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Why The Heck is That in My Shampoo?!

We all know that we should be reading the labels of the food we eat, but do you realize that there are ingredient lists on the products you put in your hair and on your body? Do you ever consider reading those?

The question might come up, “Why read the label of my lotion/shampoo/face wash when I am not eating it. I’m just putting in on my skin.”

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate:

You may have noticed some shampoo’s spouting off that they do not contain sulfates – you may ask yourself three questions. First, I didn’t realize there were sulfates in my shampoo (ok, that’s not question, just a realization). Second, why should I buy a shampoo that has no sulfates? Thirdly, why are they in there to begin with?

To answer your first concern: Yes, there very well are sulfates in your shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, etc. In fact SLS is in over 95% of shampoos on the market.

Sulfates act as a cleaning detergent, they are cheap and often found in detergents used for cleaning engines. They give that soapy-lather that we all equate that clean feeling with.

Here is a list to give you an idea of what common products contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate:

Tooth paste
Dish soap
Laundry detergent
Childrens soaps & shampoos
Stain Remover
Carpet Cleaner
Fabric glue
Body wash
Shave cream
Skin cleanser
Sun Cream

Why care? Well here’s the short of it-

-The Journal of the American College of Toxicology states that SLS has a degenerative effect on cell membranes and penetrates the skin at even a very low dose. (The low dose they are referring to is 0.5%, some soaps have a concentration of up to 30%)

-SLS maintains residual levels in the liver, lungs, heart and brain just from skin contact.

-SLS may be damaging to your immune system and eye damage has been proven to occur just from skin contact in non-eye areas (pretty freaky stuff)

-It is very common to see hypersensitivity and allergies to SLS in children.

While you might trust the FDA to only approve and regulate safe and healthy body care products, safety for these products are determined by immediate symptoms of health problems only, not from repeated exposure. (I don’t know about you, but I use these products such as soap, toothpaste, lotion and shampoo through out the day...and for over 30 years.)  And the track record for the FDA is questionable to say the least.

Interesting to note if you Google SLS, the Adult Swinger Lifestyle website comes up, so instead I would recommend any further reading be done by a searching for the full name: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

If you would rather just buy a shampoo then make your own – here is a list of shampoos that are a bit friendly to your body (and the environment) to consider:

Bed Head
Aubrey Organics
Nature’s Gate
Burt’s Bees

These shampoos can get a bit expensive. I am currently using Burt’s Bees shampoo for myself and my children which I really like, despite the price tag (usually costs about $6.00).

Recently, I decided to make my own shampoo (and other bath/body items). I am eagerly awaiting the products that I have on order to arrive and will be posting very shortly on what works best for me and my family!   

Here are a few sites that I read regarding Sodium Lauryl Sufates:

Picture courtesy of:


  1. The ingredients in shampoos is what led me to no 'pooing. Well that and it's so much cheaper then natural shampoos. :)

  2. I've been using just baking soda for over a year and it works pretty well. But is doesn't sud like I'm used to. I wish natural shampoos were cheaper. I've made my own toothpaste, and sunblock and other things but not shampoo.. yet..

    1. making yoru own shampoo is extremely simple - I would imagine its easier then making your own toothpaste - check out Bronners soap and google homemade shampoo/Bronners.

      Super, super easy!! AND not that expensive : )


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