When it comes to controversial ingredients I try to stay on the fence as much as possible until I have the facts. It seems like every other week there’s a new killer ingredient that we need to be looking out for. Whilst I like to attempt keeping things as natural as possible, it doesn’t help that many leading scientists don’t seem to agree on some ingredients. Admitting that your product contains parabens for example, is pretty much akin to conjuring lucifer, yet many scientists agree that it’s pretty likely parabens are safe. Of course if you want to be cautious labelling these days means there’s nowhere to hide and whilst huge corporations gloss over things with their ad talk, you have the power to flip over the bottle and read an itemised list of everything in there. I highly recommend Colin’s blog if you want to know more about specific ingredients but don’t know where to begin. He’s a cosmetic scientist and I’ve learned a lot from his site, even if sometimes that knowledge is “we aren’t sure yet.”
Why am I talking about ingredients? Well sulphates have been used as a negative buzzword for a while now, with manufacturers pushing their ‘kinder’ sulphate-free shampoo on us promising healthier locks. I was cynical. I flirted briefly with co-washing when I lived in Spain but I love a bit of lather. Sodium laureth sulphate, which is in pretty much every product that foams, is the ingredient that gives us that lather. We have become so used to looking for it in ingredients lists that we often have the wool pulled over our eyes by companies giving us shampoos free of this ingredient, but laced with a cousin of good old SLS. Whilst this ingredient may make your scalp slightly more dry, I’ve lived for 28 happy years without that causing me a problem, and so long as there are no health concerns, I was happy to continue using sulphates. Colin has a great post here if you’d like to read more yourself, but in short, since they cause me no issues and don’t appear to be unsafe, I wouldn’t be rushing to buy a sulphate-free shampoo in a hurry.
Then I tried Pureology, specifically their Hydrate system. I put off trying this for the longest time. It isn’t cheap, and I was pretty sure I was going to love it, which would signal the end of days for my wallet since I go through shampoo and conditioner like crazy. After months though, I couldn’t ignore the rave reviews it got from my friend Caroline, and I took the plunge. It is to date the absolute best shampoo and conditioner combo I have ever used. I tried to go on in life without it and tested other brands, but nothing was the same and I caved the other day and bought more. The shampoo lasts me quite a long time and I can get away with using a far smaller amount of conditioner than with other brands – I sometimes feel like I need to pile it on just to stop my hair knotting but the Pureology leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean and weightlessly hydrated. It’s good stuff.
Why did I ramble about ingredients for so long? Well I don’t want you to think that the performance of this duo is really anything to do with the fact that it is ‘sulphate free’ – the shampoo clearly has other foaming agents because it works itself into one of the richest lathers in the world. It works for me because it is a really well formulated product which is a pleasure to use. I’ve tried other low-sulphate/”sulphate-free” combos in an effort to replicate this at a more wallet-friendly level but nothing matched up, even the L’Oreal Ever Pure which I had high hopes for. Right now this duo are the closest I’ve come to perfection, with their minty scent and swish-inducing good hair days. I feel like my colour lasts a little bit longer with them but that could be in my head because of the OMG SULPHATE FREE spiel.
In short, question ingredients, do a little googling, and have a little think about why the same companies that have been peddling sulphates for years suddenly start selling sulphate free versions alongside their current stock. If we are all suddenly terrified of an ingredient we will run out and spend more cash! Read Colin’s blog, it’s great, and if you’re in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner, try Pureology. It’s lovely.
This month’s Gold Sponsor is Argania Hair Oil – available at Boots this range is the perfect way to pamper your locks.
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