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Does it matter if hair products are sulfate-free and salt-free?

Posted Mar 06 2013 1:01am

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NoahJenda asks…I’m trying to replace my salon-bought hair products with something less expensive that I can get at the drugstore. The alleged advantage to my current brand is that the products are sulfate-free and salt-free. Does this make any difference to hair, or is it just a marketing gimmick?

The Beauty Brains respond: 

Salt free is a marketing gimmick.  All it means is that there is no salt added to the product as a separate ingredient. There could still be salt carried in from other ingredients, especially the cleansing and foaming agents, as a “left over” from their manufacturing process. In the end it doesn’t really matter because short term exposure to salt that is rinsed off doesn’t do anything bad to your hair anyway.

Sulfate free is not the panacea that marketers claim. Some people do find sulfates too drying/too irritating. But MANY MANY MANY people have no problem whatsoever using sulfates. If you’re one of those people who are bothered by them (and you’re sure the problem is the sulfates and not something else in the formula like the fragrance) then you may be better off with a sulfate free formula. It will cost you more but if you really have an issue with sulfates then it’s probably worth it.

I suggest you start with L’Oreal’s Ever Free line which has good formulas and is less expensive than high end salon products.

Image credit: http://farm1.staticflickr.com

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