Health / 18.05.2015

5 reasons it’s time to go on an SLS detox

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
We quiz Janey Lee Grace for tips on making our beauty routines chemical-free

portrait of seductive girlSpend five minutes going through the ingredients on your favourite cleansers, shower gels and shampoos and scan the label for three letters: SLS. If you buy ‘mainstream’ beauty and cleansing products, SLS will be everywhere. But what is it?

SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulphate – a detergent and foaming agent added to most regular toiletries and cleaning products. ‘It’s in anything you’d expect to see a bit of bubble from,’ says Janey Lee Grace, author of Look Great Naturally… Without Ditching The Lipstick (Hay House, £8.99).

‘Scientists estimate 60 per cent of what we use on our skin gets into our bodies and studies suggest a link between SLS to everything from asthma to skin irritation and cataracts,’ she explains. ‘When people stop using products with SLS, some have almost instant reactions – saying they feel better, their skin has cleared up and they have fewer headaches – so it’s really worth cutting down.’

Read more –  Healthy A-Z: Eczema and Psoriasis

Get started with Janey’s easy ways to lose the nasty stuff, and have fun working in some new, friendly foam alternatives instead.

1. Calmer skin

‘SLS is a known skin irritant and can exacerbate conditions like dermatitis and rashes. Ironically, you could buy a product to sort out your sensitive skin, but SLS is a harsh chemical detergent and using that is making it worse.’

Janey’s solution: ‘Moisturise your skin with coconut oil, or make a face mask by mixing it with oats and honey. To clear up spots or blackheads, add a couple of drops of tea tree or lavender oil to a sink of boiling water to give your face a steam to clear pores and open up blackheads.’

2. Healthier hair

‘SLS literally strips the life out of your hair. In order for your hair to be nourished and shiny you need to feed it, not strip away all its natural oils. It can also really irritate your scalp, and make conditions like dandruff much worse.’

Read more – How to get your best hair ever

Janey’s solution: ‘Wash your hair less often to get the balance of the natural sebum right. And switch to a natural shampoo and conditioner. I love the Pomegranate & Rooibos by Faith in Nature. Coconut and argan oils both work well as a deep-conditioning treatment.’

3. Brighter eyes

‘SLS is an eye irritant, which some studies have even suggested can cause cataracts.’

Janey’s solution: ‘If you get sore, red eyes switch to an SLS-free moisturiser and shampoo, because the foam can drip down when you’re in the shower and irritate them.’

4. Clearer cupboards

‘Once you have an awareness of the ingredients you don’t need, you’ll probably realise you don’t need as many as you do!’

Janey’s solution: ‘Just start with one thing – replace it with a completely naturally alternative. It doesn’t need to be expensive! You might have to spend a bit more on natural shampoo, but you can save by making your own exfoliator or facial oil.’

5. Fewer sick days

‘SLS is bad for anyone with asthma or respiratory problems. It’s manufactured using some fairly toxic solvents and when you mix it with hot water, it omits toxic fumes. It can lower your immunity, too. The molecules of SLS are so small that they can easily speed across the skin-cell membrane, penetrating the skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to other chemicals getting in.’

Janey’s solution: ‘For a kinder body wash, whisk together or combine the following in a high-spreed blender – the essential oils can be changed to suit your mood!’

120ml of Castille soap (such as Dr Bronner’s)
115g raw honey (such as Tiana Wild Honey)
½ tsp jojoba oil
½ tsp coconut oil
6 drops ylang ylang
1 drop peppermint or eucalyptus oil

Will you be cutting out the chemicals and going on an SLS detox? Tweet and tell us @healthymag or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

5 reasons it's time to go on an SLS detox
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5 reasons it's time to go on an SLS detox
Time to cut SLS – sodium lauryl sulphate out of your life. Janey Lee Grace explains why, and offers some fun-friendly foam alternatives for your SLS detox
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