Is a sulphate-free shampoo right for you?


Baffled by the sulphate scene? Whether you’re pondering the benefits of sulphate-free shampoo or you’re at square one wondering ‘what the heck are they?!’, you’re in the right place to get the full tour on sulphates.

So, don’t stop here, you’re a scroll away from demystifying sulphates and whether a sulphate-free shampoo is right for you.

Starting with the basics… what are sulphates?!

What are sulphates?

You might have noticed there are two ways to spell sulphate (sulfate), but it’s one in the same. Sulphates, no matter how you spell it, are cleaning agents. You can find them in other cleaning products, like hand soaps and body wash. But if you’re ever asked ‘What are sulphates?’ you can answer with complete confidence, they’re surfactants – foaming and cleaning agents; the wonderful little ingredient that leads to that luscious lather when you shampoo your hair.

Most commonly there are two types of sulphates used in haircare products, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES). But their purpose is the same - lather and clean (bubble and squeak!).

What is sulphate-free shampoo

Sulphates are the key ingredient to getting your shampoo to lather and clean oils and impurities from hair. So, what is a sulphate-free shampoo and does it clean as effectively?

Sulphate-free shampoo uses different surfactants to get the lather and clean. There are different types of surfactants that all work to make the product, or in this case shampoo, easier to spread across hair.

Why use sulphate-free shampoo

While SLS and SLES have excellent, A-mazing, top-notch safety records, there are a couple of reasons you might opt for a sulphate-free shampoo.

Exposure to sulphates in high concentrations or for a prolonged period can irritate the skin, particularly if your skin’s on the sensitive side. So, if you find your skin irritates easily, you might want to try a SLS shampoo that gives you a gentle cleanse without compromising on effectiveness. Aussie’s SOS Collection’s just the one you’re after! It’s SLS free, from the SOS Kiss of Life Shampoo and Conditioner to the instant repair treatment shots.

Another lookout when using shampoos containing sulphates is dry hair. Sulphates are so effective at cleaning, completely removing oils and impurities from hair, which can leave strands feeling dry and brittle. If you don’t follow up with an intense conditioner or deep treatment, it can make those precious tresses more susceptible to damage. So, if you’re using a shampoo with sulphates, just make sure a deeply nourishing conditioner is also part of your haircare routine.

Sulphate-free shampoo benefits

If your skin’s sensitive or your tresses are naturally on the dry side (here’s looking at you, curly heads), you might benefit from switching your sulphate shampoo for sulphate-free.

Sulphate-free shampoos use alternative cleansers that can leave hair feeling softer and more conditioned without need for a conditioning treatment. This is good news for the curly haired amongst us who struggle to get moisture in strands.

These alternative cleansers can also be a little gentler so as not to irritate the skin.