When it comes to haircare, we often fall to victim to buying whatever shampoo and conditioner are on offer during our weekly shop - a tendency that we do not apply to our skincare regime. While we know the A-Zs of what we should and shouldn't be applying to our faces, the same can't be said for our hair. Just like some ingredients are better for certain skin types than others, the same principle applies to your hair. So sure, that shampoo may be on special offer but it's actually designed specifically for thick hair meaning not only is it utterly useless for you to use but it'll also damage your hair.
One ingredient often listed in most budget-friendly shampoos is sulphates. If that component sounds familiar, it's probably because you've seen listed on the back of every household cleaner you've ever bought. Sulphates are great for lifting dirt, grease and grime and once mixed with water, they create that nice, foamy lather hence why they've become a regular ingredient for shampoos.
If you have sensitive skin, your hair is dyed, dry, frizzy or damaged - shampoos containing sulphates are a no go.
While they'll leave your hair feeling fresh and clean, what the sulphates have actually done is strip the natural oils from your scalp leaving your hair and scalp open to damage, dryness, flakiness and itchiness. If you've ever washed your hair and it immediately after it feels greasy, sulphates are to blame here too. The stripping of natural oils caused by sulphates causes the scalp to create oil in bulk leaving your hair more greasy than normal.
If you regularly use sudsy shampoos, you can thank sulphates for the reason why you have to visit the hairdressers for a colour touch up every two weeks. As well as stripping your strands of natural oils, sulphates also draw dye away from your hair leaving you with rapidly fading coloured hair.
If your hair has, all of sudden, become frizzy...no prizes for guessing why that is. When hair is lacking in natural oils, each strand separates and bends away from the strand next to it, resulting in that frizz. Similarly, if your hair is damaged, harsh ingredients like sulphates will make the issue worse.
The best way to trust a shampoo is 100% sulphate free is to ignore the label. While a bottle may claim to be sulfate free, that might not always be the case. What you need to do is check the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle and look out for any of the five most commonly used sulphates: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium coco sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. If the shampoo on your bathroom shelf contains any of these, it's time for the bin.
You won't experience the same luxurious lather you with a sulphate-free shampoo, not only will it clean your hair thoroughly, but it will also protect your hair. While sulphate-free shampoos may be slightly more expensive than what you're used to spending, in the long run, they will actually save you money from months of haircare trying to fix your stripped hair.