We get a lot of questions about sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS). We would like to reassure you that our safe, natural shampoos are all SLS-free.
We've put together some information about ALS and SLS which will hopefully be useful for you.
What makes SLS irritating?
Although sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS) have similar sounding names and are both classed as anionic surfactants, they have very different molecular structures. SLS is a comparatively simple molecule and is therefore quite small in size.
This gives it the ability to penetrate the outer layers of the skin, particularly when used in conditions which encourage the skin's pores to open, such as when in a warm bath or shower.
When SLS penetrates the outer layers of the skin in this way, it comes into contact with more delicate cells that are in the process of being formed in the dermis. It is here that the irritation associated with SLS manifests itself, resulting in reddening and erythema of the skin.
How is ALS different?
ALS, by contrast, is a far more complex molecule and is physically much larger. This means that it is practically impossible for ALS molecules to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and so reach the delicate underlying layers of cells. Due to this difference, ALS is regarded as being considerably less irritating than SLS – on a scale of 0 to 10, where the potential irritancy of water is 0 and that of SLS is 10, ALS scores around 4 – clearly far less irritating than SLS.
Green People uses ALS in the Clarifying Vitamin Shampoo and Shower Gel. These both contain higher base oils than other shampoos and this foaming agent ensures that they still foam effectively.
SLS and ALS-free shampoos
If you still wish to avoid hair care products containing ALS, then you should avoid our Clarifying Vitamin Shampoo. All of our other organic shampoos use different surfactants. Full ingredients lists are available on each product page.