Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate is one of the BAD BOYS when it comes to the Googlepedia of chemicals. That said, this has nothing really to do with Google but it has everything to do with the fact that brand after brand, green group after green group and health scare blog after health scare blog don’t like this chemical.

There seem to be a few reasons why SLES is one of the “THIS PRODUCT DOES NOT CONTAIN……” most wanted so it makes sense to have a quick look.

1) It sounds chemical and chemicals are not good.

This seems a little flippant but in cosmetic chemistry the INCI (global protocol for naming ingredients) matters. The public don’t want ingredients that sound bad and so companies go to great lengths to get a ‘good’ INCI name for their chemical. Before you scream “WHAT? So they are putting in mercury and calling it fairy floss” that is not true. The INCI name has to relate to the chemical structure but for some chemicals the manufacturer has a degree of choice and will often opt for the least ‘chemical’ sounding name. SLES d0es sound like a chemical as it makes no reference to flowers, trees, fairies or naturally derived oils.

2) SLES is used in industrial cleaning products because it is so harsh.

Well, it can be used in industrial cleaning as it is relatively cheap, readily available and a good foamer and cleaner however the grade that get’s used in cosmetic formulations will be the cleanest and finest of the product.  Consider salt as an example,  we use salt to grit our roads in winter but try serving that on your chips and there would be uproar – same chemistry, different grade of purity. When SLES is formulated into a cosmetic […]