Last Friday, I purchased The Body Shop’s Rainforest Radiance Shampoo and Conditioner. Before buying them I did my research and I found that sulphate is a strong cleaning chemical which is used in many industrial products, such as car shampoo, engine degreaser and floor cleaners. Ew. It’s also completely synthetic and is usually in the form of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). It is what causes your shampoo to lather and go all bubbly. Because it is a harsh synthetic compound it strips out hair colour, can irritate the skin, leaves the scalp dry, can cause hair breakage, causes frizziness and can cause hair to go grey earlier! So really, why would you want to use this on your hair?
How can you tell if your shampoo contains sulphates? It’s simple, all you need to do is check the ingredients! Generally, the second ingredient on the list is a sulfate, but skim the first few lines just to make sure.
Does conditioner contain sulphates? They shouldn’t! As sulphate is a cleansing agent, they should only be in your shampoo, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
In comparison, a sulphate free shampoo is more expensive that the cheapest shampoos available, but at £4.50 a bottle, The Body Shop’s Rainforest range isn’t any more expensive than most mid-range shampoo products, such as Aussie. These have the benefit of being made from natural ingredients which will help to restore hair’s natural balance. When switching to sulphate free shampoo, people often find their hair goes greasy really quickly and give up on it, but that’s because the hair is used to being too dried out from the sulphates in most shampoos, so produce oil to compensate. Given a week or two, it should get used to the new product and stop over producing oil.
Why did I pick The Body Shop’s Rainforest Radiance Shampoo? There aren’t many sulphate free shampoos widely available on the high street and I didn’t want to pay a lot of money, despite wanting to get an organic product which was better for my hair. I did find a couple of alternatives in Boots, such as this Naked range, which is priced about the same as The Body Shop, and also the L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise range, which is a couple of pounds more expensive. In the end though, it came down to two things – value and smell. All three of these shampoos are well reviewed online, so I just bought what was on offer to get started, which happened to be The Body Shop. Then from the Rainforest range, I chose by smelling them in store and I really liked the scent of the Radiance products, plus the label says they’re formulated for coloured hair,which is perfect for me. There’s more types available in the Rainforest range which tackle different problems.
Sorry for the long introduction/mini essay! Haha, hopefully you found that interesting, I just wanted to share my new found knowledge with you all so you can understand why I switched and what products are available. Now onto the product itself:
I like to wash my hair in the evening and the day I got the shampoo happened to be a wash day for me, so I used the shampoo the day I bought it. I tend to wash my hair every 2-3 days – usually 3 because I use dry shampoo to prolong time between washing to help my dye last longer. I think I probably used slightly too much, as I expected it to spread and lather and when it didn’t added more extra to the ends than I meant to. It worked through well and rinsed out well, I just think the lack of lather will take a little getting used to. After, I finished up the last bit of my Aussie 3 Minute Miracle and when I was out the shower applied my argan oil as normal. Then I left it to dry naturally overnight.
First thoughts: Did it stop colour from leaving my hair? No, but I had used a conditioner mixed with cream dye on my previous wash, so that’s to be expected. No more colour than normal left my hair though. Once it was dry, my hair was left feeling incredibly soft! I think the natural oils in the shampoo were working their magic straight away and I was hopeful it wouldn’t go greasy too quickly, but I expected it would. Overall, a promising start.
After 24 hours, it was starting to look greasy, especially in the fringe. But I had been on a bouncy castle at a friends birthday party during the day so had been fiddling with my hair a lot.
My hair was slightly greasy from the day before, so I put some dry shampoo on it and went to work. It looked fine after the freshen up, but it was hot in work and I don’t like using dry shampoo two days in a row so I washed it again that evening. This time I used the rainforest radiance conditioner too.
Days Three & Four:
Having left my hair to dry naturally overnight again, my hair was nice and soft. Not as soft as using the more intensive conditioner but that’s to be expected. The scent of the shampoo and conditioner together lasted quite well and my hair was fairy shiny. My hair was looking okay in the evening but the next morning the dry shampoo was needed again. I then washed it again that evening, this time using my Schwarzkopf Ultime hair mask (review to come!). When using the shampoo, I managed to get much more of a lather than I had previously. The bottle says to mix it with some water in your hands before applying to build the lather, but this time I forgot and just stuck it on my head. As my hair is thick it holds a lot of water so I think that’s why. Or maybe it’s because my parents had the plumber round and got the water pressure for the shower sorted out! The better pressure also meant rinsing my hair out was a lot easier so I was hopeful that my hair wouldn’t go greasy after 24 hours again.
After 48 hours, my hair was only just starting to look a bit greasy in the fringe – yay! I had straightened and then used hair spray on my hair the day before too, which I had been avoiding as I thought extra products would make the grease worse. Little bit annoying that I can’t be sure if the greasiness has been from my hair adjusting to the shampoo or the lack of water pressure, but at least my hair is back to it’s normal routine. Even the day after washing it’s nice and soft and has some shine to it.
I could have just dry shampooed my hair as it was only slightly greasy in the roots and fringe, despite the hair spray. It was less greasy than it would have been before sulphate shampoo at this stage! I decided to wash it as I was off to the hair dressers and I like to get it cut when wet. My hair dresser was surprised at how much my hair has grown in the last 6 weeks and it’s in much better condition than it was a few months ago. I don’t think I can put that down to a week using this shampoo, but it’s a good sign that it’s not doing anything bad to my hair!
Thanks to the dodgy water pressure at my house, I can’t be 100% sure as to whether or not switching shampoo was what was making my hair go so greasy, but it is an expected side affect. Considering I could have not washed my hair on day seven, I am hopeful that switching may mean I can stretch out the time between washes by another day. I’m going to keep up my hair diary for another week to keep you all updated on how it’s going! So far, I am pleased I made the switch, as I think it is being kinder to my hair, making it softer and shinier after just one week.
Would you switch to sulphate free shampoo?