Finding a shampoo you’ll like is never easy. Finding a shampoo that is gentle to your skin, is even harder. If you have rosacea, you probably are already preventing shampoo suds to get onto your face when washing your hair, in order not to aggravate your condition.
Many shampoos on the market today contain ingredients that can be considered “toxic“. One of the shampoo ingredients that can be hurting your scalp and skin, is sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium lauryl sulfate, which in the scientific community is known as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), is a powerful detergent that is able to strip your skin of important oils and proteins.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is used in science to denature proteins (disrupting the protein’s native shape), so that biologic samples with many different proteins can be separated according to size by gel electrophoresis.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is used in many personal care products (shampoos, liquid soaps and shower gels), because it is cheap and produces a rich thick lather. However, if you are using shampoo that contains sodium lauryl sulfate, you may be damaging your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Sodium lauryl sulfate has a slightly less reactive cousin, sodium laureth sulfate. Sodium myreth sulfate is related to sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, but would be the better choice if you had to pick between the three.
Walking down to my local drugstore, I wasn’t able to find any shampoo on the shelf without sodium lauryl sulfate. Looking at a shampoo’s ingredient list, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are usually the second or third ingredient mentioned.
After doing some research online and at my local organic food store, I have compiled the following list of shampoos that are free of sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, and may be safer to use if you have sensitive skin:
- Avalon Organics
- Aubrey Organics
- Beauty Without Cruelty
- Burt’s Bees
- Dessert Essence
- Elave (UK & Ireland and online)
- John Masters
- Kiss My Face
- Whole Foods Market (Premium Body only)
Update – October 2016
This post was originally posted 8 years ago. It is quite amazing that in 8 years, many shampoos on the market still contain the toxic ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. These are not just the cheap drugstore brands I’m talking about. Even high-priced, luxurious brand name shampoos contain this ingredient.
Recently, we received a sample bag of personal care products from a popular (US) skincare chain and the majority of the products contained SLS. This is surely an indication that for the majority of the brands, it more about the profits than how safe their products are.
Below is a very nice infographic about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from compoundchem.com: