Are sulfate shampoos really that bad?

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I ran out of my sulfate free shampoo a month ago and I am in need of a new one. However, I don't have the money to buy a sulfate free shampoo.
I was thinking about buying a shampoo that contains sulfate( ex. Suave Almond and Shea Butter because the conditioner really works for my hair) for now.
Will it be harmful to my hair to use a sulfate shampoo? I don't plan on using it a lot. Maybe once or twice or month.
Thanks.
You could try to find a shampoo that has a sulfate low down on the ingredient list to minimize the effects. Sulfates are very drying. It's often a matter of personal preference; some people can use a sulfate poo and not suffer from drying or damaging effects.
If you have Trader Joe's in your area, I like their shampoos because they are very cheap, and the sulfate in their shampoos is low down in the ingredient list. I use their Refresh shampoo about once every 7-10 days and my hair likes it fine. It's not SLS though, its a different sulfate. I don't think any of the Trader Joe's shampoos have SLS.

HTH
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I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
James Baldwin
A Talk To Teachers
[...]
one of the paradoxes of education [is] that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society
[...]

I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
Yep.
Plus, to be completely honest...while I certainly don't want a shampoo to destroy my hair, I also want it to...clean my hair and scalp. I wash my hair about every 7-10 days, and sometimes I go 14 days in the cold winter months. So by the time I'm ready to shampoo, I want the job done, because I've got product that needs to be washed out. There are non-sulfate shampoos and poo bars that get the job done. But I have a few sulfate shampoos in my arsenal as well. There are bad non-sulfate shampoos, and good sulfate shampoos.

I use conditioners to condition, soften and replenish moisture that shampoos may remove. So, as along as a shampoo doesn't strip my hair to the point that it tangles and feels rough, I'm good. Plus, I usually only shampoo once.

The only time I lean towards more gentle/moisturizing cleansers is in cold, dry weather...the winter time.
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I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
Yep.
Plus, to be completely honest...while I certainly don't want a shampoo to destroy my hair, I also want it to...clean my hair and scalp. I wash my hair about every 7-10 days, and sometimes I go 14 days in the cold winter months. So by the time I'm ready to shampoo, I want the job done, because I've got product that needs to be washed out. There are non-sulfate shampoos and poo bars that get the job done. But I have a few sulfate shampoos in my arsenal as well. There are bad non-sulfate shampoos, and good sulfate shampoos.

I use conditioners to condition, soften and replenish moisture that shampoos may remove. So, as along as a shampoo doesn't strip my hair to the point that it tangles and feels rough, I'm good. Plus, I usually only shampoo once.

The only time I lean towards more gentle/moisturizing cleansers is in cold, dry weather...the winter time.
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
Yes, for me this is the root of it. I have a flaky scalp and need a clean slate every time. Whatever treatment I use after will not be effective if there is a barrier. But, even if I didn't have a flaky scalp, I would still strip it... there is so much out there that we expose our hair to every day, let alone the products in between washes... I also believe it ensures my DC's are as effective as possible.

Yeah, I make 'em do that work!!! Haha!
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James Baldwin
A Talk To Teachers
[...]
one of the paradoxes of education [is] that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society
[...]

There are bad non-sulfate shampoos, and good sulfate shampoos.
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
This right here, so true.

I can name one I will never, ever, purchase again, Kinky Curly Come Clean... my hair was a brick!!!
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James Baldwin
A Talk To Teachers
[...]
one of the paradoxes of education [is] that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society
[...]

I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
Yep.
Plus, to be completely honest...while I certainly don't want a shampoo to destroy my hair, I also want it to...clean my hair and scalp. I wash my hair about every 7-10 days, and sometimes I go 14 days in the cold winter months. So by the time I'm ready to shampoo, I want the job done, because I've got product that needs to be washed out. There are non-sulfate shampoos and poo bars that get the job done. But I have a few sulfate shampoos in my arsenal as well. There are bad non-sulfate shampoos, and good sulfate shampoos.

I use conditioners to condition, soften and replenish moisture that shampoos may remove. So, as along as a shampoo doesn't strip my hair to the point that it tangles and feels rough, I'm good. Plus, I usually only shampoo once.

The only time I lean towards more gentle/moisturizing cleansers is in cold, dry weather...the winter time.
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
Yes, for me this is the root of it. I have a flaky scalp and need a clean slate every time. Whatever treatment I use after will not be effective if there is a barrier. But, even if I didn't have a flaky scalp, I would still strip it... there is so much out there that we expose our hair to every day, let alone the products in between washes... I also believe it ensures my DC's are as effective as possible.

