“Sulphate-free” or “SLS-free” is a phrase you have probably seen on numerous bottles in the pharmacy, but what exactly does this mean? SLS (sodium laureth sulphate) is a detergent that is added to almost every cosmetic product we use. Sulphate helps to remove oils and product build-up from our skin or scalp. It also makes products such as shampoo and body wash foam.
Sulphate in shampoo strips the hair of sebaceous oils, sending your hair into overdrive, producing more oils to compensate. This in turn ties you in to a cycle of shampooing to reduce the appearance of greasiness. Numerous studies have shown that the sulphates in cosmetics can cause or exacerbate skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema. Look out for signs such as dry, red patches behind the ears or a dry, flaky scalp.
Elave is an Irish business that has been run up by the Gardiner family since 1934. Its products nestle between leading French brands on the shelves of pharmacies worldwide. They are sulphate-free. The Baby and Junior shampoos are suitable for use by the whole family.
Clare-based company Airmid Natural Irish Skincare has created solid shampoo bars that contain ingredients such as rosemary, wild nettle, lemon and chamomile – but no sulphates.