The Grooming Manual

Back Next article

What Are Sulfates? Should You Avoid Them?

What Are Sulfates? Should You Avoid Them? 

You probably don’t think too much about each and every ingredient in your shampoo. But if you love a rich, thick lather, then you’re most likely using sulfates in shampoo products. So, what are sulfates anyway?

Though sulfates have become ubiquitous in grooming products, there’s recently been some bad press about them. Should you use a shampoo for men with sulfates? Or is a sulfate-free shampoo for men your best bet? Why or why not?


What Are Sulfates Used for?

Sulfates are harsh detergents. They’re made from mineral salts that contain sulfur - thus the name. They revolutionized the hair care industry in the early to mid-20th century. Since then, they’ve become an extremely common product in soaps and shampoos in particular - specifically sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate in shampoo.


How It Works

Sulfates are surfactants. They attract water and oil. So when you wash your hair with a shampoo that contains sulfates, it traps both water and oil, then washes them out of your hair and down the drain. Sulfates also reduce the surface tension of water so it can spread easily.

With the question, 'what are sulfates?' out of the way, we can now address the controversy behind them. While effective in serving their core purpose, sulfates sometimes do more harm than good. When used too much, they may strip away the hair's natural moisture, leaving it dry and unhealthy.


Are Sulfates Bad for You?

What is sulfate to your health? Well, not entirely good. Sulfates have the potential to over cleanse the areas they're applied to and remove more substance than necessary. Without an ability to tell the body's good natural byproducts apart from those you want to get rid of, this ingredient can shortchange your skin of the oil and protein it needs to look and feel its best. That disadvantage outweighs the benefits for many people when choosing skin care products.


Sulfates and Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated, sulfates in body wash products may be a concern for you. That’s because they can irritate the skin and eyes of many people. The longer the product is on your skin, the worse the effect will be.


Sulfate-free Products for Sensitive Skin

So, is sodium laureth sulfate bad for skin? It's not banned, but it's certainly not something you want to apply to sensitive skin regularly. Brickell's line of alternative products are formulated without this harsh ingredient.


Renewing Face Scrub

What are sulfates? Our Renewing Face Scrub wouldn't know. It's free of it and everything else you want to avoid.


Anti-Aging Cream

If you're looking to turn back time, we've got the perfect anti-aging cream for the job.


Invigorating Body Wash

Brickell's Invigorating Body Wash is just that - invigorating.


Sulfates and Hair

You might be wondering - why are sulfates bad for hair?

What are sulfates in shampoo, if not surfactants that overdo cleaning your hair? Sure, they get rid of dirt and oil. But they wind up stripping all oils from your hair - even the natural ones that help give you a healthy shine and a thicker look. That leaves your hair looking rough, dry, and dull. They may also irritate your scalp if you have sensitive skin.


The Best Sulfate Free Shampoos

So, you know that sulfate is bad for your hair. Why use it any longer? There are tons of alternative products on the market today that offer the same scrubbing benefits minus all the drawbacks. Brickell is proud to produce the best sulfate free shampoo formulas for hair types of all kinds. Take a look at two of our most popular below.


Strengthening Shampoo

Our Strengthening Shampoo for men is a game-changer for hair volume. People love its natural stimulating effect on the scalp and consistently rate it five stars!


Relieving Dandruff Shampoo

Brickell's Relieving Dandruff Shampoo is well-suited to those who struggle with dandruff and other scalp conditions. It's formulated to calm symptoms issues while providing a deep cleanse through and through.


Sulfates and Skin Conditions

Sulfates can also be a problem for men who easily get blemishes and acne breakouts frequently. Some sulfates are more likely to cause blemishes and breakouts because of how they foam up and clog pores.


Try a Revitalizing Routine

Still putting up with sulfates in face wash? No face wash with sulfate will do your skin long-term good - try an alternative like our renowned natural Face Care Routine.


Sulfates and Cancer

The American Cancer Society has made an effort to debunk the idea that sulfates cause cancer as far back as the 1990s. It isn't listed as a carcinogen and is considered safe for use in products for brief use on the skin.

There is still some concern about the chemical 1,4 dioxane which is classified as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by the Environmental Protection Agency. This chemical is not required by law to be listed on ingredient labels. It can contaminate sodium laureth sulfate during the ethoxylation process of manufacturing.


