Lush Lathers Up with Synthetic-Free Shampoo

sls free lush shampoo bars photo

Image credit: Valli Ravindran/

Like any good TreeHugger, I love Lush's natural ingredients, minimal packaging, and the fact they won't sell out to the highest bidder. I was, however, always irked with their use of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in solid shampoos. But the tides have shifted (thanks to customer demand), and most Lush Sampoo Bars are now SLS-free!

What's the big deal with SLS, you ask?Well, while links between SLS and cancer have been revealed as a myth, this surfactant (which makes soaps and shampoo foam by allowing oils in soaps to mix with water) has been connected to some serious health issues: eye damage, traces have been detected in the heart, liver and lungs, and it may damage the immune system. SLS is also harsh on the scalp, often causing allergic reactions.

Lush's SLS-free bars are now made with sodium coco-sulfate, an alternative to SLS made from pure coconut oil. Sodium coco-sulfate is gentler on the scalp, while still being effective agent for combining water and oil based ingredients.

A few of Lush's shampoo bars still contain SLS though including the Godiva, Hybrid and Hard Water scents. The solid shampoos sold by weight—Blonde Solid Shampoo, Trichomania Solid Shampoo and Reincarnate Solid Shampoo—are also still made with SLS.

I e-mailed Lush to find out if they are going to replace SLS with SCS in all of their products, and this was their reply:

"Sodium coco sulfate is a feasible replacement for some of our products but not all," wrote Jen O'Holla. "We are constantly exploring new and natural alternatives to our synthetics but will not compromise the quality of our products or our ethics in this search. LUSH only uses synthetics minimally and when absolutely necessary to create an effective product."

And since we can't argue with the quality of Lush's products, we're glad their science is catching up to their eco-friendly heart.

Other SLS-free Products from Lush
Massage bars
Body butters
Bath bombs
Solid perfumes
Dusting powders
Toner tabs
…and more

And keep your eye out for palm oil-free soap from Lush in 2009!

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