Decoding The Label: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


In this new collection of posts, I'll be decoding the words we hear about in beauty, but might not really know their meaning or use in our beauty products.


The first ingredient is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, otherwise known as SLS. It's close relative Soduim Laureth Sulfate, SLES, is also popular in beauty products. SLS can also be named as "Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt", along with countless other names. This makes it incredibly hard for consumers to know what is, or isn't, in their products.


It's in everything from toothpaste, shampoo to detergents. It's a cheap but effective ingredient that makes a product foam. SLS is chemically known as a surfactant, which means it's partly oil soluble and partly water soluble so this gives it the ability to be able to mix oil and water. 


SLS can be highly irritating, so many people have issues with shampoos because of this.  Sometimes they use SLES instead as it's slightly less irritating. SLS dissolves oils on your skin and in your hair, and therefor it can dry out your skin. 


Some websites talk about a link between SLS and hormone imbalances, eye irritation, denaturing protein and potential to cause cancer. But before you start throwing out all of your toothpastes, shampoos and detergents remember that you need to have high concentration levels of it to cause the more harmful effects. There is also NOT a definitive link to all of these. Click here for a great video from the American Cancer Society on dispelling the cancer rumours. 


Overall SLS is an irritant. If you have reactions from shampoos, switching to a SLS free product can stop scalp irritation.


For some consumers, they choose not to use SLS products for environmental reasons. They just don't want to impact our water ways with chemicals from not only beauty products but cleaning products too. 


Remember just because a product is "natural" or "herbal," it doesn't mean it doesn't contain SLS or SLES. f you're unsure always check the label and Google any ingredients you're unsure of.


Do you choose to use SLS free products? Or is it not a concern for you? 
XO

10 comments:

  1. Informative thanks! I like the idea of this new collection of posts.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it Crystal! It's amazing how we don't know whats in our products!

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  2. Thanks hun, I hadn't heard of SLS but I will keep an eye out for now X

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    1. I know people feel like their hair is in better condition when they use hair products without SLS.

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  3. I myself am not sensitive to SLS but use products with Sodium Laureth Sulfate instead as it is less drying. Great post! :)

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  4. Such an informative article. Thanks for sharing :) I definitely learnt something new today, thanks to you.

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  5. I'm actually not too fussed about SLS myself, but ironically, none of the shampoos I have contain SLS as it's a big no-no for Keratin treated hair! :)

    Fantastic post!

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    1. Yeah SLS is bad with keratin treated hair! Its amazing how one treatment can make you need to change all your hair care.

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