You’re in the shampoo aisle reading the ingredients list on the back of a shampoo bottle, feeling confused. Suddenly you wish you’d paid more attention in science class.
We get it. The complex words for ingredients are difficult to decipher. Especially when it comes to ingredients that include an unfamiliar word like sulfate – sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate or sodium coco sulfate.
If you can’t pronounce these words, should you put the product back on the shelf? Does that mean they’re not clean? Well, not necessarily. We know it can be confusing, so we’ve broken down what you need to know about sulfates.
Are sulfates really dangerous?
Sulfates are used as a foaming agent in shampoos, soaps and other cosmetics. They’re synthetic ingredients whose foaming action separates dirt and oil from skin or hair to allow water to carry them off the body.
Sulfates in general get a bad rep because they’re often known to cause allergic reactions or dryness. They can irritate the skin, especially if you’re sensitive. In some cases, because sulfates are so effective at removing dirt from hair, they’ll strip the hair of its natural oils and leave your scalp irritated.
Now, any shampoo will remove the natural oils from your hair – that’s how they work. But this isn’t a bad thing when the shampoo you’re using is formulated properly. Your shampoo and conditioner should restore balance and keep your hair hydrated, as opposed to depleted of natural oils.
So, are sulfates that bad for you?
The answer isn’t a clear yes, or no. One thing to note is that there are no studies that have shown a direct link between sulfates and cancer. However, sulfates can have other negative effects on the body, as described above. The stripping and drying action of sulfates happens when they’re used in combination with other fragrances or chemicals found in many beauty products.
To be sure your product is a good choice for you, consider the ingredients used by the brand. For example, at Green Beaver we use sodium coco sulfate in our shampoos because it’s derived from coconut (as opposed to petroleum, like other forms of sulfates commonly found in shampoos) and because it’s an effective cleaning agent.
Unlike other products in the shampoo aisle, the ingredients that are alongside sodium coco sulfate in our shampoos are not problematic when used in combination with each other, making it a safe solution for your hair and skin.
With every new product you use, it’s a good idea to read the label and consider the company that makes it. Ultimately your body will tell you whether a product agrees with you or not, so stay alert for any reactions when you try something new.
Curious about trying our Green Beaver shampoo? Head to movecamp.ca to sign up and receive a $10 gift card to your Inbox.