The Sulfate Detox - How to Transition to Sulfate Free Shampoo

Yes, like many others, I was once guilty of being a sulfate shampoo user. I had no idea what sulfates were, and truthfully never even looked at shampoo and conditioner ingredients. But once I did the research and discovered the ugly truths about sulfates, my mind changed and it changed fast! I broke up with sulfates (and parabens) and created a whole new relationship with sulfate and paraben free hair care products. At first, I felt like our relationship wasn’t going so well. I missed those lathery white foamy suds that in my mind left me thinking, “Wow my hair feels so clean.”  The more it lathered, the cleaner I believed my hair to be. I also hate to admit it, but my hair did feel greasy when I first started using sulfate free shampoo. What was going on? Was I going to have to return to my old products? Did I really want to put these chemicals back into my hair? The answer was a clear NO! I didn’t give up that easily. 

After researching, I found some interesting information about transitioning to sulfate free shampoo. I gave my new sulfate free shampoo a second chance, and I am so happy that I did, because now the health of my hair, scalp, and skin have improved. Just like our body may detox when we change our diets to a healthier one, our hair does the same. When switching to a sulfate free shampoo, our hair may go through a brief “detox” period where the hair is adapting to a shampoo that doesn’t have harsh ingredients. During this process, there are steps you can follow to make the transition smoother. 

  • Wet your hair thoroughly before applying sulfate free shampoo - This makes it easier to apply the shampoo and distribute it through your hair.
  • Don’t use too much shampoo - People expect sulfate free shampoo to lather, and when it doesn’t, they apply even more shampoo to their hair. Although that rich lathery foam may not be there (remember, sulfates are naughty chemicals that create the foam), the shampoo is still cleaning your hair. 
  • The key is to apply more water, not more product, which will help spread the shampoo through your hair.
  • Shampoo a second time - Because sulfate free shampoo lathers less, it can be more difficult to remove dirt and oil from your hair. Shampooing a second time helps remove the oil and dirt and clean your hair more thoroughly; you might even notice more lather the second time.
  • Be sure to thoroughly rinse your hair to remove any residue so your hair doesn’t feel heavy.
  • Finally, follow up with a sulfate-free conditioner to moisturize your hair. Only apply conditioner on your lengths and ends; for most hair types, applying conditioner at the roots can weigh down your hair and even cause your roots to appear greasy - right after you’ve washed them. Then rinse well.

Although everyone’s experience may differ, it may take about 6 washes until your hair adjusts to sulfate free shampoo. Remember, you have been using shampoos with sulfates for years, and now your hair simply needs time to adjust. Be patient, and don’t throw in the towel! I am so glad I didn’t break up with my sulfate free shampoo. My belief in sulfate free products is strong, and I am so proud that I can share the entire sulfate free product line of TEENOLOGY with not only teens, but with adults like myself as well. My goal is to form healthy sulfate free relationships for all, just like I did for myself.