We’ll switch from home cleaning to personal health & beauty for this post. And yes, this title is a teensy bit provocative. Italian girls do wash their hair, but they wash it much more thoroughly, much less frequently. The key is avoiding one simple ingredient:
sodium laureth sulfate (“SLS”)
If you search for it on Italian google, the first choice that pops up is “sodium laureth sulfate fa male” (SLS is bad for you!) I can’t thank my Italian friends enough for bringing this to my attention. SLS is a harsh detergent – it scrubs your hair with industrial fervor until it’s a dry heap, and then lets your follicles go into an oil-producing frenzy until your hair is limp and lifeless by five o’clock. No fun!
Washing your hair, and not washing your hair, is of top beauty importance in Italy. My stylist in Umbria once held up a bottle of shampoo and would not sell it to me until I promised I would only wash my hair once a week with it.
Some ladies may already have jumped on this bandwagon, but I can hear others of you cringe. Once a week? Yes, it can be done. Not overnight: you have to train your hair for a bit. The most important thing is choosing the right shampoo, one completely free of SLS. I’ve done extensive research on this, both for price and quality, and the shampoo I’ve chosen for years is Desert Essences:
The most important feature of this shampoo is that water is NOT the first ingredient. Not watered down = more product for your $. It looks like you can buy it online, but it’s available at health-food stores, too. Switch your shampoo to an SLS-free version. Decrease from daily to three times a week, to two, to once a week gradually. Brush your hair every night to keep your hair glossy, and to distribute any oil from root to ends.
Next post – how to wash your hair, Italian style.
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