Hey! Shampoo… You and me are THROUGH!

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 20 - 2010

I thought up that title while I was in the shower the other morning. D’ya like it?  I’ve always been a bit ‘speshul’.

On a more serious note…. I’ve HAD IT, I’m fed up.  My scalp has been getting steadily worse since the beginning of the year and it’s recently reached the point where I can’t wear black tops anymore.  Nice.

*scratch*

You’ll be pleased to hear I’m not incorporating photographic evidence this time round.

The simple fact is that I don’t know what’s causing it, but having done a little research and listened to some of your fab advice… I’m gonna go SLS free.

I’m not gonna go all OMGSLSWILLGIVEYOUCANCERDONTCHAKNOW? on you – SLS is fine for many, many people.  But it is a known irritant, and I’m gonna simply try elminating it from my hair products to see if it makes a difference for me.

[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”WHAT IS SLS?” collapsed=”false” ccolor=”ffffff” bcolor=”ffffff” bgcolor=”e6e6fa” cbgcolor=”b0c4de”]

SLS stands for Sodium Laureth Sulphate/Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, an effective detergent and foaming agent.  It dissolves grime and grease easily and is cheap to product in mass quantities.

Sounds great!  So, what’s the problem?

Well… as it is such an effective detergent… it can be quite harsh and drying on sensitive skins.  I’ve never had a problem using SLS in my body washes, but I’m starting to wonder if my scalp is having sensitivity issues with it.

I’m not an expert… infact… I’m learning as I go along here, so please feel free to add your own knowledge into the comments.

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One of the lovely thing about SLS (yes, there are lovely things) that I’m sure to miss, is it’s exceptional ability to create lovely, lathery bubbles.  I like a product to foam… it makes me feel like it’s really working.  I know that over the years I’ve been conditioned to think that… but I can’t help it!

Also, forgetting the scalp issues for a minute and concentrating just on my hair.  It’s quite fine… I may find that my hair needs the extra clarifying that SLS shampoos offer to stop it looking lank after a while.  I think I’m going to have to try different combinations to find a solution that pleases both my scalp and my hair.

It’s also quite dry from frequent colouring… I wonder what effects going SLS free will have on the dryness?

Confused much?  I am…

*scratch scratch*

[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SULPHATES?” collapsed=”false” ccolor=”ffffff” bcolor=”ffffff” bgcolor=”e6e6fa” cbgcolor=”b0c4de”]

Commonly used alternatives to SLS include ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate), generally considered to cause less irritation and therefore used by companies such as Neal’s Yard and Sodium Coco-Sulfate which is used by Green People as their detergent of choice.  From what I understand, these surfactants may all still cause irritation in the same way as SLS does…  The difference is that the irritating ‘qualities’ are diluted by comparison.

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There are so many great haircare products on the market nowadays that offer an alternative to SLS and I’m gonna go investigating!  I always assumed that I’d have to part with a small fortune to enjoy an alternative, but brands like the The Body Shop and Naked are already proving otherwise with their high street offerings.  Though, if you do like a bit of luxe in your haircare, then there are some beautifully presented high-end alternatives aswell!

Has anyone else gone SLS-Free?  I feel like it’s such a minefield of misinformation and contradictory opinions!

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, I could do with the company!


46 Responses to “Hey! Shampoo… You and me are THROUGH!”

  1. Jade says:

    I’m using Akin and love it :) been a fan for a long time :D

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  2. Gemma says:

    I’ve gone completely SLS, silicone and even shampoo free – and I’ll never go back. I did it to control my curls, and they’re at their absolute best now I’ve stopped shampooing them.

    If you’ve going down the lo-poo route, avoid anything with heavy silicones in, as non-SLS shampoos will struggle to lift them from your hair completely. Original Source conditioners are excellent, moisturising but light and silicone free so won’t weigh your hair down. Good luck! Hope your scalp feels better soon :)

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  3. I went SLS and -cone free for a few months last year and it was a terrible mistake for my hair. I also suffer from terrible dandruff and general scalp nastiness (think mild seborrheic dermatitis). For reference, my hair is very fine in texture (but I have a ton of it) and it’s also naturally curly.

