Cleansing and foaming
Sodium lauryl sulfate creates a rich foam and cleanses the hair and skin. Its thorough action dissolves dirt and grease effectively.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant. All surfactants are partly water-soluble and partly oil-soluble, allowing oil and water to become dispersed. Above a minimum concentration, the surfactant molecules become organised in a structure that can trap the oil based dirt from the hair, allowing it to be rinsed away. Sodium lauryl sulfate gives thick, rich foam which helps the hands to work the shampoo through the hair while it’s thorough cleansing action dissolves dirt and grease effectively.
Sulfates became widely used in the 1930s and they started the development of the modern shampoo industry. Sodium lauryl sulfate has been used for more than sixty years as a main shampoo ingredient. It is now being superseded by milder surfactants.
Surfactants cleanse the hair leaving the hair fresh, clean and with great shine. Soap (which is one of the oldest surfactants) will clean the hair but its alkalinity tends to cause roughening of the cuticles on the hair follicle, leading to a dull appearance.