Chemicals to Avoid in Hair Products: Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Stephanie of Bubble and Bee gives the 101 about the chemical Sodium Laureth Sulfate, commonly found in hair shampoos, conditioners, and washes. Learn about why you should avoid this chemical in your hair products and how it can be damaging to your health.

Today’s Chemical:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

EWG Risk Score (Cosmetics Database):


What is it:
A widely used detergent and surfactant. It can be derived from coconut oil or petroleum by-products. It is commonly used as an industrial “degreaser.”

Why is it a risk? 

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is an ethoxylated compound. When it’s created, it’s processed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane (another known carcinogen) can be found in the detergent. (Source)
Sodium laureth sulfate is a known eye and skin irritant. (Source)
SLES is found to be a penetration enhancer (Source)

Check to see if you have this chemical in your hair products!

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