    SLS-free shampoos just didn’t get my scalp clean enough and I felt like there was a lot of scalp buildup, for lack of a better term. Last month I started a slightly new regimen of coal tar shampoo (smells disgusting) followed by Head and Shoulders. I’ve read that sometimes you need to combine anti-dandruff chemicals or switch between them frequently to keep the flakies at bay. So far, tremendous success! I also used the knockoff version of Joico K-Pak Reconstructor tonight since I know the shampoos are harsh on my delicate hairs. Right now it feels GREAT! Good luck!

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  4. Erica (madameir) says:

    I’m with ya on the SLS free. Ive completely rid it from my skin (on the rest of my body) I’ve been using dazzledust25’s natural soaps! The difference in my skin in amazing! I’ve been throwing my head over the bath to wash my hair with “the nasty” as to not get my skin. My scalp is in dire straits! I tried the Bodyshop new line… I didnt like it I felt it left a residue on my hair or something. Also I fear I may like the silicone effect on my long frizz prone locks! May pick up some Naked shampoo and give it a whirl! Im not a fan of the stench that is the lush haircare ! yucky!

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  5. Gemma says:

    I went completely SLS free about a fortnight ago. After reading so many bad things about it I thought I’d see how I got on without it.
    I am amazed at the difference it has made to my hair; it is so much softer, the ends seem less dry and brittle and it doesn’t get greasy as quickly as it used to. I am definately a convert and really doubt I will go back to my old products.

    Using SLSless?? products on my skin hasn’t had such a dramatic effect. It is less drying on my skin, but hasn’t had the wow factor that shampoo has.

    I have been used Naked Soft Touch body wash, which has an interesting scent, not sure if I will repurchase.
    I’ve been using Bed Head Superstar shampoo and I blinkin love the stuff. It lathers up brilliantly, leaves my hair feeling clean and has a fabulously fruity fragrance (which has brought on quite a few compliments).
    Overall, I’m SLS free and proud! Only thing I’m questioning is why it took me so long?

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  6. i have psoriasis only in my scalp so going SLS free was the best thing i could’ve done for my scalp/hair.

    if you guys get organix over there (http://organixhair.com/), you should definitely check it out. loads of scents to choose from and each one pretty much does something different (rejuvenating, nourishing, reviving, instant repair, enriching, fortifying, moisturizing, what have you).

    i also really loved aveda’s scalp benefits shampoo. i think aveda’s shampoo/conditioners are all SLS free, but don’t quote me on that. scalp benefits is definitely SLS free, though. so if you’re looking for something in a higher price point, i 100% recommend that.

    good luck on your search!

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  7. rhamnousia says:

    These comments are a real eye opener.

    I never really cared about SLS free shampoos before but when I heard that SLS dry your skin out, I decided to find shower gels without it as my skin was getting really dry. I’ve found a brilliant gel which moisturises (AND contains SLS so maybe it was just the other gel I didn’t like).

    Anyway, back to haircare. I thought that SLS free shampoo would be briliant for my hair..I’ve been using the TBS one we got at the event for a while, the first time I used it, I wasn’t impressed as it left my hair feeling dry (whilst I washed it, there were no suds).

    THEN I read the instructions and used it. Since then my hair has been fuller and smoother and it’s probably down to the shampoo alone. Annnnnnnnnnnd my mum uses the hair butter after she dyes her hair and she’s convinced her colour lasts longer!

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  8. Lily says:

    God, I’m happy you posted this! My scalp randomly became pretty sensitive after I shaved most of my hair off…I’m wondering whether it’s what’s in my shampoos or heat protection spray. Probably time to go more natural with both!

