Hair Product Ingredients (Sulphate & Parabens) - What's Good & Bad? - AMR Hair & Beauty

Hair Product Ingredients (Sulphate & Parabens) - What's Good & Bad?

Feb 02, 2018Tako Phanoraj

In this article we will look at the role sulphates and parabens play in hair care products and whether you should try to avoid them.

What Is "Sulphate Free" and How Can You Benefit From It?

Do you ever wonder why:

  • your hair itches after you freshly washed it the night before?
  • your fresh hair colour keeps fading after just three washes?
  • no matter what you use to smooth out your curls it still looks like a frizzy mess?
  • even though you keep shampooing your hair, it still feels limp and lifeless and even more prone to breakage?

The cause of all these peculiar things may be due to the kind of shampoo that you are using. And it may come down to one particular ingredient in them called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate or just Sulphate for short.

What are sulphates?

You may have heard the term "sulphate" thrown around often and advertised frequently, but not actually know what the word means. 

Sulphates are additives used to cleanse the hair and scalp by lifting the dirt, grit and grime off the surface of the hair as well as the scalp. This is what makes the bubbles and suds appear in your shampoo to give us that squeaky clean fresh feeling, and therefore is one of the distinct things that differentiates itself from the trusty old conditioner.

Too much sulphate can be damaging to your hair and your skin if you are:

  • prone to skin or scalp sensitivity
  • have coloured hair
  • have coarse hair
  • have dry and damaged hair
  • have curly hair

However, sulphates in moderation are fine. As long as you use a small amount of shampoo, no more than a 20 cent piece depending on how long and thick your hair is.

If you have a lob, a bob or pixie cut kind of hairstyle, use a little bit less than of a 20 cent coin.

And without further ado for the few of you who have any of the above issues please read on below to see what sulphate-free shampoo will suit you best to give your hair the lustre and health that it deserves.

Sulphate Free Shampoo For COLOURED HAIR

If you have coloured hair then use this sulphate free shampoo to protect your newly coloured tresses to make that colour last longer with every wash.


Front of 18 in 1 nourishing hair care bottle (500ml size)


18 in 1 Nourishing Shampoo is Australian-owned and made and is cruelty-free. As the name of the bottle states, this bottle has 18 attributes of revitalising and replenishing qualities for your hair just in one sweet bottle.

This will keep your hair looking good as new to feel like an intense wash but still maintain the vibrancy of the colour.

18 in 1 also has colour ranges specialised for blondes. This range helps to eliminate unwanted brassy tones from the hair, without drying it. It's one of the only blonde shampoos on the market that will prevent drying out your hair and reduce frizz.

Sulphate Free Shampoo For DAMAGED HAIR

For sufferers of dry and damaged hair, these sulphate-free shampoos are the ones for you.

SO (Salon Only) Repairing Shampoo works on multidimensional levels to penetrate into the hair cuticle and all areas of the hair cortex treating and restructuring stressed and damaged hair.

The sulphate-free and paraben-free shampoo contains ingredients of Australian native Quandong and Kakadu Plum extracts which contain a potent combination of Vitamin C and antioxidants in repairing and restoring hair smoothness, extra elasticity, nourishing dryness and shine to damaged and coloured hair all the while gently cleansing it. Leaving the hair feeling softer, brighter and healthier, this product is also proudly Australian-made and owned.


Vitafive CPR Nourish bottle - Hydra soft


Vitafive CPR Nourish Hydrasoft Shampoo hydrates soften and repairs dry, damaged, dull and brittle hair. Essential proteins and moisture are used to replenish and repair the hair.

The product is a professional strength formulation that restores hair to become conditioned, shiny, beautiful and strong. The shampoo is safe to be used on keratin-straightened hair or hair extensions and is also Australian-made and cruelty-free.


Sulphate Free Shampoo For CURLY HAIR

Keep the frizz at bay with these amazing products to combat and manage your curls.


