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Published 5th August 2021

Is My Shampoo Damaging My Hair?

Sulphate free shampoos have been around for a while now. But do you really understand the difference between shampoos with sulphates and those without? You may be wondering if you can still get the same level of cleansing without sulphates? 

This article breaks down what sulphates are and how they can cause damage to your wavy / curly hair. 

what are sulphates?

A sulphate is a name given to a chemical that reacts with sulphuric acid to form salt. In haircare, the most commonly used sulphates are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), which are produced from petroleum and plant oils.

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why are sulphates used?

Sulphates give shampoo a thick lather that we traditionally associate with cleansing. They are surfactants, meaning, they attract both oil and water. The lather rinses away the grease by attracting the oil and clinging to the water. 

why avoid sulphates?

Most things that you read about curly and wavy hair will recommend using sulphate free products

Sulphates are chemicals used as cleansing agents in shampoo. These harsh cleansing agents may lead to skin irritation, skin dryness, and inflammation. 

But that’s your skin, what about your hair? 

As previously mentioned, sulphates are drying so if they strip your hair of natural oils this will lead to it feeling dry and disturbing the natural sebum production. Curly or wavy hair thrives on moisture (it needs it to avoid frizz) so you need to avoid drying it out at all costs. 

In summary, using a sulphate free shampoo can lead to:

• Reduced inflammation of the scalp

• Reduced itchiness and dryness of the scalp

• Retention of natural oils for smoother hair

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will i notice a difference in using a sulphate free shampoo?

If you have been using a shampoo with sulphates you may notice that a sulphate-free shampoo doesn’t lather in the same way. This doesn’t mean it’s not cleaning your hair, so don’t panic and add more. 

Rather than adding more shampoo, use a silicone scalp massager which will give you a thorough clean and allow your hair to become accustomed to the new product. Don’t forget that you hair may be transitioning, so this may take some time. Click here to read more about the curly girl transition stage

which shampoo is best for wavy / curly hair?

Searching for the best products for wavy hair can feel impossible. 

Wavy or curly hair needs products that will make your hair defined and hydrated. You want smooth waves that hold their shape without being crunchy. Hydrated hair that doesn’t get weighed down or become greasy. 

Whether you have a mix of waves and curls (or you’re straight with a hint of waves) using the right products is so important to bring out the best in your hair.

You need to accept that wavy hair is different from straight hair. You may have been treating your hair like straight hair for many years and ignoring the signs that its actually wavy.

You may think that shampoo is just for cleaning your hair but it actually cleanses the scalp too and a healthy scalp leads to healthy hair.

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what to look for?

Gentle cleansers won’t strip your hair of its natural oils. Merwave’s cleanse shampoo is a gentle cleanser. Its main cleansing ingredients are water soluble, cocunut derived and sulphate free. 

what do gentle cleansers do?

1. Cleanse

Shampoos that use gentle cleansers like Merwave’s Cleanse Shampoo will create a subtle lather which cleanses your hair without stripping it. 

This is especially great for wavy hair as a co-wash routine (using conditioner to wash hair instead of using any shampoo) can be too heavy and weigh down waves. Co-washing is great for thick, dry, curly/coily hair.

One thing to keep in mind is that gentle cleansers are not strong enough to remove silicones or build-up from the hair and scalp. So if you do continue to use other products with non-water soluble silicones in you may need to use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month, followed by a deep conditioner treatment.

2. Nourish

Like we said earlier, wavy and curly hair thrives off moisture. You cannot have too much of it. Merwave’s Cleanse shampoo uses natural ingredients such as avocado extract to naturally nourish and retain the moisture in your scalp and hair. 

The protein rich ingredients help to keep hair hydrated, enhance curl definition, and promote hair growth.

Want to revitalise your hair with the nutrients it deserves to awaken its greatest waves? Click this link to explore our Cleanse and Repair combo. Sulphate free, deeply hydrating hair products you can use in the shower to unleash your incredible waves. 



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