Yeah, I make 'em do that work!!! Haha!
Originally Posted by cocodej
This so me. I need my hair and scalp very clean once a week. All product out or I get buildup on my hair and flakes on my scalp. Sulfates disagree with my hair. I used it once while transitioning and my hair matted. I used it once by accident after my bc and my hair felt like straw as soon as it hit. I had to do emergency dc. That said i've had non-sulfates that didn't get my hair clean enough.
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I agree with most of what's being said here. I only use sulfate shampoos (the milder ones like Kenra or Elucence) after my hair's been in twists for 2-3 weeks (the only time I don't wash my hair regularly) because then my hair is dirty enough to actually need that level of cleansing. Otherwise, I'll use a mild lathering sulfate-free shampoo 1x/week (MOP or ABBA). Sometimes I'll use a non-lathering cleanser (CJ Daily Fix) mid-week if experimenting with products or something. And actually in the winter I did well with using CJ Daily Fix 1x/weekly for 3 weeks and then the low-poo on week 4.

My take on this is that sulfates aren't that bad (esp if you have oily scalp that gets super gunky fast), but most people overuse them (either in product amount or frequency) compared to how clean their scalp and hair actually need to be to stay healthy. Just like in skin care, people with dry skin don't need to use a cleanser for oily skin. (This also applies when conditioning/moisturizing, but I digress...)

So that's something to keep in mind--esp because the strength of sulfates are meant to strip way more oils off the hair than most curly/kinky strands can build up in a period of time, including the hydrolipidic barrier (which the hair naturally has). Since you can't get that back once it's been stripped, you have to increase your deep conditioning to make up for its removal.

Since you said you'd only use the sulfate shampoo once or twice a month, I suggest looking for a formula that has one of the milder sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate or sodium myreth sulfate (Elucence uses this one and it's around 8 bucks) but also has only a few milder amphoteric surfactants in the list (cocoamidopropyl betaine, etc--do an article search if you are unfamiliar), and then the formula should have lots of conditioning agents in the rest of the list. Test it out by washing your hands with it; that can tell you how stripping it might be on your hair. Or you could just add a few drops of coconut oil to your hair, letting it settle in before shampooing.

Edit: Ultimately the formulation is what's super important, whether it's sulfate-free or not, you just have to know what to look for and in what order. That can save a lot of time and money--and hair lol.

HTH
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Last edited by artemis513; 05-10-2012 at 06:20 AM.
Sulfate free shampoos make my hair DRY!! Weird, I'm sure. I use regular shampoo weekly. I just focus on my scalp. Last week I put some conditioner on first because I was feeling a little dry, so thus is what I do when..... I feel dry. I guess it gives a "low poo" effect. But my hair gets clean.

Jen


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FroZen
Sulfate free shampoos make my hair DRY!! Weird, I'm sure. I use regular shampoo weekly. I just focus on my scalp. Last week I put some conditioner on first because I was feeling a little dry, so thus is what I do when..... I feel dry. I guess it gives a "low poo" effect. But my hair gets clean.

Jen


😜🍸Sent LIVE from my JPhone 4 using some CurlTalk app. 😜🍸

FroZen
Originally Posted by BlackAngelPlayah
CWC (condition-wash-condition) is a great method for those who want the scalp to have the "really clean" feeling from sulfate shampoos without the hair being overly dried out. I learned about CWC from the Long Hair Community back in the day and used to do exactly that when I wore relaxed hair
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Thanks for the help everybody!
Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I've been busy these past couple of days.
I've noticed that I don't really see a difference between sulfate free shampoos and sulfate shampoos.
The only reason I started using sulfate free shampoos was because people kept telling me they were bad.
I'll look into trying to find some shampoos that aren't that harsh though.
I don't think those shampoos will hurt my hair as much.
I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
If you don't mind me asking, can you recommend any good deep conditioners?
I have one and it's....okay.
From my experience as long as it's not SLS, if you dillute it with a bit of oil or water, it's not as harsh on the hair. You can try just cleansing your scalp with the sulfate shampoo and then cleaning your length with conditioner. TAME conditioner and shampoo from the Dollar tree is pretty darn good for the price and efficacy.
I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
If you don't mind me asking, can you recommend any good deep conditioners?
I have one and it's....okay.
Originally Posted by AphroditeDot
Well, this also depends. Are you protein sensitive? I am not and reach for DC’s with moisture and protein. So my choices are colored by my hair’s likes. You need to decide if a DC with protein is okay or if one with straight moisturizing properties is better.

I measure my DC’s by two criteria: It ups the moisture after I strip my hair (so that my hair feels conditioned very well immediately after I rinse and that moisture could last for 2-3 days after without a leave-in) and I can detangle due to good slip.

Here is what I have tried that passed (* are next to the ones with little to no protein, IMO)

On the ground:

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle* (I salute this, I loved the way my scalp felt after)
Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture*
Tresemme Naturals Radiant Volume* (with an oil of your choice)
Aussie Moist* (I believe the cone in this is water soluble)
Yes To Carrots
VO5* (moisture milks or silky experiences w/ coconut milk and/or an oil of your choice)
Shea Moisture Black Soap Purification Masque
Aveda Damage Remedy Treatment (my hair likes protein thought, and this does not make it hard at all, major slip – but some cones)

Online:

Hairveda Acai Berry Phyto*
Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner *
Darcy’s Botanicals Deep Conditioner
Curl Junkie Rehab* (and some people also recommend this as a leave-in)
Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Conditioner *
Curl Junkie Repair Me

If you are protein sensitive, a search of this forum should bring up old threads about DCs without protein. Or, you could search for deep conditioner threads in general – there are many. In general, people mix in some oil (usually coconut, olive, sunflower, etc.) with honey in a cone-free conditioner for straight moisture. HTH!
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James Baldwin
A Talk To Teachers
[...]
one of the paradoxes of education [is] that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society
[...]

