Are you the kind of person to read the back of every product you buy? If you do, you may have noticed ingredients such as sulfate and parabens, or alternatively you may have even noticed the happy little “sulfate-and-paraben-free” badge. If you’re wondering what it all means and whether or not it’s something that you should care about or pay attention to, then you’ve come to the right place.
What are sulfates and parabens?
When sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical, it forms a salt known as a sulfate. The sulfates that are found in hair care products are SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). The purpose of using these chemicals in hair care products is to produce lather, which gives off the impression that the hair is getting cleaner aka creating bubble beards.
Alternatively, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds that are used as preservatives in hair care and other products. There are a number of parabens that can be found on the ingredients label of common hair care products, such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben.
So you might be thinking, okay… I don’t care about all this sciency stuff but trust me it’s important. Swear.
Well… are sulfates and parabens bad for you?
Even though a lot of other brands use these components to their hair care products, there are a number of concerns about both sulfates and parabens that make many people, including us, go sulfate and paraben-free.
There are concerns that go along with the usage of both SLS and SLES sulfates. Exposure to sulfates can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs (yuck). On top of that, the intensity of sulfates can actually cause too much oil to be washed out of the hair, leaving hair thirsty whilst also causing a red, itchy scalp. Even more serious, it is thought that SLES may be contaminated with 1.4-dioxane, which has caused cancer in lab animals.
Long-term exposure to parabens also poses concerns and risks. Parabens are known to disrupt the function of hormones, which increases the risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
While both sulfates and parabens can be useful in hair care, the potential risks far outweigh the benefits. There are a number of natural products out there that work wonders and don’t carry the baggage of health risks.
And that my friends, is why we’ve chosen to go paraben free!