By Natasha Dunn
As a curly haired girl I’ve always found the haircare market somewhat chaotic. There’s a bombardment of information left, right and centre. So many mousses, masks, shampoos, conditioners and it goes on and on. But to my dismay there is one thing no one told me, well not until recent years, and that is the destructive nature that sodium lauryl sulphate poses for curly hair, which is a concern due to it being a top ingredient in most shampoos. So I’m taking a long overdue journey to discover more about this ingredient, it’s potentially harmful nature and to hopefully uncover some haircare alternatives!
What is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate?
According to Holland & Barratt, SLS is a chemical surfactant used primarily in cosmetics. It’s the ingredient that transforms liquid into foam and creates that lather that’s so useful in products like soap, shampoo and toothpaste. On a sidenote it’s additionally added to cleaning products and can be obtained from petroleum!
Why is it so Bad for Curly Hair?
In short SLS is too jarring for curls and this becomes far easier to comprehend after learning that it also plays a role in industrial cleaning products! Curly hair is naturally drier, and the cleansing effect that this sulphate has dry’s the hair out even more, giving way to frizz. Sodium lauryl sulphate strips curls of any dirt, but the natural oils as well, leaving you with a mane of hair which is coarse and dry.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, although sodium lauryl sulphate is a big NO for those blessed with a head of curls, Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a thumbs up and provides a gentler alternative as advised by Curlshoppe.
Sulphate-Free Shampoo’s to add to your Shopping List
If SLS is doing more damage than good, what then are the options for all the curly haired individuals out there? In reality there are a lot of options and I’m going to tackle the main culprit for the containment of sulphate: shampoo. Read on for my top picks on SLS free cleansing products!
Coming in at number one is Faith in Nature, with their sustainably minded ethos and products packed with natural ingredients! There’s plenty to choose from, including their Lavender and Geranium Shampoo. And if you want to be even more environmentally friendly you could opt for a bar, like their Coconut & Shea Butter Shampoo Bar.
Masami is another go to. Their enriching Mekabu Hydrating Shampoo, uses the power of botanicals to lock in hydration and cleanse the hair without the harmful chemicals. Your curls will be safe in their hands, even when dyed!
For bouncy luxurious locks Rahua’s Classic Shampoo should be top of the list. 100% natural and vegan, this shampoo truly looks the part. With restorative Amazonian ingredients, this non-SLS product is particularly useful if you’ve used any colour treatment on your curls.
All I can say is that anti-SLS must be good if the mainstream brands are jumping on the bandwagon. So now for a name you’ll all know, L’Oréal.
Haircare is important and finding the right products are vital, especially if you don't naturally curly tresses. So when next in the market for a new shampoo, treat your hair and opt for a cleanser which is sulphate free. You might not get the lather, but the positives truly out-weigh that minor negative.