Everything You Need to Know About Sulphates and SLS in Haircare

Everything You Need to Know About Sulphates and SLS in Haircare

If you've been searching for more natural hair care products, you may have already come across a lot of articles and media coverage surrounding sulphate free shampoo or SLS free hair products. But what exactly are sulphates, and is a shampoo without SLS really the best choice for your hair? Read on, for the full lowdown from the P&R team and tips from our co-founder Adam Reed.

What Are Sulphates and SLS?

Sulphates in hair care products act as cleansers and are also responsible for helping you really lather up with all those bubbles. (Remember those classic TV ads?!) It’s sulphates that create the soapy, foamy lather you’re used to when washing your hair. In short, they act as a detergent that removes dirt and oil from your locks and get them nice and clean. 

You might see sulphates listed on an ingredients label as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), and ammonium laureth sulphate. Sulphates are in the majority of all shampoos because they are really good at cleansing your hair and removing grease and grime at the end of the day. They are still one of the most commonly used ingredients in the beauty industry because they work efficiently to keep hair clean. After all, if you use lots of styling products or have oily hair, it's useful to use a shampoo that cleanses thoroughly!

Are sulphates bad for hair?

Are Sulphates in Hair Products Harmful for You or Your Hair?

Sulphates in shampoo are considered by experts to be safe to use and they pose no risk to health. The majority of people have no problems whatsoever using products that contain sulphates. However, there is some evidence that the use of sulphates, SLS in particular, can cause dryness or irritation for people with a sensitive scalp or eczema, and for those with hair that is already dry or chemically treated. Additionally, sulphate free shampoo is considered essential if you wear hair extensions! Because sulphates are so good at cleansing, it is also believed that in some harsher formulations the ingredient could strip some of the natural oils from your hair.

If you suffer from dry hair, sensitive skin or an itchy scalp, then you may want to opt for a gentler washing option that doesn’t include SLS/SLES or is completely sulphate-free. Here at Percy & Reed, we offer our customers the option to use products that don’t contain SLS/SLES and/or sulphates. As our co-founder Adam Reed explained, “I’m not necessarily against the use of sulfates, but a lot of our clients were asking for a sulphate-free formula, so we offer both.” SLS/SLES free shampoos like our Wonder Wash or sulphate-free hair products like our co-cleansing Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Cleanse & Nourish are mild on dry hair and sensitive scalps and ensures that stressed tresses are cared for. 

Gently Does It

Want a more natural shampoo option that’s gentler on your hair but still cleans amazingly well? If you’re looking for an SLS/SLES free shampoo, give Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Wash Shampoo a whirl. It has an ultra-mild formula that has been dermatologically tested to be gentle enough for sensitive scalps. This little beauty helps you give your strands the love they deserve and contains pro-vitamin B5 to strengthen hair from within and wheat protein to essentially ‘weatherproof’ hair against extreme conditions. It's a fantastic multi-tasking product that responds to your hair type; nourishing roots, reconditioning lengths and helping to repair damaged ends. 

SLS free shampoo

Try Co-cleansing

If you want to change up your hair routine completely you could try a co-cleanser like our Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Cleanse & Nourish. It's full of natural ingredients and acts as a shampoo and a conditioner in one product. It’s a completely sulphate and detergent free option! It works a treat on frizzy, curly, damaged or coloured hair as it is jam-packed with natural wonders. Our product uses 97% natural ingredients, including soothing aloe vera to wash locks and avocado and jojoba oils to boost hair health. The super-smart cleanser also contains rose, geranium, lavender and peppermint oils, which help to nourish and strengthen your strands and leave a heavenly aroma. The product won’t lather, and it might take a few uses before you and your hair adapt. 

Adam has some excellent advice for using this cleanser, as it’s different when you use shampoo without any sulphates. Adam says, “Totally drench your hair with water before using. The wetter, the better! When you work it into your hair really massage into the hair, it’s the massage technique that will release the oils that cleanse and nourish your hair. The high oil content will require you to rinse more than normal, so you need to rinse, rinse and rinse again.”

It’s not necessary for everyone to switch to a SLS/SLES free or sulphate-free shampoo, but if you have sensitive scalp, skin, or dry hair it might be worth giving one of these products a try to see how it works for you! 

Have you tried Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Wash Shampoo or Wonder Cleanse & Nourish? Tell us what you think over on Facebook or Instagram #percyandreed