Why SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a Harmful Sudsing Agent

A lot of customers who have tried out different shampoo bars have come across some that cause itchiness and dryness to a sensitive scalp. That can be due to the Sulfates contained in other shampoo bars (not in Barefoot Daughter's Shampoo & Body Bars) so here is some info on SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfates for all you folks with sensitive skin and scalps!

What are Sulfates

Sulfates are a kind of salt mixed with another chemical that acts as a preservative and are commonly added to cosmetic products and are a type of surfactant which is a detergent, emulsifier, or foaming agent. Sulfates are what makes a shampoo sudsy in most bars. In Barefoot Daughter's Shampoo & Body Bars the suds come from a combination of natural oils, in particular castor oil makes a super sudsy bar without the use of Sulfates. The Sulfate compounds are produced from petroleum and plant sources such as coconut and palm oil. Read why in 2018 Barefoot Daughter switched from sustainably forested palm oil to fair trade shea butter here.

Sulfates allow grime and dead skin cells to be removed from your skin and scalp and washed away with water, says Eric Schweiger, M.D., founder of Schweiger Dermatology Group. But, it can also strip natural oils from the scalp and hair that can make hair dry and brittle, so folks with naturally dry or frizzy hair should stay away from anything with Sulfates in their hair products. It can also strip colour from dyed hair. If you have a sensitive scalp or psoriasis, sulfates can cause irritation like redness, dryness, and itching.

How it affects animal life:

Products that contain sulfates are known to be toxic to aquatic animals. If you're using a grey water system it's important to look at your ingredient labels of shampoo and dish soap. Sulfates in their powder form are tested on animals to measure the level of irritation to people’s skin, lungs, and eyes. Even if the final product isn't tested on animals, the raw ingredient was.

For those that want to stay away from chemical sudsing agents or have experienced dry, itchy scalp from shampoo, or want to lower your environmental impact, try giving up any product that contains Sulfates.

To identify SLS in your shampoo bar or any cosmetic product that has a foam compound, here is a list of common names that would appear on the ingredient list:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

  • Lauroyl Isethionate

  • Sodium Lauroyl Taurate

  • Ammonium laureth sulfate

Note: The “-eth” versions (laureth sulfate) are milder on your skin and hair than the “-yl” version, and the ammonium version is milder than the sodium version.

List of other common products to check for sulfates on the ingredient list (especially if you're experiencing a reaction on your skin (dry, cracked hands after doing dishes, itchy skin with freshly laundered clothes etc):

  • liquid soap

  • shampoos

  • laundry detergents

  • dish detergents

  • toothpaste

  • bath bombs

Switch to a Sulfate Free Shampoo & Body Bar!

The most gentle of Shampoo & Body bars from Barefoot Daughter is the Rosemary Oat Shampoo & Body Bar, but all the shampoo bars are made for sensitive skin and don't contain ANY sulfates or raw ingredients that were tested on animals. The base of all the bars are purely saponified coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, castor oil, distilled or rain water, pure essential oils, and herbs for colour and healing properties.

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