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Style > Beauty

Natural Beauty Regime: The Truth About Sulfates

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

It’s 2020, and to no surprise, we are just as obsessed with our beauty products as we were in in 2019. To me, the products I use on my skin and in my hair are so important. I just feel better when I use clean products; it changes my whole persona. 

One thing I always look for in the products I use is if they are sulfate-free

Sulfate is a broad term for a type of salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with other chemicals. The most common sulfates used in cleaning and beauty products are sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Sulfates are basically what make your soaps sudsy when you use them.

Image Source: Pexels

Sulfates were key ingredients in products for years because they attract both water and oil. This is what makes them great for cleaning. Shampoos would always have sulfates in them because they allowed the dirt to be removed and washed out. 

Then what’s so bad about sulfates?

These chemicals are prone to irritating skin, lungs, and eyes. The more you use soaps with sulfates in them, the more likely that you may deal with these irritations

Sulfates also are known to make hair dry and brittle, especially for people with naturally dry or color-treated hair. This is one of the main reasons I avoid having sulfates in my hair products. My hair tends to be more dry feeling because it is so thick, and sulfate shampoos and conditioners would take all the moisture out of my hair when I used them. 

Image Source: Pexels

Another reason sulfates aren’t great is because they aren’t necessarily good for the environment. Many sulfates are derived from palm oil, and the production of this oil is controversial because it destroys rainforests to put up palm plantations. So, if you are super environmentally conscious, you may want to consider going sulfate-free. 

If you do decide to make the switch, it is very easy now to find countless products that have stopped using sulfates. And these products will most likely also have a cleaner ingredient list overall. The biggest difference you will notice between products with and without sulfates is that sulfate-free products won’t get as sudsy when you use them. 

Having sulfates in your shampoo won’t kill you, but you may want to try out sulfate-free products. You may see a change in the way your hair reacts to no longer using harsh chemicals!

Courtney is a senior at the University of California Davis where she is earning her degree in Communication, with minor in English. Courtney is a member of Alpha Delta Pi and is from Santa Barbara, CA. She is an avid reader, Netflix and Hulu watcher, beauty enthusiast, and is a big foodie!
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