Let’s talk HAIR and SULFATES!
(I know you didn’t see the latter coming. ????)
But I get a LOT of hair questions here on the blog, and one of the most common is “what shampoo and conditioner do you use!?”
So, today, I thought I’d refresh my original post on my favorite shampoo, conditioner, and body wash!
I first switched over to my current favorite shampoo, conditioner, and body wash when I was looking to switch my non-clean products over to sulfate-free alternatives. (“Why?” you ask? I’ll get into that int a second!)
I quickly became overwhelmed whenever it came to researching new cleaner products. (Because as you probably know, there aren’t really any regulations on claims like “clean” and “green” and “all natural”––a product can say all these things and still be loaded with crap that doesn’t do you any favors!) So my go-to became (and still is) just ordering the Beautycounter alternative of pretty much anything I’m looking to “clean-ify”––they make some of the cleanest products out there and they make like, everything. ????Having it as your go-to just makes life easier!
But first, let’s back up and talk about sulfates, because I think that part is important to understand if you aren’t getting the results you want out of your current products OR if you’re looking to switch to a cleaner alternative!
The “Truth” About Sulfates:
It turns out, that almost all cleaning products, such as shampoo and body wash, have these things called “Sulfates”–which I had definitely heard of before, but I ruled out as something that was only applicable to those granola enthused Whole Foods loyalty cardholders. (Which hilariously I have basically now become in my old age). ????
Here’s the thing. The more you dig into this whole “non-toxic” beauty thing, the more overwhelmed you can become. It’s all one big grey area, but here is where I’ve landed: I know that using products with ingredients some studies have found to be questionable in safety isn’t going to be GOOD for me, even if they aren’t going to be HARMFUL. And that being more conscious of using products with LESS or NONE of these ingredients isn’t going to HURT me!
Are sulfates going to cause my untimely death? HIGHLY unlikely! (But avoiding them will definitely help me have better hair and skin. ????) But I just like to do my best to use products with better ingredients where I can. You know–control what you can control.
Here’s what I found out. (After a lot of digging). The most common offender in the “sulfate” family is called Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES for short). There are other kinds too–basically, just look for something that says “sulfate” on the label and try to avoid it, because it’s the same kind of cleaner found in dishwasher and laundry detergent–unnecessarily harsh for most people’s skin and hair needs.
Sulfate Facts, Myths, and Opinions:
There is a lot of heated debate about Sulfates right now–many question their toxicity level on a grander scale (some say harmless, some say harmful) but everyone can agree (and you can even confirm this with your dermatologist) that sulfates are harsh on skin and hair, and are a very common known cause of skin irritation and allergies.
For a long time, I had heard this, and thought, “well, my shampoo and body wash don’t give me an allergic reaction. Whatever I’m using is fine!” **As I would apply excessive amounts of body lotion and wonder I still have dry itchy skin**
So, if you’ve been having skin problems (dryness, itchiness, rash, breakouts, etc) of any kind on your face or body, check and make sure that you’re using is sulfate-free, and if it’s not, swapping for a sulfate-free product is a good place to start experimenting!
Sulfates also strip away moisture from your hair, scalp, and skin, which is especially annoying if you color your hair–a sulfate free shampoo will help extend your color a lot longer than a harsh shampoo with sulfates.
Sulfate-free shampoo will also will help you extend further in between washes–at least in my experience! Why? Because sulfates strip the oils from your hair, requiring your scalp to produce MORE oil to compensate–therefore, you actually end up with oilier hair than you did before! (Counter-intuitive, but true in my case!)
Additionally, sulfate-free shampoo will help with frizz, and adding moisture as well–again, because it doesn’t strip too many of the natural oils away from your hair!
My favorite sulfate-free shampoo:
I am happy to report that I wrote this review back in 2017 and have continued using Beautycounter’s sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, and body wash ever since. I’ve tested out a couple in between, but I always come back to these. They are just great, and I love that I don’t have to worry about the ingredients that are in them!
If you aren’t familiar with Beautycounter, each of their products is made adhering to much stricter ingredient standards than you’ll typically find in the US (and are much more in line with EU standards). They’ve banned the use of 1,500 different questionable ingredients in their products (including the 1,400 of those are outlawed in Europe). They are my favorite clean beauty company and they go above and beyond to not just make cleaner products that work, but to initiate change and advocate for better, safer beauty regulation, so consumers in the US can have more control over what ingredients they’re putting on their bodies.
Why I love these and keep coming back:
For starters, I love that the shampoo doesn’t leave any leave any residue in my hair and allows me to stretch further in between washes than other shampoos. Both the S + C are VERY concentrated–so a little bit goes a long way (which is rarely the case with me and conditioner because I have so much hair and it’s heavy). My hair is also less frizzy when I use this formula (which I always forget until I go stay at someone else’s house and have to use L’Oreal or something. ????)
I also love the body wash. It’s really great for those with dry skin and more moisturizing than any other body wash I’ve used. I find that my skin doesn’t feel “stripped” like it did before. (Honestly, I didn’t realize that it felt “stripped” at all until I used it and realized what my skin should naturally feel like post-shower, haha!) Often times now I’ll forget to put on lotion post-shower, because my skin just isn’t dry!
All three have a really pretty smelling light citrusy scent, and they are a great price point, too!
Anyway, if you’re like me and want to start using more “better for you products” but don’t know where to begin–I’d say this is a great place to start!