The trend of formulating without sulfates in the personal care industry has been present for almost a decade and has not decreased in popularity since its emergence. It began with press releases issued by activist groups claiming that sulfates in personal care were potentially harmful, and as consumers became more concerned with the safety of sulfates, more manufactures began formulating without them. As a result, formulators are now requesting alternatives to the popular sulfates sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) from their raw material suppliers in order to meet the demands of consumers.
Sulfonated alkyl polyglucosides (SAPGs) have evolved in the past five years to become efficacious primary surfactant alternatives to sulfates. As sulfonates, SAPGs can be substituted for sulfates—an unknown fact to many consumers and some formulators. Therefore, consumers and formulators alike must be educated on the benefits of SAPGs in personal care formulations without sulfates.
A previous article1 by Anderson and Smith focused on SAPGs’ mildness to the skin and eyes, sulfate-free claims, foaming properties and the renewability and environmentally friendly nature of the materials. At that time, two versions of SAPGs were introduced, including a decyl version (sodium decylglucosides hydroxypropyl sulfonate (SDHS)a) and a lauryl version (sodium laurylglucosides hydroxypropyl sulfonate (SLHS)b). This paper will discuss the various benefits of SAPGs, specifically SLHS, that have been researched since 2005, including among other benefits their biodegradability, mildness and eco-friendly attributes as recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention Award.