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What Does Sulfate-Free Mean to You?

 
What is a Sulfate? Sulfates are what make products like shampoo, and soap lather.

If you look at the ingredients list on the shampoo, then sulfates will be listed as:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS; Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLES;
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate; Sodium Myreth Sulfate; TEA Laureth Sulfate.

There is no current scientific evidence of any carcinogenic effects from sulfates. Sulfates may cause irritation for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema or dandruff. They may also be in your conditioner, body wash, and even toothpaste.

Sulfates do a really great job of cleaning your hair. The downside is that they can strip hair and scalp of natural oils. So, it's a trade-off. If you're prone to itchy flaky scalp or skin, have eczema, have chemically damaged or color-treated hair, then it's probably best to use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.

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If you have normal, healthy hair, then using a shampoo that contains sulfates is a matter of preference. If you just don't feel clean without lots of suds, then look for less irritating sulfates. The least irritating sulfate is Sodium Myreth Sulfate, followed by TEA Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Ammonia Laureth Sulfate is likely the most irritating of all the sulfates. Just be sure to condition your hair after shampooing it.

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Comments & discussion
Cassandra D. — Thank you for the information.
Ellen H. — Read the article re: "What does Sulfate Free mean to you. Product description says "sulfate free" but then this article let me wondering if the shampoo has sulfates or not. I tried to find the list of ingredients but unable to find them. Please e-mail me a list of ingredients in the shampoo and conditioner. I am very sensitive to any sulfates/sulfites, whether in products I use on my body and in foods that I eat. Thanks, Ellen
Susan P. — I have never had a problem with sulfates but this is good info to know.
David C. — Love this article
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