The hair industry is evolving and is catering to new trends like vegan, cruelty-free and products void of harsh chemicals to their more eco and health-conscious customers

The ‘all-natural’ approach is fast gaining momentum and it’s becoming more accepted and expected for big brands to adhere to these safe new practices.

If you don’t know what any of this means, and how it affects your crowning glory, read on.

What are sulphates, parabens and silicones?

Sulphates are an active cleansing agent found mostly in shampoos that create a lathering effect, whilst parabens are a preservative used to lengthen the shelf life of products.

Silicones are synthetic oils used to ‘smooth’ your hair strands, giving off a (faux) feeling of moisturised, frizz-free hair.

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Can they damage your hair?

The short answer is yes!

Sulphates can strip your hair of natural oils and proteins, leaving it dry, damaged and prone to breakage.

Over time, silicones can add a ‘waxy residue’ and build-up on your hair shaft, making it feel heavy and weighing it down.

Parabens can enter your body through your scalp and wreak havoc if you suffer from allergies. A few studies have even linked them to breast cancer.

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Can you reverse the effects?

You certainly can, although it will take time, effort and patience.

You’ll also have to throw out all your old hair products and switch to products that are free from sulphates, silicones, parabens and harmful colouring agents.

Sulphate free shampoos will have less of a lather, but are more moisturising and kinder to your fair follicles.

You can expect to see healthier and stronger hair the longer you go without silicones, whilst you can say goodbye to an itchy scalp and potential allergic reactions when you ditch parabens.

Remember, the transition will be rough, but you will see and feel a difference as time goes on.

How can you tell whether your hair products contain these ingredients?

Check the list of ingredients, found on the back of your product label. Ingredients containing sulphates, usually end in ‘-ate’, silicones normally end in ‘-cone’, ‘-xane’, and ‘-col’, whilst parabens can usually be spotted by ending in the word ‘paraben’.

If you’re checking to see if your hair products boast all-natural ingredients, you’ll be pleased to know that it will clearly state so on the FRONT of the label – with descriptions like ‘No parabens, sulphates or silicones’, ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’.

Products on the market

If you are nervous about the change, know that there are plenty of brands catering to the new movement, and rightly so.

They do an excellent job of substituting harsh and harmful ingredients with ones that are natural and mild.

Here are some brands you can try:

There’s plenty more, so don’t forget to check with your brand of choice to see what they have on offer.