Ever since I started coloring my hair, I’ve become conscious of ingredients in my shampoos. Not for health reasons. It’s pure vanity. I want to make sure nothing will strip away the color and highlights that I painstakingly sit through every few months (gray hairs be damned!). The latest to hit my shower: Bumble and Bumble‘s Color Minded Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner.
What are sulfates you ask? Sulfates are basically surfactants, the substances that decrease the surface tension of the water so that it spreads out easily. They are also called wetting agents, as they make the water wetter. The rich lather that you get while applying shampoos is mainly due to sulfates. So why exactly is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate bad for hair? The answer lies in the chemical constitution of this compound. It tends to make hair dry very quickly and strips your hair off its moisture and other essential oils. It also damages your hair follicles and results in hair loss; it’s extremely dangerous to hair follicles that are exposed. Eek! Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also harmful to color-treated hair, as it tends to fade your new hue with every wash.
Then why do cosmetic brands keep using it?! That’s because consumers like the rich lather it achieves (it makes us feel like our hair is getting cleaner, I suppose).
My new shampoo ($29) felt like lotion at first; when I poured it into my hand, it felt thick and sticky. But it lathered up just fine, and my hair felt so clean after rinsing. The conditioner ($32) was just as good as any I’ve ever tried. It’s not as moisturizing as some other brands, but it gave my hair shine. Just a slick of UV protective polish and it was easy to blow dry my hair to salon-like results. I like it much better than the Aveda Black Malva color shampoo (even though Aveda smells delicious).