18 Ingredients to avoid in your hair products

18 ingredients to avoid in your hair care products. At all costs!

Resorcinol is an ingredient used in hair products to lighten or color the hair. However, it can cause skin irritation, redness, or even an allergic reaction. It can be toxic if swallowed or inhaled, and is not considered safe for use on children. For these reasons, it is best to avoid resorcinol in hair products.

Parabens are a type of preservative used in many cosmetic and personal care items, such as shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. They are added to prolong shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. However, parabens have been linked to a variety of health concerns, including hormone disruption and increased risk of breast cancer. Therefore, they are best avoided when possible, especially in products that are used directly on the skin.

Fragrance/parfum in hair products can cause skin and scalp irritation for some people. Fragrance is often made of hundreds of chemicals, many of which can be allergens or irritants. Fragrance can also be a source of indoor air pollution, as it lingers in the air. So to avoid skin and scalp irritation, indoor air pollution, and potential allergic reactions, it's best to avoid fragrance/parfum in hair products. Many natural and organic hair care products are available that don’t contain fragrance, allowing you to enjoy a healthier, safer and more pleasant hair care experience.

Alcohol is often used in hair products as a means of providing a feeling of lightness and freshness. However, using alcohol in hair products can cause damage to the hair and scalp, making hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage. Alcohol can also strip the hair and scalp of its natural oils, resulting in an itchy, flaky scalp. Additionally, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of other ingredients in the product, making it difficult to get the desired results. For these reasons, it is best to avoid alcohol in hair products.

Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical used in many hair products to help keep them from spoiling, but it can be harmful to people in large doses. Avoiding formaldehyde in hair products is important to protect your health, as it can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and breathing problems. It can also be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of cancer and other health issues. Look for hair products that are free of formaldehyde, such as those made with natural ingredients or organic materials. This will help ensure your safety and peace of mind when using hair products.

Quaternium-15 is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative found in some hair products. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, meaning it can increase the risk of developing cancer. It has also been linked to respiratory irritation, contact dermatitis, and other health issues. For these reasons, it is best to avoid quaternium-15 in hair products and opt for those that use safer preservatives. 

Coal tar aka Para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) is an organic compound used in many hair products to darken hair. It can be dangerous to use, however, as it is known to cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and even respiratory problems. For this reason, some people choose to avoid using products containing PPD, opting for alternatives that are more natural and less likely to cause adverse reactions. Natural alternatives to PPD, such as henna and other plant-based dyes, are available and may be more suitable for those looking for a safe, non-toxic hair coloring alternative

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidants commonly found in hair products, but they can be potentially hazardous to your health. BHA and BHT have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and organ toxicity. They can also be irritating to the skin and eyes. It is best to avoid products that contain BHA and BHT, as there are safer, natural alternatives available. Natural antioxidants such as Vitamin E, green tea, and grape seed extract can provide the same benefits without the risk of adverse health effects.

Benzene is a chemical found in many consumer products, including some hair products. Exposure to benzene is linked to serious health issues, such as headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, and even cancer. For this reason, it is best to avoid benzene in hair products. Natural, organic, and sulfate-free hair products are the safest options for avoiding benzene and any other potentially harmful chemicals. These products will help keep your hair healthy and looking its best without risking your health.

Diethanolamine (DEA) is a chemical compound commonly found in hair care products and cosmetics. While it can be effective in creating a foam lather and stabilizing formulations, it has been linked to a number of potential health risks, including skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, and organ toxicity. Therefore, when selecting hair care products, it is important to avoid products that contain DEA, as exposure to this compound can pose a risk to your health and well-being. A safer alternative to DEA is to look for natural ingredients in hair care products such as shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, which provide nourishment to the hair and scalp without any of the potential health risks.

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative commonly found in personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products. While it can be effective in preventing bacterial growth and extending the shelf life of these products, it can also be irritating and irritating to the skin and eyes. It has also been linked to health concerns such as endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, and skin irritation. Therefore, it is best to avoid using hair products containing phenoxyethanol to protect your health and reduce the risk of skin irritation.

EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a chelating agent commonly found in hair care products. It helps to bind heavy metals and keep them from building up in your hair, but it can also be damaging to hair, stripping it of essential minerals and proteins. If used too frequently or in too high of concentrations, EDTA can leave hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Additionally, EDTA can be absorbed through the skin, making it potentially hazardous to your health. To avoid these risks, it is best to opt for hair products that are free of EDTA. Instead, look for products that contain natural ingredients that nourish the hair, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, or aloe vera.

Sulfates are commonly found in many hair products, but they can be damaging to hair over time. Sulfates are strong cleansing agents that can strip the natural oils from the hair and scalp, leaving hair dry and brittle. As sulfates can also be harsh on color-treated hair, they should be avoided by anyone with color-treated or damaged hair. Sulfates can also cause irritation to the scalp, making them a poor choice for those with sensitive skin. By avoiding sulfates, you can help keep your hair looking and feeling its best.  Common examples of sulfates in hair products are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS), and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS). These ingredients can be found in shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and many other hair care products. If you want to avoid sulfates, look for sulfate-free products.

Silicones are commonly used in hair care products because they give the appearance of healthy, shiny hair. But they are actually bad for your hair and can strip away natural oils and proteins that are essential for healthy hair. Silicones can also create a barrier, making it difficult for the scalp to absorb nutrients, which can lead to dryness and breakage. Examples of silicones commonly used in hair products are Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol and Amodimethicone. Avoiding these silicones can help to ensure your hair looks shiny and healthy.

PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds commonly used in hair care products as thickeners, softeners, and conditioners. Although they offer a quick and affordable way to improve the texture and appearance of hair, they can be potentially damaging to your hair and scalp. PEGs can strip away natural oils, leaving hair dry and brittle. They can also irritate the scalp, causing redness, itchiness, and even inflammation. The best way to ensure your hair stays healthy and looks shiny is to avoid hair care products that contain PEGs. Look for alternatives such as natural oils, botanical extracts, and plant-based ingredients that will nourish and hydrate your hair. 

Pthalates are chemicals commonly found in hair care products that can cause long-term health issues such as endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, and cancer. They are used as a binding agent or to make plastics more pliable, and can be found in many hair products such as shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and styling gel. Avoiding these chemicals is important for keeping your hair looking healthy and shiny without putting your health at risk. Look for products labeled “phthalate-free” or “no pthalates” when shopping for hair products to ensure that you are avoiding these potentially harmful chemicals.

Triclosan is an ingredient used in many hair products that is intended to reduce bacteria, but it has been linked to a plethora of health concerns. Studies have shown that it can disrupt hormone levels, cause skin irritation, increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, and even lead to cancer. By avoiding products that contain triclosan, you can help protect yourself and your family from the potential health risks. Examples of hair products that contain triclosan include shampoos, conditioners, styling gels, hair sprays, and mousses. 

Retinyl palmitate is a synthetic form of Vitamin A that is commonly found in hair products. While it may give your hair a glossy appearance, it can actually be damaging to the scalp and hair follicles. Retinyl palmitate can cause irritation and inflammation, as well as potentially triggering an allergic reaction. Additionally, it has been linked to cancer when exposed to sunlight, making it an unsafe ingredient to use in hair products. To avoid retinyl palmitate, look for hair products that are made with natural, plant-based ingredients.


Knowledge is power and education is key! Educate yourself on the ingredients of the products you use, read the labels, and protect yourself and your family from toxic ingredients and health problems.