Friday, January 16, 2015

What's in your shampoo?

My goal for this post was to research and discover what Sulfates do to the environment.

But what I found was much more alarming.

Most brands of shampoos, soaps, bubble-bath, tooth paste, dish soap, laundry detergent, stain removers, carpet cleaners, fabric glues, body wash, shaving cream, mascara, mouthwash, skin cleanser, lotions, sunscreen and face creams have a chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This is some dangerous stuff my friends... I don't know about you, but my house is full of it!

Sulfates are used for their foaming ability and also as an emulsifier.

Not only have I learned of the poisons that lurk around my home, I am highly discouraged in discovering that the items labeled "natural" or "organic" ... may be anything but! There are currently no federal regulations for beauty products in the United States. How CRAZY is that?

Let me explain why this is crazy. 
This chemical that is in most of our personal products, is actually a pesticide. SLS is used to kill insects. KILL insects. The makers of SLS petitioned to have SLS listed as a pesticide for organic farming. However, since this product pollutes and causes damage to the environment. It was denied.

So the makers of SLS ask for their product to be used to organically kill insects, and they also heap bucket loads of this garbage into our lotions and shampoos?

Products that we put ON our bodies, end up IN our bodies. This isn't good, because if we ingest something, at least the enzymes in our mouths and stomachs have a fighting chance of breaking some of this junk down. But as it turns out, SLS just builds up in our bodies. The average person absorbs up to 5 pounds of chemicals into their bodies every single year. 

That's scary!

Our bodies can't break down certain chemicals, Therefor- They accumulate IN. OUR. BODIES.

The use of Sulfates has been linked to:
Skin Irritation
Organ Toxicity
Endocrine Disruption (Hormones)
Eye Irritation
Developmental/Reproductive toxicity
Increased Canker Sores (Mouth Wash and Toothpaste Use)
Damage to cellular DNA
The research continues about sulfates and their link to various cancers

If Sodium Lauryl Sulfates cause havoc to your body, imagine what they do when they hit our water supply?! High concentrations of SLS can kill fish and aquatic life.

I stopped using shampoo with Sulfates about a year ago, when a hair dresser told me how bad it was for my hair. But guess what? I *thought* I was using Sulfate free shampoo. It turns out sulfates are listed under several names and my "sulfate free shampoo"... you guessed it. Full of sulfates!

Here are some of the other names for Sulfates:
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
Sodium dodecyl sulfate
Sodium salt sulfuric acid
Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid
A 13-00356
Akyposal SDS
Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)
Aquarex ME
Aquarex methyl
Sulfuric acid
Monododecyl ester
Sodium salt
Sodium Coco-Sulfate 

The last one is especially frightening. Why? Because organic companies use it insisting it's "better" and not a sulfate. Wrong. It's still a dangerous sulfate.

Don't be fooled by "Green Washing"

Chances are, if you can't pronounce it, you may not want to let it soak into your skin.

Here are a few of the "Natural" companies that use Sulfates
The Body Shop
Avalon Organics
(This list goes on and on)

Sulfates are bad for the planet and they're bad for you.
Read your labels!

I know it's hard to switch from the easily obtainable products, to safer ones.
I'm just starting my journey in buying and using safer products, and to be honest, I'm finding that home made products are the best (I LOVE homemade body scrubs). However, I've also tried "No Poo" and I just don't like how baking soda and vinegar make my hair feel. So my quest for earth friendly and safe shampoo continues! If you know of any fantastic sulfate free products, please share with me! I'll also keep you posted on anything that I find.

Have a great weekend friends!



  1. So once sulfates are in your body, they can never leave? That sounds pretty scary. I've thought of doing the baking soda and vinegar hair wash, but I've heard that baking soda isn't the best for your hair long term either. If you find a good alternative, let me know!

  2. That's somewhat alarming! I have also spotted 'contains sulfates' printed on most wine bottle labels...

  3. Hi Tammy, I use The green people conditioner, which is lovely, I'm not sure if it's free of SLS, I hope it is. It's quite pricey though so I comprise on the shampoo. I would love to use both, but it makes for extravagant hair washing. I think they are a pretty good organic company though, they products are good. I try and keep it pretty simple otherwise. A soap without gunk and just vitamin E oil for my face. That's it. I do use flouride toothpaste though. I try and use Ecover around my home. One day I will try and make some alternatives. X

  4. I don't do 'no poo', but I do 'low poo', I wash my hair once a week with a handmade solid shampoo bar( from this ebay shop and rinse with apple cider vinegar. I wash my hair with plain water if it needs washing again during the week. I sometimes use baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair, but only once every 2 or 3 months, as a deep clean, then I do a moisturising mask of coconut oil afterwards cos it makes my hair a bit dry.

    I still have lots of products in my home that contain SLS but I'm slowly trying to work through and find alternatives.

    Thanks for your post, it's reminded me to carry on doing this! :)

  5. It's so scary when you start digging into things. I don't know if you know Sarah Beeny from your trips to the UK. She's usually renovating houses but she did a show on what was in the cleaning products we buy. It was scary. Good luck with your organic lifestyle.
    Ali xx

  6. I'm not wanting to make the leap to vinegar and baking soda either, but I've also been trying to find natural alternatives. Some shampoos/conditioners break out my skin around my hairline. I need to keep doing some research. For now I'm using Herbal Essence "naked" line which is free of whatever breaks me out, but is still choke-full of sulfate!!

  7. I am allergic to sulphates/sulphites in food and drink, so I don't know why I never thought about them in products! Luke and I want to start a family this year and I have started by preparing our home environment and my body beforehand and the removal of all chemicals is going to start in about four weeks time, so this is now on my list for then! Thanks you!

  8. I've been trying to reduce anything harmful being used in my home or especially on me or my family. I've been making changes gradually and finding that quite often the alternatives are rather expensive. But worth it in the end!

  9. Yes, I have been looking for this all day better now than never!

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Thank you for your positive comments!