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Do you find it hard to decipher these common skin care acronyms? Here we explain the difference between SLS and SLES and reveal why all Green People body washes and shampoos are free from both SLS and SLES.

By Alexandra Julian

3 Minute read

Do you find it hard to decipher these common skin care acronyms? Here we explain the difference between SLS and SLES and reveal why all Green People body washes and shampoos are free from both SLS and SLES.

What is SLS and why do we avoid it? 

SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulphate and is commonly added to foaming skin care products like shampoo, shaving gel, toothpaste and shower gel to help them to lather.

When SLS is mixed with water it creates a lot of foam which can help to lift dirt and impurities from the skin and scalp. It is also a relatively cheap ingredient and can help cosmetic manufacturers to keep the cost of their products purse-friendly. Unfortunately it is a known skin irritant.

What is SLES and why do we avoid it? 

SLES stands for sodium laureth sulphate and it is another synthetic foaming agent. It is produced when SLS undergoes a process called ethoxylation. This process helps to make SLS more water-soluble and less skin-irritating, but it may be accidentally contaminated with a chemical called 1,4 dioxane.

Shop SLS-free and SLES-free shampoo

To ensure our organic, SLS-free and SLES-free shampoos are gentle and safe for your skin whilst cleansing your hair, we create them with very gentle foaming agents derived from Coconut and Corn and soothing Aloe Vera.

Shop SLS-free and SLES-free shower gel

Here is a selection of our SLS-free body care products:

See all SLS-free shower gels now

What's the alternative to SLS and SLES?

SLS and SLES are not the only ingredients that can help personal care products to foam. To make our range of organic body washes and organic shampoos lather, we use gentle, plant-based foaming agents derived from Yucca and Coconut.

Suitable for sensitive skin, Yucca has a soothing effect on the skin and contains natural saponins that boost the foaming properties of shampoos and body washes.

The benefit of using the coconut-based foaming agent Sodium coco sulfate (SCS) instead of SLS is that it has a larger molecular mass so can’t penetrate the skin and irritate living cells under the surface.

The special thing about our foaming organic face washes and our Organic Children Quick Clean Hand Foam is that we don’t need to add any foaming agents to make them lather! Instead we use a clever pump which creates a foam as it draws the liquid through the packaging.


Want to find out more about our SLS and SLES-free shampoos or skin care? Our UK customer care team is happy to help you choose the best organic products for your skin and can be contacted on 01403 740350.

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