SLS-Free Beauty Favorites

Sulfates are detergents, or surfactants, commonly found in products like shampoo, body wash, face cleanser, and toothpaste. They are also found in many household and industrial cleaning products.

The most common sulfate-based ingredients are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth ether sulfate (SLES), commonly known as sodium laureth sulphate, which are added to beauty products to create a lather or bubbles and to help remove dirt and oils from skin and hair.

Unfortunately, the problem with sulfates is they can cause varying levels of irritation, particularly if you suffer from sensitive skin. Most products containing sulfates foam, and that tight, ‘clean’ feeling you get after washing your face is actually the result of your natural oils being stripped away, your skin drying out, and your all-important barrier being impaired. More importantly, if you suffer from any other skin conditions (e.g. eczema, perioral dermatitis, rosacea or acne) sulfates could be making matters worse.

Thankfully, there are plenty of products out there that are SLS-free and a few of our favourites include:

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser
This innovative jelly cleanser removes all traces of makeup, excess oil, pollution and any other grime from the day. Free of SLS, fragrance and essential oils, it’s totally non-irritating, non-sensitizing and appropriate for every skin type.

Beauty Dust Co. Hydrate Shampoo
This all-natural deeply hydrating shampoo replenishes moisture, leaving hair soft, shiny and healthy. It’s free from silicones, sulphates, parabens, glycol, petrochemicals, sodium chloride, synthetic colours and synthetic fragrance making it ideal for all scalps.

Allies of Skin Fresh Slate Purifying Cleanser + Masque
Treat skin to this clay-based two-in-one cleanser supercharged with Manuka Honey and Salicylic Acid that draw out pore-clogging impurities, while pore refiners and soothing actives clarify and balance problematic skin. Immediately, skin is clean and smooth, without any tightness or irritation. 

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
The whipped texture of this cleanser transforms into a cream when blended with water and is infused with a powerful botanical antioxidant blend, helping to safeguard skin against environmental aggressors while also calming irritated skin. The non-stripping, pH-balanced formula works to maintain skin’s natural acidity and helps reduce flare-ups, never leaving skin feeling tight or dry.

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash
This four-in-one formula effectively cleanses, conditions, detangles, and nourishes hair. It gently, yet effectively, rids the hair of dirt and build up while nourishing and conditioning the hair with nutrient-rich essential ingredients. It also aids in the detangling process and leaves the hair feeling hydrated, soft and silky.

Burt’s Bees Extra Energizing Citrus & Ginger Body Wash

Made with a plant based cleansing complex and the energizing aroma of citrus and ginger, this gentle body wash nourishes and rejuvenates your skin, making it the perfect start to any day. It is 99.9% natural and free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.

African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil
This antioxidant and omega-rich cleansing oil was designed for all skin types including thirsty, problematic, inflamed and sensitive. It deeply cleanses, dissolves makeup, pollution, surface impurities, skin congestion and SPF without causing irritation or skin dehydration whilst maintaining the skin’s natural protective barrier. It also helps to restores the skin’s natural balance and gently exfoliates with AHA Fruit Acids.

Jason Nutrismile Enamel Defense Toothpaste
Nourish your smile and defend your enamel without irritating chemicals. High potency vitamin C strengthens tooth enamel by helping rebuild weak spots on your teeth, while an exclusive blend of polishers clean and brighten without harsh abrasives. A burst of orange, cinnamon and mint instantly freshens your breath.

About the Author

Having started her career in New Zealand as a fashion and beauty assistant, she then moved on to edit the online beauty magazine, BeautyBible. Since then she has created her own blog, The Refined Edit. Now based in the United Kingdom she has contributed to countless print and online publications including Follow her musing on Twitter and Instagram @gracieastewart.