Fashion Bomb reader Morgan writes in asking, “I’ve heard that sulfate and paraben free shampoos and conditioners are better to use but a lot of the blogs and youtube videos say the hair feels dry after using them. Are they supposed to be good for relaxed/transitioning hair? Do you know of any good brands?”
Quick overview: sulfates (or sodium laurel) is an ingredient added to household items like shampoos and dish washing liquid that attracts dirt and oils and then breaks them down. It’s also what gives many cleansing products that sudsy effect. Parabens are chemicals found in many cosmetics that are used to preserve the products and prolong their shelf life.
For years sulfates and parabens were found in many personal care products. With the proliferation of women going natural, there has been an increase in consumer awareness and demand for more natural products. Some women with dry hair (whether relaxed, natural, or transitioning) find that sulfate-free shampoos or co-washing (cleansing the hair with conditioner as opposed to shampoo) are much less drying on the hair than cleansers that contain sulfates. Since I’ve been sans-relaxer, I’ve used both “regular” moisturizing shampoos and sulfate-free ones and to be honest don’t notice much of a difference on my hair when using one or the other. But that’s my experience.
In fact experience—personal experience—is the key word when dealing with haircare. There’s no monolithic hair experience. You’ll have to try products to see how your hair reacts to them and like the “Different Strokes” theme song said, what might be right for you may not be right for some. Hmmmmmm (sorry, I had an 80s flashback)
What works best for dry hair bottom line is moisture. While it won’t hurt to use a sulfate-free product (they can help retain some of the hair’s natural oils), many women with healthy hair have used products containing sulfates for years and have managed.
Are you ladies sulfate and paraben free? Share your experiences in the comments :)