Sulfates are commonly found in shampoos because of their highly foaming and detergent abilities. Most of us have been accustomed to thinking that for a shampoo to be good it must have a lot of foam.
Sulfates come in many forms but the most common and harmful is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
Sulfates are known to strip hair of its natural oils and break down the protein its made up of -that's the squeaky clean feel you get after washing your hair- making hair brittle and unhealthy. The Journal of the American College of Toxicology states that sulfates can potentially damage the immune system, causing rashes, dryness and irritation on your scalp.
According to the FDA, Cocamide DEA was noted as a safe ingredient, derived from coconuts, until the International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC) linked this to cancer, making it a potentiality harmful toxin. This influenced the State of California to ban the use of this chemical throughout the cosmetic industry.
I call these the “Great Illusionist” of the hair product industry. You can easily identify these chemicals because they end in “-one”. Some common silicones are Dimethicone, Cetearyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethiconol (exception to the “-one” rule), and Stearyl Dimethicone. They give hair the appearance of being smooth, shiny and curly “well defined,” when its actually just coating the hair shaft like plastic, creating buildup that leads to weak and brittle hair. They also coat the scalp, plugging your pores and drying hair from the inside out. They are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners and styling products (especially heat protectants).
Behentrimonium Chloride ( Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride)
Is a chemical that can be found in conditioners. It is ranked hazardous and is known to cause eye and skin irritation.
Used in antifreeze, wood finish and shellac, this chemical is also found in some conditioners. It is known to damage hair because it can strip hair of its natural oils.
Common names for parabens are, methylparaben, ethylparaben and propylparaben. These ingredients are used as preservatives and can be found all over the cosmetic industry; from hair to makeup. Parabens are known to irritate the skin, lead to hormonal imbalance (can lead to hair loss) and is linked to breast cancer.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
These chemicals can cause scalp irritation and breakdown the essential keratin component of hair, which can make hair brittle and dry. They are also known to offset allergic reactions.
Polyethelyne Glycol (PEG)
This ingredient is used as a thickening agent in shampoos and goes by the name of Polyethelyne or Polyoxyethelyne. It strips hair and scalp of their natural moisture.
Synthetic colors and fragrances
Synthetic fragrances usually contain phthalates that are used to “scent” cosmetics. They appear on the ingredients list as “fragrance” or “parfum.” They cause irritation to the skin and scalp and worsen allergies, eczema and sensitive skin. Avoid dyes like Yellow #6, Red #40 and Green #3 because they are deemed carcinogenic. They usually appear in the ingredients list as FD&C (color or number) or D&C (color or number)
Tricolson can be found in many haircare products as an antibacterial and anti fungal agent. It’s a known skin irritant and suspected carcinogen. but is also a known endocrine disruptor, which means it interferes with important hormonal functions that are associated with infertility, depression and weight gain.
That’s a lot to take in so we split this series in two. These are just some of the ingredients LaJAshley avoids throughout our entire product line, stay tuned for the second half “Ingredients to Avoid and Why.”