The Hidden Dangers Of Shampoo & Conditioners

According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are found in about 90% of hair care products. These harsh chemicals can damage the immune system, cause separation of skin layers, and inflame your skin leaving it dry, rashy, and irritated.

Shampoo and conditioner are the foundation of our haircare routine, and they can have a profound effect on both texture and health. However, we tend to forget just how important it is to choose the right shampoo and conditioner. That's why it's critical to find products with the highest-quality ingredients that have been clinically tested, even if it means doing extra research and paying a little bit more. 

The Proof Is In The Pudding -- We Mean In The Shampoo And Conditioner

Your hair and scalp act like a sponge and absorb the nutrients that you feed it. You want to find the right mix of essential oils, vitamins, natural extracts, and mild cleansers to gently clean your hair and scalp while fortifying it with beneficial natural ingredients.

Below are the top natural ingredients to look for in a high-quality shampoo should contain. All ingredients have been studied in clinical research to help maintain healthy hair.

What to Look for in a Quality Shampoo:

Peppermint, Cedarwood, Tea Tree, Jojoba Seed & Grapefruit Essential Oils

Give your hair moisture and shine while removing dead skin cells, which promotes existing hair growth.*

Fortifying Horsetail, Nettle & Willow Bark Extracts

Help nourish and strengthen hair follicles while removing styling product buildup*

Vitamins B, D, & E

Help keep the scalp hydrated and maintain hair growth.*

Keratin, Soy & Wheat Proteins

Moisturize and protect hair from styling tools and products, while helping strands feel and look stronger.*

Natural Foaming Agents (Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine)

A foaming and anti-static agent derived from the fatty acids in coconut oil, which conditions and helps thicken the appearance of your hair.*

Many people don't understand why their hair is damaged. If you are experiencing an itchy or dry scalp and have noticed hair loss or thinning, you might want to look at what is inside your shampoo and conditioner. Listed below are harmful shampoo ingredients to look out for:

Harmful Shampoo Ingredients:

  • Harsh Sulfates

    SLS and SLES are chemicals reported by the American Journal of Contact Dermatitis to cause irritation. They are added to shampoos because of their cheap and effective bubbling properties.
  • Parabens

    Chemicals including methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben can be absorbed through your skin and have been linked to breast cancer.12
  • Cocamide DEA

    Found in many products claiming to be natural, the basis of this chemical—coconut oil—seems innocent enough. But scientists tinkered with the ingredient, modifying it into an unnatural, toxic form, and in 2012 California added it to its known carcinogens list.13

Now that we've taken a look at the ingredients we need in our shampoo (and the harmful ingredients we need to avoid!) let's take a look at conditioner.

What to Look for in an Effective Conditioner:

Hydrolyzed Keratin, Soy & Wheat Proteins

Helps keep hair looking and feeling strong, reduces frizz, smooths, and makes your hair shine.*

 Argan, Coconut, Marula & Avocado Essential Oils 

Helps seal hair cuticles, which protects your strands from damage and leaves your hair feeling strong and sleek.*

 Silk Amino Acids

Help nourish hair without weighing it down or causing buildup due to high levels of serine, which has excellent moisture preservation characteristics*

Detangling Agents (Behentrimonium Methosulfate)

Mild and recommended for use in baby products, derived from rapeseed oil, best used for detangling.*

Harmful Conditioner Ingredients:

  • Behentrimonium Chloride

    Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, this cheap, harsh chemical can cause skin and eye irritation.19
  • Isopropyl alcohol

    Used in antifreeze, wood finish, and shellac, this strips hair of its natural oils and can cause damage. Avoid this ingredient.
  • Silicones

    While you usually can't avoid them in your styling products, they shouldn't be present when conditioning your hair. They create the illusion of healthy hair when in actuality they clog your pores and dry your hair from the inside out.20

Top 5 Shampoos And Conditioners For 2021

We've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products in this category, on the market today.