Sans sulfate
Sulfate-free shampoos and treatments

Sulfate-free shampoos and treatments

Sulfates are ubiquitous on ingredient labels. By nature stripping and irritating, they attack the scalp, thus weakening and drying it out. René Furterer has removed sulfates from its formulations to replace them with natural ingredients. Discover sulfate-free shampoos that are more scalp- and health-friendly.

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Find out more about sulfate-free products
Find out more about sulfate-free products

Your shampoo: with or without sulfates?

Controversial and criticized, sulfates are part of those ingredients whose absence reassures us today, though we don't always understand why. Along with silicones and parabens, they form the top three “-free” substances that product labels are proud to do without. After decades of use, sulfates have been removed from all René Furterer formulations in favor of more natural and gentle alternatives.


The different types of sulfates 

As with silicones, there is not one, but many sulfates, and they do not all have the same harmful effect. Sulfates are synthetic substances obtained by a process called sulfation: it is a chemical reaction between sulfuric acid (from sulfur) and a fatty alcohol of plant origin (such as coconut oil).

 There are two main sulfates: SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). The former is responsible for the bad reputation of the whole family. Irritating and stripping by nature, SLS is known for its detergent properties. It is also used outside the field of cosmetics, even in industrial cleaning. SLES, on the other hand, is obtained by ethoxylation, a chemical process that makes fatty acid molecules more soluble in water, and consequently, it is less irritating and less harsh. Nevertheless, the regular and long-term use of shampoos containing sulfates can significantly damage hair quality. 

Why are sulfates dangerous to hair? 

In cosmetics, sulfates are surfactants, which means that they are the major component of the cleansing base of soaps, shower gels, treatments and shampoos. Manufacturers use them a lot in their formulations, because sulfates have a strong foaming, cleansing and degreasing power. They are also inexpensive, which makes it possible to produce shampoos at a lower cost. Sulfates are therefore chemical ingredients that allow the product to lather and produce that feeling of well-washed, clean, soft hair. Also, we have come to believe over time that a foaming product is a guarantee of effectiveness. But the drawback of sulfates is that their cleansing, or even detergent, effect is too strong and when their level in shampoos and treatments is too high, they weaken the scalp. In fact, sulfate is a stripping ingredient: it gets rid of all the dirt but its powerful action irritates and dries out the scalp, since it also removes its precious sebum. In order to combat this imbalance, the scalp starts to produce sebum in large quantities, leading to a vicious circle: hair is oily, so it is washed again, which further disrupts the balance. The hair lengths dry out as the sebum is removed with each shampoo: this leads to itching and dandruff.

Switch to sulfate-free hair products

As with silicones, we must begin by identifying the type of sulfate present in the current formulas. SLS must be avoided; they are becoming increasingly rare anyway due to their high abrasive power. Other sulfates called ALS or SMS must be banned. As for SLES, it all depends on the concentration. In general, products containing SLES have very low doses and are perfectly formulated so as not to cause any irritation.

 Sulfate-free shampoos have numerous benefits. Removing sulfates from your hair care routine is good for both your beauty and your health and protects your hair and skin. Natural ingredients are much better tolerated by the scalp. Sulfate-free shampoos are also recommended for oily hair. They are gentle on the scalp, which will secrete less sebum as it is rebalanced. 

Sulfate-free shampoos: René Furterer’s choice

At René Furterer, we have been working hard on this issue for several years: all our new formulas are sulfate-free. You can still find some ranges with SLES, but their concentration has been reduced below a certain threshold, making them harmless. The safety and high tolerability of these formulas have been proven through our clinical trials performed under dermatological control. In sulfate-free formulas, they have been replaced with surfactants of natural and plant origin such as coco-glucoside, obtained from coconut oil and cassava glucose. Their foam is lighter, but they are effective! And above all, they are gentle on your scalp. After a few weeks of using sulfate-free shampoo, the scalp is soothed and rebalanced. Hair has a better texture, is less oily and is generally healthier.


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