What are sulfates?

Sulfates are chemicals used as cleansing agents. They’re found in household cleaners, detergents, and even shampoo.

Some main types of sulfates are used in shampoo:sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and sodium coco sulfate. The purpose of these sulfates is to create a lathering effect to remove oil and dirt from your hair.

Sulfates are considered shampooing staples. Still, the use of sulfates in shampoo has been controversial in recent decades. Some people believe that sulfates can directly damage your health. Since shampoo is used daily in many cases, the thought is that this much exposure to sulfates can lead to serious risks. 

It can be damaging to certain types of hair, and it may even cause skin irritation in some people. 

While sulfates are effective at removing dirt and oil from your hair, the problem is that these ingredients can be way too strong for some people. You may not respond well to sulfates if you have sensitive skin or hair, or if you have any allergies or sensitivities to these types of chemicals.

Sulfate-free shampoo is also recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for people with rosacea. This is because the ingredient is found to irritate skin with rosacea and may lead to symptoms on your scalp as well as on your face, shoulders, and back. 

The AAD also says you should avoid sulfates if you have eczema, contact dermatitis, or sensitive skin. Any potential lathering effects from sulfate shampoos could irritate these types of skin conditions.

An allergic reaction is also possible if you’re sensitive to sulfates. If this is the case, you might notice one or more of the following symptoms on your scalp and face after using sulfate shampoo:

  • redness
  • skin rash
  • swelling (inflammation)
  • itchiness
  • hives

You may also want to avoid sulfates if you have dry or fine hair. These hair types are more fragile, and the sudsy effects of sulfate shampoo can strip out too much of the natural oils needed to keep your strands healthy.

Sulfates also might strip out color from your color treatments. Bubble Shop shampoos are sulfate-fee shampoo. and contrary to common belief they do lather just as much, and they help your hair maintain moisture and health.

Additionally, sulfates are known to cause hair frizz. When sulfates make contact with your hair, they create a negative electrical charge, which can create frizz after you shampoo. You might want to skip sulfate shampoo altogether and check out our hair care section.