Products with sulfates have been around for centuries; however, the sulfate-free trend has everyone running away from shampoos that have sulfates in them. Please ease your mind. There is a place in the beauty world for BOTH types of shampoos.
Shampoos with a Sulfate in them work best in the following cases:
1) Neutralizing a chemical relaxer - you want your neutralizing shampoo to have sulfates in it to wash out all the "bad stuff" from the hair.
2) Cleansing hair bleach, hair lightener, or color remover from the hair- you want a deep cleansing shampoo with sulfates to make sure the pigment that you just lifted up is washed away to keep it from going back into the hair. Also, you want to wash out all the "bad stuff" from the hair as well.
3) The first cleansing after a permanent hair color application should be a shampoo with a sulfate in order to wash away any extra "bad stuff" that did not get rinsed out. Only one lather of the shampoo with sulfate is necessary because you want to avoid stripping the haircolor that you just put in. The color sealant and other sulfate-free shampoos can used for the second and third lathers after the permanent haircolor service.
4) Deep cleansing the hair in preparation for a demi-permanent or semi-permanent haircolor with a wet application should be done with a shampoo with sulfates to make sure that their is no product buildup on the hair that would prevent the low-strength haircolor from adhering to the hair.
5) Deep cleansing hair with a lot of oil, grease, and layers of products should be done with shampoos with sulfates until the hair feels free of the excessive slickness. Some finer hair that gets oily quickly should also be cleansed with a shampoo with sulfates to prevent the fine hair from being heavy and limp.
6) Most Keratin treatments or Smoothing Treatments require a shampoo with sulfate in it to prepare the hair to accept the keratin solution.
When to use Sulfate-Free Shampoo?
1) If you are not receiving a chemical service, then sulfate-free shampoo should be the best way to go!
2) If your natural hair does not feel too heavy from product build-up then stick with sulfate-free shampoos until your hair starts to look dull. When the hair begins to look dull, then clarify it with a sulfate shampoo.
3) If you are trying to maintain your haircolor to keep your gray hairs "undercover," then yes, please stick with sulfate-free shampoo to keep the color from fading too quickly.
4) If your hair feels a little dry and brittle, then stick with sulfate-free shampoo to moisturize the hair while cleansing it.
Okay. Simple enough rules- right?