Toxic Ingredients You Need To Avoid When Buying Hair Care Products

Basic hygiene entails taking care of your hair with the use of hair care products. Choosing them is a significant decision, or at least, it should be. However, most consumers don’t put much thought into it, not until their hair or scalp is put to harm because of harmful ingredients.

Unfortunately, manufacturers include toxic ingredients in their products to enhance effectiveness. Such elements are detrimental to hair health, with some also affecting other aspects of your overall health. This is why it’s essential to educate yourself about the labels of the hair care products you use.

You have to start reading the label of the products you use on your hair when you shop to know if it’s safe to use. Besides that, you also have to inform yourself of what it is you’re reading. Here are the toxic ingredients you need to avoid when buying hair care products.

Toxic Ingredients You Need To Avoid


Formaldehyde is a chemical preservative that can be found in hair straightening products. Manufacturers include different types of formaldehyde releasers to prolong the life of their products. However, the chemical is known to be carcinogenic for animals and can increase cancer risks for humans.

Other than cancer, it can also cause minor negative effects such as eye, nasal, and throat irritation if absorbed. As mentioned, manufacturers use releasers to mix formaldehyde in their products, and the common ones are the following:

  • Bronopol
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium 15
  • DMDM hydantoin

To emphasize the effects of these releasers, many consumers have suffered harm from some of them took the matter to court to hold certain brands accountable. An example is the OGX lawsuit, where customers who bought the product experienced scalp irritation because of DMDM hydantoin.



Many manufacturers make shampoos that have different scents. If you’re one to invest in products that smell good, then you should be more careful because hair care products with fragrances can spell trouble. Brands use the word “fragrances” as a way to hide other toxic ingredients in their products.

They make their products smell good using synthetically with a blend of various harmful chemicals. They include the term fragrances on labels to hide these chemicals, such as phthalates, which helps increase the spreadability of a product. Also, some synthetic fragrances affect the scalp and contribute to hair loss.

Excluding your hair, synthetic fragrances can also cause reproductive problems. Those that contain phthalates can reduce sperm count in men.



Sulfates are aggressive detergents typically included in shampoos and any product that foams. These are surface-acting agents or surfactants that clean dirt and sebum from the scalp, a waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands that moisturize your scalp. Brands include sulfates on their products for lathering purposes.

Sulfates can cause rapid hair drying since it reduces sebum from the scalp. Besides that, it can also cause itching, flaking, and dandruff. Hair health aside, it can also cause dermatitis and eye irritation.

Harmful sulfates commonly found in hair care products are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and ammonium lauryl sulfate.



Yes, alcohol is also used for hair care because it can remove oils from your scalp. Brands also use it to make thicker shampoos. Unfortunately, it can strip too much oil from your scalp, which drys your hair.

Kinds of alcohol included in shampoos are as follows:

  • Isopropyl
  • Ethanol
  • Propyl
  • Isopropanol
  • SD



Parabens are another preservative that brands include in their hair care products. They do so to increase their shelf life and to prevent bacteria from growing in shampoos. Although helpful for the product, it’s known to mimic the function of the female hormone estrogen, which can increase breast cancer risks.

You’ll find these chemicals on labels written as terms ending in -paraben. For example, you may see benzylparaben and propylparaben on the hair product label. Aside from mimicking estrogen, it can also dehydrate your hair.


Wrap up

Toxic ingredients are included in hair care products for reasons beneficial to each of them. However, what’s harmful is harmful, and you shouldn’t sacrifice your health over product quality. It would help if you took good care of yourself by being wiser in your hair care purchase decisions, which means avoiding these harmful ingredients.

Also Read: Remedies for Acid Reflux in Babies.

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