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Friday, April 1, 2011

Shampoo Alert: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is Not Your Friend! Do Me a Favor..

Not my photo, I stole it from Now go look to see if your label may look something like this.
Attention my bevy of blog-following beauties: Some of you may know this already if you have watched Oprah religiously or caught some episodes of Dr. Oz. I don't know if either one of those people has actually included this type of content in their program but I'm going to assume they have since its something useful. This is not a fancy, colorful, swatch filled post. No. This is serious business.

What to Do If SLS Is Happening to You:

Do you have dry hair? Do you have color-treated hair? Whether it be brown, black, blonde, red, green, etc? Do you know if your shampoo contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate? Go grab your bottle, turn it around, and look. Water should be your first ingredient. If its not then maybe you should just toss it before you even get to the SLS. Now, look at the second, third, fourth, fifth, and you may or may not see the evil sulfate. If you don't see it, you are doing at least one good and healthy thing for your hair. If you do see this ingredient looming among other hard to pronounce, unfamiliar words then go throw your shampoo out. Now.

Sidenote: what is worse than even washing your hair once per hair washing episode with a SLS shampoo is when the directions instruct you to "lather, rinse, repeat".  Repeat?! They want you to do this twice? Maybe even more than twice? After all, "repeat" doesn't necessarily imply stopping at one or two.

It Can't Be That Bad if Expensive Brands Use It!

Yes. It. Can. Why? Because Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is like a detergent. How does your shampoo get foamy and lather up your hair in a sea of white fluffy suds? This stuff. Why do people who use shampoos free of sulfates complain that they can't get the same lather? Because it doesn't have this stuff in it. And remember, "no lather" does not equal "no clean." We must retrain our minds and get into new and healthier hair habits.

Scientists say that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used in experiments as an irritant. Most often, as a skin irritant. Do you want a skin irritant of any kind to touch your scalp, let alone your hair? Isn't your scalp a part of your skin too? If your shampoo bottle was labeled "SCALP IRRITANT" would you buy it?

What Does SLS Do to Hair Anyway?

It strips it. It dries it out. All this stripping and drying can also fade hair color much faster. Not protect hair color. Fade hair color. And if you wash your hair every day or even every other day, you are doing this more often than others may be doing it. 

Color-Treated Hair VS. SLS:

Some of you think that because your hair is highlighted or bleached blond that this doesn't mean it is color-treated, reason being, because your hair color won't fade. It can't fade. It is stripped of any bit of color pigment whatsoever. Therefor, what isn't there in the first place, cannot fade. That doesn't mean you can't use color-treated shampoos because you DO need the extra hydration if bleach is coming near your head. However, color-treated reds and browns are most prone to color fading and you just do not want a shampoo that speeds up this process! Trust me, all of you Chestnut browns and Amber reds, you do not want to make extra trips to the salon to freshen up your color. Protect your color with a Sulfate-free shampoo.

Don't Let The Shampoo Companies Fool You!

Color-Treated Shampoos:
Color-treated shampoos that include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a total oxymoron. Something that is formulated to protect your color and at the same time dries it out and fades it isn't really protecting your color. The "color protecting" ingredients up against the sulfates may actual cancel each other out another out. You are still left with dry and fading hair either way.

Hydrating Shampoos:
Moisturizing shampoos that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is yet another oxymoron. Its like thinking a clarifying shampoo is providing moisture. It isn't. But it isn't bad for us either, in moderation. We only need a clarifying shampoo about once a week to get rid of any build-up we accumulate by using the same products over and over. A hydrating shampoo should not contain sulfates.Let me ask you this, would you use your laundry detergent on your hair? My niece has run into some hair coloring nightmares and she was trying to fade a certain vibrant and bold red color from her hair. What did she use? Laundry detergent. I have used this as well back in the day because it aids in fading the hair color. Why? Because of the sulfates. Enough said.

