Save 20% Storewide use code KIT20 — Details »
Get Set, SAVE! Shop Sets & Kits »

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium laureth sulfate is a sodium salt produced by adding ethylene oxide to dodecyl alcohol. This produces an ethoxylate which is transformed in to a half ester of sulphuric acid and neutralized to achieve sodium laureth sulfate. Sodium laureth sulfate is a popular detergent, surfactant, and emulsifier found in many toiletries, cosmetics, and skin care products.

As a detergent, sodium laureth sulfate is found in many skin and hair cleansing products, including facial washes, cleansing gels, shampoos, shower gels and body scrubs. The chemical properties of sodium laureth sulfate enable it to bind to dirt and grime particles, enabling them to be washed away from the surface of the skin or hair. Detergents, such as sodium laureth sulfate, have greater cleansing power than soap in hard water areas. This is because the cleansing action of soap is hampered by the minerals found in hard water, such as calcium. Detergents do not react with these minerals in the same way, allowing them to carry out their cleansing function more effectively.

more information

Sodium laureth sulfate is a surfactant and, as a result, is often included as an ingredient in products which work more effectively when they produce foam or suds. This includes products such as bath foam, shampoo, and soap. Surfactants are able to join water and oil molecules, which would otherwise repel one another, enabling them to create bubbles. Sodium laureth sulfate’s surfactant properties make it extremely useful in hair cleansing products, such as shampoo. The particles of dirt, grime, and environmental pollution that accumulate on the hair are trapped in the natural protective oils that coat each hair shaft. Water alone does not effectively clean off this oily residue, as oil and water molecules naturally repel one another. Sodium laureth sulfate forms a bond between the oil and water, enabling the dirt and grime to be rinsed off with the shampoo.

Toothpaste works more effectively when it can foam up. This is because the foam is able to enter the small spaces between the teeth that cannot be entered by the bristles on a toothbrush. For this reason, sodium laureth sulfate is included as an ingredient in some toothpastes.

Sodium laureth sulfate’s surfactant properties make it extremely useful in hair cleansing products, such as shampoo.

The emulsifying properties of sodium laureth sulfate make it a useful ingredient in cosmetic products, such as mascara and lip plumper. Sodium laureth sulfate is also used as an emulsifier in some fragrances and perfumes. As an emulsifier, sodium laureth sulfate helps mix other ingredients together and prevents them from separating during transit or as the products settles. This prolongs the shelf-life of the product.

Sodium laureth sulfate is also used as an ingredient in a number of household items, including dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent, due to its cleansing and surfactant properties.

Sodium laureth sulfate is generally well tolerated by the majority of the population, making it a very safe ingredient. However, some individuals with sensitive skin may find that products containing sodium laureth sulfate cause their skin to become dry, irritated, and red. This irritation can arise because of the surfactant and emulsifying properties of sodium laureth sulfate. Sodium laureth sulfate is extremely efficient at dissolving the naturally occurring oils that form a protective layer on the surface of the skin. When these oils are dissolved, they can be washed away, leaving the skin unprotected from environmental irritants.

The emulsifying properties of sodium laureth sulfate make it a useful ingredient in cosmetic products, such as mascara and lip plumper.

Individuals who are sensitive to sodium laureth sulfate may not be able to use toothpastes that list it as an ingredient. For a small number of individuals, sodium laureth sulfate in toothpaste can cause the formation of sores. These sores will heal if use of the toothpaste containing sodium laureth sulfate is discontinued.

A myth arose around sodium laureth sulfate after a hoax email was circulated on the internet. The email claimed that sodium laureth sulfate was a carcinogen that had been found to cause cancer. However, the content of this email was untrue. Despite its lack of accuracy, this email claim has lingered and references to it can still be found on the internet.

Sodium laureth sulfate is sometimes referred to by the abbreviation SLES. Sodium laureth sulfate can also be found listed under other names, including sodium lauryl sulfate ethoxylate, sodium laureth-3 sulfate, PEG-8 lauryl ether sulfate sodium salt, and polyethylene glycol sulfate monododecyl ether sodium salt.


refine by

Special Features

Customer Favorites (146)

Natural (55)

Ships Free (23)

New Arrivals (22)

Multi-Taskers (20)

Sale (9)

Award Winning (5)

Supersized Beauty (4)

Travel Favorites (3)

Limited Edition (2)


3LAB (1)


Alchimie Forever (1)

Anthony Logistics for Men (3)

Archipelago Botanicals (7)

Art Of Shaving (1)

Avene (8)

B. Kamins (2)


bareMinerals (1)

Belli Skin Care (5)

Billy Jealousy (4)

Bioelements (1)

Bliss (9)

Boots No7 (13)

Borghese (1)

Brave Soldier (2)

Caudalie Paris (1)

Celazome (1)

Clarisonic (2)

Clark's Botanicals (1)

Coola (1)

DCL Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (2)

DDF (2)

Decleor (2)

Dermablend Cosmetics (4)

