Association of ionic liquids possessing n-octyl moiety either in the cation or in the anion has been studied in aqueous solution with conductivity and turbidity measurements as well as using 2-hydroxy-substituted Nile Red solvatochromic probe. 1-Butyl-3methylimidazolium octyl sulfate was found to act as a surfactant above 0.031 M critical micelle concentration. In contrast, 1-methyl-3-octylimidazolium chloride produced inhomogeneous solution of larger aggregates, which were dissolved on the addition of more than 2:1 molar excess of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) due to mixed micelle formation. Even small amount (<10 mM) of ionic liquids could markedly reduce the polarity of the Stern layer of SDS micelle. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.