Sulphates In Your Skincare & Haircare Products: Are They Good Or Bad?

Sulphates In Your Skincare & Haircare Products: Are They Good Or Bad?

We all have been told that sulphates are bad for our hair. But do you know why? Here is everything you need to know about sulphates in hair care products. 

We often come across articles and videos on clean beauty, which always emphasise how bad sulphates are for us. At the same time, whenever we study the composition of our favourite brand of shampoos, we often find ‘Sodium Laureth Sulphate' (SLES) as the first and most important constituent present in them. How does one understand the difference and find out whether they need these sulphates in their products or not? What is SLS, rather what is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate? Is Sodium Laureth Sulphate bad for your skin? Sulphates are either found naturally in the environment or are manufactured. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate can be found in plant-based sources like coconut oil or palm kernel oil. It can also be manufactured from non-renewable petroleum sources. Both SLS and SLES are known to have questionable effects on your skin and hair. Even though all of the products at Pure Sense are sulphate and paraben-free, this article will give you an unbiased and informational perspective about these chemicals, and whether they're actually good for you or not.
  1. 1. What is Sulphate?

  2. 2. Where are Sulphates Found?

  3. 3. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate Vs Sodium Laureth Sulphate

  4. 4. Are Sulphates Safe for Your Skin?

  5. 5. The Importance of Sulphate-Free Products

  6. 6. Conclusion

  7. 7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Sulphate?

Sulphate is a salt that forms when sulphuric acid reacts with another chemical. Sulphates and their various forms, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) [also known as Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS)] and Sodium Laureth Sulphate/ Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES) are commonly produced from plant or petroleum-based products and found as a common constituent in various soaps and shampoos.  SLES is primarily used in personal care products because they have a soapy composition that lathers up when you rub them against your palms. It's an extremely cheap and a good foaming agent, which is why they're commonly used in the manufacture of these products. Sulphates are added to skincare products to make them effective cleansers. They are a form of surfactants that have the ability to attract both oil and water on either side of their molecular composition. This property allows the sulphates in soaps to effectively latch onto the oil and lift off the dirt and grease from its surface. In ancient times, soaps didn't contain sulphate as much as they do nowadays. Due to this, foaming and lathering weren't considered an essential feature of a soap. However, since most soaps contain SLS nowadays, foaming is now associated with soaps that are good in nature.

Where are Sulphates Found?

Ingredients like SLS and SLES are commonly found in everyday household and skincare products. We can roughly categorise these as the following-

 Grooming Products

Shaving creams, lip balms, hand sanitisers, exfoliators, nail products, makeup remover, foundation, body sprays, and liquid hand soap

 Haircare Products

Shampoos, conditioners, hair dye, dandruff treatments, and styling gel

Dental Care Products

Toothpaste, teeth whitening products, and mouthwashes

 Bath Products

Bath oils, body cleansers, soaps, bath salts, and bath bombs

Creams and Lotions

Anti-itching cream, sunscreen, body lotions, hand creams, and hair removal products

Cleaning Products

Carpet cleaners, dishwashing liquids, car washing liquids, and powerful surfactants to remove grease from heavy machinery

Food Additive

SLS is also used as an emulsifier or thickener and can be used as a food additive. It is found in dried egg products, some marshmallow products, and certain dry beverage bases too

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate Vs Sodium Laureth Sulphate

Well, now you hopefully know the answer to what is sulphate, and what SLS and SLES stand for. But what is the difference between the effect of SLS and SLES on our bodies? Read on to now more. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regards SLS as safe if used as a food additive. However, a self-assessment study published by the International Journal of Toxicology states that SLS can be used on the skin, only if it's available at 1% concentration, and can be immediately rinsed off from the skin after application. However, the same study also suggests that it has minimal risk to humans. If used daily, it can cause mild to moderate irritation to the skin. Talking about SLES, companies tend to commonly use it as an ingredient in personal care and cleaning products. The reason why SLES might be bad for your skin is that it often goes through a process called ethoxylation, wherein there is potential contamination with a carcinogen called 1,4 dioxane (3,4). In order to avoid this potential contamination, it has to be purified using chemical methods, and we don't have a sure-shot way of finding out whether this is actually done or not. According to a 1990 Danish Study, the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane was found in around 82% of cosmetic products and 85% of dishwashing products. It is also widely found in various skincare products like shower gels, hand soaps, detergents, and the like.

Are Sulphates Safe for Your Skin?

