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sulfates and "hair glue."

edited December 2014 in Ask the Beauty Brains
I have a bit of a hair obsession, as you can tell.  My hair is in rough shape, so I'm trying everything I can to help it.  I'm confused about sulfates.  Are they more damaging to hair, or not?  Here you say, "You might also consider sulfate free shampoos that use milder surfactants, like decyl glucose, because they are less likely to dissolve the precious 18-MEA."  So does that mean sulfates are more damaging?  I had always had the opposite impression.  I feel I need to use a shampoo for extra body (i.e., sulfate shampoo) because I have fine hair and moderate sebum production, and I also use conditioning styling products that can build up.  My hair goes flat at the drop of a hat (sorry for the rhyme).  But I also have damage from professional highlighting, and don't want to break down my hair any more.  Should I worry about using sulfates, as long as I condition well?


  • We were speculating when we wrote that post back in 2008. We have not seen any data since then that proves that sulfates solubilize 18-MEA better than other surfactants. The primary issue with sulfates that is supported by data is that some sodium lauryl sulfate can bind to skin proteins and cause irritation in some people. 

    As long as you're conditioning and you're not experiencing irritation you're probably fine using a sulfate based shampoo. 
  • Thanks, Randy!  I love me some sulfates for my fine, build-up sensitive hair.
  • IF you are one of those who experience irritation with sulfates (that would be me), you definitely need to be careful of the types of silicones in the products you choose. Water based ones are fine, but the others will cause build up over time!

    Sarah, do you deep condition your hair? I have fine hair also and have found that once a week deep conditioning with extra virgin coconut oil works really well for me.
  • Hi Lindygirl,

    Happy New Year!  I owe you an apology.  Went to send a PM and saw one from you that I never responded to.  I think I saw it at the time and meant to read it later when I had a chance, but got sidetracked.  I will send you a PM soon--crazy time with my mom and dad, and I haven't been here on the forums in quite a while.  

    As to deep conditioning--yes, and no.  The hair reconstructor I mentioned in another thread is kind of a deep conditioner.  But I remember you talking about coconut oil, and always meant to try it.  I definitely feel kind of wedded to my sulfate shampoos, if only because I am too lazy to clear my routine of all silicones.  Even with use of sulfates, I have to be super careful what I put on my hair, as my hair will get build-up if you even look at it the wrong way;)  I think my hair is what they call baby fine.

    But I got a haircut, and my hair condition is much, much better right now.  So that is good.

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