If you are a conscious beauty lover, you may already be familiar with the abbreviations SLS and SLES. Despite how similar they sound, there’s a big difference between SLS and SLES. SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and may also be known as SDS, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate. Meanwhile, SLES is short for Sodium Laureth Sulfate and sometimes may be written as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate. At I LOVE, you’ll never find SLS in our products.
SLS and SLES are both surfactants added to many health and beauty products to create foam and offer a cleaning action.
In today’s post, we’re diving into the differences between SLS and SLES to help you understand why you’ll only ever find SLES in our signature Body Washes, popular Bath & Shower Crèmes and cleansing Shower Smoothies.
What is SLS?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is found in lots of everyday health and beauty products as it lathers up to create a cleansing foam. Many hand soaps, face washes, shaving creams and even toothpaste owe their foaming quality to SLS.
SLS sounds like a lovely cleansing ingredient, right? SLS is deemed as ‘safe to use’ by many regulatory bodies including The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and The Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel (CIR). Yet, despite being marked as ‘safe to use’, SLS has been identified as a skin irritant if left on skin for prolonged periods of time.
Reported Issues with SLS
If you suffer with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as dermatitis, then you’re going to want to steer clear of products containing SLS. SLS affects the everyday purpose of skin proteins which causes damage to the outer layer of skin resulting in cracked, dry and tender skin.
In similar news, if you suffer with whiteheads and blackheads, it could be as a result of using face and body care products that contain SLS.
Shampoos containing SLS has also been linked to being responsible for weakening hair and causing hair loss. This is because the SLS will often remain in hair follicles long after washing, causing them to weaken over extended periods of time.
If you ask us, none of the above situations sound much fun! That’s why we avoid using SLS in I LOVE products. We want to make sure all I LOVE bath and body treats are pampering and nourishing so we always try to use kind-to-skin ingredients.
What is SLES?
Now that we have a better understanding of SLS, let’s talk about SLES, baby. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is derived from SLS through a process called ethoxylation (where ethylene oxide is introduced to change the compound).
Fun fact: any ingredient ending in -eth has also been through ethoxylation!
This process means SLES is safe to use in bath and body care products and is gentler on skin than its predecessor, SLS. Unlike SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate won’t aggravate your skin or strip it of any excess moisture.
Skincare products containing SLES will be just as cleansing, foaming and emulsifying as SLS but they will also benefit your skin after use by leaving it feeling silky soft, smooth and nourished.
By combining SLES with other kind-to-skin ingredients and natural extracts, we work hard to make sure that our I LOVE bath and body care products are a nourishing treat for you and your skin. Our Bath & Shower Crèmes contain SLES, along with a nourshing blend of natural extracts and moisturisers including Pro Vitamin B5 to help keep your skin silky soft and deliciously scented.