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5 Ingredients to avoid – what your shampoo definitely should not contain

Last Updated on 25/05/2020 by Liz @ HealthTenfold

There are some things your hair products simply should not include. Would you wash your hair with a dishwasher liquid? No? What if we add a lot of perfume, some silicone and of course there will be a pretty face with shiny hair on the bottle. Would you do it then? Hopefully not.

There are plenty of articles and commercials praising certain hair products for including 1 or 2 genuinely healthy ingredients. However, they stay silent about the other “not so good” compounds that are also present in those products. In our opinion, there is not enough discussion about what to avoid when choosing beauty products. Here is a list of things you definitely don’t want to see in the ingredients list of your hair products (or any of your personal care products for that matter).

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Those are cheap industrial cleansers that produce a lot of lather. Yes, it cleans effectively all the grease but it can also irritate and make the skin dry which makes your scalp to produce even more sebum. This means you have to wash your hair more and more so they would appear clean.


Simply put they are cheap preservatives. On the bottle, they can appear under various names. Look out for propylparaben, benzyl paraben, methylparaben, and butylparaben. There are several ongoing studies on whether parabens are dangerous for human health and if they can be linked to breast cancer.  Unfortunately so far there aren’t any 100% conclusive results. However, in light of the research, it’s worth avoiding them where possible. And why shouldn’t you if there are plenty of products on the market that are paraben-free?


On the bottle can appear under the name of dimethicone, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone or phenyl trimethicone. Silicones attach themselves on the surface of your hair and make it look silky and healthy. However by doing that they forbid your hair from taking in moisture from the air. Therefore, they are really making your hair dry and fragile. If you suffer from split ends, try avoiding products that include silicone in them.


This can be named on the bottle as Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Paraffinum Liquidum or Petroleum Jelly and it is a byproduct of petroleum refining. When properly refined, petrolatum is said to have no known health concerns. However, according to some sources, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals. Similarly to silicone, it creates a filmy layer on the skin and hair making it look moisturized however when really it stops the skin’s normal metabolism.

Polyethylene Glycol aka PEGs

These are used in hair products mainly for 3 reasons: for moisturizing, as emulsifiers (they help water-based and oil-based ingredients mix properly) and as a way to deliver other ingredients deeper into the skin. In themselves, PEG compounds are not dangerous. The issue with PEGs is that they are not always pure, but often contaminated with toxic chemicals. The process to create PEGs involves amongst others, ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane – substances that are not only very dangerous but also strong pollutants.

The thing to remember about PEGs is their penetration enhancing effect. This means if your personal care product includes unwanted ingredients, the PEGs will make it easier for them to get deep into your skin.


There is enough contamination we get from the environment. We can’t always choose where we live or if the food we buy is organically grown. However, when we choose our hair products we can definitely check out the ingredients list on the bottle and make sure it’s free from potentially harmful ingredients. It’s not that we use the product once per month, these are products we use daily for personal care. So choose wisely what you put on your hair and skin since there are plenty of chemical-free products available. Choose products that are all-natural and make your hair not only to look shiny and silky but also make your hair genuinely healthier. All that without any potentially harmful ingredients.