You may have seen a plethora of sulfate-free shampoos on the shelves while doing your shopping lately, but do you actually *need* one, or are brands just responding to the latest trend in haircare? Here’s what you should know, and also why going sulfate-free might help your balayaged hair out…
Sulfates – aka SLS or Soldium Lauryl Sulfate – have had a bit of negative press of late. Its detractors say that it might strip colour quickly and leech moisture from hair shafts, and that opting for a sulfate-free shampoo is the trick to keeping locks lustrous and healthy for longer.
But is there any truth in those claims?
The answer is both yes and no; yes, sulfates do lather and grab oil from the hair, potentially leading to more colour loss, but, no, they and they alone won’t determine how your hair looks.
The fact of the matter is that sulfates aren’t the only thing in your hair routine that will lead to dryness and duller hair when used with regularity. First, how often you clean your hair plays a part – if you only wash once weekly, for example, but find yourself turning to heat styling in-between, the styling process is much more likely to be the cause of brittleness than the weekly exposure to sulfates.
Equally, if you heat style in general a lot and don’t use a heat protector to reduce the damage, you’d benefit from adding one to your routine, as well as dialling down the heat on your tongs – particularly on balayaged portions of hair, which need to be treated with more care than virgin hair.
Ultimately, if you wash daily and want to slightly reduce the potential stripping effect of using a shampoo, it may be worth investing in. But, while you’re at it, it’s well worth looking at the rest of your routine to make sure you’re not doing the bulk of your damage elsewhere.
A really good sulfate-free shampoo is Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure – pH 4.5 Color Freeze Micellar Sulfate-free shampoo which freezes the colour pigments deep inside the hair matrix for ultimate colour perfection.