Sulphates are good constituents if you are looking at purchasing a cleaning product. Thanks to the strong effect and extreme foaming nature, sulphates can effectively cleanse off any dirty surface and make it sparkly white, spic and span, and bacteria-free. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review considers SLS as a safe element, if added to cosmetics. However, when you add them to your shampoos, shower gels, and face wash, they could potentially harm your hair and skin. They might easily strip off the natural, essential oils that nourish your skin and make it lose its essence. If you're using cleansers with sulphate in them, there are high chances of your body's first line of defence being stripped off, making it easily vulnerable to bacteria and allergens causing infections. Additionally, adding sulphates to your shampoos and conditioners can ruin the hair's cuticle, causing hair damage and friction. Sulphates are anionic surfactants, which come in contact with the hair cuticle and result in a negative charge, causing frizz and friction. This is probably why more and more people are now searching for alternatives to sulphates in these skincare products. This search has led them towards natural, soapy remedies or Castille soap. It is said to have an amazingly gentle and natural effect on the skin.

The Importance of Sulphate-Free Products

Including sulphate-free products in your hair and skincare routine is very important. They are extremely gentle on the skin and ensure that the hair and skin's natural oils are well preserved. Pure Sense offers you a plethora of hair and skincare products that are free from chemicals like sulphates, parabens, alcohols, or carcinogens. With Pure Sense, SLES will neither be a part of your cleansing agent nor will it result in ethoxylation. Manufactured amongst the goodness of nature, we are pure at heart, and pure in our intentions to give you the best skin care that you're looking for. Take your pick from our diverse range of products available in two classic, signature scents, Grapefruit and Macadamia, and give yourself the natural skincare of your dreams. Whether you're looking for an everyday body cleanser, a shampoo, or even a wholesome body massage candle to relax in your free time, you can get it all at Pure Sense. Now that there are so many options to choose from, which are natural, organic, and safe for your skin, what are you waiting for?If you are tired of waking up with bedhead hair or struggling with frizziness and need a shampoo that actually cares for your roots, you should try the Pure Sense Macadamia Deep Nourish Hair Care Combo.

This sulphate-free hair cleanser and conditioner is an absolute treat to your luscious locks! Enriched with the goodness of ethically sourced macadamia nut oil, this product contains the goodness of vitamin E and B5, fatty acids, and other minerals. It also contains iron, phosphorous, palmitoleic acid, and calcium, which work in a perfect blend with each other to give you the soft, smooth locks that you need. The conditioner leaves your scalp fresh and cleansed, while its nutty macadamia-rich fragrance calms and relaxes your senses. Has your hair become dull and dry? Do you want to make them shinier and bouncier? The Pure Sense Grapefruit Revitalising Hair Care Combo seems like a good choice for you. Its sulphate-free formula is extremely gentle on your tresses. It removes impurities and combats excess oil production, gives you smoother and shinier locks, and makes your hair voluminous and bouncy, while effectively detangling it. Enriched with eco-certified grapefruit from France, this cleanser-conditioner duo is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The citrusy-rich grapefruit supplies your scalp with a boost of refreshing energy and calms your senses with its zesty, fruity aroma. It contains vitamin C, which reduces the oxidative stress of your follicles and gives you a fresh, tangle-free look.


Overall, while sulphates are great for certain uses like food additives, cleaning, or dishwashing products, once they're replicated for skincare or haircare use, they can be really harmful. Due to this, the awareness of sulphate-free products has increased with time. These products are great for the long run as they keep your hair quality well preserved, minimising and controlling chances of damage. So, next time you're out shopping for a new product, keep two words in mind - sulphate-free! Explore our blog section to read more about topics such as damaged hair , hair care tips to get silky, luscious and healthy hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which shampoo is sulphate-free?

The Pure Sense range of products is natural, organic, sulphate, and paraben-free in nature. They have a very light composition and are gentle on the skin. If you're looking for a safe way to cleanse your skin, Pure Sense has got your back! Apart from hair care products, Pure Sense also has a lot of skincare options to choose from, such as moisturisers, body butter, massage oils, and more. After every sulphate-free hair cleanse, your hair turns out to be softer, shinier, and better than before.

What is the benefit of a sulphate-free shampoo?

Sulphate-free shampoos are extremely gentle and soft on the hair follicles. Sulphates are originally designed to be cleansing agents. They contain surfactants that make them very strong and foamy in nature, resulting in the displacement of dirt, oil, and grease from your skin. They can also come in contact with the hair, and cause a lot of friction, resulting in damaged, frizzy hair. Apart from a good cleanse, using sulphate-free shampoos will keep the natural oils of your hair intact and well preserved.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulphate a carcinogen?

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, depending on the manufacturing processes, Sodium Laureth Sulphate may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4- dioxane, which could be two potentially harmful human carcinogens, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Furthermore, SLES often