Every know and again the beauty community discovers ingredients that are supposedly skin harming, resulting in skincare brands to change their game plan and consumers being mortified. Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea. Think parabens, mineral oil, silicones, alcohol... Another term we've seen a gazillion times is SLES or SLS, also known as the foaming agent in our skin-, body- and hair care products. At first I couldn't really be bothered with switching all my products to anything labelled as "SLS free", but after nearly 2 years, I've gone SLS free with a few exceptions and most importantly: I've noticed a big difference.
So right, SLS. For those who aren't familiar with the term just yet, it stands for Sodium Laureth Sulphate and makes our product foam. It's basically in anything that we use on a regular basis: shampoos, cleansers, scrubs, shower gels, toothpaste and so on. The main reason why it's used in many products, is because we were brought up in a way that foam is associated with being clean(er). Somehow this was stuck in our minds and it took quite some years before the beauty industry actually started to roll out with SLS free products.
I started noticing the biggest difference when I switched my cleansers, mainly because I felt that lots of cleansers were too aggressive on my skin and gave me that tight feeling. When started using SLS free cleansers, my first observation was that my skin got less oily and red. SLS strips the skin of all its oils and moisture, so the skin ends up producing more sebum to moisturise itself, which often causes blemishes and congested skin —you know the cycle. I haven't used a cleanser with SLS for years now and I don't see why I would ever go back. Some of my favourites include: Therapi Lemon Myrtle Honey Gel Cleanser, OSKIA Renaissance Gel Cleanser, MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser, balance Me. Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm, REN No. 1 Purity Balm, Aurelia Miracle Cleansing Balm.
I've only recently gotten into hair- and body care products without SLS, simply because I really couldn't be bothered to find any substitutes. However, due to some excessive use of clarifying shampoos (I've got greasy scalp) my scalp became very sensitive as of lately. Having used a natural, organic and SLS free shampoo, I did notice my scalp being less itchy than before. Currently I'm trying Rahua Volumnising Shampoo, review will follow soon.
As for shower gels, you know I love my Korres shower gels, but ever since I've read that 64% of the products we put onto our skin can be absorbed into our bloodstream (University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, 2011), I thought it was time to look for an alternative when I finished my last bottle. The biggest difference I noticed in switching my shower gel is that my skin didn't get congested. I'm really prone to acne on my face, and sadly depending on my hormones, stress, lifestyle or what I've eaten, I can get small red spots on my chest or back. When I was using my regular shower gels it took forever to go away and they were quite red, however, after the switch, I noticed that the spots faded much faster and didn't return. I can't stop thinking about that the shower gel had a big role in causing the spots. So far I've only tried balance Me. shower gels (Super Moisturising, Rose Otto and Super Toning), which are also 99% natural. They're amazing and very affordable. Totes recommended.