In our cleansing gel, although very enriched with moisturizing and calming active ingredients, the main functional element is the cleansing base ! This cleansing base is made up of ingredients called surfactants. Their use has increased in recent years, supplanting traditional soap. Their function is to wash by “detaching” the dirt from the skin. Water alone cannot assure this function.
Without the presence of surfactants, a product cannot generate foam. Their type and their combination allow the formation of a more or less abundant foam. An abundant foam is in no way an indication of good cleaning! There are several groups of tensioactives classified according to their “aggressivity”: anionic & non ionic, cationic and amphoteric. We will deal here with only a part of these surfactants :
- Sulfates are anionic surfactants. They are appreciated for their foaming power and their attractive price, sulfated surfactants are the most common in cosmetics. They are highly controversial because of their irritant potential but also because of their very polluting manufacturing process (ethoxylation) : Sodium laureth Sulfate (SLS, the most common), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS), Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate …
- Betaine derivatives are amphoteric surfactants. The best known is Cocamidopropyl Betaine. It often replaces sulfates in formulas that claim to be more natural and “sulfate-free”… but it comes from of dimethylaminopropylamine, a petrochemical substance and coconut oil … Cocamidopropyl Betaine is supposed to belong to a category of surfactants less irritating for the epidermis, but the reality is quite different… . Indeed, a North American study (North American Contact Dermatitis group 2001) concludes that the allergy rate is close to 6%. These allergies result in eczema and various contact dermatitis mainly located in the face, scalp and neck area.
- Alkyl polyglycosides (APG) are non-ionic tensioactives. They are much softer! Their foaming power is less powerful, but they can still create a light lather. They are obtained from sugars and vegetable oils. We have not found any to date whose manufacturing process excluded palm oil ! Coco-Glucoside, Decyl-Glucoside, Lauryl-Glucoside are all palm oil derivatives… (even Coco-Glucoside!)
- Acyl glutamates are also non-ionic tensioactives. They are produced from amino acids and vegetable oil. They have the reputation of being the most gentle. But they are much more expensive, up to more than 10 times the price of those from petrochemicals !
our choice ?
No surprise, we chose the best of the best in surfactants : ACYL GLUTAMATES. Their cleaning and foaming power is certainly weaker, but quite satisfactory to ensure the daily toilet of baby. Especially since we found the GRAAL with a surfactant derived mainly* from olive fatty acids. *Depending on the quality of the olive oil harvest, certain fatty acids may be missing. To rebalance this ratio, fatty acids from coconut may occasionally be added. Hence the appearance of Dissodium Cocoyl Glutamate in our INCI. This surfactant is much more expensive but it ticks all the boxes in our specifications for baby and the planet !
CONCLUSION : The frequent use of high-foaming products causes dehydration and dryness of the skin… So avoid daily bubble baths and/or 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 that also provide this bubble bath function.