If you have visited a number of natural hair care sites you may have stumbled upon the term 'no poo' or 'low poo' method of shampooing. The 'no poo/low poo' method derives from shampooing you hair with shampoos or conditioners that do not contain harsh chemicals that are found in shampoos.
The main chemicals that the no pooers are trying to avoid are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate - SLES. Now some low pooers may use shampoos that contain SLS substitutes Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - ALS, and/or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate - ALES.
These are all foaming cleansing chemicals found in shampoo also used in everything from engine degreasers to laundry detergent. The amount that is found in most shampoos is reported to be 'safe' when it comes to brief use followed by thorough rinsing, and concentrations of the chemical should not exceed 1% if products are intended for prolonged use.
There are many claims that SLS even causes cancer which is a myth. Check out these sites for more detail. http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/breast-cancer/myths-facts?s_kwcid=ContentNetwork1026685944 and http://www.pathguy.com/sls.htm.
There are reports of people who have suffered from severe eye and skin irritation cause by SLS.
Check out these sites for more info on SLS. http://healthsearch.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/dangers-of-sodium-laurel-sulfate-sls/ and http://www.rapunzelsdelight.com/health_topics/noxious_shampoos.htm#Sodium%20Lauryl%20(Laureth)%20Sulfate%20~%20%20SLS.
Experts suggest that you should make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly when using a shampoo that contains any of these detergents. Some low pooers opt to use shampoos that contain ALS (not as irritant) versus SLS.
These chemicals, along with other harsh detergents found in most shampoos do there job well, they strip the oil and dirt out of your hair but also strip the natural moisture from your scalp. Along with rinsing thoroughly, it is also suggested by shampoo manufacturers that you use a conditioner (to replenish moisture) directly after shampooing.
Again, the best way to be worry free is to avoid these products. Seek out shampoos that do not contain them. Now this may be easier said than done. Like I said, most products have, if not two, at least one of these chemicals. It is also good to shop around for low prices when you are seeking a no poo - shampoo.
There are several castile soap based, organic and vegan shampoos on the market. Dr. Bronner http://www.drbronner.com/ is an example of a great vegetable oil based castile soap great for no-pooing, and Aubrey Organics is another http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ which also features skin care products as well.
Peace and blessings...