So you've decided to make the switch to a sulfate-free shampoo. Congrats! Committing to being sulfate-free is a big step and your hair and scalp are going to thank you for it.
There are many benefits of going sulfate free - you'll likely experience a reduction in frizz and oiliness, not to mention your scalp will feel much less irritated. You'll be able to spend less time and money maintaining your 'do, and more on doing what you love!
But what is the journey to becoming sulfate-free going to look like? You know about the eventual payoff, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Results take time! What should you expect as your hair and scalp adjust to a gentler formula?
First of all, washing with a sulfate-free formula is a different sensory experience. To get a great wash from a sulfate-free product, you'll need to follow a few basic steps.
Note: You might notice that your sulfate-free formula doesn't foam up as much as sulfate-based ones. This is totally normal! While bubbles are fun, they're not absolutely necessary for a great shampooing experience. You'll find that you'll be able to get a bit more lather by adding a little extra water as you massage your scalp.
And that's it! You've just completed your first sulfate-free wash. Nice job! Dry your hair using your preferred method and get going with your day!
Okay, fast forward a bit. You're out and about, doing your thing, but you're noticing something odd - your hair isn't looking so squeaky clean. It feels oily at the roots, like you didn't just wash it this morning. Don't worry - this is absolutely normal and very common! Your hair is going through an adjustment period as it adapts to your new, sulfate-free regimen.
If you're like most Americans, you've been using sulfate-based products for years. They're cheap and readily available - you'll find them in nearly every name-brand drugstore shampoo and body wash (as well as in many industrial cleaning products - yuck!) They're very, very powerful cleaning agents, and your scalp has learned to over-produce natural oils in order to fight back and keep your hair balanced.
You know that you've ditched the sulfates, but your scalp hasn't gotten the message yet. It needs a little bit of time to adjust to your new routine. You're helping your hair break a years-old habit of over producing oil. Like breaking any bad habit, this process might take a little patience! Whatever you do, don't return to a sulfate-based formula as your hair is adjusting. It can be tempting to throw in the towel (pun intended) and wash with your old products but this will only reset the clock on your sulfate-free transition.
If you're experiencing an oily scalp, it usually takes 6 washes with a sulfate-free formula to successfully transition. Use this time to explore exciting new up-dos or break out that fedora you bought on a whim last summer! You'll find the transition to be absolutely worth it.
All this being said, every head of hair is unique. You may not experience any greasiness at all (yay!), or you might need a full 6 washes to adjust. Either way, as long as you follow these easy sulfate-free wash instructions you'll begin to see why going sulfate-free is all the rage. You'll never want to go back!
The Formulate Team