If you’ve read any issue of Allure in the past, I don’t know, five years, you’ve probably heard that sulfates—the ingredient in shampoos that give shampoo commercial-levels of lather—are no-good-very-bad things that strip your hair into an uncontrollable ball of frizz. Technically speaking, sulfates won’t kill you—they’re surfactants that attract both oil and water, which means that they wash dirt, oil, and other grime away from hair and skin with ease. Unfortunately, that means they can also strip moisture from the hair and skin, often leading to dryness, itching, and general irritation.
If you read that and immediately have the urge to change out your shampoo to one sans sulfates, why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your beloved pet? Just like you, your pup’s skin is her largest organ—and anything you use on her skin and coat will be absorbed into the body.
Most commercial pet shampoos rely on sodium laureth sulfate to get the job done—and even more say they use “a proprietary blend of coat and skin conditioners and moisturizers,” which is often just code for a mix of hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Even at very low concentrations, SLS has been shown to remain in a person’s system (brain, heart, and liver) for four to five days
Instead, dial down the chemical count and look for a shampoo that gently cleanses without foaming agents, artificial colors, fragrances, chemical detergents, or essential oils that can irritate sensitive skin, like this one, which relies on olive oil to get the job done.
Now, if only we could help you keep Fido from shaking his wet self all throughout your house. Happy shampooing!