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SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a chemical foaming agent which is added to products to create the foaminess or bubbly effect in most drug store cleansers, body washes, toothpaste and shampoos etc. This synthetic ingredient can be derived from petroleum (most commonly), palm oil or coconut oil to create a surfactant and although SLS from Coconut or Palm Oil may seem more natural, unfortunately, they need to be processed so heavily that they are not really still natural. Also, we have all seen the news about the destruction that unsustainably sourced palm oil is causing to rain forrest and natural habitats. So, what do surfactants do? Well they lower the surface tension between different ingredients which helps them to bind together. This is beneficial in beauty products in a couple of ways; they help to trap oil-based dirt so it can be lifted away by water and it helps turn liquids into foam which gives the effect of the product deeply cleansing.

Although SLS has been used in beauty products for many years, dating back to the 1930’s many people are now choosing to avoid products that contain SLS. It has come to light in more recent years that this synthetic ingredient can be very drying and irritate sensitive skin, especially those with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or dermatitis. It can be harsh on the skin and damage the acid mantle which is the protective outer barrier of our skin made from its natural sebum and oils.

What is SLS

The creamy lather that is created makes it a popular ingredient in many shop bought shampoos, however it can also be very drying to your hair and strip the hair of its natural oils.

What is SLS

SLS is also associated with a negative effect on the environment due to the production of the ingredient. The use of palm oil in products is controversial due to the destruction of tropical rainforests for palm tree plantations, however there are some sustainable palm oil plantations now which strive to protect the environment. Products used it the bathroom ultimately get washed down the drain so it is also more favourable to avoid products with chemicals that could potentially be damaging to aquatic life.

The most popular eco-certified alternative to SLS is SCS or Sodium Coco-Sulfate which is classed as being kinder to the skin. Although SCS is a little more gentle on the skin it is actually made up of around 50% SLS. SLS is a single molecule (sodium salt of lauric acid) or in other words a fatty acid from coconut, palm oil or petroleum that reacts with sulfuric acid to create a sulfate. SCS, however, is a mixture of sodium salts of all of the fatty acids that are present in coconut that also reacted with sulfuric acid to create sulfate.

What is SLS?

This means that the production method of SCS and SLS are the same with the difference being the material used to produce it i.e. SLS is the lauric acid only, a single component of coconut oil and for SCS the starting material is the whole coconut. It is the use of the whole coconut which allows for the presence of numerous fatty acids in SCS making SCS less irritating to the skin than pure SLS.

So when it comes to choosing a more natural or gentle alternative to SLS it means that it is not as simple as just looking for one of its alternatives like SCS. Instead, it means finding a brand that you trust who can guarantee that the surfactant (or foaming agent) they are using are derived from natural and sustainable sources and although it will still go through extensive production methods that it has been produced to the highest standards possible to ensure it is safe for gentle skin.

As the season’s change, your skincare routine should too! When the weather starts to warm up your skin’s needs will alter. The temperature rise can increase the activity of sebaceous glands and the heat makes our skin perspire more which can leave it feeling oily. The warmth from the sun can cause pores to open which can lead to dirt and bacteria entering these pores resulting in acne, blackheads and blocked pores. Spending more time outside makes wearing broad-spectrum protection an even more vital part of our morning skincare routine.

Cleansing

It may be time to introduce a gel or foam cleanser into your cleansing program, especially in the evening. This will ensure sweat, excess oil, SPF and daily pollution which can build up over the day is thoroughly cleansed and removed from the skin. This will reduce the chance of breakouts and blocked pores from bacteria and dirt that could be left behind.

Exfoliation

A gentle physical exfoliator can help slough away dead skin and unblock clogged pores which can lead to blackheads and blemishes. Whilst an acid exfoliator can help remove excess oils, smooth out uneven skin tone and brighten the skin. Gradually adding gentle exfoliation into your skincare routine will encourage cell renewal and reveal a more radiant complexion.

Moisturiser

Our skin tends to feel that it requires less hydration in summer. In winter the cold weather can leave our skin crying out for hydration and so a heavy thick cream-based moisturiser is often essential. However, in summer our skin often requires a lighter moisturiser like a moisturising fluid or lotion. This can help keep the excess oil at bay but still provide hydration.

