Unlike some of the others on this list, protein in and of itself is not horrible for your hair, but you can have too much of a good thing.
Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Protein strengthens the cuticle of the hair but overdoing it can throw off the hair’s natural moisture balance, resulting in damage and breakage.
Alternating between moisturizing products and protein-rich strengthening products is critical for maintaining the balance in your hair (you can over-moisturize, too!).
We’re never surprised to see some form of an alcohol ingredient in a beauty product, but isopropyl alcohol is one that you should make a conscious effort to avoid.
People use this in antifreeze, which should be your first red flag. You may also recognize it by the name of “rubbing alcohol,” which you already well know is something you don’t want to put on your hair. Can you believe this stuff is in hair products?
Not only is isopropyl alcohol highly flammable and toxic when inhaled, but it has a significant drying effect on the hair that essentially sucks the moisture out of your strands.
This particular category is pretty scary, because what does “fragrance” mean anyway? This term was created to protect a company’s “secret formula.”
But as the consumer, you could be putting on a concoction that contains tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
You can find this in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash, and moisturizers.
A group of chemicals used in hundreds of products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics.
Anything meant for plastic is not intended to be in your hair. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and are known to increase the risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and congenital reproductive disabilities in males and females.
Unfortunately, it is not disclosed on every product as it’s added to fragrances, a significant loophole in the law. You can find these in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
You can find this in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products.
You can find these in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment. Perhaps one of the nasty ingredients you’ll see most frequently on shampoo bottles, sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates are some of the most irritating compounds you can apply to your skin.
They’re commonly used as a foaming agent to create lather in cosmetics, and not only are they terrible and seriously overdrying for your skin and scalp, they’re also proven carcinogens that penetrate the skin and get absorbed into your bloodstream.
We’ll take a hard pass on that one.
These preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth.
This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and can link to certain cancers, such as, nasal and nasopharyngeal. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions, and it may also be harmful to the immune system.
It is in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments. Avoid this at all costs!
Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent.
It is a skin irritant and penetrator. You can associate this with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans these sensitization effects can manifest at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2 percent.
You can find this in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
You may be thinking how sunscreen is terrible? It’s not the sunscreen itself, but the chemicals that are present in them.
These chemicals function as a sunscreen agent, to absorb ultraviolet light. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors, and they quickly seep into the body. They may also cause cellular damage and cancer in the body.
You can find these in hair products that are meant for coating the hair while moisturizing it, or so they say.
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