Soaps and Shampoos
By: Takashi Ota

Here, I present to you the shortlist of six harmful ingredients commonly found in shampoos that supposedly make your hair look “good” but in actuality harm it for the long term:

1. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)

Do you love foamy shampoo? It’s the SLS that is responsible for all those suds. It might seem cool or even helpful, but the lather it produces is actually chemical-based. It can strip the essential oils from your hair and in turn makes hair unhealthy.

2. Synthetic colors

It might make sense for a citrus scented or infused shampoo to take on a yellowish color, but having a hue does not really do anything. It’s just a marketing gimmick. What it does, however, is to expose your hair to artificial colors laced with color pigments. These can cause scalp irritation and skin sensitivity.

3. Synthetic fragrance

Unlike a natural hair shampoo, synthetic fragrances can be any combination from more than three thousand different kinds of chemicals used to produce the desired scent. Any type of combination may cause irritation or scalp problems.

4. Dimethicone

This synthetic polymer gives you that silky soft appearance that makes it easy to comb through tangled hair. But all that coating is a chemical additive that not only causes irritation but also the exacerbation of acne, since it can clog pores. All makers of natural ingredients shampoo (even natural facial cleansers for sensitive skin know how bad for the skin dimethicone is!

5. Parabens

What makes shampoo long-lasting is good for the manufacturer but bad for the user. Parabens are in charge of giving shampoos a longer lease on life, but they also have a toxic nature. Apart from any form of contact irritation, this harmful ingredient can even upset your hormonal balance, resulting in hair loss (among others).

6. Sodium chloride

Otherwise known as table salt, this ingredient gives a shampoo the thick consistency that makes it easy to spread across your whole head of hair. You may feel that you are getting more bang for your buck, because a little product goes a long way. But in reality, spreading all that salt on your hair can encourage dryness and the development of an itchy scalp. This is also especially bad for people who undergo hair keratin treatments, as sodium chloride will undo the good effects of the rather expensive treatment.

The bottom line is, it pays to be vigilant through knowing what goes on in the products that we put on our bodies – in this case, the hair. You might enjoy the short-term so-called “benefits” of a shampoo laden with these chemicals (smells nice, lathers easily, makes hair shiny, etc.) but in the long run you ought not be surprised to see that, despite all your shampooing, you still end up with dry, damaged and unhealthy hair.

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Landry loves baking and all things sweet, including putting too much sugar in her coffee. You’ll usually find her with a good book and noise canceling headphones on.