Reading the ingredients on the back of a product before buying it sometimes makes us feel like perhaps we should’ve listened a little more carefully in science class. The complex words found are often 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. Should you put the product right back on the shelf and start to look for a cleaner option? Not necessarily. We know it can be confusing if you don’t take the time to do your research. Good news - we’re here to help!
Are sulfates really dangerous?
Sulfates are used in shampoos, soaps and other cosmetics to make products foam and create bubbles. It’s a synthetic ingredient that has the ability to separate dirt and oil from skin or hair and allow water to carry them off the body.
Sulfates in general have bad press- often being known as the cause of allergic reactions, dryness and acne - they can irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. Because they are so effective at removing dirt from hair, sulfates will sometimes strip the hair of its natural oils and in the process, cause a rash.
It’s important to note that any shampoo will remove the natural oils from your hair - that’s how they clean. But it’s not a bad thing when done properly, as natural oils will capture dirt, pollution and pollen over time. The key is to use a shampoo and a conditioner to restore balance and keep your hair hydrated, and not to overuse them. You want natural oils to keep your skin and scalp healthy, but you don’t want it to become a playground for bacteria.
So, are sulfates that bad for you? The answer is a little more complicated than yes, or no. Contrary to popular belief, there are no studies that have shown a direct link between this ingredient and cancer- but they can have negative effects on the body, as shown earlier. Even more so when used in combination with other ingredients such as fragrances or harsh chemicals found in many beauty products.
We use sodium coco sulfate in our shampoos to provide an effective way to wash your hair, but also because it is derived from coconut, as opposed to petroleum, like other forms of sulfates commonly found in shampoos. Unlike other well-known products on the market, 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 and effective solution. As you should with every new product you introduce into your life, we suggest you test it and stay alert to make sure you don’t have a reaction to it. Many ingredients (natural or not) will have different effects on different people - some are allergic to beeswax, while others praise its benefits on their skin. The most important thing is to listen to what your body has to say - it knows better than anyone what is good for it.