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Normal Shampoo VS Sulfate-free Shampoo

There is a huge range of different kinds of shampoo. How do we know which one to buy? And which one not to? Sigh. First-world problems. Haha.

Hello! My name is Zell. In this article, we’re going to talk about the difference between normal shampoo and sulfate-free shampoo. I have literally talked to thousands of people on our FB chat and a handful of them don’t know what kind of shampoo they should be using. This is the purpose of the article, if you would like to learn something new about shampoos, do continue reading! :)

In one of our early article, we have talked briefly about the difference between shampoo, conditioner, and mask. So, again, what exactly is a hair shampoo? For a more dictionary-term, hair shampoo is a hair care product that contains synthetic detergents that help to remove sebum and environment dirt. What it mainly does is to clean the scalp skin along with its hair.

Let’s briefly list out some of the different shampoos - Normal hair shampoo, Dry hair shampoo, oily hair shampoo, baby shampoos, deep cleaning shampoos, medicated shampoo for scalp issue, and many more. From my own experience, I have really dry hair and was using normal shampoo for a very long period of time. But I have switched from normal shampoo to sulfate-free shampoo and have not looked back since. So, what exactly is sulfate?

Sulfates are aggressive detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts. The description alone sounds a little scary.

The most common sulfates are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Sulfates are surfactants and it has molecules that attract both oil and water, one of it cling to the oily dirt while the other clings to water. They are commonly found in soap as they are inexpensive and easy to acquire. Through the years, the industry has associate foaming lather with being clean and both SLS and SLES are in the center of it. It is primarily used as a foaming agent and combine with water, it can emulsify grease to make it easier to be washed away. Most household cleaning product has sulfate as that is the main function - cleaning. Compared to other cleansing ingredients, sulfates are said to have the deepest effects of cleaning.

For a more direct illustration, your dishwashing liquid detergent contains sulfates and has the same function (cleaning), would you use it to clean your hair? I bet you wouldn’t. But why wouldn’t you? Perhaps you might think the chemicals might be too strong for the hair. Exactly right, they are. And why would you use a shampoo that contains sulfate? Let me give you 4 reason why you shouldn’t -

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It lifts the hair cuticle

At the outermost layer of the hair shaft is a series of overlapping hair cells called the cuticle. It worked like the roof of the house, protecting the house from harm. A healthy hair cuticle allows water to pass through the hair cortex. Sulfates will get under the cuticle, lifting it, exposing the cortex of the hair to moisture. And the result arises from this is frizz and dryness to the hair. When the cortex is compromised, it weakens the entire strand, making the hair look dull and prone to damage.

Your hair will require a longer time to dry

As the hair cortex has been exposed to moisture, the accumulation of water in the cortex will increase the duration it takes for the hair to dry.

It causes scalp irritation

Sulfates strip the natural lipids off the scalp. Lipids are essential components of skin and play an important role in maintaining the strength of the skin’s protective barrier. They also aid the skin’s natural repair process. When sulfates strip the natural lipids off the scalp, the chemicals from products will be able to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, causing irritation and inflammation.

Bad for color-treated hair

Other than stripping off the natural lipids, sulfates also might strip out the color from your color treatment. There is a reason why color shampoo exists. If you have colored hair, you might want to consider a sulfate-free shampoo or a color shampoo instead as it contains lesser harmful chemicals.

In conclusion, with all the information listed above, for the sake of your hair health, I guess we know the answer to what kind of shampoo you should really be spending your money on. Looking at this with a logical perspective, if you spend 1 day doing a really expensive hair treatment but the remaining 29 days using a normal shampoo with sulfate, the hair is unlikely to be healthy even though you might be doing the best treatment in town.

If you need any help on your hair issue, you know where to find us. Just head to our fb page and send us a message. Or if you have booked an appointment with us on our website, you should have my number. Send me a message. Ask me anything, hair loss, hair care routine, hair maintenance. I’m always here to help you! :)


Steve V Hair Studio

Bugis Cube (opposite Bugis Junction)

#04-04 S'pore 188735

Tel no: 6336 1476


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