Know Your Ingredients: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

by Gio


What it is
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate can be derived from coconut.

What it does
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate is a surfactant: it cleans skin and hair by helping water mix with dirt and oil so that they can be rinsed away.

Side effects
Although considered gentle, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate can be irritating to those with sensitive skin.


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Viv November 20, 2011 - 4:34 pm

Just wondering – I’m reading a lot about how sulfates are damaging the environment – do you have any information on this? I’ve tried to find a shampoo that doesn’t contain any sulfate, and it seems almost impossible to find!!

beautifulwithbrains November 20, 2011 - 9:10 pm

Viv, as far as I know Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is biodegradable and doesn’t accumulate in the environment. Not sure about the others to be honest. Sulfates are such maligned ingredients that doing research on them is not easy. Most of the harmful claims about them are made by companies that sell natural products and just malign everything that is chemical, which is ridiculous because everything is a chemical, including water. But I’ll do a search and let you know what I find.

Viv November 21, 2011 - 11:28 am

Thanks! I think you are probably right – I’ve suspected that a lot of the bad information is spread by people with alternative ‘chemicals’! As you say, so many ‘natural’ chemicals are equally capable of poisoning the environment! Reminds me of the survey that said that salted crisps were actually a valuable part of our diet – it was revealed at a later date that the survey had been commissioned by a company producing…..yep, salted crisps!!

beautifulwithbrains November 21, 2011 - 6:53 pm

Viv, that sadly doesn’t surprise me at all! There is just so much information out there, it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong. That’s why it’s always important to check the sources. I haven’t found much on the topic yet but I will keep looking and post my findings here soon..

omas May 24, 2018 - 4:38 am

it is safe for some cosmetic that containing 15% ammonium lauryl sulfate?

Gio May 27, 2018 - 7:42 am

Omas, Ammonium lauryl sulphate is classified as an irritant at concentrations of 2% or higher so if your skin is sensitive, I wouldn’t use it.


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