Minimalist Beauty is all about simple living and using 100% natural ingredients for beauty care. I do make pretty much all of my own beauty products, and at one time even used lab created ingredients that weren’t listed as toxic on the Environmental Working Group. Using lab created ingredients that are derived from a natural source is not natural and still created with a chemical process.
Now if it is not a botanical ingredient that I could literally eat, I just won’t use it for beauty.
One of my goals with Minimalist Beauty is to help you become a more conscious consumer and learn how to read cosmetic labels with ease. I did write this article a few years ago about reading product labels, yet let’s begin to look more into the specific ingredients. Today we’ll analyze sodium lauryl sulfate.
“Sodium lauryl sulfate is a white or cream colored crystal, flake, or powder primarily used as a surfactant, emulsifier, foamer, dispersant, or wetting agent in many industries, such as cleaning and personal care.” About.com Sodium lauryl sulfate strips the hair and skin of its natural oils and is what creates the suds in beauty care products including shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, facial cleansers, etc. It is also an ingredient which is a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant, is harmful if swallowed, pollutes the water supply, and is toxic to aquatic life. Learn more here.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a chemical that must be handled with extreme care in pure form, yet somehow is believed to safe if diluted with other chemical and non-chemical ingredients. That just doesn’t make sense to me.
Dilution of a chemical does not make it safe. It just makes it less of an immediate irritant with slower toxic build-up in the body. Chemicals in beauty products create an environment to possibly create sickness slowly over time. Without expensive tests you can not place a finger on why your immune system is weakened, nor why you may be experiencing dis-ease of some form.
Sodium lauryl sulfate also has many other names. I’ve bolded the names that I’ve seen on cosmetics ingredient labels.
Dehydrag Sulfate GL Emulsion
Dodecyl Sulfate Sodium Salt
Dodecyl Sodium Sulfate
Lauryl Sodium Sulfate
Lauryl Sulfate Sodium Salt
Monogen Y 100
Orvus WA Paste
Perklankrol ESD 60
Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Ether
Sodium Salt Sulfuric Acid
Sepanol T 28
Stepanol ME Dry AW
Stepanol Methyl Dry AW
Tarapon K 12
Texapon K 12
It is easier to avoid chemical ingredients in your beauty products by just understanding how to read your beauty product labels. If it contains something that you can not pronounce, or you would not want to eat, seek something which does not have those chemicals. I’ve found that using simple ingredients for beauty to be the easiest and most cost effective route to take.
If you can not find the list of ingredients on the product, look it up online. Don’t be afraid to pull out your phone in the store and look up a product online. I do it all the time. If I can’t find the information online that I want, I email the company. If I still am left without the information that I am looking for, I save my money and find something else. As a side note, learn to read the ingredients on your food items too. Bread that lasts more than a week is questionable unless frozen!
Natural alternatives to use for beauty care in place of sodium lauryl sulfate are clays such as rhassoul clay, bentonite clay, and french green clay as well as saponin producing herbs and ingredients such as yucca root, aritha, shikakai, and oats.
You can also use castile soap for household cleaning/laundry or make you own DIY Multipurpose Household Cleaner. Before you ask I’ll mention that castile soap is extremely alkaline and disrupts the pH balance of skin and hair. I don’t personally suggest using castile soap even diluted for beauty care. Learn even more alternatives to 100% chemical-free skin care here and 100% chemical-free hair care here.
Knowledge is power. You can find a list toxic chemical ingredients to avoid along with more natural cosmetics to consider here.
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)