Derived from lauryl alcohol, laureth-4 disperses oils and vegetable butters in the warm bath water and creates a light, cleansing foam that leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.
To make effective and pleasant-to-use cosmetics, we often need emulsifiers and surfactants in formulae. These materials allow us to bring together fresh, natural ingredients (like oils, fruit juices and herbal infusions) in a well-blended product that rinses easily from the skin and hair. It can also help products designed for use in the bath to melt and disperse well and prevent fatty ingredients from sticking to the tub.
Laureth-4 is particularly good at this job, but unfortunately, it is palm-derived. So it's a bit like this lifelong friend who has always supported you, but with whom it has become a little tense lately because you don’t share the same views on ecological matters. You'd like them to change their mind so you could stay friends forever, but it seems more difficult than you expected.
In its journey with palm oil, Lush have attempted to remove laureth-4 from their products and/or replace it with new compounds… But nothing is working well enough for now. However, we are constantly researching new options and prospective alternatives to this material.