“You might be trashing almost all your hair products after reading this!”
That hair product could be sitting pretty on a store’s shelf screaming “pick me!, pick me!”, but, should you really buy a hair product for its looks only?
No. Definitely not. You should take a minute to scan through its ingredient list first!
Beauty care products, particularly hair products, could contain harmful ingredients that would not only damage the hair but could also affect the body system.
In order to prevent this damage, here is a list of common harmful hair ingredients to avoid
These chemicals are the reason why your shampoos and conditioners could go a long period of time without going bad. They are the most commonly used preservatives and they prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in cosmetics. While these chemicals are useful to an extent, they could cause great damage to the hair. Parabens(methylParabens and propylParabens) can irritate and dry out your scalp and even cause hair breakage. Paraben-free hair products should be used instead to prevent this.
They are used as cleansing agents and are responsible for making your shampoo lather. An easy way to know your shampoo doesn’t contain sulfates is if it makes little to no lather.
Although these chemicals are the most effective cleansing agent, they can be unsafe for prolonged use. Sulfates are known to cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin or allergies. They can also strip out the natural oil in one’s hair required to keep it healthy and hydrated causing it to dry out. So, it should be avoided, especially by people with dry hair. The common harmful sulfates you should look out for are Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
3. Artificial Fragrance
Fragrance, also known as parfum, is often what manufacturers put on ingredient lists if there’s something fishy about its composition. Usually, it contains irritants since it is artificially formulated. And this formulation, when absorbed by the scalp, is known to cause skin reactions such as hives, redness, and itchiness, particularly in people with sensitivities. In some cases, it could also lead to excessive hair dryness. So before adding your next shampoo to your cart, ensure it is artificial fragrance-free.
Alcohol, especially denatured ones, when added to cosmetics, whether skincare products or hair products, is known to cause a drying effect if used often. If used on the hair, it could cause the hair to dry out, break and become brittle. In worse cases, it could lead to excessive hair loss.
A way to know if an ingredient is added in high quantity in a product is if it is listed in the first five ingredients. While it can be safe to use if it’s not present in the first five ingredients, it is best to use products that are totally alcohol-free. The common types of harmful alcohol substance you should look out for in hair products are Alcohol Denat, SD Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40-B, SD Alcohol 40-C.
They are preservatives often contained in shampoos and hair straightening products. Inhaling formaldehyde is something we’ve probably been exposed to at a point in our lives without knowing. It’s contained in cigarettes, cleaning products, and even building materials. So you might want to lessen this by taking products with this ingredient off your cabinet, immediately!
Hair straightening products containing formaldehyde should be handled by professionals as it is known to cause severe irritations to the eyes, nose and lungs and allergic dermatitis when inhaled or when it comes in contact with your skin.
It is strongly advised to buy a product free of formaldehyde whether it will be handled by professionals or not. The list of ingredients to look out for that are prone to release formaldehyde are methylene glycol, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium 15, bronopol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3 dioxane, and hydroxymethylglycinate.
6. Mineral Oils
Mineral oils, alternatively called paraffin oil or petroleum jelly, are colorless liquids often added to hair products to lock in moisture in the hair. They are useful for detangling the hair, protecting the hair from water damage and causing hair to shine.
However, too much use of this could lead to build-up on the scalp preventing other products used from penetrating and being effective. This build-up could also clog up the pores on the scalp leading to itchiness, rashes, and hair loss.
Mineral oils could also cause the hair to eventually dry out since it also prevents moisture from penetrating into the hair.
In some other cases, when mineral oils come in contact with the skin, like the forehead area, it could clog up the pores leading to breakouts.
To prevent this, other effective and safe oils like coconut oils can be used in place of mineral oils.
Silicones are often added to hair products particularly conditioners to make your hair smooth and shiny. However, silicones have large molecules, and constantly applying products that contain them will make the silicones coat your hair and not penetrate. This could in turn clog your pores and cause scalp irritation. It can also prevent moisture and oils from penetrating your scalp since the silicone now serves as a barrier causing your scalp to dry out and your hair to break. Other alternatives for this is to find conditioners that contain natural oils instead that will serve the same purpose like olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Common harmful silicones often used in hair products are Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, and Cyclohexasiloxane.
These harmful hair ingredients are often contained in a lot of hair products. Some popular expensive brands producing these products are also not left out. In fact, some may try to mislead you by adding false claims such as “clinically proven”, “dermatologists recommended”.
So, before purchasing any hair product, always check the ingredient list to look out for these harmful hair ingredients that could cause damaging effects to your hair and body system.