3 Harmful Hair Ingredients To Be Avoided

Anna Farrell Switzerland

There is something magical about natural beauty that cannot be replicated by artificial means!

What Are 3 Harmful Hair Ingredients?

3 harmful hair ingredients

There are a few ingredients commonly found in hair care products that you should avoid to ensure the health and beauty of your hair. These include sulfates, parabens, and silicones. 

  • Sulphates (or sulfates) are a group of surfactants frequently used in many commercial shampoos to create lather and remove dirt and oil from hair and skin. The most common sulphates used in shampoos are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These chemicals are derived from petroleum or palm oil and can be harmful to both the environment and human health. They leave your hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Moreover, sulphates can irritate your scalp and eyes, and have been linked to potential long-term health concerns.

  • Silicones are a class of synthetic compounds that create a smooth, silky texture and to enhance shine. Silicones are derived from petroleum or other fossil fuels, which can persist in the environment for a long time. Some people over time may experience buildup and lack of hair volume.

  • Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and extend the shelf life of the product. Sounds pretty good, but… parabens are derived from petroleum or made synthetically in a laboratory. The most common parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. 

What is "Lilial" and how it affects me?

Lilial or Butylphenyl Methylpropional (BMH) – is a synthetic fragrance ingredient derived from benzyl alcohol, and is often used in place of natural essential oils due to its lower cost and more stable scent. Lilial has been identified as a potential cause of scalp irritation and infertility problems.

  1. One of the primary concerns with lilial is its potential to act as an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the body’s hormone system, which can lead to a variety of negative health effects. Studies have shown that lilial can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, which can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones and potentially lead to health problems.
  2. Another concern with lilial is its potential to cause allergic reactions. Studies have shown that some individuals may be sensitive to lilial, and exposure to this chemical can cause skin irritation, itching, and other symptoms. In some cases, prolonged exposure to lilial can even lead to more serious skin conditions like eczema.

Given the potential risks associated with lilial, it’s important for consumers to be aware of the ingredients in their personal care products and to choose products that are free from harmful chemicals, especially while your are pregnant. While it may be tempting to choose products based on their scent, it’s important to remember that the ingredients in these products can have a significant impact on our health and well-being.

Are there any other chemicals?

Ending "ETH"

Laboratory studies show that products that end in “eth” such as sodium laureth sulphate (SLS), polyethylene glycol, oleth, myreth, ceteareth all test positive for 1,4-Dioxane, a proven cancer-causing petrochemical.

Stay away from the following sulphates, parabens, silicones and waxes (Source: Sephora):

Acrylates, Aluminum Salts, Animal Musks/Fats/Oils, Benzophenones and related compounds, Butoxyethanol, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) under 0.1%, Carbon Black or Black 2, Coal Tar, Ethanolamines, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasing Agents, Hydroquinone, Lead and Lead Acetate, Mercury + Mercury Compounds (Thimerisol), Methoxyethanol, Methyl Cellosolve, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone, Mineral Oil, Nanomaterials (restrictions for specific nanomaterials only), Oxybenzone, Parabens, Petrolatum and Paraffin (USP grade only), Phenoxyethanol under 1%, Phthalates, Plastic Microbeads, Polyacrylamide & Acrylamide, Resorcinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Styrene, Sulfates, Talc (no detection of asbestos), Toluene, Triclosan and Triclocarban, Undisclosed Synthetic Fragrance (under 1% and formulated without Acetaldehyde, Acetone, Acetonitrile, Benzalkonium chloride, BPA, EDTA, Methylene chloride, PTFE, PFOA), 1,4-Dioxane (ingredients must comply with impurity thresholds), Octinoxate, PFAS compounds, Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks, Ethoxylated Ingredients (including PEGS or polyethylene glycol must meet contamination limits for 1,4-Dioxane and ethylene oxide), Cyclic Silicones, EDTA and derivatives (allowed if no technical substitute under 0.2%)

What are the natural alternatives to these harmful ingredients?

Natural Hair Cleansing Agents

Eco-sustainability gold particles

Instead of sulphates use natural hair cleansing agents such as:

  • Coconut oil has natural cleansing and conditioning properties that can help to remove dirt and buildup from hair while also moisturizing and nourishing the strands. 

  • Aloe vera has natural cleansing and moisturising for your hair and scalp. 

  • Honey is a natural antibacterial agent that can help cleanse the scalp and hair, while providing moisture and nourishment  for your hair.

Coconut Oil for Hair

Natural Hair Conditioners

Swiss Beauty Blog Shea Butter Cocoa Butter

Coconut oil, honey and aloe vera can also be great natural alternatives to the harmful conditioners.

 There are also some other examples:

  1. Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that can help improve the elasticity of your hair (if you have thick or wavy hair), reducing the risk of damage and breakage.

  2. Cocoa butter is a natural moisturizer that can help improve the elasticity of your hair (is better for use on fine or thin hair).
  3. Avocado is a natural source of vitamins that can help strengthen and nourish your hair, while also helping to improve its texture and appearance.

  4. Jojoba oil is a natural moisturizer that can help protect your hair from damage and breakage, while also improving its shine and manageability.

  5. Argan oil is a natural source of antioxidants and fatty acids that can help strengthen and nourish your hair, while also providing protection against environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.

Gold particle hair balm by Anna Farrell

Natural Hair Preservatives

Swiss Beauty Blog Beneficial Hair Oils

Instead of parabens, you can use natural hair preservatives such as:

  1. Grapefruit seed extract is derived from grapefruit seeds and pulp and is known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
  2. Rosemary extract.
  3. Vitamin E (like sunflower oil).
  4. Tea tree oil.
  5. Neem oil is derived from the neem tree and has natural antimicrobial properties.

    6. Citric Acid. Here are some of the ways it can benefit hair:

  • pH Adjustment. Citric acid is an organic acid that can help to adjust the pH level of your hair care products, which in turn improve the overall health of your hair by strengthening and smoothing cuticle.
  • Chelating Agent, meaning binding to metal ions (found in hard water with high level of minerals) and removing them from the hair.
  • Conditioner. Citric acid also acts as a natural conditioner for your hair by smoothing the hair cuticle and adding shine, also detangling hair and reducing frizz.
Gold particle shampoo with grapefruits and rosemary

Essential Oils as a Hair Fragrance

Swiss Beauty Blog Essential Oils

Natural fragrances share many similarities, such as their ability to calm and soothe the scalp. This can result in a reduction of anxiety and stress levels. Some of the most popular examples of natural scalp and hair fragnances include::

  1. Lavender oil has a calming and soothing effect;

  2. Peppermint oil has a refreshing effect;

  3. Rose oil has a sweet floral scent and uplifting and mood-enhancing properties;

  4. Tea tree oil has a fresh scent;

  5. Bergamot oil has a calming effect on the mind and can help reduce stress and promote relaxation;

  6. Patchouli oil has a sweet, earthy scent;

  7. Jasmine oil

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Test your knowledge

What is the difference between shea butter and cocoa butter for hair care?

Consider, and then flip
Both shea butter and cocoa butter are popular natural ingredients in hair care products due to their moisturizing and conditioning properties. However, shea butter is better suited for use on wavy or thick hair, while cocoa butter is better for use on fine or thin hair.
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