When I first began my natural hair journey for myself, I was always told about this one thing called “sulfates“. This word came up so much, I really got tired of hearing it, mainly when I would ask for advice on certain hair products to make managing my hair easier for me while it was still super short. Now, many may not know what a sulfate is exactly. I, myself, had no idea until I began to do some research on my own. When it came to picking products, I was so excited and I really wanted to pick the best ones for my hair, but I didn’t realize just how complicated things could get when shopping for simple shampoo and conditioner. Let us start by identifying what exactly a sulfate is.
Through my own research, and please be advised that I am in no way, shape or form a certified hair stylist, I just learn as I go mainly through trial and error. Also every technique or the information given from DeluxHair’s posts may not work for everyone. But back to our main topic, I found out early on, through research, that sulfates were just how much the shampoo you use lathers up at first. So what I would do, once I was told this, is not use the shampoos that produces the most soap suds when I cleaned my hair. Yes this was ignorant on my part because I was not taking the time out to really learn what it really was, I was just going off of word or mouth. But after a year or so of wasting a lot of money on special shampoos that barely cleaned my hair, I learned that sulfates are really foaming agents in your soaps. They basically dry your hair out and steal your natural moisture from your strands, according to Naturally Curly. Hench why we use conditioner right after shampooing to restore that moisture your shampoo has taken away. Once I learned and realized this, I stopped looking for those expensive shampoos that often say “sulfate free“.
- Those shampoos are never sulfate free….at all. Any shampoo that produces any type of foam or suds, definitely has sulfates in it. That is the only thing that can produce that sort of thing. For example, Creme of Nature’s Argon Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo produces suds like crazy even though it clearly says sulfate free on the front of the bottle.
- If you’re conditioning your hair like you’re supposed to right after shampooing, you should have no problems with the sulfates in your shampoo. I ran into more problems with my hair being dry and breaking when I focused on using strictly sulfate free shampoos compared to just your regular shampoo.
- Those “cleansers” that don’t produce suds just weren’t cleaning my hair at all. I would use them just like a regular shampoo and focus on cleaning my scalp, but as soon as I rinsed my hair and just simply ran my fingernail along my scalp, there would be a dirt residue left. So for me they simply did not work, especially with me having 4A and 4C curl patterns, my hair is too thick for all of that.
To be honest, in the year of 2017, I don’t even go by those rules for specific hair products anymore. I personally feel like this was a big tactic for hair product supply companies to trick people, especially women of color, into purchasing more expensive stuff that doesn’t really work. During the big boom of women ditching their relaxers, these companies began to jump on the bandwagon as well. To me, none of these natural hair products are truly natural. Anything with ANY type of chemicals in them are not natural. The only things that can be truly considered a natural product is if you actually mix and make them yourself with natural foods. For example, I use a handmade avocado deep conditioner from time to time. There are no chemicals placed in it. Pure coconut oil is used from an actual coconut, along with pure water. I will have to do another blog post on that later on in the future to show you all what all I used and how and when I use it best. But the fact of the matter is, none of these products we buy in the stores are truly natural if you take the time out to read the labels placed on them. Their titles may say one thing, but if you look up a majority of the ingredients used, some of them aren’t even supposed to be used in your hair, let alone your skin. Some natural hair products may even list the exact same ingredients as the relaxed hair products, but you’ll notice the natural hair products are a much higher cost than the relaxed ones, if you’re really paying attention to what you’re purchasing.
Now I don’t want anyone to take this as me saying that you shouldn’t use those products. Again, I’m no stylist or cosmetologist, so everything I do may not work for you. Me personally, I do not go into stores and specifically look for sulfate free products anymore. I will sometimes use the same shampoo and conditioner as some with relaxed or permed hair would use. Most of the time there is no difference. Sometimes there is a difference as far as tangling, but as of right now I have not run into any problems by doing so. Lately I have been looking into making more of my conditioner to not only save money, but for better care of my hair all together. I have not figured out how to make my own shampoos yet, but I have dipped into making my own oils as well as conditioners.
I hope this helps those who have asked me about that big word sulfates lately. Please don’t be afraid of it and do your own research on what you want for your own hair. Everyone else may not have the answers for you and your hair.
I have also listed some great resources that I use for determining the best products for myself from time to time. These sites and ladies may be able to help you all as well, so please check them out and subscribe for daily content. You can also subscribe to DeluxHair (which you’re reading one post from us now lol) by scrolling down to the “Follow” button on the right hand side of the screen, or follow us on our brand new instagram page (@delux_hair).
I am curious to know which do you ladies or gentlemen prefer when washing your hair, store bought shampoos or DIY cleansers? Leave your comments and thoughts below. Thanks for reading everyone!