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Phew! Ingredient lists can be exhausting! But when it comes to haircare, what one’s should you be looking to avoid...?
Sulfates attract both water and oil, making them surfactants. This makes them attractive to use in things like shampoo and shower gels as they take dirt and grime away from the body and hair: they are essentially detergents! They’re also responsible for causing those products to foam when we stimulate them during use.
The most common sulfate you’ll find on an ingredient list is sodium laurel sulfate or SLS.
Yes, sulfates are safe to use but they’ve developed their bad reputation over the years because, quite frankly, they’re too good at their job!
If you’re experiencing excessive dryness or slight irritation on your scalp, it may be because of sulfates stripping it of its natural oils. Although they can make products feel more luxurious during use, sulfates are the showboating ingredient in most products. At the end of the day, they don’t contribute to the quality or effectiveness of your shampoo or conditioner at all.
If you’re experiencing a dry or irritated scalp/skin, try eliminating sulfates from your personal care routine for a week to see if your symptoms ease. Then, you’ll know if sulfates are something you should avoid.
Parabens are obtained from a chemical known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid (or PHBA). Parabens are synthetic chemicals and are used as a preservative because they prevent bacteria growth. That means that they give a longer shelf life to food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The most common parabens you may see on the bottle are methylparaben, propylparaben, benzylparaben, and butylparaben.
Parabens are usually found in skincare, but also crop up in hair care products too. They have their bad rap because alongside being synthetic, they can also cause estrogenic activity in the body. That means they can have an effect over a female’s menstrual cycle, the reproductive and urinary tracts, the heart, the blood vessels, bones, skin and hair, and the brain.
Studies have linked parabens to breast cancer as parabens have been located in tumours. So, no they aren’t bad for your hair but they can be bad for your body. However, parabens are highly regulated in both America and Europe and only appear in very small amounts in products you can buy in a store.
Fragrance is simply what a product will smell like. It is unlikely going to contribute to the final effect of the product. In most hair care and skin care products, these are synthetic (so do not occur naturally).
Arguably not for your hair, but potentially for your scalp. Synthetic fragrances are one of the top five allergens worldwide, and can exasperate symptoms of asthma. Most usually contain a number of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) too.
EDCs can interfere with your body’s hormonal and gland functioning – not good! You want to look at hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners if you have a sensitive scalp, as any fragrance that the product omits will be natural (from an essential oil, for example).
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas and can be made synthetically or occur naturally in the environment. Although usually found in household products and building materials, it can be used (at a low level) as a preservative in cosmetics.
No, but it can be bad for your health. On the ingredients list, if you see quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin or bronopol these can all release formaldehydes into the air whilst being used, and this can mean you inhale them. Formaldehyde can exasperate asthma and cause skin irritations. It has also been linked to DNA damage and cancer.
If you’re looking for a shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t contain any of the above ingredients, look to Cel’s Microstem Shampoo & Conditioner. They’re paraben and sulfate free, hypoallergenic, only contain naturally occurring fragrances, cruelty free and suitable for all hair types including damaged and colored.
You won’t look back with this dynamic and gentle duo! Both protect your hair from day-to-to day damage and strengthen each individual strand to prevent breakage. Give it a try to today!