5.17.2012

So what is the difference between SLS and SLSa? Why should we care?

Over the years since we first started researching and creating our products, there have been many things that have gone well, and many that have been...um...disasters.  We actually spent a full year in research and development to perfect recipes, techniques, and make sure we knew exactly what our ingredients would do--good or bad.  It's not always possible to use all organic ingredients because that cost would get passed on to our customers.  We DO use organic when we can, and when costs allow (we stock up on our vendor's sales!), and if there is a small difference in cost between organic and non-organic, we go with the organic and eat a bit of the cost.  This is because OUR kids use our products too.  When I say I wouldn't sell something I can't use on my own kids, I truly mean that!  And I have to say, I'm a picky mama.

I asked a question on our Facebook page about what we should think about adding to our line.  Bubble bars was the answer.  If you are unfamiliar with bubble bars, they are basically a bubble bath mix in solid form.  You crumble them under running water and they create heaps of bubbles in your tub, some have added ingredients such as scent and color.  Unfortunately, they were one of the products we researched years ago and we actually made many prototypes of them.  While they worked--meaning they made bubbles--they weren't up to the standards that people would expect from a regular "bubble bar".  They made a bubble bath, but it was never the thick, super bubbles that the other stuff would produce, and they just didn't last as long either.  Why?  The super bubbly bars of fame contain SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate (otherwise known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate), and it is a chemical detergent and surfactant (foaming agent) that we do not use.  We DO use Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate however.  This is in our foaming bath treats, such as the Alien Atmosphere, Summertime Twister, Smooth Operator, and Cast A Spell.  So, what's the difference?  They sound the same.  In fact, they could be related.  Well, they are, they both make bubbles and are used in cleansing.  But there are some major differences between the two.  One is a harsh cheap chemical, and the other is a natural ingredient.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) (or Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES)):


SLS or SLES is a chemical detergent that is found in shampoos, toothpaste, soaps (not handmade), body wash, and other cleansing products we expect to foam up, and is made by mixing sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, and sodium salt.  In the health & beauty care/cosmetic industry, SLS is still used in the majority of mass market products because it is super cheap and a effective degreaser, but can be very harsh on the skin.  It's a small molecule chemical, which means it passes right into your body pretty easily.  The American College of Toxicology showed that concentrations as low as 0.5% could cause irritation and concentrations of 10-30% can cause skin corrosion and severe irritation.  Irritation is what lets in all those environmental contaminants we cozy up with every day, and can't control.  Now, a bubble bar uses a HIGH concentration of bubble mix.  HIGH.  We are talking, top of the ingredient list high.  So, I'm not too keen on using it.  Yes, it's much cheaper that Sulfoacetate, and I could certainly make cheap products, but I just can't do that.  I wouldn't toss that into the tub with my children!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA):

Looks the same, doesn't it?  Not the same though.  Believe me.
 
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is not referred to as SLS in the cosmetic industry and has a completely different profile in terms of performance and mildness. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is not SLS.  It is derived from coconut and palm oils.  It is classified as a safe skin friendly surfactant for both skin and hair because of its large molecular structure.  This mild plant derived surfactant creates a lather that effectively removes surface oil, dirt and bacteria, without stripping or drying sensitive skin. SLSA is also hydrophillic, This means it is attracted to water, which enables it to dissolve more readily in water, thus providing superior rinse
ability.  It is becoming the standard foaming ingredient for those who are looking for "natural" products for body and haircare.

Now, if you have made it this far into this post, you may be thinking "Holy cow, this girl is crazy".  I probably am.  I'm used to it.  I'm one of those fringe-hippie-alternative-thinking-mommies that do things a bit differently  and have to check the labels on EVERYTHING.  It's gotten about ten times worse since I had children.  Having SLS in a product you use may not be a big issue for you, and that is fine.  You may be one of those people who doesn't mind going to Meijer or Kroger and grabbing some Pantene and Zest soap or whatever is on sale and believe me, I understand.  No judgement.  It doesn't keep me up at night, seriously.  Or maybe you didn't know about this at all and I got to shed some light on something that not many people really think about.  That would be cool!  ( I like to feel useful like that ;P )  All I can really say is, for ME, it mattered.  So, I decided not to use it in our products and tried everything I could to NOT use it, and have been successful so far.  It's just one of the many decisions we all have to make in our lives, does it matter, or not?

Really, it comes down to this:  If you want natural products, produced by hand and by people who care about what you put on your body, Bizzy Fizz is the place to go.  We make the effort to put GREAT stuff out there and we stand behind everything we make.  That is why our customers come back, and why Fizz-Heads will someday take over the world!

Have a fabulous day!



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