For years, women have been washing their hair with commercial shampoos to achieve clean, healthy, and beautiful hair. Unfortunately, many popular shampoo brands use chemicals that leave hair brittle, damaged and seriously unhealthy. With so many studies coming out about the damaging effects of popular ingredients found in commercial shampoo products, it’s time to take a look at what these confusing ingredients actually do. Here are five ingredients that you should always avoid when selecting a shampoo.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This chemical is the leading ingredient found in most commercial shampoos and is responsible for that rich and foamy lather. What sodium lauryl sulfate does is bond together grease and dirt, allowing these impurities to be easily rinsed out. The problem is, this chemical is too harsh for delicate hair and strips hair of its natural protective oils.
Instead: Look for shampoos that use essential oils that are known for their cleansing properties such as tea tree oil and lavender oil.
“Synthetic fragrances” is a blanket term that refers to petroleum-based chemicals that are scented artificially. These chemicals are often harsh on your scalp and can cause serious allergic reactions to your skin, resulting in dryness and dandruff.
Instead: Stick to products that use natural botanical extracts. Plant-based fragrances like rosemary and geranium are non-aggressive and will keep your scalp feeling healthy.
This preservative gives shampoo products a longer shelf life. It’s also commonly used in dairy products in order to keep milks and cheeses from going rancid. However, recent studies have linked exposure to potassium sorbate with damage to white blood cells.
Instead: Ingredients like grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E are natural preservatives that will keep your shampoo products lasting for a long time.
This ingredient acts mainly as a foaming agent, turning liquid shampoo into a rich lather. It also acts as an emulsifier, bonding together different oils to make a homogeneous liquid. The problem with this chemical is that it’s extremely harsh on skin and eyes, resulting in inflammation and irritation.
Instead: There are plenty of natural emulsifiers such as vegetable glycerin and beeswax. As for finding a substitute for the foaming agent, skip it; just because a shampoo foams up doesn’t mean that it makes your hair cleaner.
This chemical is another popular preservative. This one, however, is especially dangerous. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to organ toxicity and greatly irritates the skin and eyes.
Instead: Use a natural preservative like vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract.
How to Detox Your Hair
If you’ve exposed your hair to these chemicals over the years, there are some ways to undo the damage that’s been done. First, you can start treating your hair to a coconut oil mask once a week. Simply massage two tablespoons of pure, unrefined coconut oil into your hair and leave it in for fifteen minutes before rinsing it out. This will heal any scalp inflammation. Also, you can switch to a cleansing conditioner. Products with hair restoration properties cleanse and condition hair using natural ingredients and are completely free of the chemicals listed above, they also aid in increasing hair building fibers in your hair.
Next time you’re shopping for a new shampoo, stay far away from these toxic ingredients. Your hair as well as your health will thank you.