“Is my shampoo lathering carcinogens into my scalp every time I wash my hair if it contains sodium lauryl sulfate?” is one of the questions I am most frequently asked. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the detergent most frequently used in shampoos (and even toothpaste).
Consumer Guide Summary:
Sodium lauryl sulfate a high volume synthetic chemical used in consumer products and regulated as a pesticide. A suspected gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, sodium lauryl sulfate can be drying and harsh for the hair and cause eye irritation, allergic reactions, and hair loss. According to the National Toxicology Program, it has shown moderate reproductive effects in experiments. It has not been tested for neurotoxicity.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is not a recognized carcinogen. However, the chemical is frequently combined with TEA (triethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine), or MEA (monnoethanolamine), which can cause the formation of the carcinogenic substances nitrosames. To be on the safe side, add antioxidant vitamins A and C to any product that contains TEA, DEA, or MEA.
The addition of antioxidants will help protect against nitrosamine contamination. For each 8 ounces of shampoo, add 1 teaspoon of vitamin C powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin A powder.
What should you do about buying shampoo? Most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Choosing a soap over a detergent for shampoo is an important decision. Soap and detergent shampoos are not the same thing, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both for your hair. Soap is the purest choice next to using soapy herbs such as soap bark. Howeverand this is a big howeverif you have hard water, soap can cause soap scum, which will dull your hair. Whatever the disadvantages of detergent shampoos, they leave the hair shiny and far from dull.
Detergents are drying to the hair, yet the drawback of using soap instead is for those who don’t like to wash their hair every couple of days: without drying detergents, the scalp’s natural oils are more present.
Here is a recipe for a Basic Herbal Shampoo and Hair Conditioner without sodium lauryl sulfate.
Health food stores increasingly carry brands of shampoos that use herbs and coconut oil soaps as a base. Kiss My Face, Aubrey Organics, Logona, and Real Purity, Inc. are some brands to look for.