What Is Sodium-Free Shampoo?

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  • Written By: S. Reynolds
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2018
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Sodium-free shampoo does not contain harsh chemicals like sodium laurel sulfates (SLS). Most commercial shampoos and hair care products contain sodium chemicals that strip hair of essential oils, potentially causing dryness and scalp irritation. For some people, shampoos that contain sodium laurel sulfates dry the hair too much, leading to frizziness, flyaways, and breakage. For these individuals, a sodium-free shampoo can be a better option.

People can also develop allergies to shampoos that contain sulfates or other sodium-based chemicals. A chemical-free shampoo generally does not cause the same kind of skin irritation, and it does not remove as much oil on the scalp. If used frequently, a sodium-free shampoo leaves the hair and scalp much more moisturized, which tames frizziness. Some people dislike sodium-free hair products because they do not create as much lather on the scalp. Studies show that excessive bubbles do not indicate a high level of cleanliness, however, although many people assume that it does.

Instead of adding man-made sulfates to shampoos, manufacturers use glycerine by-products instead. Glycerine is a natural ingredient derived from vegetable or animal oils. Since they are so mild and do not cause irritation, many baby hair care products use them in place of sulfates. They do not irritate the eyes, which is why they are advertised for babies and children.


Hair products absorb into the skin, so some people find that traditional commercial shampoos irritate the scalp. People with severe allergies to sulfates may have symptoms like red, itchy scalps; dizziness; blurry vision; and hives. These people may find relief by switching to a sodium-free shampoo and sodium-free conditioner.

Shampoos advertised as "all-natural" usually contain ingredients like essential oils and plant oils for fragrance and moisture. In contrast, shampoos with sulfates often have synthetic scents and moisturizers. It is important for people to read the ingredients list to make sure there are no chemicals in the product if they are looking to buy a natural product.

Sodium-free shampoo and other all-natural hair care products are also typically safer for the environment, as they do not contain synthetic chemicals. The downsides are that all-natural hair products are usually more expensive and can leave the hair feeling slightly greasy. They also tend to expire faster than commercial hair products; since they do not contain preservatives, the ingredients lose their potency faster than chemical-based products.



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