Both ammonium lauryl sulphate and sodium lauryl sulphate are used in shampoos to create foam and help the shampoo clean your hair more effectively. Sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS is classified as a toxin and a dangerous waste by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the state of Connecticut recommends avoiding shampoos containing this substance as they may cause skin irritation. Finding a shampoo free of lauryl sulphate is not always easy, as many shampoos found in chemists or beauty supply stores contain this ingredient. Fortunately, some companies offer sulphate-free products to consumers concerned about using sulphates on their hair.
The Bed Head brand from TIGI Haircare offers consumers two sulphate-free shampoos; Superstar and Foxy Curls. Bed Head claims that Superstar is safe for colour treated hair and will help prevent fading as well as providing extra volume for your hair. Foxy Curls is recommended for those with curly hair to help prevent frizz and define curls.
Aubrey Organics produces four organic shampoos free of all sulphates, including lauryl sulphate. These products are Blue Camomile Hydrating Shampoo, Camomile Luxurious Volumising Shampoo, Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo and Honeysuckle Rose Moisturising Shampoo. The honeysuckle shampoo is formulated for dry hair while the green tea shampoo is intended for use on oily hair. The chamomile shampoos are recommended for normal hair with the luxurious volumising variety providing extra volume to fine hair.
Pureology manufactures five different shampoos free of lauryl sulphate and all other sulphates. These shampoos are Hydrate, PureVolume, SuperSmooth, Essential Repair and NanoWorks. As the names imply, Hydrate moisturises dry hair, PureVolume gives fine or thin hair a boost, Supersmooth helps control fly-aways and both Essential Repair and NanoWorks are recommended for damaged hair. Pureology claims that all of its shampoos are safe for colour treated hair.
The Body Shop
Most of The Body Shop's shampoos do contain lauryl sulphate but the company offers one shampoo free of this ingredient. Their Rainforest Shine Shampoo is also free of silicones, parabens and dyes. Rainforest Shine is recommended for dry and damaged hair because the shampoo contains two different oils to moisturise hair and smooth fly-aways.
Alba Botanica shampoos do not contain lauryl sulphates, paraben preservatives or dyes. This product line has nine different shampoos to choose from including a clarifying shampoo, daily shampoo and a gentle shampoo. The other six Alba shampoos are referred to as hair wash and include Cocoa Butter Dry-Repair, Coconut Milk Extra-Rich, Gardenia Hydrating, Honeydew Nourishing, Mango Moisturising and Plumeria Replenishing.
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- Washington State Department of Ecology: Your Guide to Household Hazardous Waste Regulations (see page 6)
- Mount Holyoke College: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- The Official State of Connecticut Website: CT DCF Ethnic Hair and Skin Care Manual(see page 10)
- TIGI Haircare: Bed Head Superstar
- TIGI Haircare: Bed Head Foxy Curls