Want good bubbles in your bubble bath or like your facial cleanser to really foam up? You need sodium lauryl sulfate. What is sodium lauryl sulfate? Well, it’s a common ingredient in shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, toothpaste and skin cleansers. The bad news? It’s not very good for the environment or your skin.

What is SLS?

SLS is a surfactant, meaning that it traps oil-based dirt and effectively washes it away, leaving your hair or skin feeling oh-so-clean. What can we say? It works. But it can also irritate, dry out and even damage your skin. It’s been reported to be a danger to skin in concentrations of 1 per cent or more, but many shampoos contain a concentration of 15 per cent or more. It is also pretty damaging to the environment, specifically fish and other aquatic creatures. When you consider that you’re constantly washing it down the drain, that becomes a pretty big deal.

What SLS doesn’t do?

It hasn’t been shown to cause cancer, although its more toxic cousin, SLES or Sodium Laureth Sulfate has been linked to cancer.

What should you use instead?

Look for products with non-SLS surfactants (the ingredient that traps oil and dirt and washes it away). While the bubbles might not be as big or foam as foamy, they’re pretty good alternatives and won’t cause skin damage. Consonant Skincare (a favourite of ours) uses biodegradable, plant-based Decyl Glucoside and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Lauryl glucoside and Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside are also safe alternatives.

Want help taking good care of your skin? Visit us for a Freeze Facial!