Using SLS FREE shampoo, the best advice or not?

by honestlizhere
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Did you know? Even “clean beauty” shampoos have “sulfates” but these do not cause damage or hair loss as the notorious ingredient we all want to avoid -SLS – the same is also advised by Lorraine Massey, founder “Curly Girl Method” (CG method). Here are solid reasons to go SLS free today!

Is it CG?

SLS is not CG i.e. Curly Girl Safe. The easiest way to analyze all of the different ingredients in your hair products is to use the Is It CG? website. Simply paste the ingredients there and it will automatically analyze what each ingredient will do for your hair. Good or Bad! This SLS ingredient should be listed on your shampoo bottle too. Commercial shampoos like Pantene, WOW shampoos, Dove Anti Dandruff, Head & Shoulders all have SLS.

Some stylists/bloggers recommend Pantene to clarify “once a month”

Confident bloggers or professional stylists most likely follow instructions and scrubbing techniques and rinse hair well enough to avoid problems for themselves. With easy access to great after-care products bloggers take extremely good care of hair also. A beginner may not; always do you own research before purchasing new products.

Perhaps you’ve done the research and never read anywhere that sulfates cause hair loss. You’ve most likely read that sulfates are used to clear build up. I 100% agree that hair needs to be clarified from time to time to avoid build up. However..

You don’t need SLS-shampoo to clarify your hair

There are safe natural methods to safely detox your hair.

Why are SLS shampoos so bad?

Most commercial shampoos have SLS as their first or second ingredient, meaning high concentration of SLS. If you use it regularly, say 2-3x a week, it can most likely cause dry scalp, itching, excessive hair loss. American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says using SLS can further aggravate skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis. Scientific studies like this one from 1996 some people with sensitive scalp (or low level of ceremides) are likely to experience more dandruff after using shampoo with SLS! TRESemmé Class Action Lawsuit – claims their Shampoo Causes Hair Loss, Scalp Burns! Guess which ingredient they have? SLS.

Is SLS really bad for your hair?

Curly hair is already dry by nature. So using harsh shampoos with SLS may increase breakage, and dryness in your hair. This study from 2005 confirms that hair immersed in sulfate water loses 2x protein compared to hair in plain water. Hair without adequate protein break easily, can develop split-ends, and are generally hard to manage.

Is sulfate free shampoo really better?

The right shampoo will clean while retaining your natural curl pattern. Your scalp will feel “quenched” and hair fall is more controlled than before, so YES! Going SLS free has helped reduce my scalp acne drastically! You’ll also notice an “oily scalp” starts to normalise and a “dry scalp” finds much needed relief. Those with colour or bleached hair will find their hair is very porous, it dries so easily. Then using a moisturising SLS-free shampoo is ideal to help you retain moisture and be gentle on your hair.

Is it okay to use sulfate-free shampoo everyday?

The short answer is no. Regular use of shampoos may strip your natural oils. If, for whatever reasons, you need to wash your hair daily, then using no-poo methods in between shampoos can help you balance the moisture in your hair and scalp.

Problems With SLS-Free Shampoo

Firstly, everyone is unique, so using the wrong Sulfate-free shampoo can also dry your hair out. For example, some like to use multiple brands in one washday. Cocktailing like that may increase chances of product reacting with each other. So the biggest problem is to find and use the right shampoo for your hair needs. If you need help, book your consultation with me today and I can help you choose the right products for your hair type.

Secondly, sulfate-free shampoos most likely have plant-derived ingredients. So if you are allergic to plants and foods, start looking at specific ingredients in various products. For example, someone mentioned they had terrible itching using Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo. This is a great shampoo with clean ingredients but if *your* scalp reacts to this, it doesn’t make the shampoo “bad”.

Lastly, look out for “Itchy M’s” in your Sulfate-free shampoos. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and Methylisothiazolinone (MI) don’t cause any hair damage, is technically CG, but strong evidence suggests its a skin irritant. Plus these ingredients are very toxic to aquatic life. So if your CG shampoo has these, it may be a problem for you.

I Hate Sulfate-Free Shampoo

I hear this coming from those with fine hair, or low density hair. Not all shampoos are the same. Some are meant to clean thoroughly. Some are meant to clean and add moisture too. Protip: Use a “clear” looking SLS-free shampoo for best results. Here’s my FREE guide to choosing the right shampoo.

Why Does SLS-Free Shampoo Make My Hair Feel Like Straw

Protein Overload can make hair fell brittle and straw-like. Some experience it with aloe-products. Eliminate products, experiment to identify the exact problem for you. But generally speaking, shampoos are meant to clean hair only. Don’t expect your curls to have shine and juice only with shampoo. Deep condition your hair after using any strong shampoos, and style your hair after-after to put back moisture the shampoo stripped out.


I am SLS free! I use products that do NOT contain this ingredient. For people (just like me) who simply don’t believe that SLS is safe, or don’t want to try their luck, an increasing number of products that don’t contain SLS are appearing on the market.⁣ Look for them online or at stores by reviewing the ingredient labels. Sometimes the labels are not transparent so you’ll know if the shampoo is not working for you after you try.

Got questions? Leave a comment below

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