Search for a shampoo that only contains one of the sulfates and not both sulfates.

Try using a "clarifying" shampoo. It's not as harsh as the shampoos that contain 2 sulfates.

Also, it's good to keep a sulfate shampoo around just in case you need to get some dirt or heavy oils out of your hair.




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I strip my hair every weekend with a sulfate shampoo or another cleanser that gets me to a squeaky clean. However (and this is a BIG however), I have an arsenal of deep conditioners that can replace the moisture and have great detangling properties. So, be prepared. As long as you have a good DC on deck, I say go for it!
Originally Posted by cocodej
If you don't mind me asking, can you recommend any good deep conditioners?
I have one and it's....okay.
Originally Posted by AphroditeDot
Well, this also depends. Are you protein sensitive? I am not and reach for DC’s with moisture and protein. So my choices are colored by my hair’s likes. You need to decide if a DC with protein is okay or if one with straight moisturizing properties is better.

I measure my DC’s by two criteria: It ups the moisture after I strip my hair (so that my hair feels conditioned very well immediately after I rinse and that moisture could last for 2-3 days after without a leave-in) and I can detangle due to good slip.

Here is what I have tried that passed (* are next to the ones with little to no protein, IMO)

On the ground:

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle* (I salute this, I loved the way my scalp felt after)
Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture*
Tresemme Naturals Radiant Volume* (with an oil of your choice)
Aussie Moist* (I believe the cone in this is water soluble)
Yes To Carrots
VO5* (moisture milks or silky experiences w/ coconut milk and/or an oil of your choice)
Shea Moisture Black Soap Purification Masque
Aveda Damage Remedy Treatment (my hair likes protein thought, and this does not make it hard at all, major slip – but some cones)

Online:

Hairveda Acai Berry Phyto*
Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner *
Darcy’s Botanicals Deep Conditioner
Curl Junkie Rehab* (and some people also recommend this as a leave-in)
Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Conditioner *
Curl Junkie Repair Me

If you are protein sensitive, a search of this forum should bring up old threads about DCs without protein. Or, you could search for deep conditioner threads in general – there are many. In general, people mix in some oil (usually coconut, olive, sunflower, etc.) with honey in a cone-free conditioner for straight moisture. HTH!
Originally Posted by cocodej
Thank you for the list!
I don't think I am protein sensitive. I've used products that contain protein and they didn't ruin my hair or anything. They actually made my hair somewhat softer lol.
From my experience as long as it's not SLS, if you dillute it with a bit of oil or water, it's not as harsh on the hair. You can try just cleansing your scalp with the sulfate shampoo and then cleaning your length with conditioner. TAME conditioner and shampoo from the Dollar tree is pretty darn good for the price and efficacy.
Originally Posted by Lovemenappy
By SLS do you mean "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate" or "Sodium Laureth Sulfate"? Or is SLS used for both?
I like Trader Joes Tree Tea Tingle Shampoo. It doesn't have laurel/laureth sulfates, but it gets my hair and scalp clean without stripping it and the price is right.

Its been a while since I've used a hard-core sulfate shampoo, but like others have said, it depends on the shampoo.

I always keep a bottle of Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo on hand. Its sulfate free and leaves my hair clean and soft. I usually use it if I use a heavy butter on silicon on my hair.
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Well, this also depends. Are you protein sensitive? I am not and reach for DC’s with moisture and protein. So my choices are colored by my hair’s likes. You need to decide if a DC with protein is okay or if one with straight moisturizing properties is better.
Originally Posted by cocodej

Thank you for the list!
I don't think I am protein sensitive. I've used products that contain protein and they didn't ruin my hair or anything. They actually made my hair somewhat softer lol.
Originally Posted by AphroditeDot
This has been my experience. So take the plunge! Haha! But check the Weekly Coupon thread before you haul. Aveyou carries Curl Junkie and they have a 20% coupon now. Plus, Walgreens (online) has 20-23% off all Shea Moisture hair products. I don't know if the promotion is in all ground stores though.

ETA: The Yes to Carrots and Shea Moisture Masque do not have proteins. I thought I saw some on the labels, but no, they do not.
James Baldwin
A Talk To Teachers
[...]
one of the paradoxes of education [is] that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society
[...]

I've started using silicones in my daily hair regimen again, at least for these warmer months. I need a sulfate shampoo. Surprisingly, I've been really enjoying washing my hair with a sulfate shampoo (I use Dove's Daily Moisture stuff). Since it suds up a lot, unlike sulfate-free shampoos, I actually use less shampoo.

I really like this Dove shampoo.
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