Are your shampoos full of questionable ingredients? Fashion North investigates

What chemicals are lurking inside your shampoo bottles? Fashion North investigates sulphates and shampoo.

We’re very conscious of what we are putting in and on our bodies. Shampoos and body washes are no different from our food, makeup and moisturisers and beauty lovers are now starting to look into sulphates, parabens and their effect on our skin.

But what exactly are they?

Sulphates are cleaning agents that are found in almost everything; shampoos, toothpaste, facial cleansers, car wash soaps, and floor cleaners.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (also known as SLS) is used to rinse away any product build-up and remove the excessive oil in your hair. It’s what creates that foamy lather we love so dearly. Brands love them because they’re cheap and, well, they work – but at what cost?

Sulphates are known to aggravate the skin, causing redness, dryness, and itching which can prove to be very problematic for those with psoriasis, eczema and other skin issues.

When Jolene Grace Gamble was 15 she awoke one morning with Psoriasis and for nine years has suffered with the disease. She said: “What I found hard was I felt that obviously less foaming wash you never felt it was actually washing you because you couldn’t see the bubbles.”


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To anyone out there struggling with psoriasis/excema/skin disorders please don’t give up. I was 16 when I cried to my Dr absolutely covered head to toe in psoriasis and waking up every day bleeding from scratching in my sleep. I tried light treatment twice, various creams and ointments , goats milk(my father’s idea), changing my diet, two different tablets (one of which was great I had just reached the maximum term whilst the other one made me more crazy than I usually was), bathing in seaweed, bathing in dead sea salt and almost considering bathing in hydrochloric acid I was so sad at how I looked. I’m 25 now and with the help of the NHS, biological injections have changed my life and my skin permanently. Psoriasis is no walk in the park but like me you will find a solution that works for you. That first day at the Dr’s when I was 16 he promised me they’d fix me… And they did.❤️❤️ #psoriasis #skin #skincare #dontgiveup #nhs

A post shared by Joleen Grace Gamble. (@jollyparton925) on

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, Consultant Dermatologist, and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said:

“I certainly advise that people who suffer from eczema, psoriasis or dry, sensitive skin steer clear of foaming, sulphate containing body washes. We know these can affect the pH of the skin and breakdown the natural skin barrier function. In terms of hair products, if scalp dryness is a problem then sulphate free may be a gentler alternative.”

As well as this sulphate shampoos have an indirect contribution to colour loss. While there is no colour-fade proof shampoo, sulphate free shampoos are mild enough to possibly slow down the rate of colour fading.

A milder form of sulphates called sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) is also available, although not as effective as a cleanser as its harsher sister SLS.

“Not all sulphates are as irritant as others and it also depends hugely on the concentration at which their present. I don’t put a blanket ban on sulphate containing products, but I do avoid the harsher washes which usually contain them in high concentrations,” added Dr. Emma Wedgeworth.

So what are our options? Thankfully there has been a surge in sulphate and paraben free shampoos.

Brands such as Organix, Toni and Guy, and even L’Oreal along with Darlington based Flourish Beauty offers loads of products free from any “synthetic chemicals or questionable ingredients.”

Scroll to see our luxury, midi and budget level sulphates-free shampoos.

label.m Therapy Rejuvenating Shampoo
LUX: label.m Therapy Rejuvenating Shampoo 200ml - £16.25
LOréal Hair Expertise Pure Dye Moisture Shampoo 250ml
MIDI: LOréal Hair Expertise Pure Dye Moisture Shampoo 250ml - £6.29
OGX Extra Strength Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo 385ml
MIDI: OGX Extra Strength Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo 385ml - £6.99
Crème of Nature Argan Oil Moisture & Shine Shampoo 354ml
BUDGET: Crème of Nature Argan Oil Moisture & Shine Shampoo 354ml - £3.32

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