What Should You Use Instead?
Cheap Alternatives:


L'oreal makes a fantastic line of shampoos, conditioners, treatments, over-night conditioning products, the works. It is sulfate-free and available in a few different lines according to what your hair concern is. I have used the green bottles because I have dry hair and want as much moisture as I can get. I have also used the over-night conditioning treatment. This is the best product for lazy people who can't even wait 10 minutes with a conditioner on their head before rinsing it out. Stick it on your hair and rub into scalp and all of that and go to bed. It absorbs quickly so no pillow mess. Wake up, wash hair, go. Or leave it in and throw it back and wash later. I mentioned this line in my best of the drugstore post. Go look at it and see if I said anything more useful than this.

Burt's Bees:

Another cheaper alternative. This stuff is like $8. All BB shampoos are sulfate-free. That is kind of the point of Burt's Bees products, to be natural and good for you. The one drawback to BB is that you may or may not get the lather you are looking for and may need to pre-wash your hair to get rid of styling products and build up and then use it again for lather. Personally, I like the one that is made to infuse shine and I think that one lathers very well. Nevertheless, its cheap, accessible, and this $8 shampoo is going to be better for your hair than any $30 bottle of sulfate-containing product.

 Suggestions for Miss Money Bags:


If you are looking for more of a fancy-pants high end shampoo, Pureology is wonderful. This was my go-to until I met Rare Elements. And it is RARE because I can only find it on the company website and (Holy Grail material). Back to Pureology, I used the purple bottles which was their hydrating line. They have a volumizing line as well. Try not to use volumizing shampoos daily because it strips moisture. In order to volumize, it has to open up the hair shaft to expand it. Thus creating the illusion of fuller hair. I like to use these with a very good conditioner and only if I need to look extra hot for something. Otherwise, its the hydrating shampoos for me. They make a variety of lines just like the L'Oreal does.

Rare Elements:

I have mentioned this now two times since I've started my blog. I heard about this line from Rachel Zoe. I mean, she actually called me up and told me I had to try it. Ok, that didn't happen but I read it on the Zoe Report which is Rachel's special way of communicating with me. This is what she uses and her hair is gorgeous so I trust that she doesn't trust those locks to just anything. Unless she's getting paid to say this or something. I like to think, no. And even if she is, I still love this stuff. RE rivals Pureology in price but is actually more expensive. I think it is around $34 a bottle. I think it is well worth it. I don't know if this stuff has anything to do with this but my hair just would not grow ever since I cut it when I was around 20 years old. Devastating. Ever since, it grows to around my shoulders and then stops. Dead in its tracks. Enter RE products, and it is now around 3 inches past my shoulders. For me, this is a HUGE milestone. It has all kinds of oils and stuff in it from around the world including something called "Africa's miracle oil". Whatever that is, this stuff has been a miracle to my hair life.

In Closing:

And the answer to that question is, NO. I don't either. I am not an expert on everything and most of the time as long as a product is making me looking good, I don't care to know what is in it. Much like food, if it tastes good then leave me alone. But we have to start caring at some point before we look back and see a bunch of "shoulda woulda coulda wish we woulda" times in our lives. Probably more-so with our health and wellness and not so much our hair care decisions. After all, its all gonna fall out and turn white or grey anyways no matter if we looked like Gisele Bunchen or Betty White. I digress.
In real closing, consider yourself informed. Now, you will have the heads up when you are sitting in the salon and Joe Shmoe "just got out of beauty school" tells you how badly your hair needs moisture and that he recommends you buy their super expensive ultra-moisturizing shampoo. You ask to see it. 75% of the time you will see SLS listed in the top 5 ingredients. You put the breaks on that crap and tell him you don't use that ingredient and why. He has no retort. They didn't teach him that in beauty school. On the flip side, if it doesn't contain SLS, you may have a bottle of shampoo to buy.

Finally, now that the ugly side of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is rearing its dry and damaging head, the drugstore brands are taking notice and you no longer have to spend upwards of $30 a bottle just to get a healthier for your hair shampoo. If less-expensive hair care lines are paying attention to the dangers of this chemical, then you know the word is out and you have no excuse to continue to allow this to happen to your hair. Now go on, throw that sh*t out!


  1. Thanks for sharing the products with us. I hope we can still know a lot more about good items here.