We use it every day, but when is the last time you looked at the list of ingredients on the back side of the shampoo bottle? QC Morning talked with Tabitha Osman, the owner of Charlotte Hair Studio and an expert in hair health, who told us what to look and look out for. Below is the list she compiled of ingredients to be aware of.
Ingredients to look out for in your shampoo/conditioner (according to Osman)
1. Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine strips hair and scalp of key oils needed for hair and scalp health. It is a synthetic detergent used also as a foam booster, thickener, and anti-static agent.
2. Sulfates cause your shampoo to foam, and more than 90% of hair care products contain them. It can cause your hair to be more damaged after several washes, and also has the potential to form carcinogens that can ultimately lead to kidney damage and hormone disruption. Try to avoid all varieties of sulfate.
3. Parabens mainly act as a preservative to prolong shelf life. Parabens can disrupt your natural hormone balance, cause skin irritation, affect reproductive health, and cause neurotoxicity. Be on the lookout for words ending with “paraben”—for example, butylparaben, ethylparaben, and methylparaben.
4. Polyethylene Glycols is a thickening agent, often made from petroleum and is known for stripping the hair of moisture and causing breakage. PEG has been classified as a developmental toxicant; this means it can damage or disrupt human development. It has also been linked to numerous types of cancer.
5. Triclosan shows signs of being an endocrine disruptor, which can have the same damaging effects as the aforementioned xenoestrogens.
6. Formaldehyde is a dangerous preservative that can be absorbed through your scalp as well as seep from the packaging and into the air over time. This additive can cause toxicity, affect or cause asthma, and has been linked to cancer. When checking the label on your product, look for quaternium-15.
7. Synthetic Fragrances and Colors are not only unnecessary, but they are also harmful to your skin and can cause several health issues. These two things are known to cause a range of health issues. When checking the label, look for the terms FD&C or D&C combined with a number.
8. Dimethicone is a form of silicone with two attached methyl groups that gives your hair a soft and smooth feel. However, this ingredient will only dry out your hair in the long run, cause build-up at your roots, and irritate or burn your scalp. The build-up on your scalp will block out moisture, stop the nutrient flow to your hair, and create an abundance of residue and dirt that can clog your pores.
9. Retinyl Palmitate is known to cause a list of skin issues, including peeling, scaling, itching, burning, and redness. This harmful ingredient has also been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and toxicity.
10. Phthalates make added fragrances last longer. They also act as lubricators in conditioners and gels and help the substance spread easily on your hair. They can cause various health problems such as nausea, problems in the reproductive system, and hormonal disorders. If your shampoo or conditioner contains added fragrance, then it is likely to contain Phthalates as well.
11. Allergy alerts. If you have a nut allergy or food sensitivities, be sure to check those ingredients as well on the label.
Ingredients that could be good for your hair (according to Osman)
1. Amino Acid Proline is amazing for hair repair Can also be found as L-proline, D-proline, or DL-proline
2. Aloe – Calms an itchy scalp, deep cleans oily hair, Strengthens and repairs hair strands
3. Oils – Including baobab, avocado and argon oils are really good natural antioxidants for the hair as well.
Also not every shampoo or conditioner ingredient is important for every person. It’s always best to consult with your stylist to see what is best for you.