Shampoo. This one word has caused so much controversy within the natural haircare community. Sulfates? Silicones? Soap? Suds? What does all/ of this have to do with shampooing and achieving a clean scalp and sleek hair?
First, we'll talk about sulfates. What are sulfates? More precisely, what is sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate? It is a detergent. This ingredient is found in shampoos, soaps, bubble bath and even washing detergent. It is used to cleanse and also for it's foaming capabilities (more bubbles or suds).
For many this ingredient is very irritating to the scalp and can cause dry scalp and dandruff.
How true that is depends on the person...
Is it ever okay to use a shampoo containing sulfates? Yes. Sulfates aren't all bad. The cause of irritation for many is due to the fact that sulfates tend to strip the hair and skin of it's natural oils. When this soap cleans, it cleans a bit too well (or harsh).
There are actually times when a sulfate shampoo may be needed and that is when you use products that contain silicones or 'cones. Example dimethicone. For more info on silicones look here: Beauty Brains Forum.
Some people report that they aren't able to rinse silicones out of their hair properly without sulfates, this is where SLS shampoos come in handy. Since they strip the hair, it is thought they also strip off the silicones.
This is also known as clarifying. Clarifying is simply, stripping the hair of any buildup and residue.
Is it necessary? For some yes and for others no. I personally don't strip my hair because I don't use products that cause buildup. All the products I use can be washed off of my hair with natural soaps like black soap and all natural shampoos. So this depends on what type of products you use on your hair.
And what products are those? Products that cause buildup.
What's buildup? When you use products that contain ingredients that aren't water soluble, they coat your hair. Depending on how thick they coat your hair, determines how much moisture they let penetrate the hair shaft. Silicones are thought to cause buildup (this information is debatable) and so is mineral oil, petroleum, and some fixed oils. This means that every product you put on top of these barrier ingredients, will just sit on your hair shaft and scalp. Ever touch your hair and feel a residue? This is build up... Hair ever look greasy and dirty? Buildup again.
Now, is there a rainbow at the end of all of this? Is there some type of balance? Why yes, yes there is. If you find yourself needing to use products that contain silicones or other ingredients that seal off moisture and may cause buildup, use a sulfate shampoo. To remedy the dryness, you can do a deep condition. This will give your hair a extra boost of moisture.
Shampoo to strip the hair.
Condition as usual to put some moisture back into the hair.
and if your hair still feels dry
Deep condition (not a deep treatment with protein but, a deep condition for moisture). How often you can use a sulfate shampoo without irritation is up to the individual, some can use one every week and some can't do more than once a month.
I hope this helps clear up some shampoo sulfate silicone questions you may have had.
Just do your research. Don't go by what others say figure it out for yourself! That's true learning!
Thanks for reading.