Most cosmetic brands use glycoside surfactants either as emulsifiers or cleansers. These synthetic surfactants are often called ‘natural’ as the starting materials are derived from corn, sugar and coconut.
What brands forget to mention is that to turn these ‘natural’ ingredients into a surfactant or detergent, they are altered in factory processes. Glycosides are produced during a processed called ethoxylation. This is the process of combining a sugar with a fatty alcohol at elevated temperatures in the presence of an acid catalyst.
Plants do not produce foaming agents; thus, we must make them synthetically. There is nothing wrong with this as we need these types of chemicals to cleanse our bodies and hair. The problem lies in the false claims by the industry and brands that label these chemicals as natural or naturally derived.
It’s time to be honest with consumers and get real about product claims.