Today I will talk about the various harmful chemicals in shampoo and the damage it does to you in the long term.
Are you letting chemicals ruin your hair?
When was the last time you paid attention to the list of chemicals in your shampoo?
How frequently do you shampoo and condition your hair? Once a week, twice a week or every time you wash your hair?
I shampoo and condition my hair every alternate day and have been doing so for almost 10 years now. But a few years ago I went through a terrible phase of hair fall and that’s when I started paying attention to what I apply on my hair.
To my shock I found out that I was treating my hair with a load of harmful chemicals that can cause more bad than good to my hair and body.
Through this post let us know more about the chemicals in the shampoos and also let me give you some guidelines on how to select better shampoos that are not laden with chemicals.
What is a shampoo?
A shampoo is a hair care product, usually in a viscous, liquid form (though now we get shampoo bars as well) that is used for cleaning your hair. A shampoo’s primary function is to remove dirt, grime and oil from our hair.
Harmful chemicals in shampoo and its hazards:
Now let me introduce you to the ingredients to watch out for in your shampoo.
These are usually SLS (SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE) and SLES (SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATES). These are foaming agents that are present in your soaps, face washes and even your detergents.
So what makes them the bad?
They are potential irritants that cause redness, irritation and itchiness of the scalp. They are capable of stripping out essential oils from your hair and drying it. The long term use of shampoos’ with SLS/SLES is harmful.
These are used as preservative agents but are dangerous as they can cause dermatitis, rosacea and other allergic reactions. Paraben has the ability to mimic Estrogen. Estrogen is linked to breast cancer due to its ability to stimulate breast cell division and the ability to interact with other hormones that are believed to promote cell division.
It is considered to be a carcinogen and can also cause allergies to the skin and respiratory system.
- Isopropyl Alcohol
It is extremely drying and strips the hair off its natural oils.
- Propylene Glycol
It irritates the skin and eyes and is also capable of breaking down healthy hair proteins.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
They are capable of destroying the good proteins in your hair and are also potential irritants of your scalp.
Perhaps the scariest of all, these are considered carcinogenic in many countries. Phthalates are also connected to hormonal imbalances, leading to early puberty in girls, and asthma in kids.
- Methylparaben and Propylparaben
These are used to prolong the shelf life of shampoos. They cause scalp irritation and is also linked to hormonal imbalance.
- Sodium Chloride
What’s the common salt doing in a shampoo? They are used as thickening agents and along with SLS, it tends to cause dryness.
- Silicone, Dimethicone and Siloxane
These are found in shampoos and conditioners. They give the hair shine and helps in detangling, however, some aren’t water soluble and causes build up in your hair.
- Lanolin, Petroleum and Mineral Oil
It is better to stay clear as this trio is known to weigh your hair down. It also doesn’t allow penetration of the natural oils produced by the scalp into the hair shaft.
- Artificial colors and perfumes
When was the last time you heard anything artificial being good for you?
Which shampoo to use?
Now that you know the bad boys or the ingredients to avoid in shampoos, the next question is, what should you use?
The answer is shampoos with no harmful ingredients, look for plant based, organic and preferably vegan shampoos.
Look out for the ones which say SLS/SLES and paraben free. You can also go for shampoo bars; there are a lot of natural ones. But just because it says natural or Ayurvedic doesn’t really mean it’s free of chemicals so check the ingredients list. You can also make them at home if you have the time and resources.
You can also buy our homemade herbal hair wash.
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When you make the switch to chemical free shampoo and conditioner, be advised that it won’t be easy. Your hair will need time to adjust. And I know it might look like a lot of work in choosing a shampoo but trust me it has been almost 3 years now that I have made the switch and my hair has never been better.
So are you leaving your hair to the mercy of these bad boys?
Hope you are now aware of the various harmful chemicals in shampoo you use. Share with us your views on this article and also the homemade natural shampoo recipes that you use as an alternative to store bought ones.