Many of us know the addictive nature of shampoos, especially the ones that have nasty chemicals inside in order to give us a better cleanse. I know many people who are literally addicted to washing hair at least once every day because otherwise their hair becomes greasy very quickly. In order for it to look presentable, people become prisoners of their shampoos. Shampoos offer a very quick fix to dirty hair, giving people squeaky clean results in a matter of minutes.
In my experience, frequent washing with regular shampoos is not a very healthy way to treat hair, it has side effects. In reality what the hair does by coating itself in its own natural oils is it tries to protect itself this way. We however are constantly trying to remove these oils at all costs. Have you ever noticed that the more chemically loaded your shampoo is, the faster your hair becomes greasy and oily? It is a direct dependency. So how do we break this vicious cycle? Well, the answer is – a more natural, milder shampoo.
The majority of modern shampoos contain SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) or its derivatives or similar chemical components (like SLES). SLS is a very strong cleansing and foaming agent, that is even used in car washing facilities. Its molecules bond to the molecules of oil and dirt and remove them efficiently. Though this may be good for a car, but our body definitely needs a more gentle approach. Otherwise common side effects include dryness, flakiness, dandruff, and the need for frequent washes, when such harsh cleansing agents strip the scalp and hair of their natural protection – body oil.
When searching for shampoos, one needs to read labels to avoid SLS at all costs. Not only is it damaging to the hair and scalp, it is also drying for the skin and the rest of the body. We need to try searching for shampoos with milder cleansing agents, such as coco-glucoside, which are commonly used in kids shampoos and natural hair care brands. These milder agents are more expensive, but I suppose they are worth the investment, since we are talking about our health here. Why would we economise on our own health?
The majority of the producers that add these powerful yet harsh cleansing agents such as SLS to their shampoos do so not only because they are effective in the short run for consumers in terms of cleansing, but also because shampoos with SLS are cheaper to produce. SLS are a lot cheaper in production than softer natural based cleansers.
Washing hair with products that are natural and SLS free will make your hair less greasy, since the hair would not have to protect itself, because it is not stripped of its own oils in such an aggressive way. Besides, the smell of natural SLS free shampoos can be far more pleasant than the artificial ones with SLS.
Natural SLS free shampoos have one thing in common – they do not lather as well as the nasty chemical ones. This is how you can tell the difference and if you are using the real thing. Therefore you will need to use a little more to get the same level of hair cleanliness.
More external tips of promoting healthy looking hair are on their way in the following articles of the Hair Health series.