You’ve had a long day at work, you missed your bus or you spent thirty minutes too many stuck in traffic… All you want to do is get home, jump in a relaxing hot shower and wash your hair.
You walk into the bathroom, push play on Spotify’s ‘Totally Worn Out’ playlist, and before you know it soap suds are flying and you’re hitting the high notes on your favourite Taylor Swift song (yeah, we know you secretly have one!).
But, have you ever wondered what exactly makes up all that soap?
Today, sulphates are still far and away the number one ingredient used in hair care products. According to Google Trends, sulphate-free shampoo began to rise in 2010 and has been on a steady increase since. But, as with everything, there are pros and cons. When a product claims to be “sulphate-free,” it’s typically free of one of three compounds: Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), or Ammonium Laureth Sulphate (ALS).
Sulphates are surfactants, which are made up of a mixture of molecules that can attract both water and oil. This unique property allows soaps, shampoos, and body washes to separate dirt and oil from your skin or hair and then allow the water you rinse it with to carry it off your body and down the drain.
While there is no proven evidence that sulphates cause cancer, there are studies that prove sulphates can indeed be irritating, particularly on sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
So what can you expect from switching to a sulphate-free shampoo? A higher price tag, to start, as most supermarket store brands don’t yet produce products without sulphates.
L’Orèal Paris, however, is an exception.
The brand has just released their new Hair Expertise range – fronted by model, mother and businesswoman, Megan Gale [pictured below] – which includes EverStrong Strengthening & Repairing for damaged hair, UltraRich Nourishing & Taming for dry hair, PureColour Radiant Colour & Volume for coloured, fine/flat hair, PureColour Radiant Colour & Moisture for coloured, dry hair and SuperSleek Smoothing & Taming for frizzy hair – all for less than $15.95 a pop.
“I’ve always had a healthy approach to my lifestyle,” Gale told Gritty Pretty. “I eat well, I exercise regularly and I look after myself. But, since becoming a mum and especially when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, I was very mindful of anything I put on or near my body,” she says recounting a time whilst pregnant, she had started the engine of her car and kept running in and out of the house. She says she definitively stopped and thought to herself, “What are these fumes doing to my baby?”
Gale says, “When you’re pregnant, you’re in charge of growing a human so I did become quite pedantic about a few things and anything that might connect with my baby or breast milk,” she says. Adding, “Even now, if I know I’m going to be holding [River] a lot during the day, I won’t wear perfume because I don’t want it rubbing on his beautiful fresh, baby skin.”
But, when it comes to sulphate-free hair care, it’s not just pregnant women or mothers who should be considering what they put onto their scalp and strands.
As Gale so perfectly puts it: “If you can use a product that doesn’t contain nasties but still gives a great result, then why not?”
Tell us, do you use a sulphate-free shampoo?
What one do you recommend?