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Beware of These Toxic Hair Care Ingredients

March 07, 2022 2 min read


Have you ever examined the ingredients listed on the labels of your cosmetics or other hair care products? Do you know what those ingredients are? What you may not realize is that many of the hair care products and cosmetics you are buying contain ingredients that are not only harmful to your hair, but also to your long-term health. Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and are used by the cosmetic industry simply because they are cheap! 

Harmful Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Care 

Toxic Cosmetics

The following are just some of the synthetic chemicals that have been identified by scientific studies to be harmful to our health: 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)

Often described as being "derived from coconut" to disguise their toxic nature, these chemicals are commonly used in shampoos, toothpaste, foaming facial and body cleansers. SLS and ALS can cause severe skin irritation and are easily absorbed into the body, building up in the brain, heart, lungs, and liver, leading to potential long-term health problems.  

Paraben Preservatives

Parabens are widely used in cosmetics, deodorants, hair care, and baby products to prolong their shelf life. They are known to be highly toxic and have caused severe allergic reactions. Recent scientific studies in the UK found a strong link between the use of parabens and the increasing rate of breast cancer in women. Researchers found a high concentration of parabens in 90% of breast tumors tested.

Propylene Glycol

Found in many shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, Propylene Glycol can cause allergies and contact dermatitis and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver. 

Isopropyl Alcohol

Alcohol is used as a solvent in many hair care products. It's toxic when inhaled directly and in hair care products, it can cause a major drying effect as it takes moisture out of your hair.

DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) & MEA (Monoethanolamine)

These substances are harsh solvents and detergents that are used in cosmetics and shampoos and conditioners as an emollient.

They can cause allergic reactions, and long-term use of DEA-based products (such as Cocamide DEA) have been linked to an increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.

Mineral Oil

Derived from petroleum (crude oil), mineral oil is commonly found as a key ingredient of shampoos and cosmetics.  It coats the hair like a plastic film, causing build-up that not only weighs your hair down but also makes your strands feel dry and  brittle, 

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

Used as a thickener in hair care products and cosmetics, PEGs are synthetic ingredients that interfere with the hair’s natural moisture balance, leading to dryness. Depending on manufacturing processes, some PEGs can be contaminated with notable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. 

Supermarket Cosmetics

Examine the labels of your cosmetics and hair care products carefully, and learn to recognize ingredients that are harmful to your hair and to your health. Many websites have lists of potentially harmful ingredients in addition to those shown above. Don't be fooled by the words 'natural' or 'organic' on the front of the label. Many products contain at least one or two natural or organic ingredients, but they may also contain harmful synthetic chemicals as well. Whenever possible, choose products with 100% natural ingredients such as essential oils and herbs. Your hair will love you for it!

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