The hair is every human’s crowning glory—this may be an overused line but it’s nonetheless true. It’s one of the first things people will notice. This is why with every product that we let touch our hair comes a serious decision-making process as to whether or not it is actually good for our locks.
When buying hair products, we normally go for the ones that will not break the bank or the ones that we see get promoted on TV most often. While this is not wrong and is completely understandable, it comes with a cost. And more often than not, the cost of not knowing what a certain hair product is made of and what it is actually for is your hair getting damaged, going dry and brittle, and losing the natural shine it once had.
This is exactly what happens when we use sulfate-infused shampoo and all other hair products.
Why You Have to Avoid Sulfate-Infused Hair Products
Sulfate, sometimes spelled sulphate, is a polyatomic ion related to sulfuric acid. It is composed of a central sulfur atom and four surrounding oxygen atoms. We see this compound everywhere. In fact, most of the Earth’s crust contains sulfate. But if there’s anything sulfate is most often mixed in, it’s hair products and detergents. It present in shampoos, toothpaste, and liquid detergents, among others.
While it is a staple in detergents and is actually a good ingredient for detergents to be able to do what they are expected to, sulfate in hair products is a completely different story. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. It strips your hair of its natural oil.
Yes, sulfates are quite good at stripping your hair of the natural oil present in it. We work so hard to keep our hair healthy but the first thing we do is wash it with something that robs it of its natural glory. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Fount Bio, Inc.’s co-founder and chief commercialization officer, Eric Spengler, said that while sulfate does clean your hair, it also rids of its natural oil, leaving it “rough, dry, and brittle.” This is because when sulfate works, it works aggressively that it tends to wash away the good elements too. So if you don’t want your hair to lose its natural oils, shy away from hair products with sulfate.
2. It destroys the protein in your hair.
Much of our hair is composed of protein; much as in 80 to 85 percent. This particular protein is what we call keratin, which are responsible for building tissue cells including the ones in your locks. So making sure your strands don’t lose this particular protein is important, as lack thereof can lead to breakage and split ends. Unfortunately, sulfate, which is present in most shampoos, can cause protein removal. A 2005 study conducted by Rita de Cássia Comis Wagner found that human hair immersed in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) solution lost seven times more protein than hair immersed in water. So for healthier and split end–free mane, it is high time you start using sulfate-free products.
3. It causes skin and eye irritation.
It works aggressively and it causes aggressive pain too.
Our scalp can be very sensitive. If one forceful pull of a strand can even cause a significant amount of pain; how much more a good amount of a substance like sulfate, which is the exact thing that makes detergents harmful to the skin and eyes? While small quantity is basically harmless, sulfate, when used in large amounts like in shampoos, can cause significant damage.
4. It can cause acne.
When we shampoo, it is not just our hair that gets it, a good part of our neck and back too. The bubbles run from our strands to the back of our neck and onto the entirety of our back. As sulfate has been known to be an enemy of our skin, getting these parts soaked in sulfate-infused shampoo can lead to acne not just in our hairline but also in our neck and back. If you’ve suffered from the dreaded acne before, then you know for sure they are not a good thing to have. So to save yourself from this, start buying sulfate-free hair products.
5. It can cause hair loss.
Hair loss is a result of genetics, but just because your forefathers didn’t have to suffer from it doesn’t mean you are not at risk of getting it too. The products you use can lead to hair loss too, and sulfate-infused shampoo and conditioner is one of them. As mentioned, sulfate can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness in the scalp, a sensitive part of our head. If the irritation and itchiness continue, this can result in a more dreadful condition: hair loss. So avoid going bald at a very early age by ditching hair products with sulfate.
6. Sulfate is rumored to be carcinogenic.
While it remains to be confirmed, sulfate as a carcinogenic is a rumor that has long been around. This is because it is used in cleaning garages or anything that needs hard cleansing, tasks that mostly use products with cancer-causing elements. There is no scientific evidence to back this, but there’s no harm in totally avoiding potentially harmful things, even if they are just rumors, right?
When choosing the right products for our hair or any part of our body, it pays to read the label. It is important that we check what they are made of to make sure we are not consuming or applying something that can cause us more harm than benefits. Take into consideration too that the product you use are sometimes used by your kids as well, whose skin and whole body are more sensitive than an average adult’s. So eyes on the label and read the tiniest bits written there. And another friendly suggestion: never settle for what is easier on the pocket; rather, invest in things that you can trust, like sulfate-free hair products. It is always better to be safe.