Not long ago, there weren’t many options for non-toxic, chemical-free hair or skin care products. We’d find them exclusively in natural food markets, maybe in some specific websites or we would have to make them ourselves.
Slowly, but surely, consumers became aware of the negative effects of the toxic ingredients found in hygiene products and began demanding better quality without the danger.
Nowadays, “nontoxic” is the minimum feature required by consumers, for brands to market these self-care products. Adding the word “clean” in order to keep selling products and without proper cautioning is a common marketing strategy. Looking closely at some ingredient lists there’s a high probability that we’ll find a few ingredients that are not “clean” or free of toxins.
The Ingredient You Should Avoid
So, let’s take a look at the one that you should avoid for your hair: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This chemical is found in traditional shampoo as well as in shower gel, toothpaste, and even your dish soap (unless specified otherwise). Some products claim to be SLS-free, but be aware of its close cousin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES); it’s just as harmful or worse than SLS.
The main reason why we find these ingredients in most cleaning products is because they are very cheap and they’re the ones responsible for creating the lathering effect that gives that “cleaning” sensation. Yes, the bubbles! These kinds of sulfates are highly irritating - the reason why your eyes sting if you get product inside them- and they’re harmful to the environment.
Common Sulfates and Surfactants to avoid
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Sodium Myreth Sulfate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Sodium Trideceth Sulfate
- Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
- Sodium Myreth Sulfate
- Sodium Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
- Sodium Coco-sulfate
- Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
- Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
- TEA Lauryl Sulfonate
How to clean the hair without these sulfates?
Look for substitutes that are produced from natural sources and that are permitted and certified as safe cosmetics like Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA). It may sound like it comes from the same family of sulfates, but it doesn’t. SLSA comes from coconut oil. It is a mild cleanser that is much safer for the skin and the environment. It can still create a creamy lather, but it dissolves much quicker with water and it rinses faster. The best part about SLSA is that it’s good for all hair and skin types, even the most sensitive ones!