April 13, 2010
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無添加 (mutenka): additive-free
ラウリル硫酸ナトリウム (rauriru ryuusan natoriumu): sodium lauryl sulfate
ラウレス硫酸ナトリウム (rauresu ryuusan natorimu): sodium laureth sulfate
(sometimes sodium is just written as Na on the labels, too, as in ラウレス硫酸Na.)
What is SLS? SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate (or sodium laureth sulfate), is an additive in practically all national-brand commercial soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. SLS acts as a foaming agent, but it’s a harsh detergent that’s really unnecessary for getting your body and hair clean. Using SLS products on yourself is kind of like using noxious chemicals to clean your kitchen and bathroom when baking soda and vinegar does the job just fine. But, to avoid getting on my, uh, soap box–in my personal experience, the SLS in regular shampoo and soaps dry out and irritate my skin and dull and frizz up my hair; my skin and hair are a lot healthier since I stopped using Herbal Essences and Bath and Body Works.
I know that there are others out there who try to avoid additives and/or SLS. However, looking for SLS-free products is particularly difficult in rural Japan, because we lack a lot of choice in the quantity of products available. The national brands and imported American national brands-Tsubaki, Pantene, Herbal Essences, Dove, Lion Brand, Naive–ALL of these shampoos and soaps contain SLS, even the ones that claim to be “gentle.” And of course, there’s the language barrier–it’s hard to look for SLS if you don’t know how to read it in Japanese!
Of course, in the city, there are many organic brands available in Japan in general; a large number have been imported from the US and Europe. However, the imported products are often exorbitantly priced. I saw some Nature’s Gate and Dr. Bronner’s products in Tokyo Station marked up to three times their US price–and organic/additive free/SLS-free beauty products are already more expensive than commercial brands!
What’s a additive-conscious rural JET to do?
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