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  9. Georgie says:

    Yay for being SLS free! As of a month ago I am now proudly SLS free! I’m using Naked products at the moment and I’m in love. My top tip would be to use a little less and wash out for longer. Otherwise my hair is SO much softer and more conditioned.

    xoxo

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  10. Ann says:

    I went sulfate free as far as my hair is concerned years ago without even knowing it. What happened was that I discovered Pureology, and how great it is, and I never looked back. I use their nanoworks shampoo and conditioner, but I also have the purifying shampoo for if my hair feels like it needs a deep cleaning.
    http://www.pureology-uk.com/
    I’m not sure if you can get the nanoworks here, I always buy it when I’m back in the US, but I know most of the line is available in the UK. My husband even uses their dandruff treating shampoo. The nanoworks (and before that when I used other ones) has been great for my hair, so I’m not changing a thing. It’s expensive, but I use so much less shampoo and conditioner with the pureology ones than I ever did with other shampoos.

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    • Oceane says:

      I also use pureology. They are expensive but, they I find my hair colour last much longer than a sls product. Nanoworks are made by Redken. Other good sls shampoos are: Tigi or matrix. They are a cheaper alternative. I’ve tried a lot….

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  11. elwingelfje says:

    I’m not SLS free. I used a SLS free shampoo for some time (Dr Organic Manuka Honey) but I felt it just didn’t get my hair clean. It was still greasy and eww after I washed it, and I needed a lot of product. Also, the smell was awful. My favorite is still John Frieda. But I’d love to hear a review on some of the hair products of the brand I just mentioned. There isn’t a lot of information about it online, you see.

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  12. Rebecca says:

    I have been using the new Bodyshop range and I have found them pretty good – didn’t even realise that they were SLS free!! I have had patches of dried skin on my scalp but they seemed to have cleared up so that is good. Also another good thing is that the shampoo does actually lather so that is a bonus – you just might need to use a bit more than you usually would. Good luck!

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  13. Ola says:

    I’ve been SLS free for about a year, it’s great; recently got lured into buying the new Pantene offering and it’s RANK. I can’t stand the way it makes my hair look and feel. Back to SLS free shampoo I go.

    Naked rescue shampoo is great, smells beautiful and lather very well, too. Also, I am a fan of TIGI haircare; most of their offering is SLS free, a lot of it is silicone free, too. I’m just about to stock up on their shampoo and conditioner on cheapsmells.com as they’re on a pretty amazing offer over there – highly recommend you check it out if you want to spend less on haircare without SLS!
    My hair is fine and limp too, so I totally understand your worries… at the beginning of my SLS-free regime I thought my hair looked worse, more lank and weighed down, but after about a month it all changed. Go for it Char :) x

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  14. I tried co-washing a few months ago and that didn’t really work for me, I actually felt like my scalp waseven more itchy and my hair looked awful.
    I have now been using a L’Oreal Professional SLS free shampoo, it’s marketed as being for hair colored with colors that fade away quickly (like reds) but that’s good enough for me LOL. It doesn’t strip my color and I feel my hair is very soft. I didn’t like it immediately though but after a couple of weeks I can really see the improvement.

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  15. I have a really sensitive scalp and most hair products make my scalp itchy and flakey. I was SLS-free for about five years…. I used almost every SLS-free hair care brand on the market! It definitely helped my scalp, but just because a product is SLS-free, it doesn’t mean it’ll be perfect. Those Naked shampoos from Boots made my scalp really dry, tight and itchy. And then there’s the feeling of hair that isn’t quite clean etc, along with everything just taking a bit longer to lather and rinse.

    Anyway, for the last couple of years I’ve only been using one shampoo… and that’s the Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. It’s not even SLS-free *gasp* but it’s the best shampoo I’ve ever used! I never used to be able to go more than a day and a half before my scalp starting itching unbearably, but this shampoo is really special. I guess the antidandruff ingredients calms everything down. Plus it lathers and rinses like a normal shampoo.. but isn’t drying at all. I can literally go about 4 days without washing my hair if I wanted, without my scalp getting itchy (although my hair would be pretty lank at that point!).

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  16. I don’t know how severe your scalp is, but for me personally, I needed to go to the doctor and get prescribed a topical steroid. That was the only thing that works for me when it gets really bad. I tried washing my hair less with SLS free shampoos and it didn’t do anything. Hope your experience is better.

    The best thing for me is to use cooler water in the shower and anti-dandruff shampoos and then occasionally use my topical treatment.

