trend keeps popping up over and over again in the beauty world: sulfate-free products.

Below, I am going to go over what exactly sulfates are and how to spot sulfate-free products! This is so you can make an informed decision about products that contain sulfates and decide whether they're something you want to cut out of your life.

What Are Sulfates?

The most common type of sulfate is called sodium lauryl sulfate, most commonly used in shampoos, toothpaste, and general cleansers. This is the chemical that causes foam when you are washing your hair or brushing your teeth; it's technically a detergent.

So what's the problem with a simple detergent (aside from the fact that it can be drying to your hair)? In looking at the cons of this chemical in a study by the Journal of American College of Toxicology, this ingredient was found to have a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because it breaks down proteins. Other studies have also noted that this chemical leaves residue in the heart, lungs, and brain, so it is unknown if, in the long run, it will have negative effects on a person's health. There's also possible skin irritation, eye irritation, and damage to the hair follicle when using sulfates.

The good news is, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel has stated that as long as the chemical is used in a brief and discontinuous use, then it should be safe. However, many people are choosing to take the "better safe than sorry" route by choosing products that do not contain sulfates since there is so little known about the long-term effects.

What Do You Need to Look For?

So if you want to start cutting sulfates out of your life, what exactly do you need to look for? It's all in the ingredients!

When deciding on a product, the most important thing is to look at the ingredients list. If you see anything that says the word "sulfate," put it down. Even if a product says it's sulfate-free, it's always good to double-check. Even if you aren't looking for the dreaded sulfate word, it's always good to check the ingredients anyway. It's always best to be as informed as possible when making a purchase.

Which Sulfate-Free Products Live Up to the Hype?

There are tons of sulfate-free products that have been released recently, but do they really live up to the hype? Below, I am going to go over two shampoos that I have personally used and share my opinions on each. If you have used any other sulfate-free products, then let me know in the comments!

1. Wen Shampoo


Wen by Chaz Dean in Sweet Almond Mint

I am sure everyone has seen the infomercials on television for Wen, the "cleansing conditioner" that's supposed to strengthen and moisturize your locks without drying or stripping.

I tried this product out a little while ago, and I will say it was not for me. The pro was that it made my hair super soft after the first wash. The downside was that it made my hair a lot oilier very quickly; I could not go two days without washing it like I typically do.

If you have oily hair, then I would stay away from Wen. But if you have dry hair, then give it a shot - I bet you'll love it!

2. L'Oreal EverPure

L'Oreal EverPure

L'Oreal EverPure Moisturizing Shampoo

The next popular sulfate-free shampoo is L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo - you've probably seen the commercials for this product, too.

This one I did like, BUT I also noticed they were using two chemicals (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate) that made me a bit iffy. After doing some research, I found that these two chemicals are actually different than the lauryl sulfates. They are considered more gentle and safer, but the long-term effects are still up in the air. See what I mean about checking the ingredients and being informed? It can make a difference!

What do you think?

What do you think about sulfate-free products? Do you have any sulfate-free products that you love? Let me know in the comments!

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