Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating How to add SLES in a solid product (bar soap, etc)

  • How to add SLES in a solid product (bar soap, etc)

    Posted by vhogiono on August 18, 2021 at 12:02 pm
    Hi everyone, recently I’ve been trying so many times to make a solid wash-off product (soap bar, shampoo bar). Yes I could make this easily with combination of SCI, fatty alcohol and oils, however the cost is too high. Therefore, I’m trying to replace some of the SCI portion with SLES to reduce costing, but I keep failing it. I have some questions as below:
    1. My SLES needle cannot dissolve in oil. Secondly, I cannot dissolve this SLES in water, because the final product that I want is a solid bar without preservatives. 
    2. Is Cocamidopropyl betaine (as a foam booster) will have no effect in solid bar product? I tried to add in my SCI bar soap, but it seems no additional foam effect.
    3. As for transparent soap, how do we make it? I do not want to use saponification method, even though I have tried and it worked. (because it will have high PH). I want to do it using synthetic material. However, the material that use to solidify/build the body are mostly fatty alcohol which definitely will cause the final result to be opaque.

    Thanks so much, and hope to hear some insights and help :)

    Microformulation replied 2 years, 7 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Farrukh

    August 25, 2021 at 5:40 am

    You should dissolve sles by propylene glycol

  • Syl

    August 25, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    For making syndet bars; I use SCI powder that I melt with other dry and liquid surfactants.  You can use SLES too.
    At the same time I melt the fatty alcohols and fats in a separate beaker and combine them to make my syndet.
    Some people do not melt. They combine surfactant noodles, melt fatty alcohols and fats, and use a press. Check youtube there are many videos and starter formulations available. The Lush company sells a syndet bar that is made of SLES noodle that is pressed.

  • ngarayeva001

    August 27, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Any reason why you aren’t using SLS? By the way Lush is using SLS mostly.

  • Syl

    August 27, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    In Northern California, SLS is demonized because it is ethoxylated, not from renewable sources, and harsh. I have to use only plant-derived surfactants that are mild.  People are very environmentally conscious, they want sulfate-free mild cleansers. Pricing is a secondary concern.

  • OldPerry

    August 27, 2021 at 9:28 pm


    It’s notable that SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is NOT ethoxylated.  You may be thinking of SLES (Sodium Laur-ETH Sulfate) which is. They are different ingredients though.

  • Syl

    August 27, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Sorry, I confused them. Unfortunately, the word sulfate is not well received here. I might try coco-sulfate as a secondary surfactant and see the response.

  • Microformulation

    September 6, 2021 at 12:04 am

    You can’t avoid the word “sulfate.” It describes a ubiquitous chemical structure. I have never had any real credible push back. Generally sulfate free refers simply to SLS/SLES/ALS/ALES. It is naive to apply it so broadly.

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