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Let's Talk About Sulfates and Silicones

Paris, France Hey there,

For about two years now, I've been very careful with what I use on my body. It all started back in Ireland, where I learnt everything about Sulfates and Silicones, and their effects. Back then, I was really trying hard to take care of my hair, and I was doing a lot of research to understand what products were good and what products were not for already damaged hair. Now, I'm sure there's a million reasons why sulfates, parabens, silicones and all that jazz are bad for you, your skin, body hair etc. However, I decided to focus on their effects on hair and skin, to
highlight my personal experience with those substances. 

First of all, what are sulfates and silicones ? Don't worry, I'll spare you from the so complicated scientific definition you can find on Wikipedia. 

Sulfates are basically very strong and not organic cleansers. They give the foaming effects to shampoo, which seem not so bad until you realize that sulfates is also present in detergents you use to clean your house with. If sulfate is a great cleanser, it gives the effect of a soft cleansing when in fact it's a very agressive one. Indeed, sulfate is well known for drying out hair, as well as damaging and being an allergen.  

When used with Silicones, Sulfate is even worst. Silicones are non biodegradable materials used in shampoo, conditioner and other hair products, as well as makeup. They provide shine and help when you try to straighten your hair or have a smooth effect. When used in makeup it also gives a shiny, smooth and fluid effects. However, Silicones are not natural substances and they are similar to plastic. They may give the illusion of shine, but in reality they are simply damaging and slowly killing your hair. It's like you're rubbing plastic around your hair. They make your hair and skin suffocate. 

Real shine comes with hydratation. Silicones and Sulfates provide everything but hydratation, and when I say everything, I mean nothing. They have a dryer effect, especially on curly hair! Silicones and Sulfates build layers and layers to the hair strands, preventing from good substances, like nutrients, to penetrate in the hair. Making it even more difficult to clean the hair, and get rid of the bad substances. Silicones and sulfates also enable an endless damage cycle. When you use those substances, your hair feels heavy and greasy, not shiny, and when your hair feels gross, you tend to use more products on it, and spend more time styling it, leaving your hair even more damaged and gross, so you'll wash them again with sulfates and silicones, repeating the cycle. 

So how do you know there're sulfates or silicones in your product ? Well it's hard to know... Unless you're patient enough to study very clearly and methodically the list of ingredients of your products. Because of course, you'll never find the name silicones in the list, it would be too easy! Silicones take its form in Dimethicone and any other name that ends with -cone or -xane. Sulfates on the other hand are much easier to identify, because it keeps its name on the list. 

As I said I started using sulfates and silicones-free products almost two years ago. I first started with Lush hair care products, until I realized that some of their products actually contained a very small amount of silicones. Even though they can assure you that it's not harmful for the hair or skin, I simply decided to stop using Lush hair care products. I now use Alterna, and Leonor Grey, which are very expensive but really effective. However, they are a few brand that offer a range of sulfates-free and silicones-free product such as Klorane, Living Proof, Kielh's, Bumble and Bumble, Macadamia etc. 

Since I stopped using products that contain sulfates and silicones, I've noticed some changes in my hair. First of all, my hair was very dry when I first started using those products, because it took a lot of time to get rid of the sulfates and silicones in my hair. It felt dry under water, dry when it was drying, hard to comb etc. That was just temporary. After a month my hair was feeling a lot better, very smooth, shiny, and a lot less greasy. 

When it comes to my skin, I recently found out that my brand new loving concealer (Urban Decay Naked concealer) had silicones in it. Of course, I noticed it after using it for a month, and after the breakouts were well set-up on my face. Now I'm in the process of cleaning my face, and washing the silicones off of it, so I can get rid of the blemishes. Turns out a lot of makeup actually contain silicones, especially concealer, and makeup base, so if you want a life free of silicones, be careful, and look out for all those -cone and -xane.

I hope you found this post useful, let me know if you did.  

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I'll see you soon,



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