Surfactants: Sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS) – a type of alkyl ether sulfate

Alkyl ether sulfates result from the sulfation of an ethoxylated fatty alcohol. Ethoxylation is the process by which ethylene oxide is added to a fatty acid alcohol to create detergent properties in a surfactant. If you compare the molecule above to that of SLS (from yesterday), you’ll see that little oxygen (O) atom is messing...

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Surfactants: Alkyl sulfates

Alkyl sulfates are probably the most maligned of the surfactants. They are organic esters of sulfuric acid created by sulfation of a fatty alcohol chain that vary according to the number of carbons in that hydrocarbon chain. (For instance, if you were sulfating lauric acid, you’d have a carbon chain of 12 carbons. If you...

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Surfactants: Sulfates!

I know people are scared away by the idea of using sulfates of any sort in their products, but there are so many kinds of sulfates that eliminating them all together would deprive you of some awesome surfactants! When you see a surfactant with the word “sulfate” on the end, all it means the molecule...

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Surfactants: Carboxylates

Carboxylates are produced by the alkaline hydrolysis or saponification of animal or vegetable fats and result from the neutralization of fatty acids. They are extremely soluble in water up to C18 (or 18 carbons), and are insoluble over C20. If you use an unsaturated oil or butter to produce these surfactants, you might see some...

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Surfactants: How to interpret the names of surfactants

I know there’s a lot of misunderstanding about surfactants – especially about SLS – so here’s a way of figuring out what type of surfactant you have! Sodium lauryl sulfate Okay, the sodium part is the cationic or positively charged ion in this surfactant. The lauryl part indicates which fatty acid was used to make...

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