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SLS vs SLES

Both these lather-creating ingredients allow shower gel, shampoo, washing liquids and many other products to be dispersed across the entire surface area (basically, these are two of the ingredients that make a little go a long way). Without them we wouldn’t get that bubbly foam we all love.

Both ingredients are added to create foam and help to produce a cleaning action, and are all too often confused due to their similar names. However, there is a difference between SLS and SLES.

SLS - Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a great cleaning product. However, it is well-known to be an irritant when left on the skin for prolonged periods of time. In fact, it is often used in dermatology to purposely irritate the skin before testing! This is because SLS effects the everyday function of skin proteins which leads to damage of the outer layer of skin giving you cracked, dry and tender skin.

If you suffer from whiteheads or blackheads, SLS has also been identified as a key player in increasing the number of these found on the face and body. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly for those of you with weak or damaged hair, SLS in shampoo and other hair products can often ‘sit’ on hair follicles even after washing, resulting in weakening of the hair follicles over extended periods of time.

Because of all these factors, we choose not to use SLS in any of our hair products at Alice England because we know there is a better alternative for you.

SLES - Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate is created through a process called ethoxylation (any product ending in -eth has also been through the same process). This process means SLES is much gentler to use on both hair and skin and doesn’t strip the epidermis of any excess moisture, leaving it feeling soft, smooth and nourished. You will notice that SLES is used in many baby shampoos and bubble baths as it is known to by far less of an irritant to the skin.

Here at Alice England, we choose to stay away from SLS and instead use SLES in our products to create the foam and lather we all love.