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How Sulfates Mess With Your Colored Hair


There has been a lot of controversy mulling around lately about sulfates - particularly in your shampoo. Have you noticed those little labels on your bottle that say 'sulfate free?' If you've got colored hair (and we're guessing that there's a good chance you do, since you're hanging out with us), you're probably already up on this trend.


Originally under attack for being cancer-causing, sulfates are basically a cheap detergent that give a heavier lather to inexpensive shampoos. According to other reports (and a little heresay), we also know that sulfates are supposed to dry your hair out faster, manhandle your curls in to an extra frizzy state, and fade your colored hair like mad.


The recent question on everyone's mind is this: Is any of this even true?


Sulfate shampoos have been all over the market and have recently become even trendier along a "the fewer chemicals the better" line of logic. It makes sense - we're certainly big believers in fewer chemicals and more organic materials here at oVertone.


Some "hair experts" have said in interviews over the past year or so that there's not any actual evidence to back these claims up.


Side note: How does one receive the title "hair expert?" I will now officially knight myself with the title of hair expert until someone tells me otherwise. And when/if they do, I am likely to ignore them.


Ahem..... back to evidence. I don't know about any of you, but I consider the hair on my head to be enough evidence for me, and I almost always experiment on my own hair before making any theoretical claims. Liora does, too, and in the earliest of the oVertone days, we started by testing our product on ourselves.


I've used all kind of shampoos - the kind with sulfates, the kind without, the kind that lather, the kind that don't lather at all, the kind for color-treated hair, and the ultra moisturizing kind made especially for curls. After all of that, I can definitively say that in my experience, shampoo formulas with sulfates DO mess with your 'do. It will strip your color faster and dry it out like crazy. I'm originally from a way more humid place and am currently living in the desert, so my strands need an extra boost of moisture to keep things in line.


Third-party research or not, here's what I avoid based on the research I've done on my own head:

  • Shampoos with sulfates
  • Anything that contains the word 'clarifying'
  • Shampoos marketed as being 'not too heavy' 


All of the guys listed here will strip your color. Especially if you're pre-lightening your hair, coloring it, and/or damaging it on a regular basis with heat styling, you want a moisturizing shampoo without sulfates. 


Got some thoughts about your shampoo? Let us know what you like (or hate) at @oVertoneColor.