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Ingredient Check: Sulfates

January 05, 2021

Ingredient Check: Sulfates

If you own a TV, have read a magazine in the past year, follow any clean beauty brand on social media, or have heard of Goop then you probably have heard about sulfates. If you haven't, I am going to summarize all the science talk for you so you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision for your own beauty routine. 

 

What is a Sulfate?

Sulfates can be found in various products. Procter & Gamble made the first sulfate-based shampoo in the 1930s. Other common items include body wash, toothpaste, and laundry/dish detergents. 

In the soap world a sulfate falls under the category of a surfactant. Surfactants have two jobs. The first is to create lather and the other is to attract water and oil away from your skin and hair so water can wash it down the drain. To put it simply, it cleans. 

One quick note...lather does not equal clean. You can absolutely have soap and shampoo that does not lather and it will still do the same job at cleaning away oil, dirt, and sebum as a cleanser that lathers. 

The effect sulfates have on our health? 

Sulfates are so effective at cleaning away the dirt and oil that they also strip away our natural oils that protect our hair and skin. The result is that we are left with dry and sometimes irritated skin and our hair is left feeling dry and brittle. Have you ever gotten shampoo in your eye? That stinging sensation is because of sulfates. Some studies have shown that products containing sulfates tend to contribute to increased acne around the hairline, back and face. 

There is a lot of controversy on the long term effects of sulfates on human health. From what I have read the science world and the FDA states this ingredient is safe to use. However there are other organizations that list the many possible effects that sulfate can have on us. These include:

  • Cancer 
  • Reproductive and developmental toxicity- birth defects
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Ocular toxicity- eye irritant and blindness
  • Hair Loss and baldness
  • Skin irritant 

The Environment

Not only are sulfates a threat to our own health but they pose a threat to the environment. Sulfates are a synthetic ingredients that are derived from petroleum.  

Petroleum is a crude oil that is a non-renewal source similar to coal and a natural gas. What this means is that it took millions of years for the earth to develop these resources and we will eventually run out. To extract out these resources from the ground we use deep drilling which releases carbon emissions into the environment. 

Fiorella's Viewpoint on sulfates

Plain and simple...WE DON'T USE THEM!

Our philosophy is that natural is better and we source ingredients that are of the highest quality. The reason some of the big beauty brands still use ingredients like sulfates comes down to one major topic, price. Large corporations are always looking for ways to drive down the cost of their goods which results in poor quality products that do more damage to your skin than good. 

When we formulate our products we look at ingredients first and we don't hold back.

 

How to swap our your sulfates for safer products:

Soap

Your skin is your biggest organ so you most certainly shouldn't cleanse it with sulfatesoap. Instead try our cold process handmade bar soaps or go for one of our luxurious whipped soaps with added coconut oil for moisture.

 

Shampoo

Ditch your bottled sulfate shampoo and try one of sulfate free shampoo bars. BONUS: we don't use plastic bottles to package these. Did you know that one shampoo bar is the equivalent to 3 shampoo bottles? Look at you saving the planet while washing your hair. 

Sources: 

Various articles on SwiftCraftyMonkey.blog

https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/did-you-know-general-science/sulfates-shampoo

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651417/

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/petroleum/ 




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