Sulfates are a detergent or if you want to use the fancy term, they are a "surfactant". They are regularly used in the formulation of shampoo.
If you have very oily hair or if your hair has a massive amount of product build up, they are okay to use. Almost every shampoo that is commercially available, however, contains sulfate.
"Greasy" or oily hair is a common problem for white folk but black people tend to have the opposite problem, dry hair, so the omnipresence of sulfate containing shampoos can present a bit of a challenge!
Why are sulfates bad for natural black hair?
If you go for a sulfate-free shampoo you will be better able to retain moisture and this in itself will promote better growth of hair and better length retention.
That said, not all sulfate-free shampoos are made equal.
Some manufacturers combine so many surfactants into one shampoo making it more harsh than a sulfate-containing one - sigh.
Read this for tips on how to shop for a shampoo.
Queen of Kinks "Wash Me, Don't Strip Me!" Sulfate-Free Shampoo is designed to clean your hair without stripping it of all the amazing natural oils.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward