Nourished Journal

Sodium coco sulfate...?

Nov 23, 2021

Romy, Romy Boomsma, NourishedxRomy, natural shampoo, natural conditioner, natuurlijke shampoo, sulfate free shampoo, silicone free shampoo, curly girl, curly girl method, cgm, cg, vegan shampoo, cruelty free shampoo, natuurlijke haarverzorging

We know… you read on a blog that sodium coco sulfate is actually the same as SLS and is a harsh detergent that you shouldn't use in your hair. But then another blog you read said it was safe, and even Curly Girl approved. It can be confusing can’t it? So who do you listen to? 


At Nourished, we base our decisions on the scientific advice of experts. With three science degrees between the two of us, we read the literature meticulously whilst also consulting experts across the globe to ensure we are bringing you the very best in clean hair & skin care. 

“First of all, people who say that SCS can't be natural need to do more research”   says Thomas De Waal; Organic Chemist and Founder of the natural cosmetic formulation laboratory Rebel Nature. Thomas is also the genius behind the best-selling Nourished x Romy Natural Hair Care Collection formulations. 

“SCS, also known as sodium coco sulfate, is a palm oil free surfactant that is increasingly used in natural formulations in hair & skin care as an alternative to the ‘bad guys’ like sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.”  

There are three primary benefits of using SCS in a shampoo/hair wash formulation:

  1. It offers beautiful foaming capability, naturally
  2. It is a gentle yet effective cleansing ingredient for the hair & scalp 
  3. It is derived from a renewable source of Coconut Oil fatty acids and is 100% biobased

Let’s break these benefits down further:

Foaming Capability 

Without a doubt, the number 1 complaint we receive about completely sulfate free shampoos is that they do not foam or lather and as such are difficult to get a good cleanse of the scalp and hair, leaving hair dull, flat and scummy. 

The sodium coco sulfate in our Hair Wash produces a beautiful fluffy lather to facilitate effective scalp & hair cleansing, whilst still being gentle enough to use in baby shampoos. 


Healthy hair & scalp requires the buildup of dirt, sweat, environmental pollution, skin flakes, sebum and greasy residue from products to be regularly cleansed away. If these compounds are not cleared away they can leave an alkaline residue that is very harmful to the hair and skin. This residue can  result in the formation of calcium salts which accumulate in the hair strands, leaving them opaque and tangled. The buildup of these substances can also block the hair follicles and have a detrimental effect on hair quality and growth. This is the danger of hair wash & shampoo formulations that do not use an effective surfactant. 

There is however a balancing act between effective cleansing whilst also maintaining the natural balance of oils of the hair and scalp that give it lustre, shine, volume and, if you are lucky enough… curls! We have formulated our Hair Wash to do exactly this. The sodium coco sulfate we use is an extremely mild surfactant that is effective enough to cleanse away impurities whilst maintaining the delicate balance of your hair & scalp natural protective oils. 

“It is only one small part of the final formulation to give it that extra touch of gentle yet effective cleansing. It’s not the main cleansing ingredient in the formulation, but one part of a great mix of several to make the perfect combination to cleanse the hair without damaging it. In the end, best hair results come down to layering the right products: Hair Wash, Conditioner, Hair Oil”. 

Renewable Source 

De Waal states that “Whilst it is true that sodium coco sulfate can be made chemically, ours isn’t. We source SCS that is derived from the renewable source of natural fatty acids of Coconut Oil, not petroleum or palm oil. As such it is a pure ingredient without the common harsher sulfate by-products of a mixed ingredient like SLS. Impure or mixed SCS is cheaper and more commonly used in hair care & cosmetic products.” 

We bring you the new Nourished x Romy Cleanse + Refresh Hair Wash & Restore + Repair Conditioner after almost a year of meticulous reformulation and testing rounds (tested by us, our friends, families and children!) Under the strict guidance of De Waal’s expertise, we are confident that we have created a natural hair wash that is suitable for almost all hair and scalp types, including curly hair and sensitive scalps and will leave them well cleansed & healthy for your best hair day yet!

Explore the Nourished Curly Girl Method friendly haircare collection 

Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
D'Souza P, Rathi SK. Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?. Indian J Dermatol. 2015;60(3):248-254. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.156355