Are you guilty of torturing your hair with sulfate-laden shampoos? Maybe, it’s time to stop!
You must have heard enough about switching to sulfate-free shampoos by now. But, why do shampoos contain sulfates in the first place? Can sulfate-free shampoos give you the same level of cleansing as sulfate-laden shampoos? Do they lather well?
If you have had all these endless questions in your mind, we have put together a comprehensive rundown for you. Get all your answers, plus the benefits of using Ayurvedic, sulfate-free hair cleansers below.
What Is Sulfate-Free Shampoo?
Any shampoo which does not contain the most commonly used primary surfactants - sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate - can be called a sulfate-free shampoo.
Sulfates are usually added into shampoos for their cleansing action. The dirt-infused oils on your scalp cling to the sulfate molecules, which get washed away in the form of lather when rinsed with water.
However, along with unwanted grease, these sulfates over-extract the natural oils from your scalp and hair, thus leading to scalp dryness and cuticle damage.
This is where sulfate-free shampoos with natural and alternative surfactants come into play by keeping your natural oils intact, while gently cleaning-up the dirt from your scalp.
Myth-Buster: Do Sulfate-Free Shampoos Lather Well?
Firstly, most of us have a notion that the shampoo which lathers more would be better at cleansing. But, this is a myth.
Sulfate shampoos produce more lather during hair wash compared to sulfate-free shampoos. This makes the former offer a feeling of an easier and better rinse. However, the latter performs the ideal cleansing action.
Alternative surfactants in sulfate-free shampoos super efficiently remove the grime and dirt from your scalp and hair, without disrupting your scalp's pH.
Typically, the combination of primary surfactant and co-surfactants make 10-20% of the composition in a shampoo.
Why Should You Use An Ayurvedic Sulfate-Free Shampoo?
Among all types of sulfate-free shampoos, Ayurvedic shampoos made of dosha-pacifying herbs and natural surfactants  stand out by enhancing your scalp and hair health intrinsically.
"A balance of bodily energies - Vata, Pitta and Kapha - is all you need for a healthy and strong hair growth. The classical Ayurvedic texts elucidate multiple formulations with natural herbs to achieve this" says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Now, let’s understand what makes Ayurvedic herbal cleansers an ideal choice for a sulfate-free shampoo.
1. Natural Nourishment
Ayurvedic ingredients like Yashtimadhu (Licorice) and Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba), which are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, work on strengthening your hair roots from within. Thus, you can attain a well-nourished and well-cleansed scalp.
2. Natural Conditioning
Besides retaining the natural oils on your scalp, Ayurvedic herbs like quinoa and kumari (aloe vera) pacify Vata and Pitta doshas to efficiently seal the moisture in your cuticles. The protein-rich herbs also repair your damaged hair strands, while imparting soft texture and shine to your hair naturally.
3. Controls Hair Fall
Ayurvedic herbs like Shikakai (Soap pod) and Japa (Hibiscus) with Kapha pacifying properties, balance your scalp's pH levels. Thus, it can prevent your scalp from clogging with excessive sebum and avoid the occurrence of bald patches on oily scalp.
4. Keeps Infections Away
Ayurvedic herbs like Nimba (Neem) and Amla (Indian Gooseberry) have natural anti-microbial properties to help you combat conditions like dandruff while keeping your scalp and hair well hydrated.
All these benefits can be achieved without any risk of side effects through balanced Ayurvedic formulations. You need to understand your current dosha levels to pick a sulfate-free Ayurvedic shampoo with the right blend of herbs specific to your hair problems.
How To Use Ayurvedic Sulfate-Free Shampoos?
1. Ensure your scalp and hair are thoroughly wet before using the sulfate-free shampoo. Water enables even distribution of shampoo across your scalp and hair.
2. Apply shampoo gently to the back half of your scalp. This includes the region from the end of the crown to the nape of the neck, behind your ears.
3. Apply more quantity of sulfate-free shampoo to the front half of your scalp. This way, you can easily have a thorough scalp coverage with the shampoo.
4. You can keep adding water in little amounts and work the shampoo across your scalp to enhance the spreading.
5. Massage your scalp in circular motions for a few minutes. This improves blood circulation in your scalp nerves and enhances the penetration capacity of the medicinal herbs present in the shampoo.
6. Now, apply the shampoo to the hair strands and gently massage it from roots to the tips.
7. Leave your scalp and hair with the shampoo for a few minutes, before washing it off thoroughly using normal water. Never use hot water for hair wash.
8. Repeat the process if necessary.
How To Know If A Shampoo Is Sulfate-Free?
You will know if a shampoo is sulfate-free by just going through its ingredients list. However, not all shampoo brands that claim themselves to be sulfate-free, are completely staying away from sulfate compounds and their derivatives.
You may find brands that greenwash their chemical composition by just slightly varying their formulae. For example, a sulfate-free shampoo may contain ‘sulfonates’, which is nothing but a structural variation of ‘sulfate’. In fact, they are as harsh as sulfates  on your scalp, while you could be under the impression that the product is safer.
Hence, you need to make sure that your shampoo ingredients list does not contain sulfates as well as any of its derivative forms.
Are Sulfates In Shampoo Dangerous?
There are numerous claims about sodium lauryl sulfate being a carcinogen. However, we found no substantial scientific evidence  that supports it.
Nevertheless, they can potentially damage your hair. According to scientific research , sulfates can corrode the hair protein. This makes your hair dry and frizzy with split ends, which eventually result in hair loss.
"In some people (with aggravated Vata Dosha), sulfates can trigger severe skin irritation and contact dermatitis , a painful allergic rash on the scalp," says Dr. Zeel.
We strongly recommend you to consult your doctor before using any hair care products as there are chances that chemical ingredients may affect your health in the long run.
The Last Word
Ayurvedic herbal shampoos, which are sulfate-free, can be your best choice even when you color your hair as the hair colors are more susceptible to stripping by sulfates. These sulfate-free shampoos bestow your hair with extra-ordinary long term results in terms of damage prevention and protein retention.
At Vedix, we customize your Ayurvedic hair care regimen based on your dosha levels. The regimen includes a paraben-sulfate-free shampoo made of natural coconut-based surfactant and hair growth enriching Ayurvedic ingredients.Know Your Dosha Now