Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Laureth Sulfate



Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is a surface-active agent (or surfactant) that makes thick, rich foam and helps cleanse the hair and skin.聽

Where do we get it?

Lush UK purchases this material from a Belgian company.

With seven manufacturing sites across the globe, this information may vary depending on where your Lush products were made.

What are the benefits for you?

  • Helps oil and water-based ingredients, which generally don鈥檛 mix, to become dispersed.聽
  • Cleanses the skin and hair by attracting oils like sebum and allowing them to be rinsed away with water.
  • Makes a rich lather, which (contrary to popular belief) is not responsible for cleansing but helps the hands work the product through the hair or across the skin.

Lauryl or laureth?

Some will notice two materials with very similar names in Lush products鈥 ingredient lists: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). It is often said that SLES should be preferred in cosmetic formulations as it鈥檚 a more processed version of SLS, created to be gentler on the skin. At Lush, we don鈥檛 really make that distinction as we think the difference is very subtle. We are more interested in the consistency of the two compounds. For example, we'll use SLS in shampoo bars because it鈥檚 in the form of tiny, solid needles and SLES in shower gels because it鈥檚 a paste.

Controversy and Lush stance

Despite being used safely and successfully since the 1930s, sulfates (also spelt sulphates) like SLS and SLES have a bad reputation. Although experts agree that it鈥檚 safe to use, these compounds can be drying. This is more likely to be an issue for those who have dry, processed or afro hair or suffer from skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis 鈥 so we鈥檙e committed to offering alternatives.

We鈥檙e also particularly keen to reduce our use of these sulfates because palm oil is involved in their production. Since 2008, we鈥檝e been trying to remove palm oil from our supply chain due to the devastating impact its cultivation has on the environment. However, boycotting palm oil is easier said than done and reformulating products with alternative compounds is a long process. If you want to know more about Lush鈥檚 journey with SLS and palm oil, click here.

Strona g艂贸wna - Sodium Laureth Sulfate