Sodium lauryl ether sulphate, or SLES, is a detergent and surfactant present in many personal care products (soap, shampoo, toothpaste). SLES is an inexpensive and highly effective foaming agent. SLES, SLS and ALS are surfactants used in cosmetic products for their cleansing and emulsifying properties.


This product varies in terms of the number of ethoxy groups (or ethylene oxide units that are added in a chemical process called polyethoxylation). For commercial use, n = 3 is common. SLES is prepared by ethoxylation of dodecyl alcohol or dodecanol, which is converted into a sulfuric acid ester, which is neutralized by converting it into the sodium salt. Its similar surfactant, SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate (more commonly called sodium dodecyl sulphate or SDS), is produced in the same way, but without previously polyethoxylating alcohol. Both SDS and ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS) are commonly used with SLES in consumer products.

This product is able, even at low temperatures, to develop all its foaming power.