SLS (Sulfate) Free Shampoo Guide
What is SLS ?
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a chemical foam creating ingredient used for cleaning. It has been used as a shampoo / shower gel / hand wash ingredient since the 1930’s as an alternative to soap. It can be derived from petroleum, coconut oil or palm oil. Because SLS is an effective foaming ingredient it’s used in everything from floor degreasers and car washes to shampoos. Yes, it has a super oil stripping strength that someone decided was safe to use on human skin.
Why is SLS used in shampoos and other wash off products ?
SLS is such a popular ingredient in shampoos because it is extremely cheap. It is produced synthetically and that makes it ideal for low-cost brands. If you ever stopped to look at product labels - a £1 shampoo from Home Bargains will use SLS, but so will a higher end brand, with exception to the latter adding a few organic botanical actives to justify the price tag. Another reason why SLS is so popular is that it is a very effective cleansing agent and creates lots of foam when mixed with water.
What are the effects of SLS?
SLS is a known skin irritant. It is used in lab testing when skin irritation is actually to be achieved. Chemists would argue that it isn't an irritant in small concentrations but what happens in reality isn't a fabrication of ones imagination, specially when not just one product is used in isolation, but a combo of a shower gel, maybe a scrub, followed by shampoo and even an SLS ladded lotion (yep it is also used as a co-emulsifier to make products more slippery). Therefore it isn’t surprising then that it can cause scalp and skin problems in general, especially in products used daily like shampoos. SLS can and does irritate sensitive scalps and can cause itchiness and flakiness. Due to its super ability to degrease the surface it is applied on, SLS not only strips your scalp of its natural oils but also your hair. Commercial shampoo manufacturers add silicone and other synthetic additives to add that slippery feel you get after you wash your hair, to make your hair feel less dry than it actually is. These additives have no nutritional value, they simply sit on the surface of your hair and coat your scalp giving you a false sense of healthy hair. Underneath these suffocating synthetics your hair and scalp skin is getting more and more deprived of it’s natural oils, leading to breakage, hair thinning and even hair loss over time.
Why use SLS Free Hair Care Products
Anyone who cares about their long term hair and scalp health would make the wiser choice to switch to an organic sulfate free shampoo. Initially these SLS free shampoos may feel as if they are not foaming enough. And that is no surprise considering the dense foam you’ve come accustomed to from using an SLS based shampoo. The truth is our hair doesn’t need, or deserve this harsh cleansing. Hair is pretty effective in cleansing itself if left to its own devices. Frizzy and curly hair for example is very happy being cleansed with a conditioner only - similarly to the oil cleansing method used for face cleansing, the oils in conditioners combine with the oils on the scalp and hair, and these then get rinsed off with water to leave hair clean and hydrated. But using a conditioner isn’t everyone’s idea of hair washing and neither it should be, as we all have different hair and different scalp, so if you’re looking to still wash your hair in the traditional way, it pays to go for a shampoo that is gentler and not based on SLS.
Our Shampoos are all sulfate free
Our shampoos are all sulfate free and use a milder foaming ingredient called coco glucoside, it is a sugar based detergent, that still foams but doesn’t over-cleanse the skin or hair. Our SLS free shampoos all have added organic Aloe Vera, small amount of glycerine and highly conditioning skin and hair oils - we use herb infused organic coconut oil and golden jojoba. Our shampoos will cleanse your hair without stripping your scalp of its protective oils and your hair will be left looking naturally healthy and glossy.
Our Sulfate Free Range includes a number of Shampoos depending on your hair type and condition of your scalp.