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  17. @Beauty Scribbler: I love the Ginger TBS shampoo too! I was so sad when it went away for a little while, I think for repackaging or something. It’s one of the best in my opinion on the market and it doesn’t smell like freaking tea tree oil!

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  18. Nv Beauty says:

    I’ve been using Akin and it’s great! Check them out but stay away from the Lavender one if you don’t like a STRONG scent of Lavender! They’ve also got an amazing leave in conditioner you should try!

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  19. Katy says:

    I use Tara Smith shamp/cond which is sls free and has done my sensitive/itchy scalp wonders! My hair is also the softest it’s ever been since using these.

    You can buy it from http://www.bodycare2000.com/

    :) xxx

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  20. I have been SLS free for months now…. maybe 7 months! and I would never go back. I sound like an advert I know.

    But my hair was frizz and my scalp was always irrated and dry feeling. It is so much better now. I never have any problems.
    As for the lack of foam you do get use to it. Just make sure all your shampoos are SLS Free or you will end up hating the lack of foam.

    I’ve wrote quite afew posts now on my blog all about which sls free products I have tried.
    If you want to have a read – http://www.makeupsavvy.co.uk/2010/06/finding-good-sodium-lauryl-sulfate-free.html

    Fee x

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  21. Meeta says:

    I have already gone SLS free in my bodycare for a few years now, but haircare I keep switching back and forth. My hair is quite fine and dry and I do get dandruff. I haven’t found a SLS free shampoo that helps with the dandruff so I use Head & Shoulders occasionally then go back to SLS-free stuff.

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  22. Melissa says:

    I actually went SLS free after waffling on it for a bit. I really like Shikai shampoos and conditioners–I have hair EXACTLY like yours (fine, tends to get greasy and / or lank if it’s not getting REALLY squeaky, I rarely feel the need for conditioner) and Shikai’s stuff has really helped my itchy scalp.

    Also: Not sure about UK stuff, but in the US, all of Lush’s shampoos & conditioners have SLS or an SLS substitute, Sodium Coco Sulfate, which is just as bad. Lush employees will try to tell you that it’s not but it is! It did all the nasty things to my scalp that the $1 drugstore shampoo did. *sigh*

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  23. Elsie Barley says:

    Well, I was going to tell you that I use Lush’s Soak and Float for the itchy, flaking scalp thing but I just checked to see that it is SLS free before telling you and I am shocked to see that it isn’t! So maybe I will stop using it now. It is good, though, and I love the horrible smell!

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  24. Jan says:

    Here I am again, loving the font! How about LE range which is out soon? will stop now….promise

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  25. I’ve done a good bit of research on this topic. Turns out SLS is not actually drying to the skin itself- though there is some evidence that it can coat the hair shaft and cause brittleness. As far as SLS effects on the skin, there essentially are none UNLESS you’re in the rare group of people that are actually allergic to them.

    I’d imagine if you were allergic to SLS enough to be having such a bad reaction on your scalp, you’d also be seeing signs of allergies (typically a red, itchy rash) elsewhere on your body if it’s in your washes, toothpaste, etc…

    Having said that, it’s not like it’s going to hurt you to try a SLS free hair-care routine. I’ve been mostly SLS free on my head for a year+ now (Coloressence from Sally’s or Pureology.) I honestly have noticed no difference in the condition of my hair or scalp, though I do think my color lasts longer. Hopefully, you’ll have better results with the change- it’s certainly worth a try!

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  26. Annamax says:

    I like the L’oreal sulfate-free shampoo..I’ve been using it for about a month (I have terrible scalp issues) and I really like it. I use the volumizing + for color treated hair formula. I also have pink in my hair, and I have only had to touch it up once this whole summer if that says anything.

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  27. stylefrost says:

    I also suffer from flaky scalp, ive tried the Naked shampoo, it was nice but my hair was no longer shiny, looked dull, this is the problem with SLS free shampoos, helps the scalp but then your hair doensn’t look great! I use Kerastase shampoos and also use Lush’s Hair Doctor scalp treatment and Phillip Kinglsey scalp tonic, both soothes scalp and stops that annoying itch! I would definately stay away from medicated shampoos, too harsh.

