Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Gentle Hair Cleansers For The Sulfate-Phobic

  1. Begin



    See All Slides

    Hair is becoming our second skin — well, at least in the way we take care of it. No one bats an eye when it comes to a five-step skin-care routine. And, hair maintenance has started to get just as involved. For example, scalp facials, anti-aging hair treatments, and BB Creams for hair have all emerged on the beauty scene this year. So, if investing time into caring for our hair is the new thing, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate shampoo.

    Can old-school shampoos stocked with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) — the detergent and known skin irritant — really damage our hair? Yes and no. According to Washington, DC-based dermatologist Ella Toombs, “You can irritate the skin, but you can’t irritate the hair.”

    While they may not hurt your strands themselves, traditional SLS shampoos can inflame the scalp. And, while it’s important to cleanse the scalp — Toombs reminds us, “You have a million hair follicles on the scalp, each is connected to secreting gland” — gentler cleansers may be the best way to go for some, especially those with eczema or sensitive skin. “People with eczema tend to experience more irritancy with a lot of skin products with the skin being dry. For those individuals, suds-free, sulfate-free hair cleansers would be beneficial,” Toombs says, adding that it’s possible to get eczema flare-ups on the scalp.

    For those who relax, straighten, dye, and overprocess their hair, SLS shampoos can also be extra-drying. Says Toombs, “The more suds, the more detergent activity. And, the more detergent activity, the more it is drying to the actual skin and/or hair shaft. So, you want to use a shampoo that can rid the scalp of oil and dirt, but not so much that it dries out the hair and the skin excessively.”

    Want to treat your hair and scalp to a moisturizing free-for-all? Here are some gentle cleansers to do the trick.

    Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
    Begin Slideshow


the weekender

It's Not Too Late To Have A Small-Space Christmas Tree

You want a tree this year. A fat, dark-green, happy spruce. There's a slight problem, though: You barely have space for a couch in your living room, let alone a 7-foot needle monster. (Nature hasn't exactly caught on to the whole tiny-house movement just yet.) Fortunately, there are plenty of trees you can make with read

Los Angeles

Need! L.A.'s Best Pancakes To Try Immediately

According to Wikipedia, the world first met the pancake around the time that Aristotle was making a name for himself. Though, in our recollection, pancakes first came to prominence at IHOP. Or, was it during Mickey Mouse's heyday? Look, the point is, regardless of when you were first introduced to pancakes, the read