Many people question what sodium laureth sulfate is and why it’s used in so many products. Today we ask should you go sodium laureth sulfate free?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are often used to boost the ability of detergents to remove oily substances from clothes, or in other cleaning products to remove oil from dirty surfaces such as floors and countertops. It is also found naturally in coconut oil. I was surprised to find sodium lauryl sulfate in my toothpaste. It apparently has some usefulness in removing bacterial smells, and is used in toothpaste for that reason as well as for its foaming properties.

I don’t mind it in my laundry detergent, but when it comes in contact with my skin, either in my mouth or elsewhere, then I am not so pleased. Sodium laureth sulfate creates more foam in soaps and detergents at the same time that it removes oil. It is the second ingredient after water in some shampoos. I don’t want it to remove oil from my skin, so prefer to keep it out of my skin care products, for myself and for my customers.

Soap made the old fashioned way with lye creates lots of clean foam and suds without sodium laureth sulfate. The same is true for our liquid soap and shampoos. It does not rob the skin of oils that are important for good health.

Sometimes food manufacturers use sodium laureth sulfate to create foam in foods, especially where oil is a problem, such as whipping cream. It is increasingly important to read labels, so we may all end up with a small magnifying lens in our purse to read the impossibly small print on labels. I would encourage you to make conscious decisions about what is acceptable for your family and what you want to allow on your own skin.