What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Shampoo?

what ingredients to avoid in shampoo

To the everyday person, shampoo may seem harmless, but in recent years there has been a significant movement towards “going green”, especially when it comes to beauty, hair, and skincare products. In general, it’s worth considering the ingredients that you use in your day-to-day life in order to avoid unnecessary chemicals. Let’s take a step back and consider what exactly you should avoid and what to look for in a shampoo. 

Understanding Your Hair’s Needs

To know how to properly care for your hair, you need to know your type and its needs. Thinning and sleek hair? Consider hair products that will help cleanse and volumize your roots. Curly, dry, frizzy hair? Maybe trying a hair product that will amp up moisture will help. Everyone’s hair is different and therefore should be treated differently, especially in the shower. Using the right products in the shower for your hair should be a huge part of your overall hair care routine. 

There are all types of shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks on the market, each with different properties. From color protection to curl enhancing to clarifying and volumizing, the world is your oyster. Considering this fact though, there are also many types of harmful chemicals that you could be using without  thinking twice about.

Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoo

The following ingredients that can be found in some hair conditioners have been linked to having adverse effects on hair. Consider proceeding with caution or avoiding use of these: 

  • Dimethicone: A silicone that has been thought to dry out hair and cause build-up on the scalp in the long run. You can read more about dimethicone concerns here.
  • Sulfates: Sulfates are a common ingredient in brand-name hair care products. Some sulfates are the reason for foaming when you wash your hair, but this ingredient can be harsh and strips your hair of its natural oils. 
  • Parabens: You’ve probably seen “no parabens” being advertised on conditioners and shampoos in recent years. This additive is used to preserve shelf life in drugstore hair products. 
  • Formaldehyde: This carcinogen is used as preservative in shampoos. It has been known to dangerously seep into your scalp and shampoo packaging over time. It is also used in common hair treatments, such as Brazilian blowouts.

Ingredients to Look for in Shampoos

These ingredients are known for great benefits without the harsh aftereffects:

  • Biotin: Biotin helps to strengthen your strands and minimize future split ends or breakage.
  • Natural oils (such as coconut oil): Coconut oil is known to be a natural wonder ingredient for those with brittle or curly hair.  
  • Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate: A cleansing agent that is thorough as, but lacks the similar risks of, sulfates.
  • Ketoconazole: If you suffer from dandruff, consider this ingredient to aid in removing the yeast and fungus that causes dandruff. 

Carefully Using Shampoo in Your Shower Routine

Now that you know which ingredients to avoid and which to look for in shampoo, let’s talk about reconsidering your hair washing methods. If you are looking for tips on the best way to utilize your shampoo, consider this fool-proof shower routine to avoid further damaging your hair: 

  1. Wetting your hair with lukewarm water
  2. Massaging your roots only with a shampoo best fit for your needs
  3. Rinsing out the shampoo and applying a conditioner to the bottom half of your strands
  4. Washing out all products in cooler-water to lock in the moisture

You should also note that most of the time less is more for hair care products! A quarter-sized amount of product will usually do the trick. 

It's Good to Know Your Shampoo Ingredients

Knowing what ingredients are in your shampoo is not only incredibly important to your current hair health but can aid in amping up your future hair health too. Using the right shampoo that fits your needs can all come down to the ingredients being used within them.  

If you’re looking to find other methods in being proactive with hair health, we can help. At Revela, we’re changing how people think about hair loss and giving them options to fight back naturally–Revela’s Hair Revival Serum can give your hair follicles the support they need. 

Profile photo for Enzo Benfanti

Reviewed by: Enzo Benfanti, MEng |

Enzo is a chemical engineer and data enthusiast with a background in industrial chemicals. His previous experience is in developing catalysts and designing industrial chemical processes to produce the precursors to detergents, polyester fibers, and other specialty materials. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo [Go Bills!] and his master's degree from Columbia University, both in chemical engineering.

Written by: Kyle B. Martin |

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