Now that the sun’s out I’ve decided to wear my natural hair out for a while and take advantage of the Vitamin D that has been bestowed upon us for the past few days, while it lasts.

I recently used Palmer’s Shea Formula Moisture Repair Raw Shea Shampoo & Conditioner to cleanse my tresses.

The first thing I noticed from the packaging is that both contain no sulfates, parabens or mineral oil.

Sulfates (or sulphates) refers to ingredients normally found in shampoos, soaps and most foaming products. On the label, you’re looking for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. They’re also called SLS or ALS for short.

To get science-y for just a moment, sulfates are primary surfactants. These molecules work to attract both oil and water so they are great at removing dirt.

To some people, however, sulfates are too effective and can dry their skin causing irritation. For example, my hair is naturally dry and so I find most shampoos containing sulfates can make my scalp feel tight, hence why I also ensure my scalp is moisturised.

If you experience any irritation from shampoos, it’s usually SLS that’s the problem. It’s also worth avoiding SLS if you colour your hair. SLS is so good at cleaning, it takes the colour with it, causing your hair colour to fade faster.

There are lots of sulfate-free shampoo options on the market now at every price point. They can take some getting used to as they’re not quite the same as a regular shampoo. You won’t get that real squeaky clean feeling but that’s not a bad thing. You can still get silky, clean hair if you make sure you know how to use sulfate-free shampoo properly.

  • Thoroughly wet your hair before applying sulfate-free shampoo. This also goes for regular shampoo but it’s so necessary for sulfate-free shampoo. If your hair isn’t completely soaked, it’s hard to apply the product and distribute it through your hair.
  • Use less product than you think. Most people expect shampoo to lather and when sulfate-free shampoo doesn’t they apply more product. Although it won’t foam up, it’s still working to clean your hair.
  • Apply more water, instead of more product. If you’re struggling to get any lather to wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoo, apply more water instead of more product. The water will help activate the shampoo and spread it through your hair.
  • Shampoo twice. Without the foaming action, it’s harder to remove the dirt and oil from your hair. The second shampoo really lifts it out and cleans your hair. Plus you’ll find the second shampoo lathers up more easily.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly. Make sure to really rinse your hair. Any residue from the sulfate-free shampoo will make your hair feel heavy.

The raw shea butter included in this range, is sustainably resourced in West Africa and is well known for its rich and super moisturising properties. Palmers Shea Formula Raw Shea Shampoo helps to enhance shine and replenish moisture. If your hair is coloured, then you’re covered too. Its main ingredients are:

Raw Shea Butter – deeply moisturises and repairs
Argan Oil – Enhances vibrancy and shine
Grape Seed Oil – Protects against colour fade and dullness

Whilst the shampoo didn’t lather up as much as I’m used to, it was still sufficient enough to rid my hair of the dirt and product build up which was present once I’d removed my twist braids. Once I’d shampooed my hair (twice), I applied the conditioner, focusing on the shaft and ends and left it to do its thing for a few minutes, before rinsing. Unsurprisingly, both smell of shea butter which can be quite an overwhelming scent, however I found the scent to be tolerable. It’s not my favourite-smelling shampoo and conditioner duo, but it’s not bad.  That’s down to personal taste though.

Also included in the range is a Curl Cream, specially formulated for curly, natural and transitioning hair, which you can view here. I’ll be testing this separately.  My hair is blow dried out at the moment and I also need to psych myself up to spend an hour doing a twist out as past experience shows my hair refuses to hold the curls and turns into a frizzy mess once I unravel them. It’s a stressful experience and I really need to be both in the mood to attempt it!

When wet, my hair shrinks in length, and replicates a sponge on top of my head full of kinky curls! Its texture, once blow dried is actually quite fine. Once I’d blow dried straight, it becomes very soft due to its texture. I found that my hair felt clean and blow-drying wasn’t compromised in any way.  They both come in large 473ml bottles which will last you quite a while.

Would I use them again? Yeah, probably.

How much are they? Shampoo (£6.99), Conditioner (£7.99)
Where can I buy them from? Superdrug



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