Another thing I was curious about was if there's really any difference whether my shampoo costs €3 or €20? Obviously, there's a difference in price, but are they really any different in terms of effectiveness and ingredients?
So, I decided to do some research and found that there's actually a really easy and foolproof way to tell whether a shampoo is good, bad or just basic - a detergent.
The Most Common Detergents Used In ShampoosSulfates are the most common detergents which almost every shampoo lists second after water. Look up the ingredient list of a shampoo you are currently using - there's a big chance you'll find one or two of these ingredients in it:
There's a lot mixed information available online about these ingredients, but I choose to believe what CosDNA and Paula's Choice say over random webpages. According to these websites the most harsh sulfate out there that can really irritate and dry out both your hair and skin is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is somewhat milder and is actually the most common sulfate used in shampoos & shower gels. It's an inexpensive yet effective foaming agent that can be found in both: cheap drugstore brands as well as in fancy LUSH products. So ultimately every shampoo containing SLES is just basic - it does clean your hair very well, but it's not actually good for it's health in the long run.
First of all, you should avoid all shampoos including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). That is fairly easy to do, since it's not that commonly used. However, if you’re used to using harsh shampoos, it may take some time for your hair to adapt to the gentler formula. You may even find yourself thinking that sulfate-free shampoos don't wash your hair as well, but in reality your hair is just used to producing more oil because of SLS.
Next step would be to avoid SLES, which is going to be much more difficult. As I already said it's very common and used in most shampoos, so if you're going to buy a shampoo with SLES in it, there really isn't much difference whether you get a 3€ Syoss shampoo or a more expensive one, because in the end neither is actually beneficial to your hair.
Shampoos containing SLS and SLES are both, however, super effective at removing product buildup, so you might want to keep one around if you use a lot of hair styling products.
Lastly, the best thing you could probably do, would be to avoid sulfates completely, but I personally haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet. However, I do think it's good to know which sulfates are less harsh than other.
I also came to a conclusion that you should only splurge on a shampoo if it is, in fact, sulfate-free. Here are some sulfate-free shampoos that are currently on my radar:
Which shampoo are you currently using?