My shampoo and conditioners are without a doubt my best sellers! They smell amazing, they leave your hair so soft and easy to manage and once you’ve been using them for a while you can smell the essential oils in your hair. So, I thought I would write this blog post about why they are so good and why I chose to leave parabens and sodium laurel sulphate out of them. In the end, they are good for you, your hair and the environment.
Parabens are synthetic preservatives. They prolong the shelf life of many mass-produced products. The issue with them coming in contact with our skin is research has shown they have an effect on the endocrine system. Causing damage to reproductive organs, increased risk of cancer and is a known dermal irritant. What’s more it is absorbed via the skin (PhD, 2019).
Recent studies in the US have shown over 70% of adults and children tested had at least one form of paraben in their urine. While the chemicals can be quickly eliminated, an individual is facing a lifetime of exposure unless making informed choices of what personal care products they use (Brenda Goodman, 2015).
Parabens have a similar chemical structure to estrogen. Thus, enabling them to mimic this hormone in the body (Brenda Goodman, 2015).
Sodium laurel sulphate (SLS)
While SLS doesn’t seem to have the potential to damage your health directly as with parabens, it does however damage the health of your hair and scalp. How? By drying it and almost completely stripping it of it’s natural oils.
Sodium laurel sulphate is a detergent. It is the same compound that is used in household detergents. It is the ingredient that causes washing up detergent, most shampoo’s and even car wash to foam up once wet. It reduces the surfaces tension by stripping away oils and dirt allowing emulsification (Cherney, 2018)
Shampoo’s that contain SLS will be particularly harmful to coloured hair. By it’s very nature it will strip the artificial colour as well as the oils out of the hair. Also, to those with dry brittle hair.
For those with sensitive skin, in particular rosacea and contact dermatitis, SLS can be extremely irritating.
A temporary “downside” to switching over to SLS and paraben free is a few weeks of not very clean feeling and looking hair. And the less than satisfying experience of washing your hair with no foaming shampoo.
Why is this you ask? After years of stripping not only your hair of it’s natural oils you have been messing with the balance of these precious oils on your scalp. Your body has had years of experience at over producing the oils needed to keep your scalp protected. When you take away the detergent that causes this imbalance your body needs time to adjust. So for a while you will have too much sebum being produced until your amazing body balances this production out.
Not only that, along with parabens and SLS the mass produced shampoo’s and conditioners contain so many chemicals that leave residue on your hair. These can take weeks to completely wash out of your hair once you change over.
So the temporary effect is a few weeks of lank hair and multiple shampoo applications. Oh and no lather.
But I promise, when you persevere you will have soft, shiny, frizz free hair. Your colour will hold longer, blonds won’t go brassy. Your itchy scalp will be a thing of the past. And once all the other crap has been washed out, your paraben and SLS free shampoo will foam up like it’s chemical cocktail cousin!
Brenda Goodman, M. (2015, October 27). FAQ:- Parabens and Breast Cancer. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20151027/parabens-breast-cancer#1
Cherney, K. (2018, July 19). Should you Avoid Shampoos with Sulphates. Retrieved from healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/sulfate-in-shampoo
PhD, T. S. (2019, April Tuesday, 9). What are parabens and why don't they belong in cosmetics. Retrieved from ewg.org: https://www.ewg.org/californiacosmetics/parabens