Sodium coco sulfate (SCS) is a surfactant which means that it makes foam and cleanses the skin and hair.
Where do we get it?
At Lush UK, we purchase three types of SCS. Depending on the texture and effect desired for a product, one consistency will be preferred over the other. A paste, produced in the Czech Republic, is typically used in liquid products. A powder, made in the USA, is used in solid, dry products like our bath bombs. And finally, some little needles, also made in the USA, can be used in solid haircare products.
With seven manufacturing sites across the globe, this information may vary depending on where your Lush products are made.
What are the benefits for people and the planet?
The most known and widely used sulfates, namely sodium lauryl (SLS) and sodium laureth (SLES) sulfates, are obtained from palm oil. One of Lush's attempts to remove palm from its supply chain is to use sodium coco sulfate instead, which is derived from coconut oil. All these compounds are however very different from each other and do not behave in the same way with other ingredients. Therefore, replacing one with the other turns out to be a very complicated task, if not sometimes impossible. It is much easier to add it to entirely new formulas.
What are the benefits of SCS for you?
- Helps oil and water-based ingredients, which generally don’t mix, to bind.
- Cleanses the skin and hair by attracting oils like sebum and allowing them to be rinsed away with water.
- Produces 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.
Why use sulfates?
Sulfates (also spelt sulphates) became widely used in the 1930s and started the development of the modern shampoo industry. Soap (one of the oldest surfactants!) cleanses the hair, but its alkalinity makes it feel rough to touch and dull. Sulfates, on the other hand, leave the skin soft and add great shine to hair.
Despite their effectiveness, sulfates have a bad reputation. Experts agree that it’s safe to use, but have confirmed that 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 — so we’re committed to offering alternatives.