Going Sulphate and Silicone Free in Haircare (video!)

If you’ve wondered onto my blog from googling this new, unexplained hair movement or phenomenon (whatever you’d like to call it) then like me, a few months back, you’re wanting answers to your many questions.

You may have read and researched a lot already, perhaps heard how evil shampoo/conditioner brands are putting nasty chemicals into your products to get you coming back for more.  Or, how women have ditched shampoo and living a good hair day, everyday.

For me personally, I was in a dry, frizzy hair and desperate situation and was willing to try something new.  I took the plunge and decided to make a video about my journey with going sulphate and silicone free (above).

I know the video is a lengthy one, so I’ve tried to answer the questions that battled around in my head before the change below:

What are sulphates and silicones?
As explained in the video; sulphates are usually found in shampoos and silicones in conditioners, hair oils, anti-frizz creams and sprays.

Why are they in shampoo/conditioner and why is that a bad thing?
It might not be a bad thing for everyone.  Sulphate is a chemical which ‘foams’ up the shampoo, leaving your hair with a stripped clean feel.  This is supposedly bad for thick, dry hair types and sensitive scalps because it can irritate and further ‘dry out’ the the hair/scalp.  It can kill natural curl/waves, cause frizz and straw-like texture.  That’s where conditioner comes in.  Conditioner softens your hair by coating it in a silicone, therefore calming it.  However, as silicone coats your hair it blocks other moisture from coming in.

How do you know if they are found in shampoo and conditioner?
Check out the ingredient list on the back – may sound like a big effort, but it’s not.  The usual suspect sulphate in shampoos is ‘Sodium Lauryl Sulphate’, or any other ingredient ending in ‘phate’ or ‘ate’.  Same goes for silicone, there are many variations like Dimethicone and Amodimethicone.  Look for anthing ending in ‘cone’ or ‘one’.

Why do companies put these ingredients in their products if it’s so bad?
Well, it’s not bad for everybody – remember that.  You may get on with these ingredients just fine – but if your hair seems to be in a dry rut with no sight of coming out of it, then going sulphate and silicone free should be something to consider.

I’ve decided to go sulphate and silicone free, what products should I get?
So far I’ve only tried Liz Earle’s Botantical Shine Shampoo and Conditioning Treatment and I like this, but you might want to try something different. The choice is growing but sadly there’s still a big gap between affordable and luxury products.  There are links at the end of this post to take you to sites with lists of the best reviewed.

Is there any difference when using sulphate and silicone free products?
Yes.  As there’s no sulphate in the shampoo it does not foam up as much as you’re used to.  You need to get your hair drenching wet so the shampoo doesn’t dry up.  My hair dries so quickly but after a few minutes longer under the shower head it’s completely drenched and I find my shampoo lathers up to a nice, gentle foam.  If there’s little foam don’t add more shampoo, simple wet your hair more, even with the shampoo in it.  Works for me, trust me.
I didn’t get the usual Liz Earle conditioner but the intensive conditioning treatment instead, this actually feels quite similar to a normal conditioner – I leave it on for at least 5 mins, or sometimes longer.

I’ve heard your hair can smell weird and get really greasy when first making the change?
I’ve heard this too, mostly from reviews or lower end (cheaper) brands.  I didn’t personally get this problem, it may be down to the products I used, or the fact my hair welcomed the change.  However, when speaking to my hairdresser before the change she did advise me: “it’s really good for people who don’t get greasy hair often.”  Again, something to think about.

When you made the change was it for the better?  Or worse?  How quickly did you see results?
Yes!  Definitely for the better, my hair feels like new.  I saw results straight away after washing – it was definitely the right choice for me, but I can see why it might not be for everyone.

I’ve found silicones in my heat defence spray, cream, hair oil, etc.?
There’s a lot of silicones in these products.  Unfortunately silicone is a good heat defence, as it coats your hair creating a barrier from heat and prevents damage.  When I discovered this I spent hours researching but eventually found there are water soluble silicone options.  This means the silicones are broken down when washing your hair.  There is a link to a list of ‘safe’ silicones are the end of this post.
Some bloggers and message forum users still weren’t happy with safe silicones, that’s when I found there are still heat defence sprays that are silicone free – I used Phyto Repairing Thermal Protectant Spray which includes no silicones and I would wholeheartedly recommend (it’s pricey by worth it.)

I have psoriasis/eczema/dry skin condition, are these products okay to use on my scalp?
I have psoriasis and it did not irritate my scalp at all, in fact my scalp didn’t feel as dry as it did after using a shampoo with sulphate in it.  Ting, over on TheTingThing, has eczema and said she felt a difference when changing as the products were much gentler.  She has a couple of helpful posts on this topic over on her blog which I will link at the bottom of the page (Ting thanks for answering my questions a while ago on this!)

I’d also like to add I have now found various brands that are sulphate and silicone free but targeted to treat these skin conditions – I will be reviewing a few of these in the futur on this site.  Keep tuned.

That’s it.  I think that’s all the questions I had, if you have a question not answered above don’t hesitate to comment below.  After going for years and dealing with frizzy, dry hair which just didn’t want to be tamed I think I’ve finally found the answer.  Thanks for reading/viewing!

Very, very useful links:

Product lists of the sulphate and silicone free hair shampoos, conditioners and other products:
 (good list but needs updating)

Product list for heat protectants:
http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/68512-cg-friendy-heat-protectants.html (7th post down)

A list of ‘safe’ water soluble silicones (and water insoluble silicones):

Ting’s posts on her hair routine:

Another blogger friend Rachwat documented her change in these posts:

I will update this list when I find other useful links.  I have not been endorsed or asked by the brands I used to review their products, the views expressed in my video and in the post are entirely my own.


10 thoughts on “Going Sulphate and Silicone Free in Haircare (video!)

  1. Thank you for the mention. I do indeed find that my eczema is under control when I avoid sulphates in my hair and body products. It’s amazing how this change has improved my skin so much after nearly 30 years of bad skin! It might be worth noting that for the first time you switch to a sulphate and silicone free hair care routine, you need to break down any silicones left in your hair from previous products that you’ve used. A great way to do this is to wash with Aussie Miracle Moist. This completely strips any silicones out of my hair and lets me start afresh with my Liz Earle shampoo and conditioner. Hope this helps!
    Ting | The Ting Thing

    • No problem! It’s the least I could do after you answered countless of my questions.
      Ah I didn’t do that! Still might be worth doing and a good thing to note.
      How do you know the Aussie miracle moist strips the silicones out of the hair? Is it just the conditioner you need to wash with, or the shampoo too?
      Oops, there I go again with questioning! Haha x

      • Just the shampoo. I can’t remember the exact ingredients, but it has a few key things that breaks down silicones very well. I bought a travel size bottle so it wasn’t wasted. It actually leaves my hair squeaky and stripped. It feels HORRIBLE. x

      • Haha I know, I couldn’t imagine that ‘sheen’ type feel now!
        I’m definitely going to get a travel size shampoo, it’ll be helpful after going to the hairdressers too.
        Although my hairdresser says her products are very gentle anyway.
        What do you do about going to the hairdressers? X

      • My hairdresser uses sulphate and silicone free products as she has set up on her own. When she was in the other salon, there was silicone around but she just didn’t use those products on my hair as she knew my regime. I am very lucky! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s