Monday, June 11, 2012

A few links about SLS

To follow up from this post - why do you think sulfates are bad for your hair? - I thought I'd offer a few links from one of my favourite blogs, The Natural Haven! (Thanks, Bajan Lilly for reminding me to look there for stuff on SLS!) She's writing a great series on sulfates, and I'd rather send you to her than re-research all the great stuff she's been researching and writing about regarding sulfates. If you are someone with African hair, there is so much information here, you might not resurface for weeks!

Here are some great links I found on her blog that might interest you...
On sulfates in shampoo! 
Myth or Fact: Sulfates break hair (part 1)
Myth or Fact: Sulfates break hair (part 2)
What causes a shampoo to be harsh?
Are sulfate free shampoos really gentler?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links. I love this blog, it has some of the best information available on haircare, whatever your hair type. There is just one thing that comes up in the SLS articles (especially here: ) which I am a little confused about. She seems to attribute the irritation potential of SLS solely to its ability to strip oil. I thought there was more to irritation than this? The post I linked specifically states that irritation isn't damaging, but I thought that it could be?

Bonnie said...

I have a question about SLS. Susan, I know you don't use SLS in your formulations, but I was wondering if any of your readers have, and if they'd be willing to share advice.

I own some fine-powder SLS and am having trouble melting it. I've read the posts here that describe the melting of other surfactants in a double boiler, and am aware that the process takes a long time. So, I tried to melt 180 grams of SLS that way (just SLS, nothing more), and after 10 minutes, the granules stuck together a little more than when they were cool, but I wouldn't say it was "melted" in any sense of the word. When I stuck a thermometer in the powder, the temperature read 176 degrees F. Am I doing something wrong? Is SLS powder different from other surfactants in the way it melts -- or doesn't melt?

BTW, I tried the web and failed, because searching on any terms like "SLS" and "melt" tend to yield pages about melt-and-pour soap that contains SLS. There are apparently a lot of pages about MP soap.

The thing that worked for me: I just put the room-temp SLS in room-temp water and stirred gently for a while. I'd pop the solution in the microwave for a few seconds every so often, which seemed to loosen things up. After about 5 minutes of stirring, there were still chunks, but upon leaving it overnight, the chunks were gone and it was a beautiful clear liquid. But I don't know if that's the "right" way to do it, or if the clear liquid will separate or act badly without having melted the SLS beforehand. In this instance, the experimental recipe was literally 40% SLS powder and 60% water.

Originally, I had grand visions of making a solid shampoo bar with SLS ... which requires melting the surfactant to form into the bar. I know there are milder surfactants out there which would be better for such a thing, but melting SLS has now become my latest obsession, and you know how obsessions go.

Sorry the post was so long. Hopefully others will get something out of this too.