Thursday, 19 January 2012

Going SLS and Silicone Free : Haircare

SLS Free Haircare

After talking to Liloo (@tsunimee) on Twitter about the benefits of SLS and Silicone free hair products, she suggested I write a post about it, and as it’s something I feel strongly about and has changed my routine, I am more than happy to oblige!

Since I was about 12 I have bleached, highlighted and dyed my hair pretty much every colour imaginable, add that to the fact that I used to straighten my hair daily and have a lot of very thick, unruly hair and I’m sure you can imagine that my hair was fairly troublesome. I didn’t really put much thought into what shampoo and conditioner I used, other than picking what was on offer or smelled nice. I didn’t hear anything about SLS (Sodium Laureth/Laurel Sulphates) or Silicones until I started reading blogs.

About a year ago, I had completely had it with my hair. It would become greasy very quickly, my scalp was irritated and sore (and at time it would get so irritated it bled) and dandruff was a regular irritation. At first I tried using harsher medicated products, which worked for a while, but eventually my hair and scalp would return to the same awful condition.

I had read a lot about the SLS and how harsh it is on skin, although it is the foaming agent found in almost every shampoo, shower gel and face wash on the market it is actually a skin irritant. Often brands that market themselves as being kind to skin (Simple and Sanex I’m looking at you!) still included the ingredient.

I was willing to give anything a go at this point, so I marched myself to Boots and bought a Naked Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used most of the Naked range, but my favourite is the Mild Shampoo for Sensitive Scalps. If you want to try one of the Naked Shampoos, I would recommend either this or the one for Coloured hair as both have fairly unoffending scents ( the Coloured Shampoo smells quite nice, the Mild smells quite herbal, but is fairly undetectable in use) and aren’t stripping. A couple of the shampoos in the range I have found to be too stripping, particularly the Anti – Dandruff one, but none have irritated my scalp.

I always tend to double shampoo with Naked shampoos, they foam up a lot better on the second wash. I’ll use a small amount to quickly go over my hair, rinse it then shampoo properly. I find this gives me the results I want and enough foam to think that it’s actually cleaning my hair.

As for Silicone, if your hair is feeling weighed down, or gets greasy really easily, it could be that you have product build up from all the silicone in your conditioner. Most people’s automatic reaction to product build up is to use an SLS heavy stripping shampoo, and follow up with more conditioner. It’s a vicious circle!

Silicones are the ingredient that give you conditioner slip and make it feel like your hair is instantly softer. It seems to me that a lot of brands use silicone as it gives the consumer ‘instant gratification’ and will lead them to repurchase it.

My conditioner of choice is The Body Shop’s Banana Conditioner (£4) which I find to be very moisturising without making my hair greasy. It has a very thick consistency, and doesn’t have a lot of slip to it so you will need to massage it in properly. It smells amazing, like foam bananas, and the smell really brightens my day. As it lacks the slip that you might be used to the temptation is to use more than you need, but there is no need to if you work it into the hair.

There are other brands that favour natural ingredients, and if you want to spend a bit more money Liz Earle Shampoo and Condtioner’s are gorgeous, and retail at £8.00 (link) and L’oreal will soon be releasing a range that is free from nasties. If you are having any sort of problems with you hair or especially your scalp, trying a more gentle way of shampoo and conditioning might be the way to go.

Do you use SLS/Silicones? Have you recently gone SLS/Silicone free? Share your experiences!


  1. Silicone is particularly bad for your hair if your straighten it too as it burns your hair from the inside out (or so my hairdresser said)
    I've been using the Organix shampoo and conditioner lately and some of those are silicone and sulphate free. I've posted about hair a few times on my blog!

    1. I'll have to check those out! Are they expensive?

  2. loved loved reading your story and how you turned sls and silicone free.
    I had no idea that 'hair turning greasy quickly' would one of the consequences of using sls products. You really tempted me to try one of the naked products to use every now and then instead of a sls shampoo. I am not ready to go totally sls free yet but I think I should treat my locks, or give them some rest at least once a month. Oh and I could totally eat that banana conditioner haha xx
    thank you for sharing your story.
    liloo/@tsunimee xx

    1. Everytime I use the banana conditioner I get the urge to go buy a bag of foam bananas!
      It's worth a try, the Naked products are also 2 for £6 quite often at Boots. Their hair mask is amazing and definitely worth a try as well!