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Transition shampooing classique à shampooing sans sulfates.

Sulfate-free Shampoo: The Secrets to a Successful Transition.

Typically used for their unparalleled cleansing properties, sulfates are increasingly under scrutiny. Some people choose to switch from a conventional hair care routine to a sulfate-free surfactant hair care routine. However, this transition is not just about changing products. So how do you manage this hair transition? Let's explore this together in this article.

Summary
Published February 22, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

Sulfate-Free Shampoo: What is it?

The sulfate-free shampoos are increasingly popular hair care products due to their numerous benefits for hair health. Fundamentally, a shampoo is made up of four essential ingredients:

  • Surfactants, that is to say, cleansing agents;

  • Emulsifiers to assist the oil phase in blending with the water phase;

  • A preservative to maintain the integrity of the skincare product and prevent microbial contamination;

  • Of water.

Sulfates: What are they?

Sulfated surfactants, commonly known as "sulfates", are found in the composition of many shampoos. You will find them under the names of Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, etc.

These are synthetic washing molecules that position themselves at the interface between oil and water. Their role is to create foam and wash the hair by emulsifying the oils (sebum and lipophilic dirt) with the shower water.

However, their degreasing action can be considered too intense, making them overly stripping and irritating for the scalp. Indeed, a study has shown that sulfates in contact with the skin induce changes, particularly in the stratum corneum, by altering the lipid and protein composition. Thus, sulfates tend to weaken the hair fiber. This can lead to dry, dull, and weakened hair. For these reasons, sulfates are strongly discouraged for dry and sensitive scalps. Moreover, this type of surfactant is not biodegradable and therefore harmful to the environment. If you plan to use shampoos containing sulfates, be sure to use a conditioner to restore the hair's lipid balance and counteract the stripping effect of the sulfates.

Why choose a sulfate-free shampoo ?

Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler on the hair and scalp. They reduce the risk of scalp irritation and are generally better suited for individuals with sensitive scalps. They are also suitable for all hair types, including dry, normal, fine, and colored hair.

In "natural" shampoos, sulfates are replaced with sugar-based surfactants, which include the word "glucoside", or amino acid-based ones, which contain the word "glutamate". For instance, our shampoos are formulated without sulfates and use lauryl glucoside, a gentle non-ionic surfactant of plant origin. It is formed from palm oil or coconut oil and sugar. We also use coco-betaine, a natural amphoteric surfactant derived from coconut.

What happens when we switch to a shampoo devoid of sulfates?

  • Before the use of sulfate-free shampoo.

    Accustomed to being "assaulted" by sulfated surfactants, the scalp overproduces sebum as a form of protection. With each shampooing, sulfates strip the scalp of its natural oils by degreasing it.

  • Beginning of the use of a sulfate-free shampoo - the transition phase.

    The scalp, when imbalanced, will continue to produce excess sebum. However, the surfactants in a sulfate-free shampoo, being gentler, will not be sufficiently lipid-removing. During this phase, your hair will tend to become oily more easily.

  • After 2 to 4 weeks of using a sulfate-free shampoo.
    The scalp, being less stressed, gradually regulated its sebum production. Healthier, a gentle shampoo is then sufficient to clean it. The hair is in better health.

Note : Sulfate-free shampoos foam less than conventional shampoos. However, this does not make them any less effective.

Sources

  • BERGFELD W. F. The side effects of hair products on the scalp and hair. Hair Research. (1981).

  • CLINE A. & al. No sulfates, no parabens, and the “no-poo” method: A new patient perspective on common shampoo ingredients. Cutis (2018).

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