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  28. GlamGemini says:

    I too am thinking of going SLS free shampoo wise, as I have really fine hair, that falls out all over the place and I’m sure these harsh products aren’t helping. :/ in facet I’d like to go more natural all round!

    Have tried A’kin skincare and its amazing, I love the rose and geranium cleanser toner. Am waiting on a couple of moisturisers arriving!! I imagine the haircare to be nice as well, I shall be trying it along with the naked products, organix, and maybe some others? also theres korres natural products for hair skin and make up too.

    Also worrying me is antiperspirants, I mean there must be loads of nasties in them right? aluminum for one. So I decided to try the natural alu free bionsen deodorant……..owwwwwwwwwww it stung like hell and I was sweating buckets so back to the mitchum for now hehe.

    I’d love to know how you get on!! xx

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  29. Jules says:

    I had to check! I’ve been using nothing but Aveda shampoos for years now, and while it contains LS, I didn’t see any SLS on the label. My hair is destruction-proof, though! Super-fine, stick-straight, ridiculously fast-growing. I’ve been colouring it for almost 17 years but my stylist says it’s some of the least damaged hair she’s ever seen.

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  30. ashley says:

    YES, going SLS free changed my hair completely! I’d always had thin, fine, fuzzy hair that fell out if you looked at it! the drain would clog every day because I had so much hair fall out. I thought it was normal since it’d always been that way. come to find out it was the SLS!!! my hair is TWICE as thick and I’m not exaggerating – my mom and hair stylist noticed – it’s like a different head of hair. it’s also no longer as fuzzy and fine. I advise though going completely SULFATE free not just SLS free b/c you still don’t want to use Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate OR sodium laureht sulfate, both of which cause scalp irritation, hair loss & dried out hair for me. I am now using CTONICS which uses only decyl glucoside and natural plant saponins and clays. I also used Garden of Wisdom’s shampoo which only has 2 light gentle sulfate free detergents. Watch out for “Sulfate free” shampoos that still pack a long list of 6 detergents – that can be very drying on the hair too! I had great results with Aveda Be Curly shampoo which I used for 2 years, but it uses sodium coco sulfate. That is definitely the most gentle of the sulfates& you probably could get away with using it, but I decided to be all sulfate, (and almost all silicone) free. email me if you have any more questoins on shampoo suggestions – I’ve tried a lot and researched for years on it! ashley.n.dutta@gmail.com

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  31. ashley says:

    p.s. yes an all sulfate free shampoo with few detergents won’t lather much, but I learned big lather is overrated…it is so bad for the hair and scalp!

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  32. Tina says:

    I did a Brazilian Keratin treatment about a month ago and had to switch to sulfate-free shampoo. It won’t lather as much, but I did not feel my hair getting greasier quicker, so I guess it works the same!
    As for the dryness, I would assume it’s not gonna make it worse and could even make it better, since it’s less harsh on the hair and strips less colour!
    I use Loreal Professionel btw.

    Do let us know how u get on with it!

    x

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  33. ashley says:

    p.p.s. also a lot of people say sulfate free shampoos are really drying (Pureology I’m talking to you!) but that is because they use such a long list of detergents! get something that has a base of aloe vera (or something similar) as the first ingredient then has no more than 3 detergents, whether they are sulfate ones or not – they can still be drying if there is a lot of them!

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  34. D says:

    faith in nature don’t use any SLS if that helps :)

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  35. Lora says:

    I use a whole lot of LUSH on my hair.. if you crave the ‘clean feeling’ try “BIG”, it smells clean and your hair gets squeeky clean :) xx

    loradoesmakeup.blogspot.com

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  36. Wendy says:

    I’ve also had this problem especially because In Mexico some companies add extra fragrance because of the hot weather and that irritates my scalp but what saves my life is Baby Shampoo it so mild and works great I also started to wash my hair twice a week with conditioner in the winter because that the worst time for my hair.

