View Full Version : Rant: My hair isn't getting clean despite constant usage of SLS.

May 28th, 2009, 06:27 PM
This has been a problem for a while now, but since I moved to an area for the summer that has some of the softest water in the country, it's become a bona fide disaster. This isn't a bad hair day rant but a bad hair week rant!

I've been using SLS shampoos almost every other day (dilute, scrub scalp gently + let residue run down length) because I have a greasy scalp and don't like flathead. I didn't have luck with CO or sulfate free poos before. Anyway, when I moved here, I noticed the water was soft and I was like, yay! But it was actually TOO soft. Yes, people, there is such a thing.

I've been washing my hair daily for several days, and I end up with an itchy scalp, gunky, waxy, dandruffy residue (TMI I know) and so on, by the end of the day.

To make matters worse, I can't just put up my hair and forget about it: I get temple frizz and "horns", which I didn't have as much trouble with when I used hard water.

It's really the itchy and dirty feeling that's getting to me most of all.

May 28th, 2009, 06:35 PM
Have you tried anything with ALS?

I get along quite well with diluting such shampoos. A little goes a long way, and seems to get the job done.

P.S. I'm no expert, so I'm not certain of the differences between Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, but my hair/scalp doesn't seem to mind either one, and seems to prefer a blend of several types of cleansing agents.

The water where I live is very strange, and I had to try just about everything I could get my hands on before I realized that my hair and scalp needed more cleansing that some ingredients can't provide.

I think I remember Ursula posting an article on these ingredients, at some point, might be worth a search.


May 28th, 2009, 06:42 PM
No, I'll try that if the sulfate free poo doesn't work.

I'm interested in hearing what those of you who have very soft water do for your hair.

May 28th, 2009, 06:43 PM
I'm currently using an ALS shampoo and it's nice. We have soft water around here.

Try combing the shampoo through your hair. Be sure you're raking the entire scalp with the comb (but not too hard, of course). I remember doing this years back when it seemed that it was just too hard, because of oiliness and low water pressure, to get my hair clean. You should apply conditioner to the bottom half of your hair first.

If you generally wash standing/sitting right side up, try washing upside down (bending forward).

Rinse more than you think you need to. Lift half of your hair up to be sure you're rinsing the under-layers very thoroughly.

I hope one of these suggestions helps (or somebody else's suggestions). Good luck finding a solution.

May 28th, 2009, 06:49 PM
How much of a dilution are you doing? I think the amount of diluting you can get away with is pretty dependent on water quality. Maybe up your concentration? Use it straight?

ETA: I've found that my hair is a lot wavier in softer water. The horns/frizziness probably have to do with that :)

May 28th, 2009, 06:50 PM
I did try using it straight. Lots of it. :shrug:

May 28th, 2009, 07:15 PM
If you have soft water, soap might work well. It's a very effective cleanser. (Natural soap, like Doc Bronners.) A rinse with a cheap mineral water, or maybe storing water in a copper bowl might help for a final rinse after washing to "reharden" the water?

May 28th, 2009, 09:24 PM
ALS rinses significantly cleaner than SLS. I'd switch to that before trying anything too esoteric or expensive.

May 28th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Ok, ALS it is. I'm just craving that non-itchy, fluffy, clean, updoable feeling. :love:

ETA: My hair was like that once when I lived in an area with great water and I used sulfate free poo. Those were the days, I guess.

Blue Willow
May 28th, 2009, 09:30 PM
My suggestion is buy a gallon or two of spring water and use it to rinse your hair of shampoo/conditioner. Then a vinegar rinse should make it happy. Oh make sure to find a clarifying shampoo, AO has several organic choices.

May 29th, 2009, 07:39 AM
I just went through this exact same scalp issue myself except it wasn't from a change in water. Nevertheless it did help when I grabbed my sulfate free shampoo & actually shampooed twice making sure to really massage it through the scalp well.
Then tons upon tons of rinsing. I rinsed like there was no tomorrow.
I did it last night & I can say that the gunk in the scalp is gone & my hair is much lighter & well...cleaner.

May 29th, 2009, 09:56 AM
If you have soft water, soap might work well. It's a very effective cleanser. (Natural soap, like Doc Bronners.) A rinse with a cheap mineral water, or maybe storing water in a copper bowl might help for a final rinse after washing to "reharden" the water?

I second the suggestion to try Doc Bronners. It's amazing stuff. Condition your length first, though, it can really strip your hair!

May 29th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Tangles, firstly, I am jealous that you have soft water. We have some of the hardest in the country!!! :) Two things came to mind. I don't know if they will help... but if not, just tell me to take a hike :)

1) From what I remember about soft water, I had to rinse forEVER. With the amount of shampoo you mentioned, do you think that could be a solution? When I don't rinse conditioner out I get scalp gunk a LOT faster...

2) I agree with the "try soap" or a non SLS shampoo. Maybe even a shampoo bar, rinse well and follow with a vinegar rinse?

hope that helps...