Why You Should Switch to Sulfate-Free Conditioner Bars

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Many hair products you buy at the store are NOT doing your hair service. If your strands have been drab and dry no matter how much you try to moisturize them, the answer might be sulfate-free conditioner. 

Whether you realize it or not, if you’re using store-bought shampoo and conditioner, you’re probably loading a bunch of chemicals on your scalp and hair. And those chemicals can certainly take a toll! 

Sulfates are one of the worst culprits. But what exactly are sulfates? Are they really bad for your hair? If so, why? And could changing to a sulfate-free conditioner bar give you your best hair yet? 

In this post, I’ll talk all about sulfates, and why switching to sulfate-free conditioner is the best choice for most hair types. 

What are sulfates, anyway? 

Sulfates are what make your hair products, skin products, and even your toothpaste lather. At their base form, sulfates are detergents called surfactants that remove excess oil - just like a dish soap would. 

The use of sulfates began in the 1930s, and by the 1950s they were being used in a multitude of products. Even today, sulfates are regularly found in shampoos and conditioners - just check your ingredient labels! 

The most common types of sulfate are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth ether sulfate (SLES). 

In shampoo, the role of these sulfates is to get rid of unwanted dirt and oil on your scalp and hair lengths. In conditioner, sulfates are used to prevent the formula from being too shiny or oily. 

So what’s the big deal with sulfates? And why are so many people switching to sulfate-free conditioner and shampoo?

Well, sometimes, sulfates do their job too well.

Are sulfates bad for your hair? 

When sulfates remove oil and dirt from your hair, it can strip your hair of its natural oils. This can leave your hair dry, frizzy, and easily damaged. Of course, it really comes down to your hair type.

If you have very oily hair naturally, you might like to use hair products with sulfates. But for many of us, sulfates harm more than they help. Anyone with dry, curly, or colored hair will want to steer clear of sulfates for good.  

You’ll also want to avoid sulfates if you have hair extensions. Sulfates can wreak absolute havoc on extensions, since they not only deny the extensions much-needed moisture - they also break down the keratin bonds keeping your extensions in place! 

In addition, sulfates can be irritants - to both your scalp, and the surrounding skin. If you are acne-prone, you might find that shampoo and conditioner with sulfates cause you to break-out along your hairline or back.  

Some people with sensitive skin have even found scalp irritation from sulfates to be so bad that it caused hair thinning and hair loss!

So while sulfates aren’t bad for everyone, they are certainly bad for a large number of people. And if you have been having trouble with your skin or hair, you might want to consider switching to a sulfate-free conditioner. And, in particular, a sulfate-free conditioner bar. 

5 reasons to switch to sulfate-free conditioner bars

As I mentioned above, going sulfate-free is beneficial when your scalp is sensitive, your hair is dry, or you’ve undergone color treatments in the past. And, as long as you know how to use a conditioner bar, switching to sulfate-free conditioner bars can be even better than switching to a liquid sulfate-free conditioner.

Here are some of the reasons to make the switch:

1. They will keep your hair moisturized

Multiracial group of people with different hair types

My natural conditioner bars will give you gorgeous moisture without stripping your hair of its natural oils. This is important for people with naturally dry hair. 

People with curly hair, for example, need all the extra moisture they can get. (Which is why the best shampoo and conditioner bars for curly hair are sulfate-free.) 

The same can be said for people with color treated or chemically-damaged hair. Sulfates are simply too harsh for delicate and damaged hair, and switching to a sulfate-free product will ensure no harm comes to your beautiful strands.  

2. They won’t irritate your scalp

A stack of Bars Over Bottles conditioner bars

If you have a flaky scalp, sensitive skin, or are acne-prone, making the sulfate-free switch can make all the difference. I choose the ingredients of my conditioner bars very carefully to ensure they are hydrating, soothing, balancing - and never irritating!

It’s important to stay away from any harsh chemicals that can exacerbate your skin condition. 

3. They can save you money

One common deterrent from going sulfate-free is the cost. Surfactants are very cheap to produce, so the price-per-bottle is budget friendly. And conversely, if you switch to a  high-quality, natural, clean beauty product, it can have a higher price tag. 

This isn’t really an issue with conditioner bars! Conditioner bars contain very concentrated ingredients, so when comparing a conditioner bar vs liquid conditioner, the conditioner bar will last you two to three times longer on average. 

Because a sulfate-free conditioner bar will last you so much longer, you will actually spend LESS money yearly - for a much healthy and higher-quality product. 

4. They are better for the environment

Eco-friendly beauty products with 'say no to plastic' text on linen cloth

Not only are sulfate-free conditioner bars better for your hair and your wallet, they are also much better for the Planet! 

Plastic pollution is a MASSIVE problem we are facing here on Earth, and since my conditioner bars are 100% plastic-free, switching to a sulfate-free conditioner bar is a simple way to learn how to reduce plastic use. 

On top of that, because my beauty bars are natural, you won’t have to worry about any harmful chemical runoff, either. 

5. They are easy to travel with!

Bars Over Bottles travel tin between a woman's chin and knee

Another great thing about conditioner bars? Because they are solid, they are extremely easy to take on the go! Simply pop them in a travel tin and you are good to go to the gym or an island vacation. 

Best yet, they won’t take up any of your liquid allowance in your carry-on!

So, now that you have some idea why switching to a sulfate-free conditioner bar could be best for you, let’s discuss which product is best for your hair.

The best sulfate-free conditioner bars for every hair type

The best sulfate-free conditioner bar for one person will be different for another - but I have all hair types covered in my conditioner bar collection! Here are my favorite conditioner bars (and who they are best for).

The Moisturizing Conditioner Bar

Bars Over Bottles moisturizing conditioner bar

Looking for the best bar conditioner for fine hair? You’ve found it! My Moisturizing Conditioner Bar is an ultra lightweight conditioner that will keep your hair soft and shiny without weighing it down. 

If you need a little extra life in your locks, or are worried about TOO much moisture after switching to sulfate-free hair products, this gentle conditioner bar could be a great fit for you. 

The Ultra-Moisturizing Conditioner Bar

Bars Over Bottles Ultra-Moisturizing Conditioner Bar

If you have naturally dry hair and are looking for a powerful moisturizer, then my Ultra-Moisturizing Conditioner Bar was made for you! Using shea butter and pracaxi oil, this hydrating hair bar will lock in moisture, reduce frizz, and improve shine.

The Curl Definer & Leave-In Conditioner Bar

Bars Over Bottles Curl Definer & Leave-In Conditioner Bar with box

My Curl Definer & Leave-In Conditioner Bar is the best sulfate-free conditioner bar for curls. As a 2-in-1 product, you can use this conditioner bar as a standard conditioner or as a sulfate-free leave-in-conditioner option.

The mango butter works wonders to moisturize even the coarsest curls, and shikakai oil works as a natural curl memorizer to help your curls stay bouncy and frizz-free. 

This sulfate-free leave-in conditioner bar is also great for people with damaged or chemically treated hair. That’s because the phyto keratin helps to rebuild your strands from the inside out - reinforcing your hair structure all day long.

So, whether you’re looking for a sulfate-free leave-in conditioner, or a lightweight conditioner bar, my collection of natural conditioner bars has something for everyone to celebrate. 

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