woman shampoo

There are a thousand of hair products in the market some of which contain harmful toxins that your body absorbs easily. You should be well versed with the ingredients used to make shampoos and conditioners as you’re with ingredients used to make foodstuff. If you thought only food can contain harmful toxic material, then you’re wrong. Shampoos and conditioners contain a lot of toxic ingredients which can cause cancer and other illness. That’s why it’s important you check the list of ingredients. Initially, after using some shampoos and conditioners that contain harmful ingredients, your hair will stand out but eventually, it will be stripped of moisture leading to a dry scalp, hair falling and dandruff. Below is a list of toxic ingredients you should avoid when buying shampoos and conditioners.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Manifacters use sulfates in shampoos as a foaming agent that gives lather. However, this chemical can penetrate into your bloodstream causing serious health problems. Additionally, it dries your hair and scalp and can cause irritation in the skin, lungs, and eyes.

Be careful with the brands that market themselves as sulfate-free. Their products might contain small traces of sulfate which can still result in harming your body. Instead, buy natural shampoos and conditioners.


If fragrance appears on the ingredients list, then you can imagine the toxic chemicals in there. Manufacturers use this word to avoid listing the toxic chemicals they have used in the shampoos or conditioner. In fact, there are more than 3,100 chemicals used by the fragrance industry.

According to the Environmental Working Group, fragrance mixes have been linked to allergies, respiratory distress, potential side effects on the reproductive system and dermatitis.


This is a group of toxic chemicals that are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in cosmetic products. Parabens also mimic the hormone estrogen and they increase growth of breast cancer cells. Parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from a breast tumor and it can be absorbed through the skin.

85 percent of American personal care products contain parabens according to the American Chemical Society. Some of these products include makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, and facial cleansers. Also, some foods and pharmaceutical products might contain parabens.


Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen that can cause DNA damage and cancer. Shampoos and conditioners contain preservatives that release formaldehyde such as diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, quaternium 15 and imidazolidinyl urea. Other effects of formaldehyde are allergic skin reactions and it can also harm the immune system.

Like parabens, they use formaldehyde as preservatives in many cosmetic products such as cleansers, eyeshadows, nail polish treatments, body washes, conditioners, and shampoos.


Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that is also an endocrine disruptor, especially thyroid and reproductive hormones. It can accumulate in our fat cells and keep our body in a state of toxicity. You should avoid triclosan should completely since it can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Products like toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, and deodorants contain this toxic chemical. Hence you should check the ingredients list before buying a product.

Polyethylene Glycol

Polyethylene glycol is derived from petroleum; hence it affects humans directly. According to Natural Society, the state of California has classified the chemical as a “developmental toxicant” meaning it can interfere with human development.

You can try making your own homemade hair care products to avoid exposure to such toxic chemicals. Plus, homemade products are easy to make using the available ingredients like aloe vera and avocado.


Toluene comes from coal tar or petroleum. If you’re buying hair products check on the list for benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, or methylbenzene. All these chemicals are classified as toluene. Plus, toluene affects the respiratory system, can cause irritation to your skin and can cause nausea.

Additionally, toluene is linked to immune system toxicity and expecting mothers should avoid exposure to its vapor as it can cause developmental damage in the fetus. It can also be found in color/bleaching products, and nail polish.


It’s important to do thorough research before you buy any hair product. You can limit the number of toxins your body is exposed to by buying certified organic products. Littered with names you don’t recognize and some beautiful prints of amazing hair can be persuasive enough for you to buy the product without thinking of the side effects.

Don’t fall for branding manufacturers who claim their products are free of toxins.

All images by Pixabay


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