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sulfates, sulfate diagram

Sulfates: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Sulfates. If you pay attention to current hair styles and styling products, then  you have likely heard the word “sulfates” and that you not use products containing them. But what are sulfates – other than something to avoid?

For many people, sulfates in shampoos have been made out to be “the bad guy” in your hair care routine, but it might surprise you to learn that not all sulfates are created equal.

What are Sulfates?

Sulfates are chemicals used as cleaning agents; they provide the big, fluffy lather for your shampoo. There are several types of sulfates used in cleansers– sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium coco sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) to name a few. They are used in hair products because they draw dirt and oil to them and allow it to be washed away. Keep in mind that SLS is considered safe by the Food & Drug Administration, so long as it doesn’t exceed 1% of the concentration of a product.

The Good News about Sulfates

At Aveda, we do use sulfates; however, we only use ALS and sodium coco sulfate as these are derived from plants and are gentle enough to used safely. We do not use other forms of sulfates. We feel it is more important to use the right sulfate based cleaner correctly rather than forgo it completely.

It should also be noted we only use these two sulfates in select hair care items. Aveda items with these sulfates include Pure Abundance Volumizing Shampoo so that it can remove product build up and add volume to your hair. For sulfate-free products consider Damage Remedy, Dry Remedy, Invanti Advanced, and a number of our skin and body products.

The Bad Side of Sulfates

Not all sulfates are the same, so you need to understand what type of sulfates are used in the products you choose. Skin and hair cleansers made with SLS and SLES are going to dry out your skin and strip away your hair’s natural oils. If you pay to have your hair colored, the sulfates will cause your color to fade more quickly. In fact, for color-treated hair, be sure to opt or a sulfate-free shampoo for color treated hair. You might have less lather, but your color will last longer.

Another scenario where sulfates are bad for your hair is if you are prone to frizzy hair. Because sulfates create a negative electrical charge, using a shampoo with sulfates will exasperate the issue making it frizzier.

The Ugly Truth about Sulfates

Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about non-organic sulfates (SLS and SLES) being used in shampoos and skin care products is the truly negative side effect they can have. Here are but a few examples:

·      Hair loss due to being left behind on hair follicles due to the hair not being rinsed well enough. In addition, sulfates reduces the rate of hair growth resulting in it being as much as 8 times slower than normal.

·      Redness

·      Skin rash

·      Swelling

·      Itchiness

·      Hives

So, what should you do to have beautiful hair? First take a few minutes to think about how your hair is “behaving”. If you are relatively pleased with how it looks, but would be interested in it looking better, a good place to start is by checking out the products being used. If you notice that there are sulfates in them but don’t know if they are good ones or not, come talk to one of our Aveda beauty specialists at true Salon. Dislike how your hair is? Again, come visit true Salon. We would love to help you take your beauty regime to the next level. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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