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Sulfate-free shampoos have received great recognition in the hair-care industry recently and for good reasons. They’ve captured the attention of women in their middle age as some of the sulfate-free shampoos manufactured and released in the market are safe for aging hair.

Let’s get to know more about this type of shampoo and whether or not it is indeed a safer alternative to shampoos with sulfate, especially if your hair already shows some signs of aging.

Sulfates Defined

Sulfates refer to those chemicals that serve as cleansing agents in detergents, household cleaners, and even hair shampoos. You can also find it in other personal care products, such as facial cleansers, body wash, and toothpaste. They are actually surfactants, specifically compounds capable of attracting both water and oil, that are utilized in creating lather and in washing away grime and dirt.

Some shampoo manufacturers make sulfates a part of their ingredients as this chemical is effective in cleaning the scalp and hair. Combining it with water makes it even more effective in removing dirt and dead skin cells from both the scalp and hair.

Sulfates are also those chemicals that develop the sudsy consistency that you may like to see every time you wash your hair. If you use a shampoo with sulfate, you may have an easier time cleansing your scalp since it does not require vigorous scrubbing. This is made possible through the suds.

Sulfates’ Effects on Your Hair and Scalp

Sulfates, however, are generally bad for one’s hair, especially for those in middle age. The reason is that being overly exposed to this chemical may cause your hair protein to deteriorate. Since sulfates are highly effective cleansers, this means that some of the sulfate shampoos available right now may get rid of the essential natural oils from your hair. The result is that it can leave your hair dry and brittle.

Sulfates can also trigger hair loss. However, they can cause more harm to aging hair. These chemicals are so harsh that they are capable of pushing through and breaking apart even your protective cell membranes. This means that sulfates may lift and buckle them, causing your inner cortex to get exposed to moisture and heat. This can further damage your hair. Your aging hair strands may also end up becoming more prone to frizz, split ends, and breakage.

Being exposed to sulfates may also cause damage to your scalp. Note that you have sebaceous glands that are responsible for sebum production at the base of your follicles. As you age, there is already a high chance for the natural production of sebum to decrease, resulting in scalp irritation and dryness. This can further be aggravated if you use sulfate shampoos. The reason is that sulfates can also strip off the sebum in your scalp that’s supposed to contribute to maintaining healthy hair. This can make your scalp prone to rashes, inflammation, and infection.

How Sulfate-free Shampoos Can Help?

With the many negative and damaging effects of sulfates on your hair and scalp, especially if you are aging, it is much better to stay away from shampoos that contain them. Go for sulfate-free volumizing shampoos as most of them are manufactured in a way that they can offer these benefits:

Retains moisture

As you age and notice your hair becoming dull, dry, and brittle, among many other age-related concerns, you can seek the help of sulfate-free shampoos to help revive them. In general, these shampoos, being devoid of sulfate, can effectively breathe life back into your hair. These sulfate-free shampoos may also retain your hair’s natural moisture, thereby preventing them from losing its natural softness and shine.

Safe and gentle on your aging hair

If you are wondering whether or not sulfate-free shampoos are safe for your hair, the general answer is yes. Most of these shampoos do not have any harsh or harmful chemicals, like sulfates. What they have, instead, are gentle moisturizing agents that can add more shine to your hair. You can even pair up a sulfate-free shampoo with a high-quality sulfate-free conditioner to give your hair more luster.

Prevents irritation

You do not also have to worry about your scalp getting damaged if you use sulfate-free shampoo. You may have probably known by now how harsh sulfates are on your scalp. They can lead to itchiness and irritation. Sulfate-free means that it is milder and safer compared to the others, resulting in its effectiveness in controlling inflammation on the scalp. They’re also unlikely to give off any unpleasant burning sensation, which often happens with some shampoos containing sulfate.

Made out of a non-stripping formula

Harsh sulfates used in some shampoos may have stripping effects on your scalp and hair. The stripping effect may result in your hair becoming too brittle and dry over time. This will not be the case if you use shampoos that do not contain the chemicals.

Most sulfate-free shampoos right now use milder cleaning agents capable of removing daily buildup gently without stripping off the vital nutrients and natural oils of your hair. It may not give you the soapy experience but you know that your aging hair will not suffer from the harshness of sulfates.


Sulfate-free shampoos are generally safe and gentle for aging hair and scalp, so it definitely makes sense for you to switch to using these products. It also helps to pick a sulfate-free shampoo that also has additional conditioning and hydrating ingredients. That way, the product will be more effective in preserving the moisture of your hair even as you get older.