SLS-Free Adventure

About two months ago I was running low on my favorite Herbal Essences so I put it on my grocery list.  Low and behold, my trusty mega super mart did not have that particular flavor anymore!  So I decided to wait and see if I could find it at another mega super boutique.  No such luck.  Good thing I wasn't totally out yet :)

It didn't take too long before I needed to take a serious browse down the haircare aisle.

Don't you dislike being in the haircare aisle?  So may products to choose from and not a clue where to start.  Not to mention the fact that there are always people in that aisle.  There are people who know what they want and they really want you to get out of their way.  There are also people, like me that day, who clog up the whole aisle with there grocery cart while they read the back of every bottle of shampoo.

So there I was, reading labels, trying to remember what I've read on the internet about chemicals in cosmetics.  I knew I wanted to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).... not just because it gets picked on by everyone.  Over a lifetime of shopping for shampoo a person starts to realize what really works and what doesn't.  I prefer to wash my hair every other day.  Not every shampoo out there works for that.  I narrowed it down to shampoos that use ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) verses SLS.  The ones with SLS I would need to use everyday because my hair would be oily on the second day.  The ones with ALS at least got me through the second day with minimal greasies.  So there I was in the haircare aisle looking at the back of all of the shampoo bottles for ALS.

Now over the past couple years I've been reading quite a bit about chemicals in cosmetics.  In the course of this research I learned that in Europe they don't even allow SLS/ALS in their products.  There are reports that these harsh surfactants contribute to the formation of cancer cells.  There are other reports that refute this.  I don't know which is true and I'm not letting that contribute to my decisions.  What I do know is that SLS/ALS are very strong surfactants.  They are very, very good at their job.  Unfortunately for our skin and hair, they can do too good of a job and strip your body's natural oils and wash them down the drain along with the dirt and grimies.  (find more info about sulfates here)

My first experience with dropping the sulfates was when I switched to my homemade liquid soap.  I noticed that this past winter, when my hands and skin would normally be crying from the dryness, my skin was holding up quite well.  They dried out the most when I was at work... using the bubbly, sulfate-filled soaps.  I have also been using the homemade liquid soap on my face and body with the same results.  After using, I don't feel like I have to run to the bottle of lotion before my face cracks!

So, back to the haircare aisle... While reading the bottles, I found a line called Organix that said it was sulfate free.  The thought occurred to me that maybe this is the way I should go since the switching my soap was going so well.  The shampoo was a bit more expensive than what I would normally pay for shampoo, but I thought it was still worth the try.  I chose the Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo because I have straight-ish hair and it's best to just go with what you have. (I thought it smelled good, too.)  

The first thing I noticed... and I think everyone notices... is that there just aren't that many bubbles (this is true of my liquid soap, too).  I figured this would be the case since the sulfates really make things bubbly.  I took the amount I would usually take to do my whole head and it just did the front part of my scalp.  I had to squirt some more to get the back of my head down to my ends.  Without all the bubbles, it's harder to tell if you gotten all the hair.  I have noticed that since that first time I don't need two squirts of shampoo to accomplish the job... I wonder if it just had a lot of junk to clean off my head!  I used my usual conditioner.  Note: The smell of this shampoo does not linger in my hair.  

After drying, the first thing I noticed was how soft and fluffy my hair was.  It was not super straight like I thought it would be given the name of the shampoo.  This disappointed me a bit.  I also noticed fly away hairs.  You know the ones that give the halo effect?  This annoyed me a bit.  I squirted some hairspray on to smoosh them down and went on with my day.

A wonderful change since using the sulfate free shampoo has been that my hair doesn't get oily fast.  I could go three days between washing if I wanted to!

With the flyaways still annoying me, I ventured to try another product by Organix to try to smooth them out.  The Rejuvenating Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shine Spray sadly did not do the trick.  I found it drying and strong smelling.  I think it could double as perfume.  That's a little bit of money I won't get back.

Despite the flyaways I have kept using the shampoo.  Since switching, I have noticed less hairs going down the drain and/or into the trash and/or all over the bathroom floor.  (LOVE this!)  I have also noticed the halo flyaways are getting longer too... as is the rest of my hair.  I wish I had thought to measure it before I switched shampoos so I could give you some numbers.  My hair grows quite slowly, so this is a super bonus!

So I now have these thoughts about the fly away hairs.... I believe that all of those hairs were damaged and broken from using the harsh sulfate shampoo.  The same shampoo that has dimethicone in it to smooth all of the hairs giving me a sleek, shiny hair-do.  All this time I thought my hair was healthy and I see now that it is damaged.  I am hoping that by sticking with the sulfate free shampoos that my damaged hair will soon be replaced by the new healthy hairs growing.  In the meantime, I'll be trying different things until I get those hairs to lay down.

Just last week, when I was back in the haircare aisle... I found another line of sulfate free shampoos called RenPure Organics.  Attached to the bottle was a rebate card refunding the full purchase price.  Naturally, I couldn't resist and decided to give it a try... it was only going to cost me a stamp, anyway.  I picked up i love my hair / Body & Shine Shampoo - I thought maybe this would be better at taming the flyaways.  I have used this three times.  I love the smell.  The scent stays with my hair, unlike the other one.  It seems to bubble a little more.  Sadly, the flyaways are still there... yet still getting longer... eventually, they'll just lay down.

Note:  I did not get these products to review them, nor am I being compensated by anyone to write my opinion.

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