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No Sulfates

Honua Bars contain no sulfates. Read on to find out what sulfates are and who might want to avoid them.

There is a subsection of surfactants (the cleaning agents in shampoo) that are sulfate-based; we shall call them ‘sulfates’ for ease of reference. Sulfates are cheap to produce, and they clean and foam well. The issue some have with sulfates is that they are strong cleansers which can potentially clean a bit too well, with excessive removal of moisture from the hair and scalp potentially resulting in dry hair and an irritated scalp*. The vast majority of supermarket shampoos will contain sulfates; to find a sulfate free shampoo you need to be shopping at the very top end of the price range; think Ogx, Sukin and Maui Moisture.

We are not making simplistic blanket statements like 'sulfates are bad for you', as it really depends on your skin and hair type. Some might find their hair prefers sulfates and some might not. And there is no evidence whatsoever that sulfates cause cancer. 

The four most common sulfates are:

SLS - Sodium lauryl sulfate

SLES - Sodium laureth sulfate

SCS - Sodium coco sulfate

Ammonium laureth sulfate

Horses for courses

People with oily hair can generally tolerate sulfates better, and if you have oily, dandruff prone hair you might find that you actually prefer a sulfate-based shampoo, as it will be the most effective cleanser. However for those with colour treated hair a sulfate free shampoo is a good option, because sulfates can strip the colour more quickly. People with dry, curly or frizzy hair may also want to avoid sulfates as these attributes can be amplified by the reduction of moisture.

Everyone’s skin is different, so while some might not feel irritation from a product with high levels of sulfates, others might experience itching, redness, dryness or irritation. 

Here is a list of gentle surfactants that can replace the sulfates:

Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Coco Glucoside

Decyl Glucoside (aka Polyglucoside)

Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate 

Lauryl Glucoside

SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) 

Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

SLH (Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate)

SLSA (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate)

Still reading? Congratulations, you’ve levelled up and can now bore your friends with your newfound sulfate-smarts. Knowledge is power; you go girl!