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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. 

Where do we get it?

Lush purchases this material from a Belgium 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’t mix, to become dispersed. 
  • 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.

Unique stories

Despite being used safely and successfully since the 1930s, sulfates like SLES and its parent sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) have a bad reputation. Although experts agree that it’s 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 — so we’re committed to offering alternatives.

We’re particularly keen to reduce our use of these sulfates because palm oil is used in their production. Since 2008, we’ve 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. If you want to know more about Lush’s journey with SLS and palm oil, click here.

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