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Why Your Hair Care Should Be Sulfate Free

Are Sulfates Bad For Hair?


Estimated Read Time: 3.5 minutes  


Summary: In this blog we detail and explore what sulfates are, and how they can impact your hair. We’ll discuss why sulfates appear in your hair care products, what to look for on the label and why sulfates need to be left behind for good. Read on to discover more about sulfates, what they are, how they negatively affects your hair and where to find sulfate-free products.


As we begin to wake up to the realities of cheap, synthetic beauty products thanks to social media and more conscious, curious, ethical beauty brands and journalists, we’re all starting to read those labels a little more closely.

As consumers, we’re more interested in (and actually buying) cruelty-free, organic and natural products, we’re more knowledgable of what the symbols included on the packaging mean and what the active ingredients are actually used for. Gone are the days where “any old creme will do!”

And, like many other chemicals that are usually found listed on the ingredients round-up, sulfates are becoming the big no-no for consumers in both skin and hair care. They’ve always been a no for us here at Cel, but now they’re properly making the beauty industry blacklist…

Sulfates are essentially synthetic ingredients that make the product foam up when it’s rubbed into hair or skin. This is actually helpful for fighting intense product build-up… If you’ve got a load of hair spray, dry shampoo, gel or mousse in your hair after a party or an event, a sulfate loaded shampoo might actually be helpful for shifting it and ultimately relieving for your scalp and clogged hair follicles.

However, when it comes to everyday use and if your hair’s feeling dry or your hair dye just isn’t lasting, it’s probably worth looking into sulfate-free hair care products….

What Are Sulfates? Are Sulfates Bad For Hair?

Sulfates attract both water and oil, making them surfactants. This makes them attractive to use in things like shampoo and shower gels as they take dirt and grime away from the body and hair: they are essentially detergents! And, as mentioned above, they’re also responsible for causing those products to foam when we stimulate them during use.

Because sulfates are so harsh, they can strip moisture from the scalp and hair strands, which may be the reason behind dry, frizzy locks that are crying out for a hair mask or requiring a lot more conditioner. Additionally, if you dye your hair, sulfates are such intensely stripping cleansers that they can also remove color pigment which results in hair dye fading.

Sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, and all additional hair care products, are 100% the way forward for everyday use and definitely essential for color treated locks.

I Want To Go Sulfate Free: How Can I Tell If A Product Is Sulfate Free?

Most sulfate-free shampoos will declare themselves as such loudly on their label, as it’s a popular consumer demand now. However, if you want to be sure, read the ingredient list and avoid those that state they use: Lauryl Sulfoacetate Sodium, Lauroyl Isethionate and Sodium Lauroyl Taurate.

The most common sulfate you’ll find on an ingredient list though will be Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).

Cel Pro Tip: If you use hair extensions or wigs, make sure you’re washing sulfate-free if they’re made up of human hair as this will help the strands maintain moisture level and condition. If they are synthetic hairs, you may want to opt for a shampoo and conditioner that does contain sulfates for a deeper clean: synthetic extensions and wigs can hold onto a lot of grime and begin to smell if not cleaned thoroughly.

We're Proud To Be Sulfate Free

Here at Cel, we don’t use sulfates or parabens and other hash chemicals in our products. We believe in sourcing naturally and then utilizing those scientifically-proven ingredients in our formulas. This also means our products are suitable for regular use! Try our hair care range today.

Related Reads

Telling The Difference Between Natural & Organic

5 Top Tricks To Help Keep Your Hair Color From Fading

Ingredients To Watch Out For In Your Hair Care Products


Glamour Magazine UK



Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.