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  37. Voly says:

    Do you have oily buildup on your scalp and itching along with flakes? If so, it’s not an allergy or irritation (other than from scratching), it’s probably some variation of Seborrhoeic dermatitis.
    I used to have it fairly bad. SLS free stuff didn’t do anything so I tried Neutrogena’s coal tar shampoo and it solved the problem for a while. Then the next year the problem came back, and coal tar didn’t do anything, so I got Nizoral, and it really cleared me up. Then the next year the problem came back, and this time Nizoral didn’t do anything, so I started on basic Head and Sholders, and it’s working really well for now. I’ll probably have to rotate again later, but such is life, I have been completely flake and mostly residue and itch free for a long time now. I don’t even use H&Sh every time I shampoo, I use it maybe once a week. (I shampoo every other day.)

    You probably should at least try some medicated stuff, especially since your problem is so severe. First you just need to get it under control. Just start with the cheapest kind medicated stuff, like you basic Head and Shoulders with pyrithone zinc. Then when it’s better, you can move on to gentler maintenance stuff, like SLS free.

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  38. Nazneen says:

    I switched to SLS-free two years ago after years and years of having a bleeding, cracking and flaking scalp. I remember my aunt combing my hair for me when I was 17, she was horrified by the sores. Sorry for the graphic description, but that’s how bad it’s been. Doctors prescribed hardcore anti-dandruff shampoos but these just made it worse (I now realise that SLS is in even medicated shampoos, and anti-dandruff ‘poos are also designed for greasy scalps rather than dry flaky sensitive scalps like mine).

    Then I read about SLS and decided to switch. And I can’t believe the difference. I’ve not had one incident of bleeding or flaking in two years.

    But products are hit-and-miss. Some dry your hair out terribly, others don’t get them clean enough. My hair is very dry and I really rate Waitrose Organic Moisturising Shampoo (£3.90), the Daniel Galvin Junior range (foamy, but gentle, and smells of melon – also available at Waitrose).

    Hope you find one that works for you!

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  39. Marta says:

    Hello!!
    I was just reading this post about Liz Earle’s new haircare line (which is SLS free) and I thought it might be interesting to you! Although I’m sure you knew about it already ;)

    http://www.amodelrecommends.com/2010/08/21/liz-earle-haircare-top-marks/

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  40. Timperley says:

    I’ve tried a few of Louise Galvin’s cheaper Natural Locks shampoos which are marketed as free of SLS, PEGs, parabens, silicone, petrochemicals and synthetic fragrance. They are reliable and smell ok but lack the wow factor. I react badly to Kerastase shampoos. They make my ears itch.

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  41. I read a post today but a local eco-friendly mommy blogger who went no poo for the past month and she raved about how fantastic her hair feels.

    She’s using a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda in 1 cup of water as her shampoo. She said that amount lasts her about a week. She squirts it on her scalp and massages it in for a few minutes.

    To condition she’s using a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water just on the mid shaft and ends.

    She warned that there is a transition period of about 2 weeks where your scalp overproduces oil due to years of shampooing but that after that, it regulates itself. I read a few other blogs referencing this method and one woman has been doing it for a year with great results. I’m considering trying it myself.

    Here’s the links for you:
    http://www.ourlittleapartment.com/2010/08/shampoo-free-seriously.html

    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2009/07/no-poo-update.html

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  42. baby in a corner says:

    i’m late to this but i’ve used phyto shampoo before and i really liked it. its doesn’t foam but it seems to leave my hair clean while still moisturized. its quite expensive but its available in boots now i think.

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  43. Samantha says:

    I can’t use SLS shampoos, I could once upon a time before a very severe reaction to PPD in black hair dye left me with a lifelong gift of contact dermatitis and scarring. Lucky me! Every so often I’ll try one out, usually that pink l’oreal one because i like the smell, and every time I have to hand them over to my boyfriend (who i suspect enjoys the opportunity to feel prettier than usual) and return to SLS free if I don’t want a flaky painful head. TIGI do sulphate free shampoos, notably the delicious lemony scented purple one, and the sweet strawberry pink one. Now I can have super swish hair and not lose clumps of it!

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