These days, we’re surrounded by so many health fads and trends that by the time we finally get around to implementing one, experts have already found a flaw or a better remedy. High-end skincare companies and those who swear by au-naturale jump to prove and market their findings, and the amount of different options can leave you dizzy trying to decide just which one really is the healthiest for you. The process only becomes all the more frustrating when you’re trying to recall names of certain chemicals or find a sensitive ointment that doesn’t break the bank: Was that Red No. 40 or No. 1? $50 for this paraben-free face wash? Forget it, I’ll take my chances.
The good news is that there is one step to purifying the products in your shower caddy without having to be filthy rich, or a vegan hair-care expert: say goodbye to sulfates.
What exactly are sulfates, you ask? Well, sulfates are an inexpensive detergent with foaming properties, and can be found in lotions, toothpaste, cosmetics, and most commonly– shampoo and conditioner. They could also be the culprit for your itchy scalp (dandruff), inflamed or irritated skin, canker sores, or dry, brittle hair. Besides just being an irritant to your body, they’re an irritant to the environment. Sulfates pollute the groundwater, putting aquatic animals at risk as well as being recycled and often undetected into your tap water. It’s used as an herbicide and pesticide and can also be found in car wash soaps and engine degreasers. To top it all off, toxic oxides are released from sulfates in the form of fumes when heated. Feel like taking a hot shower now?
Fortunately, the steps to limiting your sulfate intake are easy and inexpensive. Drugstore alternatives are commonly available, and making this switch only requires swapping a few of the bottles you’ve been accustomed to.
Most sulfate-free products will list it on the label. If your shampoo or conditioner foams, that can be a major tip-off to a sulfate-containing product. Check the labels, then get to replacing!
Besides greatly reducing scalp irritation, switching to sulfate-free products in turn increases your hair’s moisture retention. This, subsequently, helps the hair to keep and balance its natural, healthy oils which are essential for smooth, shiny plaits and avoiding pesky dead-ends! Sulfates not only strip your hair of oils, however; if your hair is dyed, sulfates are likely stripping away its pigmentation faster than normal, too. Making the switch to be sulfate-free is not only a move to protect your body’s system and the ecosystem– it’s making a move to keep that glam new ‘do too!