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5 Chemicals to Avoid in Hair Care Products

JD Whang

Many of the hair products on the store shelf are filled with harmful chemicals that will damage your hair or health if you use them for a long period of time. When shopping for hair products, it is important to carefully inspect the ingredients lists on the bottles. Here is a list of some chemicals that you should keep an eye out for and avoid.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a chemical that is often found in shampoos. It is a strong soap that creates a lot of foam. Although this foam is particularly useful for removing residue and excess product buildup from your hair, it also removes your hair's natural oils. Long-term use of shampoos containing sodium lauryl sulfate will make your hair very dry and damaged.

Propyl, Methyl and Butyl

Propyl, methyl and butyl are chemicals that are known as parabens. Parabens are used for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. These properties make hair and skin care products last longer on the shelf without expiring. However, these products are also linked to hormonal imbalances and cancer. These chemicals are extremely common in beauty products, so be extra vigilant in making sure that your products do not contain them.


Diethanolamin, or DEA, is an acidic chemical that is used to neutralize hair products that have an alkaline pH. Like sodium lauryl sulfate, DEA will destroy your hair's natural oils. This chemical also has more serious side effects. Some research shows that it might increase your risk of developing cancer. The use of DEA might also upset your body's hormonal balance. Finally, many people experience severe allergic reactions when using products that contain DEA.

Imidazolidinyl Urea

Like parabens, imidazolidinyl urea is used to extend the shelf life of hair care products. Since this chemical does not have anti-fungal properties, it is often mixed with other preservatives. This particular chemical is dangerous because when it reaches high temperatures, it releases formaldehyde, which is extremely toxic.

Synthetic Colours

Synthetic colours are primarily there simply to make the product more marketable. However, many of the dyes used to produce these colours are very harmful. Certain dyes that are used in hair care products have been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.

When shopping for hair care products, carefully examine the ingredients on the label. Buy all natural products when you can. These products are much less likely to contain harmful chemicals.

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