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Is Sulfate Bad for Hair Extensions?
Haley Dagan November 18th 2021

Is Sulfate Bad for Hair Extensions?

Do you find yourself spending way too much time in those haircare aisles trying to pick the perfect products? The number of options is overwhelming, and so is the amount of information about sulfates. Let’s rinse your mind of all the confusion and give you just the information you need to have the shiniest, healthiest, and longest-lasting hair extensions.

Do you find yourself spending way too much time in those haircare aisles trying to pick the perfect products? The number of options is overwhelming, and so is the amount of information out there about ingredients to avoid. One common ingredient that’s always mentioned is sulfates.

We’re going to address all your burning questions about sulfates like:

  •    Are sulfates bad for your hair?
  •    Are sulfates bad for YOU?
  •    Is sulfate harmful for hair extensions?
  •    Why are sulfates bad?
  •    And what contributes to bad hair extensions?

    Let’s rinse your mind of all the confusion and give you just the information you need to have the shiniest, healthiest, and longest-lasting hair extensions.

    What is Sulfate?

    Let’s start with a somewhat basic chemistry lesson.

    Sulfates, also spelled sulfates by some, are chemicals that serve as cleansing agents. They are commonly used in shampoos, soaps, and cleaning products as one of the most powerful cleansing ingredients.

    There are two main kinds of sulfates:

    •   The first kind is called sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as SLS.
    •   The second kind is called sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES.

    Both of these essentially do the same thing: They clean your hair and remove impurities like oil and dirt. They are both extremely effective at cleaning, which is why they are so frequently used.

    So, now that you understand what sulfates are, you’re probably wondering what does sulfate do to your hair?

    What Do Sulfates Do to Your Hair?

    What makes sulfates such a key ingredient in hair products? Sulfates are used to clean and create the foaming effect of hair products. If you use a shampoo that really lathers up, chances are, it has sulfates in it. This explains why sulfates in hair products are so common.

    Sulfates strip away the impurities to clean your hair; however, sulfates also end up stripping away natural oils that are meant to stay behind and hydrate your hair. Those natural oils are key to locking in moisture and preventing dry, flaky scalps. 

    So, is sulfate bad for hair itself?

    Are Sulfates Bad For Hair & If So, Why Are Sulfates Bad for Hair?

    Overall, sulfates in hair products pose very little health risk to users’ health; however, the same can’t always be said for your hair, depending on your hair type.

    If you have naturally greasy hair, sulfates may actually be beneficial in cleaning your hair. You need to strip away some of that excess oil.

    On the other hand, if you have dry hair that is becoming brittle, you definitely want to stay away from using hair products with sulfate to maintain your hair’s natural moisture.

    At this point, you might also wonder: what happens if you use sulfate shampoo on colored hair?

    This is a great question, and the truth is, if you have chemically colored hair, you may want to use sulfate-free products as well. This is because sulfate may strip away the hair color quicker than you’d like it to.

    So, it’s not that sulfates are necessarily all bad for hair, but you should always consider your hair texture, type, and needs before selecting any product to see if it aligns with your unique flow.

    Are Sulfates Bad for Hair Extensions?

    If you wear hair extensions, it’s really important to understand the impact sulfates will have on them. Sulfates impact hair extensions differently than the hair that’s already on your head.

    As with regular hair, sulfates strip hair extensions of oil and moisture, but unlike regular hair, hair extensions won’t reproduce moisture. This means, hair extensions washed with sulfate products will be left dry, brittle, and eventually will start to tangle and experience irreparable breakage.

    In short - yes - sulfates are bad for hair extensions and will likely ruin them. In order to maintain the health of your hair extensions, we strongly suggest avoiding sulfates. Are you still wondering, is sodium laureth sulfate bad for hair, and is sodium lauryl sulfate harmful for hair? SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate, are indeed irritating for those with sensitive skin and can even cause weakening hair. SLES, or sodium laureth sulfate, is actually a safe alternative to SLS and is oftentimes mixed with other skin-sensitive ingredients.

    Should You Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner for Hair Extensions?

    Whenever you need to give those hair extensions a wash, be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo for hair extensions. Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner for hair extensions are absolutely critical for your haircare routine. Using these products will help you avoid frizz, hair breakage, and generally unhealthy, dry hair.

    Do you have any other hair care questions you’d like answered? Leave a comment below!

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