Nothing to Foam at The Mouth About

Major foam? Good indicator of SLS

Major foam? Good indicator of SLS

Are you one of those people who reads labels? I am, too. If you have a moment this morning or tonight, check your shampoo or soap package. Even if you’ve paid big money for your product, you might see the name sodium laureth sulfate (sls) high on the list. Sometimes it is labeled as sodium lauryl sulfate.

Here is what it is and does: “SLS is a detergent and surfactant which essentially means that it breaks surface tension and separates molecules in order to allow better interaction between the product and your hair. This in turn creates a lather which makes products such as shampoo and toothpaste more effective cleaners. So effective and inexpensive is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that it’s found in a number of industrial cleaning agents such as engine degreaser and industrial strength detergents. It’s also widely used as a skin irritant when testing products used to heal skin conditions.” There is no scientific evidence linking this product to cancer, despite lots of internet hoop-la demonizing it. Source:

I have seen SLS on the label of “fancy” soaps, bubble baths, bubble bars, and shower gels, even the kind of soaps wrapped in incredibly pretty paper with those in-your-face drawings of citrus fruit. You’ll even find it in those fun, great-smelling body care products shops at the mall – you know the ones that I’m referring to. I love going in to those shops, too. Organically shaped products, everything XY and Z free, fair trade, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The problem for me is that this ingredient is dirt cheap, and you are overpaying for a detergent. All soaps serve as surfactants, allowing water to lift-away “dirt” from your skin.  Dare I say that you might get just as clean if you just reach for your dish detergent? There are coupons available for dish detergent, so please save your wallet and skin; leave that squirt bottle at the kitchen sink and head for a bar that will show some love to your epidermis.

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