Before you start analyzing the backs of bottles, you should have a solid understanding of why it’s necessary to eliminate harmful products from your hair care routine. First thing’s first, your health is a high priority (if not, the top) and it can be impacted by various chemicals absorbed through the skin and mouth that act as allergy triggers, carcinogens, and even endocrine disruptors. The following five ingredients will do everything from strip your hair of its natural oils to cause major build up on your scalp. So, be sure to avoid these five nasties and also be on the lookout for their common pseudonyms that are often used to mask their true identities.
Ingredients you should avoid in your hair care
Why they’re harmful: This oil can lead to build-up on the scalp and it causes strands to become stiff and lifeless as a result of being weighed down by leftover product residue.
Alternative names to look for: Petroleum, White Petroleum, Paraffin, Liquid Paraffin, Liquid Petrolatum, and Paraffin Wax
Parabens & methylisothiazolinone
Why they’re harmful: These preservatives can cause skin sensitivities, whether that’s an allergic reaction or rash. Some research points out that it can contribute to organ toxicity as well. MIT is so bad that The European Commission has banned it from cosmetics that come into long-term contact with skin.
Alternative names to look for: MIT, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, 2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, and Isothiazolinone
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Chemical UV filters
Why they’re harmful: Although there’s still ongoing research, there are some studies that suggest chemical UV filters can mimic hormones and contribute to hair loss. Plus, they aren’t too great for the environment, either, being that UV filters can accumulate in water causing a build up inside the cells of fish and other marine life.
Alternative names to look for: Benzophenone and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
Why they’re harmful: Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals that are used as solvents in cosmetic products. They have shown that they can damage the liver, kidneys, and reproductive systems.
Alternative names to look for: phthalate esters
Why they’re harmful: These cleansing agents are too harsh for the scalp and lead to dryness and irritation. Because of this, they can also strip natural oils from your strands.
Alternative names to look for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Laureth-8 Sulfate, Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, SLS, SLES, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate