SLS vs SLES: What do they mean and what's the difference?

These are two very similar sounding abbreviations that represent two very different ingredients. Both are added to a wide variety of beauty products as they help to create foam (such as the lather you get from shampoos). SLS stands forSodium Lauryl Sulfate while SLES stands for Sodium Laureth Sulfate. If you already shop consciously then you may be familiar with these sulfates and what they do, but let’s dive deeper into the differences between the two and what they mean for your skin.

SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate 

Although it has officially been marked as ‘safe to use’, SLS can cause skin irritation, which is bad news for people who have sensitive skin and have skin conditions such as eczema. SLS affects the proteins within the skin and over time the skin can become dry and cracked. In shampoos, SLS can cause hair to become weak which can then potentially lead to hair loss. This is due to SLS remaining in the follicles for some time after you have washed your hair. ishga does not use SLS in any products.

Shampoo Bar

SLES – Sodium Laureth Sulfate 

SLES is derived from the parent chemical SLS. However, the compound is altered through a process called ethoxylation (try saying that in that a hurry!) and the end result is the creation of a gentler, safer chemical. This means that it is safe to use in beauty products and it won’t irritate your skin. Products that use SLES can generate just as much lather and cleaning action as those containing SLS, but the key difference is that your skin will feel soft and nourished after using SLES, especially when combined with natural ingredients   like seaweed extract, juniper berries, lemongrass, lavender and rose geranium – ishga's key ingredients. 

At ishga we do not use SLS. We use SLES in our Shampoo & Body Bar. Our Shampoo & Body Bar is gentle on your skin and packaged without plastic, it's an ideal sustainable swap for on the go.

Questions about our ingredients? Feel free to get in touch.