More Reasons to Choose Sulfate Free Products

Knowing what sulfates do to hair is one thing. Understanding how a sulfate-free product can make your life better is another. Here are some hard-to-argue-against reasons to make the switch:


Better Hair Moisture Retention

A sulfate free cleanser will be your skin and hair's best friend in so many ways, particularly when it comes to moisture. Gentle products aren't nearly as abrasive and won't strip away the natural oils that protect your scalp. Keep those locks healthy and shiny around the clock!


For Better, Sulfate-free Moisture Retention

If you're on the hunt for sodium laureth sulfate free products that moisturize, why not try our Sea Salt Spray? It uses the power of sea salt and natural oils to add texture and volume without leaving a greasy residue.


Less Irritation on Your Skin

The sulfates in body wash are known to cause unwelcome reactions on the skin, including irritation. When used long enough, this may lead to chronic redness, dryness, itching, and even bacteria buildup. No one wants to deal with that - and sulfate-free products ensure you don't have to.


Sulfate-free Products For Skin and Face

If you have sensitive skin, are concerned about potential health risks, or just want a gentle, natural solution to skin care, try a sulfate free cleanser for men. You’ll get the best results from a cleanser that uses natural ingredients.

As a master in sulfate free skin care, Brickell has a host of products that are as good for your skin and face as they are effective:


Clarifying Gel Face Wash

Clarifying Gel Face Wash is a sulfate free cleanser that washes away dirt, bacteria and impurities while maintaining your skin's natural pH balance.


Purifying Charcoal Face Wash

Our Purifying Charcoal Face Wash contains natural charcoal to eliminate toxins.


Exfoliating Body Wash

We created this Exfoliating Body Wash to give you all the benefits of a deep clean without any of the chemical-induced skin irritation.


Improves Hair Health Naturally

It should be no secret at this point that sulfate shampoo is bad for hair health. Alternative products, on the other hand, don't strip your hair of its natural oils or cause damage. When used regularly, sulfate-free shampoos have the potential to improve your hair over time - making it stronger, smoother, and less prone to breakage.


Start a Sulfate-free Hair Care Routine

Believe it or not, great hair care can be attained without sodium sulfate in shampoo. These two treatments make it easy:


Revitalizing Hair Care Routine

The Revitalizing Hair Care Routine is designed to strengthen and nourish hair, and is worth trying if you're looking to incorporate natural and sulfate-free products into your care routine.


Relieving Hair Care Routine

Dealing with flakes and dandruff? It happens to the best of us. Our Relieving Hair Care Routine can soothe and moisturize for a flake-free finish.


Supports Healthy Scalp

Sodium lauryl sulfate is bad for hair in lots of ways, but the scalp knows its ills best. Harsh compounds irritate and dry out the scalp, leading to issues like dandruff and flaking. If you switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, your scalp will thank you for it! Not only does the gentler formula keep the scalp healthy and hydrated, but it also helps maintain its natural pH balance. This is important for keeping your scalp healthy and preventing problems like dryness, irritation, and infection.


Sulfate-Free Hair Conditioner

We've already shown you a sodium laureth sulfate free shampoo - now it's time for the other side of the coin. Try our Revitalizing Hair & Scalp Conditioner to get the best sulfate free shampoo and conditioning job of your life.


Fewer Chemicals, Better in the Long Run

Sodium sulfate in shampoo, like all synthetics, has the capacity to do harm. This goes for both your scalp and the environment. By making the switch to sulfate-free shampoo, you can keep potentially harmful chemicals out of your care routine and out of the environment. Look good and feel good at the same time!


Try Using Products with More Natural Ingredients

You won’t get the same big, foamy suds with a sodium lauryl sulfate free shampoo as you would with a traditional product. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t working. Gentle cleansers work just as well, albeit without the large amount of foam. Look for nourishing ingredients like the ones in our All in One Wash here.


Take Better Care of Your Hair and Skin

Sulfates are also common in many skincare products. If you want to eliminate them from your skincare regimen, look for sulfate free skincare products for men and sulfate free shampoo for men. This is especially important for guys with sensitive skin or dry skin.

Researching the best sulfate free shampoo and caring for your health can be time consuming and at times frustrating. But don’t give up. Learning about what you’re using on your hair and skin is important. Make smart choices now about your grooming products to keep looking and feeling great for as long as possible.

Looking for an easy way to get started with sulfate free skin care? Brickell's All In One Routine is the perfect option. Shop today and experience the benefits for yourself!

Back Next article