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Sulfates, parabens and silicones, what are they?

Hi guys,

In todays post I want to share with you some more information about sulfates, parabens and silicones.

I get questions about these chemicals a lot so I wanted to explain to you everything I know. Just know that before posting this blog, it took me a lot of research to find out the truths. It wasn't quite easy to seek for the truth since a lot of articles are pro- chemicals...

Let’s talk about Sulfates first... and why the chemical ones are bad!

There are two types of sulfates. There's a difference in them. But let's first find out what sulfates actually are.

So, what are sulfates actually? Sulfates are the main ingredient in products that makes them foam, or binds together water and oil (which is the foam). Most sulfates come from palm oil or petrochemicals. Both products you want to avoid. Petrochemicals are bad for yourself and our planet... and palm oil is often bad for our planet as well.

Sulfates are actually cheap & super effective products to clean your hair. But the problem is that they're too effective. They can cause irritation and they can even be toxic. It's supposed to clean your hair but it can actually damage your hair by drying it out.

Most of you now would think that all foamy shampoos and soaps are bad. Don't worry, this is not always the case. There are super foamy shampoos out there, without sulfates luckily.

Then what about behentrimonium methosulfate as an alternative? First of all, it’s not a sulfate! It sounds like it is because it literally says sulfate, but it isn't. It's confusing, I know. But what is this ingredient? Well, it binds to your hair shaft and leaves it smooth, shiny and soft BUT it washes off with the shampoo itself. So it doesn't stay on your hair and builds up. Ever seen a knot in your hair, close to your scalp that looks a bit like pus? Well, that's probably built up sulfate! The behentrimonium methosulfate is actually a natural product that comes from rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is good for your hair. It gives it extra shine and nourishment.

Next question: what about sodium coco sulfate (SCS)? This is a mix of all of the fatty acids from coconut oil, including lauric. This means that it is milder, but still produces that lather we want. Ethique uses it, without palm oil actually. So another natural sulfate.

Now about the two types of chemical sulfates. These are actually the names of the ingredients on the bottle of your products. If you see them, try to avoid them.

1. sodium lauryl sulfate SLS

2. sodium laureth sulfate SLES

Both chemically made sulfates. Both created in labs. The laureth sulfate is less agressive than the lauryl sulfate... but both not healthy. Some researchers claim that they are all carcinogenic. There's still not enough research about it because a lot of labs don't want to expose the reality, obviously. But the thing we know is that these sulfates can cause skin irritations. We want to avoid that, right?


Now let's find out more about Parabens. Parabens are chemically created ingredients to make the product last longer. Parabens can affect hormonal balance and even cause allergic reactions. These allergic reaction can cause hair thinning or even hair loss! Also, they can can cause scalp inflammation. They can weight down hair and even stop the absorption of natural oils. To make your hair shine, you need a product that your hair can soaken up. If you use parabens, this is impossible.

Furmulas of parabens used in hair and skincare are called: butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben. Just search for ‘paraben’. Easy!


Now what are silicones then? Silicone is almost like rubber and/or plastic. It is used as protection against water or air. It gives the hair the illusion of shine, but it is not the shine we want, it is a fake shine from the plastics. Silicones are derived from sand mostly... but chemically processed.

Silicone will weigh the hair down or make it look dull. It prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. Just like parabens do... The problem is that this is also the problem in skincares with parabens. It can even create acne because it clogs pores.

Furmulas of parabens used in hair and skincare are called: dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, cetearyl methicone, dimethiconol, stearyl dimethicone, cyclomethicone, amodimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone, and cyclopentasiloxane. Seach for these on your products!

So to summarize this all, avoid these chemicals. It's not that hard! :)

X Steph


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