Sulfates are chemical cleansing agents that are used in a wide range of cleaners, beauty and detergents – i.e., soaps, shampoos, face cleansers, laundry detergents, and dish soaps. Sulfates are used in products to create a lather to help remove heavy oils, grease and dirt from hair, laundry and dishes. If a product easily makes a thick foam, when mixed with water, it likely has a synthetic sulfate ingredient in the formulation.

Known as a surfactant,The most common sulfate found in cleaning products is sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES. It is derived from petrolatum, which itself is derived from petroleum.

SLS and SLES can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, especially with long-term use. Because SLES is derived from petroleum, it may contain trace amounts of cancer-causing chemicals, such as ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.

Products with sulfates may also be toxic to the environment and aquatic animals, when wash down drains.

Lastly, in an effort to test the level of reaction/irritation to people’s skin, lungs, and eyes, many products with sulfates are tested on animals. Because of these potentially harmful effect and unethical manufacturing practices, we choose to manufacture our products without SLS, SLES, or any other synthetic surfactants.

Readers can shop all sulfate-free products here.