SPF – Sun Protection

As much as we love the sun it can cause sun damage and premature ageing. UV rays cause photo-ageing of the skin which is normally characterised by discolouration i.e. dark spots. UV rays also lead to a breakdown of collagen, this contributes to an uneven skin tone, lines and wrinkles and causes the skin to lose its elasticity. So as you tend to spend more time outside in summer it is even more important to ensure you are wearing sun protection. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will help protect your skin from the damaging rays but make sure you are topping up throughout the day.

Face Mist

Apply a face mist during the day to help cool you down and make your skin feel refreshed!

The Vegan lifestyle is not just about the food we eat, there’s lots of areas it covers including beauty.

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.”

The Vegan Society 

In beauty some products may be cruelty free but not vegan. For a product to be vegan it must not contain any animal ingredients. The most common ingredients to look out for are; lanolin (wool grease), squalene (shark liver oil), carmine (crushed-up beetles), gelatin (cow or pig bones, tendons or ligaments) and ambergris (whale vomit). 

Here’s our top 10 Vegan Beauty buys:

Adorn Anti-aging AWARD WINNING lightweight, yet full coverage loose mineral foundation with SPF 20+is both sweat & water resistant, and requires little to NO need for touch-ups giving a flawless finish that lasts all day long that will NOT clog your pores or accentuate fine lines or wrinkles.

This moisturiser restores normal to dry skin with a blend of pure organic oils. Organic Argan oil nourishes whilst natural hyaluronic acid soothes and hydrates. Delicately fragranced with soothing hypoallergenic vanilla & coconut.

This wonderfully rich and nourishing shampoo bar is made by blending high-quality organic oils such as avocado and olive oil, as well as bergamot and sage with gentle coconut-derived cream cleansers and adding deep penetrating moisturisers.

Juice Cleanse effortlessly melts away the day, removing make up, impurities, dirt and environmental toxins without stripping or drying skin. Made with a clarifying, yet hydrating blend of super boosted plant oils and with notes of creamy vanilla, juicy mandarin and sweet orange, it’s the ultimate deep cleansing treatment.

Feed your skin with Farryn Amber’s Superfruit Face Milk. Hand blended with potent raw botanical plant oils, natural minerals and rose quartz crystals to brighten, detoxify and soothe stressed skin.

UpCircle Herbal Blend Coffee Face Scrub

Formulated for oily and combination skin, this natural facial exfoliator uses repurposed coffee grounds and a blend of rosemary, thyme, petitgrain and tea tree essential oils to help keep breakouts at bay and gently exfoliate away any dead and dry skin. A powerful antibacterial and antiseptic, rosemary oil helps keep acne, blackheads and whiteheads away whilst thyme has strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which help against acne and spots.

An exceptionally gentle formula based on rose hydrosol, Damask rose oil, and soothing sea algae extracts. Perfectly refreshes and tones the skin, preparing it for further treatment. Juicy toner mist instantly quenches your skin’s thirst, soothes irritation, and remineralises. Restores natural skin pH and prevents ageing. Sea algae extracts help combat acne. Thanks to their gentle constricting properties, they close up pores and regulate sebum secretion.

Revive and refresh the complexion with this hydrating cream cleanser, developed to glide over the skin to gently yet effectively remove light make-up and impurities. Enriched with 23 beauty-enhancing actives to revive the skin it gently, yet effectively cleanses away make-up and impurities. Aloe Vera and Jojoba rehydrate and soften even sensitive skin whilst Hibiscus helps firm and lift the skin and reduce wrinkles.

It leaves your hair feeling rehydrated, strong, silky and shiny. Marula oil and Icelandic moss lock-in moisture, protecting from the effects of UV exposure and environmental toxins. A rich and deeply nourishing treatment for dry and colour treated hair.

Bloomtown Charcoal and Tea Tree Mask

Give your skin a much-deserved breather with Bloomtown’s Charcoal Mask for oily and acne-prone complexions, formulated with anti-bacterial tea tree oil and white willow bark extract, a natural pore-exfoliant.