Dermaheal Cosmeceuticals (1)

DermaQuest (2)

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals (1)

dr. brandt (1)

Dr. Dennis Gross (1)

Dr. Michelle Copeland (1)

Elemis (3)

EmerginC (1)

Exuviance by NeoStrata (4)

First Aid Beauty (1)

Frederic Fekkai (16)

Glytone (4)

Grooming Lounge (1)

H2O Plus (6)

Jack Black (2)

Jan Marini (3)

Juice Beauty (5)

June Jacobs Spa (3)

Jurlique (4)

Kate Somerville (2)

Kerstin Florian (6)

Kinerase (1)

Klorane (15)

Kneipp (4)


L'Occitane (10)

La Roche Posay (4)

Lab Series (2)


Menscience Androceuticals (2)

Miracle Skin Transformer (1)

Molton Brown (32)

Murad (4)

Mustela (3)

NeoStrata (4)

Neova (1)

NEST (15)

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills (1)

NUXE (1)

Obagi (5)

Ole Henriksen (1)

Paula's Choice (2)


Perricone MD (3)

Peter Thomas Roth (6)

Pevonia Botanica (1)

Philip B (3)

philosophy (18)

Phyto (13)

Phytomer (6)


Pur Minerals (3)

Quintessence Skin Science (1)

Red Flower (1)

Rene Furterer (2)


Rodial (1)


Sjal (1)

Skin Authority (2)

SkinCeuticals (4)

skyn ICELAND (1)

Sundari (2)


Thalgo (2)

Topix (4)

Tricomin (2)

Vichy (2)

WEI (1)

Wilma Schumann (1)

Z. Bigatti (2)

ZIRH (2)


$5 To $19.99 (81)

$20 To $24.99 (77)

$25 To $29.99 (61)

$30 To $39.99 (87)

$40 To $199.99 (49)


Paraben-Free (217)

Natural (57)

Sulfate-Free (38)

Product Type

Gel (174)

Cream (39)

Scrub (16)

Serum (10)

Lotion (6)

Pad / Wipe (4)

Clay (3)

Foam (3)

Tinted/Colored (3)

Shampoo (2)

Skin Type

All Skin Types (149)

Combination Skin (16)

Oily Skin (13)

Dry Skin (12)

Sensitive Skin (7)


Aging Skin (31)

Uneven Skin Tone and Texture (29)

Acne (19)

Congested Skin (18)

Dehydration (10)

Oil Control (10)

Irritated Skin (6)

Frizzy Hair (5)

Hair Loss (5)

Split Ends (5)

Hair Type

All Hair Types (33)

Limp/Fine/Thin (16)

Dry (9)

Chemically Treated (7)

Damaged (7)

Normal (5)

Oily (3)

Curly (1)

Hair Care

Shine Enhancing (14)

Moisturizing (13)

Volumizing (10)

Smoothing (8)

Clarifying (4)

Intensive (2)

Anti-Aging (1)

Curl Defining (1)

Leave-In (1)

Straightening (1)


Bath and Body (9)

Limited-Edition (8)

Under $35 (8)

For Her (1)

For Him (1)

For Mom and Baby (1)

Great Values (1)

Sun Care

SPF 30 Plus (5)

SPF 15-29 (1)

Who Is It For

Baby/Child (3)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate Products

Sort results by:
Gently removes impurities, excess oils, and makeup.
8oz | SK021
In Stock
Leaves all skin types clean and extremely soft to the touch.
6.7 oz | OB001
In Stock
Designed for congested and/or rough skin, this scrub provides intense and even exfoliation.
5oz | SK071
In Stock
The perfect first step in your daily skin care regimen.
$58.00 $64.00 value
12oz. | NSPK01
In Stock
A decongesting cleansing gel recommended for oily or problematic skin.
8oz | SK070
In Stock
Medicated cleanser for the treatment of acne and clogged pores.
8.5oz | PT073
In Stock
A refreshing, soap free, foaming, cleansing gel.
$54.00 $60.00 value
2 x 7.2oz | EXPK01
In Stock
Oil- and soap-free, non-drying cleanser thoroughly cleanses and removes makeup.
6 oz | NS007
In Stock
This gel cleanser eliminates excess oil while tightening pores.
6.76oz | LP063
In Stock
A refreshing, soap free, foaming, cleansing gel.
7.2oz | EX038
In Stock
Removes dirt, debris, makeup and excess oil with 2% Salicylic Acid.
4oz | OB055
In Stock
Pure and gentle foaming formula with skin soothing benefits.
5oz | KE092
In Stock

Sale — While They Last »
Smart Shopping — Beauty Center
Coconut Water – Key Ingredient
FREE Gift from Clarisonic ($28 Value). Details »
FREE Cold Cream Ultra Rich Cleansing Gel ($12 Value). Details »
Skin Care Regimen »
2 steps to a new you — My Beauty Advisor




HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
BBBOnLine Reliability Seal
TRUSTe online privacy certification
Stella Service