Wednesday, January 27, 2010

say no to sulfates

Warning - this is going to be a lengthy and wordy post about hair and sulfates... mostly for my benefit (b/c I just feel like writing) but if you can gain from this, then that's great!

To preface, I have done
EXTENSIVE damage to my hair - coloring, perming, ironing, curling, bleaching, and sometimes I would do 2 of these processes within a couple months of each other (recommended is to wait at LEAST 3 months to do a 2nd process). So naturally, my hair became UBER damaged, and unmanageable. I had to put lots of conditioning products and slather on lots of conditioner, just to make it manageable. But then, because my hair was so damaged, it would retain lots of water after a shower and take forever to dry. So I would go to bed with damp hair, and I would wake up to this incredibly NASTY and NAPPY dry hair. Then just to look decent to step outside, I would have to iron it. I mean, my hair was so bad that if I tried to run my fingers through my hair, it would get caught midway down in massive tangles. All my ends were split, and I could sit for hours breaking off pieces (DON'T EVER DO THIS).

Then a month or two ago, I saw an infomercial for this shampoo-less system.. I can't remember the name. And I was intrigued. They said because of harsh shampoo, we end up having to use conditioner, leave-in serums, and then volumizer. Sounds pretty silly huh? (But the shampoo companies don't want you to think that!) Like I usually do with new products, I do a lot of googling and search for reviews online. While this product seemed to work, it was ridiculous that you had to use 15-16 pumps of it each time you showered, and it was like $30 a bottle!! Uhm - NO thanks!

In my web searching, I came across something called
CO washing - which is washing your hair with conditioner only. Apparently, conditioners also contain some cleansing agents, so it's ok to skip the shampoo. Well, I decided to give it a try, and that lasted about 4 days. I inherited a REALLY oily scalp from my mom. If I skip a day of shampoo, the oil will get on my back (sorry so gross) and it's just really icky and uncomfortable.

SOOO, back to the drawing board. Did more google searching, and Hallelujah! I came across a blog called Killer Strands ( This woman is a hair stylist in SoCal I think (Malibu?), and she has done EXTENSIVE research on the ingredients in hair products. To make long story short, she started noticing that her young (22-24y/o) clients had thinning hair, and she attributed it to product. Her research became so intense to the point that she was buying each of the individual ingredients. When she opened a bottle of Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS), her eyes burned! Here is the entry that opened my eyes:, and this one is good read too:

When you read her blog, you get the sense that this woman knows her stuff. She's not just regurgitating facts she read somewhere, she has done ALL the hands on research! Her recommendations for SLS free products were too expensive for me, and other readers must've complained, because she started looking into drugstore SLS free stuff, and Organix won her approval. In defense of the cost, she does say that you use less product, and it's just the cost of using good quality products (we spend $100 for a small jar of face cream - why not be just as good to your hair?).

I looked up Organix reviews on makeupalley, and they were ok.. about the same as Pantene or anyone else. But, what did I have to lose? So I bought it in Tea Tree Mint (hydrating) and Coconut Milk (nourishing, and OMG it smells SOOOO FRIGGING GOOD!!!), for $7/bottle. Before using, it's a good idea to read some of KillerStrands other posts, like the proper way to shampoo your hair and stuff. For example - don't gather all your hair on top of your head and lather away. For people like me with damaged hair, it'll just cause a huge mess of tangles. Instead, keep your hair down the entire time, and kinda run your fingers through your scalp, massaging and working the shampoo into your scalp.

So, why do all these companies use sulfates? It's cheap cheap cheap! And through massive marketing, they've got us all believing that thick foamy lather = clean (think of Herbal Essence commercials), and that bubbly lather you get is from the sulfates! Hmmm makes one wonder doesn't it? And besides, if they can get you to use their damaging shampoo, then they can also sell you their conditioner, and leave-in conditioner, and serum, and hair masks, and deep conditioner, etc. etc., all to repair the damage the shampoo has done. Vicious cycle.

So what's my hair like now after using Organix? It's soft as silk! I can't stop touching it, and running my hands through it. No more tangles, only 1-2 split ends (which is bound to happen with length anyways), and the weird kinky waves I used to get are gone! So I no longer need my flat iron (which I paid like $250 for! grrr) No serums, sprays, volumizer (I get great volume at my roots now), nothing! I don't need to do a hot oil treatment, or any kind of treatment.

I know that Pantene and Herbal Essense and Tsubaki (YES it does contain SLS) work perfectly fine for a lot of people. But this is just my experience of what worked on my extremely damaged beyond repair hair.

Some tips that you may or may not know:
*saturate hair with water for at least 2 minutes before shampooing
*turn your head upside down while shampooing + rinsing if possible... the bloodflow to your scalp will do wonders
*DON'T go to sleep with wet hair
*only shampoo at the roots - when you rinse the residual will run down the length
*rinse, rinse, and then when you think it's all rinsed out - rinse some more! Don't leave ANY product in your hair!
*finish with a cold water rinse for as long as you can stand

Many products contain SLS - check the labels of your eye makeup remover, soap, and toothpaste. Once you start learning about SLS, you'll be horrified that you ever let it get near your precious face.

forgot to add this tidbit earlier -
In the cleaning industry SLS is used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and readily attacks greasy surfaces. THAT is why it leaves your head feeling squeaky clean, LOL.


  1. Thanks for this post! Wow, right now I'm reading the killer strands blog. Very useful information. & to be honest, I never knew any of this! & well, now I'm aware. :X Loll, & your right, why spend sooo much money on a brand product? They just want that moneyyy. my gosh, I definitely want to try organix now! Are they selling it in drugstores? Or, where can i get it? (: -_-


  2. wow a wonderful post thanks for all of the info
    never really thought much about what I'm putting in my hair.
    I really also want to try this organix ...
    sounds good
    I never knew that herbal essence and pantene used sulfates... but it makes sense ... I have read many many many article about P&G using cheap stuff in their product.
    I didn't know herbal essence did
    Oh well
    thanks for the post

  3. I have the Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum. I don't use it on a daily basis, but I put it on my ends when I'm off work and don't feel like drying my hair, or after getting out of the ocean while I'm laying out. It smells sooooo good!

    I'm glad someone else is concerned for what ingredients go into our beauty products!

  4. @Kaitie-is there a Walgreens or Bed Bath & Beyond? I buy at BB&B b/c I have a ton of $5 coupons hehe.. or you can buy online at Amazon.

    @Lady Bubble - OMG I would say 99% of shampoos have SLS!!! Not just Herbal Essence, but I've seen salon quality shampoos selling for $35 that contain SLS. My advice - type in "SLS" into a google search, and there will be thousands of articles on it.

    @Ashley - yes the smell is amazing and ADDICTING!! I can't stop smelling my hair hahaha.

    I will try to find a list already compiled of what contains SLS and post it up.

  5. wow so informative (:

  6. This info is sooooo important! Thank you for posting this and I do hope that alot of people read this post.

    Before I understood about sulfates my hair was difficult - Now that I have changed things, my hair actually feels like .... hair.

  7. Hey Sophia, great post! I didn't know about this SLS thing, and I already started googling to find out that all my shampoos have it.

    Thank you also for the little tips; even if we knew them, it comes in handy as well :)

    Btw, excuse me for my English, I'm a non-native speaker...
    Well, I just wanted to say that, this info is very useful!

    Take care, xoxo~ ♥


I ♥♥♥ reading your comments!