Honest Company Laundry Detergent Contains SLS*

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Laundry Detergent Contains SLS, according to two separate lab tests.

Jessica Alba's Honest Company Laundry Detergent Contains SLS sodium lauryl sulfate

According to two independent laboratory tests commissioned by the Wall Street Journal, the laundry detergent sold by Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).  SLS is an ingredient the company has pledged not to use.

About Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

According to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for SLS, the main ingredient in SLS is Sulfuric Acid, making SLS damaging to skin and other delicate body tissues.

Also from the MSDS for SLS:honest company caught using sls sodium lauryl sulfate msds








Of course, the information above is referring to SLS in it’s full concentration, but even diluted in liquid hand soap, it can cause rashes, irritation, and dry cracked hands.  It works by denaturing proteins, or breaking them down.  Essentially, it “eats flesh”.   In baby shampoo, that promises “no more tears”, it is especially harmful.  If baby doesn’t cry when shampoo gets in her eye, it may not be flushed properly and can cause serious damage.

In experimental, acute eye tests, a solution of 10 percent sodium lauryl sulfate “caused corneal damage to the eyes if not irrigated or irrigation was delayed.”

According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, “Tests show permanent eye damage in young animals from skin contact in non-eye areas. Studies indicated sodium lauryl sulfate kept young eyes from developing properly by possibly denaturing the proteins and not allowing for proper structural formation. This damage was permanent.”


If you or child has sensitive skin, you may want to avoid SLS in laundry detergent, simply because laundry ingredients don’t always rinse out and can remain in our clothing.

Are companies performing adequate testing on their products and ingredients?

This seems to be another situation, similar to what happened with Ava Anderson’s company.  Third party testing revealed ingredients that she, like Jessica, claimed were not in their products.  In the case of Ava Anderson Non Toxic, the company says the manufacturers were under contract NOT to use certain ingredients, but they did so anyway.  Ava claims she had no knowledge they were doing so, until 3rd party testing revealed that many ingredients were in the liquid dish soap that weren’t on the label, and the soap contained none of the natural ingredients that WERE on the label!   She has since left the company, and it has been re-branded with a new name.

We’ve also seen a lot of nutrition companies come under fire for lead, arsenic, and cadmium contamination in their protein powders.  GNC, Jillian Michaels, and Muscle Milk are a just a few of the guilty brands.

“When these toxic heavy metals are combined in a product that is marketed for daily use, that raises serious public health concerns, especially for pregnant women, children, and young adults,”
Cadmium raises special concern because it accumulates in and can damage the kidneys, the same organs that can be damaged by excessive protein consumption. And it can take 20 years for the body to eliminate even half the cadmium absorbed today.

Companies need to take testing their products, and raw ingredients more seriously.  They are losing brand loyalty over mislabeled products, and external contaminant exposure.   Personally, I’m curious to see if the tests the WSJ commission will lead to more.  I’m hoping they will, because there are a couple of products we’ve purchased from Honest Co.  I’d like to make sure they contain what’s on the label, and nothing more!

Honest Company

Ms. Alba, and her company, are disputing the claims.  A statement on their website explains that the ingredient is sodium coco sulfate, SCS, and not SLS.  So, what I’m wondering now is, did either of those two laboratories that the WSJ commissioned, run a separate test for SCS?  If they did, and the ingredient really is SLS, shame on Honest for not conducting their own tests, or commissioning 3rd party analysis of their final products.


~ Rebecca

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