Why go natural?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are surfactants, enhancing the spread of water over surfaces. In basic terms, they’re what makes detergents lather. The inclusion of SLS and SLES as cleansing agents in detergents means that consumer use of these products may result in contact with the general body surface, hair, nails, skin of the hand and face and mucosal surface.
I say detergents even though you’ll find it in your “soap,” body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, lotions, and creams, because so-called “soaps” and shampoos made with SLS or SLES cannot rightly be called soap. Real soap, according to the FDA, is based on saponified lye, or lye that has reacted with oils, not SLS or SLES. The FDA classifies those detergents as drugs and/or cosmetics to be regulated by the Administration, unlike soap, which is not so classified.
Ingestion of SLS through the mouth or skin has been found during government testing to be harmful over time. It’s one of the primary reasons we’re warned not to swallow too much toothpaste, as it is toxic when ingested orally. And it causes skin and eye irritation; the Australian government says that it should be fine when used on the surface of the skin for a short time and then immediately rinsed. Well, what of lotions, which we rub into our skin and leave there? What of conditioners, which we leave at least for several minutes? What of repeated, daily use? I know I shower every day at least once a day and wash my hair every time I shower. I’m almost 42 years old. Anyone want to count how many times I’ve used this stuff, at a minimum?
Interesting thing: SLS is used in labs AS a skin irritant on test animals, so researchers can then test the efficacy of healing agents. Hmmm…
SLES causes skin and eye irritation too. Worse, depending on manufacturing process, SLES may be contaminated with carcinogens ad chemicals which can harm the human nervous system and which have been classified as a possible developmental toxicant that interferes with human development by the California EPA. In addition, these chemicals don’t easily degrade, and can remain in the environment long after you wash them down the drain. Now, not all SLES contains these chemicals, but there’s no way for consumers to tell which ones have undergone an additional process to make them uncontaminated.
On top of all that? SLS & SLES may cause hair loss by attacking the follicle. And it cleans by corrosion, drying out skin and hair… and forcing you to use conditioners and lotions! Think about all those shampoo ads for promotion of healthy hair. Then read the ingredients on the back of the bottle and think about the fact that those very ingredients may be making your hair fall out. Interesting, yes?
In fact, I can give you my own anecdotal experience. I have long hair. A lot of long hair. I shed, it’s bound to happen. But I lose less hair in the shower when I use Reef Botanicals bar shampoo, which contains no sulfates. I just do. Better yet, I get my hair dyed about every 6 weeks or so. I get it done to just about my natural color, a nice dark brown. Over the course of the 6 weeks, the color will fade and change, and go more red. You can see it as my roots grow in; they’re much darker than the rest of my hair. Well, once I started using our handmade all-natural shampoo bars, there was no more fading and color change. Honestly, I was shocked myself, but my roots and the rest of my hair stayed the same color!
So why do they use it? It’s cheap! There are other ways to get soaps to foam, they just cost more. However, due to the increased education of the public and increased concern, you’ll notice that a lot of the commercial detergent manufacturers have started advertising “no-poo” or “sulfate free” shampoos. That’s terrific. But it’s not everything.
At Reef Botanicals we use various combinations of safe, natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, and castor oil to get all of our soaps and shampoos to lather the way we want them to, without having to use harmful chemicals to do it.
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