A few years ago, SLS-free shampoos became all the rage. But not everyone knew the facts or even what SLS stood for. If you didn’t hop on the wagon then, don’t worry. We’re here to give you all the information you need on SLS-free shampoos so that you know exactly what the fuss was all about. You’ll also find out if it is worth switching over to SLS-free shampoo and what’s best for your own hair.
What is SLS?
SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, a sulphur compound used in shampoos to give them all that lovely lather and bubbles. It is an excellent cleaning agent and is also what give detergents their ability to clean grease and oil. That’s right, the shampoo we use on our hair is very much like the detergent used to wash clothes and dishes.
Is SLS harmful?
SLS products when used as directed are not toxic to the body. That is, they are for external use only and not to be ingested, which is why you should keep them out of reach of kids. However, prolonged use of these products does have some undesirable effects. SLS containing shampoos when used daily or even a few times a week, can strip hair and scalp of their natural oils and moisture.
The extreme cleaning can lead to dry scalp and brittle hair. Sulphur compounds could also cause itchiness and rashes in more sensitive skin types. SLS shampoos are therefore not recommended for anyone who is losing hair, prone to skin conditions, or suffering from other scalp problems like dandruff. It is also not wise to use these shampoos if you wash your hair daily as over time it can cause some of these problems.
Is SLS-free shampoo better?
SLS-free shampoo as you’ve guessed does not contain sulphur. This also means that it is not as frothy and foamy as its regular counterparts. It is, however, gentler on the scalp and hair and does not cause dryness or irritation. It also doesn’t damage the hair or cause hair loss. SLS-free shampoo is certainly a safer option and therefore better for almost every skin and hair type.
Switching to SLS-free shampoo
So, you’ve decided to make the switch to an SLS-free shampoo, now what? Making the change can be difficult especially since there are so many choices available. Here’s how you can narrow them down:
- Identify your hair choice; is your hair dry, oily or neutral?
- Pick shampoos that suit your hair type.
- Read reviews and ask family and friends for their recommendations.
- Buy small bottles of the two or three that meet all criteria.
- Try them and zero in on the one that gives you the best results.
How to use SLS-free shampoo?
Using and SLS-free shampoo is not much different from using regular shampoo. However, you need to remember that these shampoos don’t lather as much as the ones that do contain SLS. How much shampoo you use will be based on the length and thickness of your hair. For starters, you can use the same amount that you’ve always used.
After wetting your hair apply the shampoo and massage the scalp well. Also, make sure to clean the strands of hair by running your fingers through them. Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly when done. After the first wash, you can decide if you need more or less shampoo in future. With regular use of SLS-free shampoo, you will start to notice a visible difference in your hair; it will be softer, smoother, and hair-fall will also reduce in many cases.Read our article about all the toxic substances present in your hair care products.