What You Need to Know About Cleansers

Gentle Foaming Agents vs. Harsh Surfactants

To lather up … or not? The idea of creating lots of suds when you wash anything—hair, body, clothes, dishes—has come to be synonymous with getting a great clean. But lather actually has nothing to do with how clean you’re getting.

Cleaning off the dirt, excess oils, and buildup from your skin and hair gets done thanks to ingredients called surfactants. There are two types of surfactants: chemical-based, which tend to create more lather, and natural surfactants derived from plants, which typically generate less suds. At Pharmacopia, we’re obviously big fans of natural surfactants, for good reason.

Chemical-based surfactants

Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most commonly used chemical surfactants today and is also one of the harshest. Along with the dirt and excess oils it cleans off, it also strips natural oils from the skin and scalp. This loss of moisture can cause skin irritation, dryness, and rashes. Sodium lauryl sulfate can also fade color-treated hair.

What’s more, chemical surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate are petroleum derived. This means they rely on non-renewable fossil fuels for their production, which is why you won’t ever find them in Pharmacopia products.

Natural surfactants

At Pharmacopia, we steer clear of anything that’s harmful for the skin, body, and the environment. Our mission to provide better-for-you beauty drives everything we do, which is why we use only natural surfactants in all of our products. These gentle cleaning agents—which go by names like Decyl Glucoside and Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate—might sound scary, but they are derived from plants like palm and coconut, not petroleum, and are therefore less irritating. All our ingredients are biodegradable too so they don’t pollute rivers and streams.

You still get an awesome clean, but you simply won’t see as much lather. It’s a worthy trade off in our minds. To get more suds from your shampoo, just use more water with that dollop of shampoo. And to get the most foam from the body wash, simply use it with a wash cloth or loofah.

Happy, healthy cleansing!