Vitafive CPR Frizz Control shampoo bottle


Vitafive CPR Frizzy Control Shampoo is a great sulphate-free shampoo solution to control that frizz. Gentle cleansing ingredients with the likes of Botanical actives like Quinoa, Licorice Root, Keratin, Wheat Proteins added with pH 5.5-6.5 do the job for deeper cortex penetration and for a smoother controlled hairstyle to maintain and regulate the frizziness and curls.

This shampoo eliminates the frizz without it feeling weighed down and reduces hair breakage up to 80%, protects against humidity and adds gloss. This is safe to use on coloured curly hair as well as keratin-straightened hair and hair extensions.

What are Parabens and are they safe?

There seems to be a lot of confusion among people around parabens. Many people perceive them to be bad or harmful without understanding how they are used and the benefits they can sometimes offer.

We will cover what parabens are, a brief history and an explanation of misinformation. We'll also look to see if they really are safe, what standards need to be met and what chemists and other professionals think.

By allowing yourself to truly understand parabens in hair care, you can offer better-suited products to your clients, without completely eliminating paraben products.

What are Parabens?

Let start by saying that parabens were first used in the 1920s. They can be found naturally or be man-made.

Parabens are a preservative used in a formula to help prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mould inside the packaging, which helps to prolong the shelf life of the products. This also protects the end-user, as we are not using a contaminated product on our hair, which could cause harm to us.

May I point out that parabens are not only used in personal care, but they are also preservatives used in the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industry?

Why the bad press on parabens?

Way back in 2004 the University of Reading, UK was conducting research into parabens. The scientist took a biopsy of a breast tumour and found that there were parabens inside the tissue. This became their theory to state that parabens can increase the risk of breast cancer.

That study has been widely criticised by their peers which pointed out that the researchers did not carry out tests on healthy breast tissues to determine if there were parabens present.

Also, questions were asked about the use of cleaning products used on the equipment to carry out the test. Were the cleaning products paraben-free? This was just one of the many questions that have been asked. Without a properly controlled test environment and control, you can't accurately record fair data and get reliable results.

Unfortunately, all the negative publicity that parabens receive stems from studies like this. Also, be mindful that not all parabens are the same, due to sharing the same name, they are all put into the same basket. People often hear bad things about sulphates in haircare too and are quick to judge when they are actually fine for most people.


Are parabens safe in your hair care products?

Yes, they are one of the most studied ingredients in the cosmetic industry. Independent experts in Europe and the USA have conducted safety assessments on the different types of parabens to confirm their safety.

The European Union suggest a maximum total concentration allowed in consumer products is 8 grams of parabens per kilogram of the cosmetic product. Also, with no single paraben having a higher concentration than 4 grams per 1 kilogram.

The ASEAN Cosmetic Committee (ACC) Statement on Parabens had this to say; parabens are, non-irritating and non-sensitizing to individuals with normal skin.

However, parabens can cause contact dermatitis in individuals who are sensitive to parabens, which is a very small percentage of the general population.

There have been reports on the use of underarm cosmetics containing parabens and possible links to breast cancer. The European Commission's Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) has issued an official statement confirming that there is no evidence of any risk of breast cancer caused by using underarm cosmetics, including those that contain parabens.

ASEAN Regulatory Authorities and ASEAN Cosmetics Association (ACA) will continue to review and monitor closely any emerging safety data related to the use of parabens in cosmetic products and will take appropriate action when necessary, to protect the health and welfare of consumers.

Regulatory authorities from around the world have independently reviewed the chemical in cosmetics and found them to be safe. Organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the NHS and the American Cancer Society all state that a link cannot be made between parabens and breast cancer.

How else are parabens used?

Parabens are also used for preservation in some foods, include beer, sauces, desserts, soft drinks, jams, pickles, frozen dairy products, processed vegetables, and flavouring syrups. Blueberries are one of my favourite fruits that naturally contain them. Some medications also use them as preservatives.

If you choose to buy paraben free or sulphate free hair products you can do so with AMR and delivery is available Australia-wide! 

Share your experiences with us in the comments below. 

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