I’ve been loving the Illumai Biome Haircare System, a truly unique trio of products designed to restore your hair’s natural balance and luster.
Check out my review here and enter to win below!
The one downfall to going for all-natural and sodium lauryl sulfate free haircare is that you just don’t get that soapy, lathery, squeaky clean feeling. Now, technically, we don’t want our hair to be squeaky clean — that means we’ve stripped it of the natural oils that keep it luscious and hydrated. But for those who use lots of product on their hair, an occasional squeaky clean wash that gets rid of all that built up gunk on the hair and scalp can do wonders for bringing back some serious shine and luster.
In my experience, there are two ways to get squeaky clean hair, without resorting to all those chemical-laden products we used to use.
A raw apple cider vinegar hair rinse was one of the first hair DIY’s I ever bravely concocted, and it has never let me down. By now, we all know the magic of raw apple cider vinegar as an amazing tonic for health, digestion, and skin, but it’s uses for hair are just as potent. Due to it’s acidity and high levels of natural alpha-hydroxy acid, ACV is amazing for clearing the hair and scalp of built up product, oils, and dirt, and balancing the pH of hair. This leads to squeaky clean hair that is balanced, shiny, and luscious, without over-drying.
As soon as my formerly blond hair starting turning less-than-blond in the 5th grade, so began my lifelong affair with hair lightening. First it was Sun In (that early-90’s peroxide spray that gave us all beachy sun-streaked hair), then at-home highlights done by my mom, and then later all those professional highlights done 2-3 times a year for the last 20 years. Needless to say, my hair has been through a lot. I’ve spent years searching for the perfect remedy for damaged hair that will save my fried locks. And clearly I refuse to let my hair go natural — oh the non-blond horror!!
Over the years, I’ve developed a routine for healing thirsty, damaged hair — it’s not perfect (there’s no way to completely mitigate the damage from color-treating, especially bleaching, and especially for already dry hair types like mine), but it does turn dry, frizzy locks into more luscious, hydrated hair!
Sodium lauryl sulfate and it’s cousin, sodium laureth sulfate, are sneaky emulsifying ingredients found in almost everything designed for cleaning: soaps, shampoos, body wash, dish detergents, toothpastes, and more. They are basically what causes a product to lather. Although the scientific community is, as always, late to the game when funding research into exactly how dangerous these chemicals are, the International Journal of Toxicology recommends a concentration of no more than 1% in regularly used products. Unfortunately, the concentrations in most beauty and cleaning products are upwards of 20%.
SLS has been linked to skin, eye, and scalp irritation, issues with eye development in children, and hormonal imbalance. Less extreme, but equally annoying, haircare products with SLS have been linked to dry, frizzy hair, and even hair loss! SLES, though less of an irritant, is often contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.
So I personally choose not to wait for the scientific community to fund more research, while we wait and slather on this harmful substance on a daily basis. I’ve gone totally SLS-free.
The one downfall of switching to SLS-free products is that you can lose some of that lathery goodness that makes you feel oh-s0-clean. I’m not gonna lie, I like a good lather, so I set out to find some awesome natural products that still lather up and clean like champs, but without the toxic after effects.