The world of cosmetics is finally catching up with the greening of the rest of the planet. More and more manufacturers of beauty products are trying to provide healthy, natural alternatives to the mass produced synthetic products that have flooded the marketplace for generations. Organic and “green” hair and skin care products are beginning to have a strong presence on store shelves. Many of these products, claiming to be natural, no longer contain certain synthetic additives known to be harmful to the body and the environment. One of the more common additives to recently decrease its presence in shampoos and other hair care products is sulfate. Many companies now claim to have the best sulfate-free shampoos in the cosmetic industry. But what does that mean?
What Is Sulfate?
Sulfate is a cheap synthetic ingredient added to many household products, as well as hair and skin care products, for one reason – to generate foam. The thinking here is, the bigger the foam, the cleaner your hair, skin, teeth, etc., will feel. Sulfate foaming agents come in several forms, including:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- Ammonium lauryl sulfate
- Sodium cocoglyceryl ether sulfate
Of these, the most commonly used are SLS and SLES.
Why the Issues?
Research seems to indicate that, while sulfates effectively lather your hair and degrease it, they can be harsh, causing such problems as dryness and irritation. If you suffer from dry or sensitive scalp and skin, the use of sulfates will do more harm than good.
Can the Claim “Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo” Be True?
The problem with any such claim in the cosmetic industry is two-fold. In the first place, this is a personal opinion. People will prefer one type of shampoo over another for many reasons. Some may even believe there is no such thing as a good, let alone a “best” sulfate-free shampoo. This is the way of the world and human nature.
A more important concern is the ability of some companies to replace one bad ingredient with another that may also be questionable. If this is the case, though that shampoo no longer contains sulfate, it may still be considered harmful or questionable to its users. This is one reason why it is important to read the labels and understand what the contents of a shampoo really are. By examining the ingredients closely, then trying the product, you can discover whether this is truly the best sulfate-free shampoo for you.
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